"The Adoration of the Golden Calf" from the German School, circa 1600‘Computer Worship’ by Joseph S. Salemi The Society August 1, 2018 Culture, Humor, Poetry 32 Comments —from A Gallery of Ethopaths* The computer is a simple tool— It cannot change an arrant fool Into a brilliant, thoughtful scholar, Although the damned thing costs top-dollar. It cannot help someone to write Whose prose is just a total blight Nor delineate a topic For someone naturally myopic. It cannot give poetic insight To someone with a mental dim-light. People who say the thing “inspires” Are brain-dead, ethopathic liars— You might as well say that a quill Gave Shakespeare intellect and will To write his sonnets, pen his plays, Or inkwells spouted Shelley’s lays, Or that old Vergil’s iron stylus Taught him the words that still beguile us. Do you attribute skill to Dante Because he had some parchment handy? And yet you think a P.C.’s blinking Helps to develop human thinking, Or that a “Spell-Check” is a boon To some illiterate buffoon Who has no style, no grace, no credence, And can’t keep track of antecedents. Persons who know computers well Have no use for the hyped-up sell That cyber-freaks are ever spouting. They say that, beyond all doubting, Computer software can’t imbue A booby with a new I.Q. For if you are a stupid schmuck Computers cannot change your luck, And if your mental level’s zero Computers won’t make you a hero. Consult the experts once again— It’s true with P.C.s as with men. This maxim holds, without a doubt: That garbage in means garbage out. So don’t tell me because you got a Mackintosh your prose is hotter; Or that you now can write like Pinter Because you have a laser printer. Don’t confuse things instrumental With matters that are elemental. Great art comes from those fair Muses Crackling through your psychic fuses And not through microchips and wire Sold at prices ever higher. This is a myth to make gods chortle: That simple circuitry’s immortal— A thing believed by addlepates, Weirdos, morons, or Bill Gates. *Poet’s Note: A Gallery of Ethopaths is an epic-length satire, now coming to completion, and being readied for full publication. Over thirty sections of it have already been published in various journals. The meaning of the word ethopathy can be understood from my article on this coinage at aman.members.sonic.net/salemi.html Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine Trinacria. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who harasses or disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comment or comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 32 Responses E. V. August 1, 2018 Love it! This is truthful, funny, and the meter flowed “smoothly”. Congratulations! Of course, a laptop can’t make one a better writer, but it can make some of the tasks associated with writing easier to complete. My only question is should the noun “prose” be followed by the “to be” verb “is” … or “are”; i.e., should the poem read, “prose is” … or … “prose are” …? Reply David Paul Behrens August 1, 2018 You are quite right, E.V. Mr. Salemi’s epic poem is truthful, funny and well written. You are also correct about a laptop being useful. I have an old laptop, not even connected to the internet, which I use strictly for writing letters and making printed copies of poems which I sometimes frame for friends and family. It works much better than an old fashioned typewriter. Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 1, 2018 This poem serves its purpose well, and your article deserves a wider circulation. I find it truly astonishing how the principle way of treating mental illness (such is ethopathy) is through (1) coping mechanisms and (2) psychiatry. As a mere 20-year-old English student, perhaps I am deluding myself, yet I can say from personal experience that reading Plato and studying Schubert (or any like exercises that stimulate the use of logical faculties) are exceedingly more beneficial than some of the common “rememdies” prescribed. I will set forth some of my own theories here, and I welcome any reasonable criticism of them. The principle characteristic that distinguishes mental illness from physical illness is the fact that it is indeed mental; this statement appears obvious enough, and yet I have noticed (again, I am speaking from personal anecdotes, not from research) that mental illness is being treated in many ways as if it were a physical illness. The mental itself is distinguished from the physical by the fact that it concerns itself with one’s reasoning faculites, with though itself, and, dare I say in today’s highly materialistic world, with the soul. Now, when one examines the common use of psychiatric drugs to treat mental illness, one has to wonder the following: how can a mental problem be treated via physical means? To try to cure an illness of th soul through manipulations of neurotransmitters, horomones, etc. seems to be futile, for one is manipulating not the form or fundamental cognitive substance whence the illness originates, but the physical faculties that are governed by the soul. Such “treatment” seems just as unlikely to produce beneficial results and recovery as “willing” a broken bone to heal: physical illness cannot be remedied by mental operatives, nor can mental illness be remedied by physical operatives. In addition to the aforementioned error, I think psychiatric drugs are not only ineffective for truly curing mental illness, but they are even a violation of one’s free will. To manipulate the physical operatives which are subject to the soul’s command by inhibiting them or introducing new substances which were formerly alien or did not exist in the same quantity to the brain seems to be an impediment to free thinking. Of course, the soul itself is not being manipulated, but its physical operatives certainly are; though one hopes that a person is taking psychiatric drugs according to his or her own choosing and is not being forced by any other individual, it seems to directly alter the physical means by which one acts out one’s volition, and that this is in violation of the free will. (I confess the argument is not perfect here, for a true violation of free will would be the manipulation of the soul itself, and yet psychiatric drugs are operating on the physical level; my thesis is that these drugs act by impeding the process by which the soul governs the physical operatives and, consequently, manifests its will.) My second critique of the prevailing way in which mental illnesses are treated is through so-called “coping” mechanisms. The error in such a tactic seems so glaringly obvious that I cannot believe its ubiquity: what logic is there in not solving the problem, but in merely learning to “deal with” the illness? Perhaps I misunderstand the purpose of coping mechanisms, but it seems asinine that one should want to learn how to cope with a mental illness (or any curable illness, mental or physical). Such coping mechanisms may provide acute relief, but they themseleves do not cure the error in logical reasoning which is inevitably the source of mental illness. To use another reciprocal example, using breathing exercises or socializing will take one’s mind off of the pain of a broken bone for the moment, but such acts will not actually solve the problem by curing the illness (of course, a broken bone tends to heal itself over time, whereas mental illnesses seem less likely to do the same.) The treatment of mental illness, ethopathy included, must be through mental means, that is to say, through exmaining the thought process which led to a logical error, hence resulting in mental illness. I will say this method does exist in some capacity in the therapy world, but the predominant method is mere sympathic cooing paired with coping mechanisms and psychiatry. Perhaps most contemporary treatments arise from the overtly materialist belief that there is no soul, and that the brain operates solely on a physical level, but I think such attempts at treatment are ultimately ineffective because of that lack of acknowledging the soul and the Forms. The rising numbers of individuals seeking out therapy and psychiatric treatment speaks to several conditions prevalent in the States: (1) how even the idea of sadness or pain is undesirable and cannot be tolerated without medical assistance and (2) the dominance of materialism over abstract, Formal principles. Ultimately, I think having people suffering from mental illnesses study Phaedo, Phaedrus, Meno, Apology, or any other Platonic dialogue which deals directoy with the condition of the soul and its relation to logic along with further exercises in dialectics (such as studying the musical counterpoint of the great composers – it is a shame musical literacy is not widespread, for the logical and emotional benefits of studying and understanding classical music are profound) would be far more efficacious than today’s dominating methods. Again, I am only a young student majoring in English, so I fully acknowledge my lack of serious medical knowledge. I only speak as someone who found reading the classics and playing and studying the music of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, et al. infinitely more effective in overcoming depression than “coping” mechanisms or psychiatric drugs. I still welcome critcism of my thesis. Reply James A. Tweedie August 1, 2018 As someone who survived 12 years of severe, suicidal, chronic depression I will simply say that some forms of mental illness (such as mine) have a clear physical/chemical component that cannot be relieved by spiritual, mental, sheer will-power alone. While I accept that some medical treatments for certain conditions may result in side effect/complications equal to or worse than the illness itself, I can honestly say that medication saved my life. I am fortunate to have eventually been weaned off of all meds and am now more or less “normal once again (whatever that means). Various compulsive disorders ( which is where I would categorize much of what Mr. Salemi so eloquently describes in his poem and article) may also have a physical/chemical element to them (since repeated behavior patterns actually rewire brain function). Even so, I would guess that most of them should be considered to be learned behaviors that can be treated, controlled, and unlearned without medication. I suppose that making a distinction between pschoses and neuroses would be helpful, with Joseph’s subject falling into the latter category. By the way, the poem and essay manage to be both profoundly insightful, profoundly funny, and (at least in my opinion) profoundly true, all at the same time. As usual, well done, Mr. Salemi! Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 1, 2018 The distinction between psychosis and neurosis is certainly worth delineating, and yet it seems that both of these types arise from logical error. Someone who is not in touch with external reality has developed that estrangement because of an error in reasoning; to say that a fluctuation in serotonin or dopamine levels causes detachment from reality seems to ignore the underlying substance of the problem. As for neurosis, behavior is indeed often learned (omitting instinctual behaviors of a species), yet the mind is capable, through reason, of examining its behavior – such is self-awareness. To be clear, I in no way intend to diminish anyone’s personal experiences with mental illnesses, and if psychiatric medications can indeed prevent suicide, then I by no means suggest that they should be disposed of as a potential treatment. If one is in such a mental state that reason cannot be employed, then perhaps medication is permissible for short-term alleviation; however, I still remain wary of the free will aspect. Even if one consents to the medication, it seems akin to consenting to allow an external force to manipulate one’s actions. I suppose this principle can be applied to any external force, and yet one has the ability to control what one accepts or rejects from external forces. One is not bound to accept every word of Plato; indeed, it would be foolish to merely act as a sponge and absorb the information without employing reason to process it. What is of the highest importance is that an individual is still able to maintain sovereignty of thought. Reply Charlie Southerland August 1, 2018 So, would you consider God an external force? C.B. Anderson August 1, 2018 I sometimes wonder what to make of modern neuroscience. In ages past, severe mental disorders were considered to be caused by demonic possession, and a deliverance was prescribed. But I don’t see how, past or present, this has anything to do with logical error. Logic today is a very formal affair, a branch of mathematics that has little to do with ordinary human affairs. Charlie asks whether God should be considered an external force, and all I can think of to say is that taking either God or psycho-pharmaceuticals in makes them an internal force. Anyway, Joe’s poem is really only asking whether our modern communication devices are more like a ladder or a crutch. His answer to the question is rather clear. Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 1, 2018 I certainly agree with regard to Mr. Salemi’s poem – he does a fine job presenting his subject, developing it, and resolving it (all great poetry works functions like great music). I was trying to develop the theme on pathology inherent in the work and through the linked article on enthopathy, though it seems the conversation has proved to be rather minimal in effect. From what I have read, Mr. Salemi is a fine satirist. Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 1, 2018 Mr. Southerland, No, I would not consider God an external force in the slightest. For instance, take Luke 17:21 (“The Kingdom of God is within you”), which demonstrates the notion that all creations of God are a part of Him; the paradox of man being both mortal and immortal lies in this idea, for while the corporeal body is mortal, the soul is immortal. Moreover, matter itself is created from God, so one cannot claim that the body is independent of His Will. One could retort by saying that medications are material extensions of God because they are composed of matter, but this line of argument extends to all matter, which does not develop the counterargument for the following reason: matter is not God Himself, but a creation of God. By similar principle, any work of art is a product of its creator, and is a part of that creator inasmuch as it was created by said creator and inherited certain characteristics ascribed to it by its creator; however, the work of art is not the creator itself because of dimensional separations both spatial and temporal. The creation and creator are yoked together by an inseparable link, yet the creation is not the creator qua creator, nor is the creator the creation qua creation. The question posed is one of free will; God endowed man with reason, and so we are consequently able to act according to that reason (or, less desirably, apart from that reason). If any substance inhibits man to act out his reason (man’s divine faculty, the characteristic which we share with God, our Creator) by manipulating the physical faculties which execute the desires of the will, it serves as an impediment to executing free will, making man a slave to the impeding force, and denying him the opportunity to execute his immortal faculty of reason. Reply Charlie Southerland August 2, 2018 Mr. Myshkin, Ok. If mental conditions, (mental illness) are a product of free will, not an inherent condition, then please explain the symbiotic relationship between a perfect God who resides in us and those external forces of that particular free will. Dr. Salemi’s poem rightly delineates the effects or affectation of the external force of a computer upon a soul/s who seems predisposed to sophistry. Are not all souls wired thusly? The poem is highly satirical and well wrought. If the “free” will always leads to destruction, can it be truly said that the will is indeed free? Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 2, 2018 I am not debating Mr. Salemi’s poem at this point, but a broader point about metaphysics. I in no way see how free will “always” (quite a qualifier) leads to destruction; the use of reason is what allows for free will to lead the soul to liberation. In Mr. Salemi’s poem, the enthopathic obsession with the latest computer technology deprives man of his free will because he does not have to think, for the computer will do it all for him. The computer is an external material source apart from the soul. Matter is not a part of the soul; both are substances created by God, but they are not the same because of their varying rates of vibrational frequency (cf. The Principle of Vibration in The Kybalion). My thesis was that psychiatric medications (material, external forces with respect to the mental, internal forces of the soul) are impediments to the execution of free will because they physically obstruct/alter/manipulate the brain. Free will itself is not being violated because will is mental, and drugs (the drugs themselves, not their effects) are not mental; however, I am suggesting that psychiatric drugs inhibit the physical manifestation of the will. Here are several quotations from Book XII of the Corpus Hermeticum that I believe demonstrate my point; all lines are from the Cambridge University Press 1992 edition, translated by Brian Copenhaver, should you choose to reference the text. On the principle of mind: “Mind comes from the very essence of God…. it [mind] has expanded, as it were, like the light of the sun. In humans this mind is god; among humans, therefore, some are gods and their humanity is near to divinity.” (43) On the principle of reason: “Where soul is here is also mind, just as there is soul wherever life is. But the soul in unreasoning animals is life devoid of mind…. Those human souls that do no have mind as a guide are affected in the same way as souls of animals without reason.” (43) “God has granted these two things, mind and reasoned speech, which are worth as much as immorality.” (45) Without reason, man is no more than an animal, and has lost his divinity; similarly, if man possesses reason but is unable to execute it, he has not lost his potential for divinity, but the process of actualizing it. If any external force (for no internal force of the mind which has been achieved through logic can inhibit reason, for that is entirely contradictory to its nature) inhibits the expression of reason, man is not devoid of free will, but because he cannot enact his reason, he has been reduced to a state somewhere between man and an animal. Trevor Siggers August 2, 2018 Hello Joseph, ‘Computer Worship’ is great fun. Congratulations. Bet you wrote this masterpiece without using the corrective functions of your word processor! Many thanks for brightening a moment before returning to plan next week’s ‘creative writing’ group meet of the wordsmiths at Leek branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age) in Leek, Staffordshire, England. Check us out on https://u3asites.org.uk/leek and go to the creative writing group’s section to see some of our pwn scribbles. Many thanks and best wishes Reply Charlie Southerland August 2, 2018 Mr. Mishkin, What to do with the problem of “evil” then? Animals have no capacity for it. Reasoning men do. Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 2, 2018 I would say evil is the lack of reason, but Mr. Tweedie brings up a valid point with regard to dementia and fetuses and infants, so I will confess my ignorance with regard to those points. It seems compassion is also a necessary quality to define what is good (not that I was presuming compassion to be evil previously, but I was not considering it as a defining quality of what is good). Reply James A. Tweedie August 2, 2018 Several thoughts. I spent yesterday with my father-in-law who suffers from dementia and is incapable of applying reason/logic or asserting any measure of free will in his environment. This is also true for a fetus or a baby. I find myself wrestling with your presumptive assertion that, “Without reason, man is no more than an animal, and has lost his divinity.” Surely, whatever we designate as fundamental to my father-in-law’s humanness should be located in his soul (which partakes of the immortal/eternal) rather than in his mind or body (which are by nature physical/mortal/temporal)? I would also assert that logic/reason is but one way (and since the Enlightenment, albeit the primary way) by which we in the West order and understand the way we experience the world. Even so, reason and logic will lead different people to different conclusions, each of which will be dependent upon the “first principles” or “space of perspectives” (Collingwood) adopted at the beginning of the process. Reason by itself, therefore, while an invaluable and often reliable took, is in and of itself incapable of discerning ultimate truth. If, for example, I assert that human nature is essentially good, reason will lead me to different conclusions than you will reach if you begin with the premise that humans are essentially evil. We could debate these matters until we are blue in the face but unless we agree on first principles, logic and reason will, in the end, prove fruitless in resolving our differences. Because of this I must then assert that while reason and logic are characteristic of our humanness they are not essential to it. They are part of what we are. They are not what we are. Lastly, in regards to Luke 16:21, the grammar and context of the verse belies your interpretation. The context is Jesus speaking with a group of Pharisees. The pronoun ὑμῶν is second person plural so the preposition is best translated a “among” rather than “in.” Virtually all recent translations render the words as, “the kingdom of God is among you” or “in your midst.” This is also consistent with Jesus’ other teaching on the subject. This supports my previous point that where we start determines where logic will take us. Is short, I am a reasonable man. Reason is part of who I am. It is not, however, who or what I am. The essence of my humanity lies elsewhere. By the way, I fully embrace much of your thought and concern. After finding that too much caffeine made me shake uncontrollably after late night college day confabs, I gave up coffee for years so as to be better able to assert self-control/full sovereignty over my mind and body. Even so, not all medicine diminishes our ability to assert self-autonomy. In many cases it can enhance it or even preserve it. I apologize for taking up so much space on Mr. Salemi’s post. In closing I must once again commend him for generating and stimulating a most edifying exchange of ideas. Reply William Krusch August 2, 2018 You mention some excellent points, Mr. Tweedie, I will grant you that; I had not previously considered the case of dementia (I suppose Alzheimer’s and other illnesses affecting memory are in this category, too). I also make no claims to being a Biblical scholar in the slightest, and so I will yield to your explanation of the context and the original etymology. With regard to the temporality of mind, I would consider it immortal along with the soul as opposed to mortal; when I reference mind, I was not implying the physical substance of the brain itself (I mention this point just for clarity). I hope someone has noticed the pseudonym I previously employed, for it was used deliberately to reference Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, which deals with these themes of mental illness, the defining qualities of humanity, and the metaphysics of religion. Compassion plays a key role in that book, and I am glad that it has made its appearance. Wonderful counterpoint, gentlemen – something close to a triple fugue! Reply William Krusch August 2, 2018 You mention some excellent points, Mr. Tweedie, for I had not previously considered dementia (and I suppose Alzheimer’s and other similar illnesses fall into this category). I had not previously included compassion along with the earlier defining qualities of what constitutes humanity, but it certainly seems to necessary. I was not aware of the original etymology used for the Luke passage, so thank you for clarifying that. I make no claims to being a Biblical scholar; I confess my knowledge of Greek is minimal, and my ancient Hebrew nonexistent. I am glad the notion of compassion has come around, and I hope someone noticed the pseudonym previously being used, for it was employed deliberately to reference Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (itself dealing with these various themes we all have been discussing). Wonderful counterpoint, gentlemen – we nearly had a triple fugue! Reply Charlie Southerland August 2, 2018 Dear Mr. Mishkin, Luke 11:13-If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? According to the scripture, we are evil/depraved, yet can do good. Mental illness doesn’t really enter into the picture, neither do drugs. And yet, God makes a way to solve the problem of “reason” by the Holy Spirit to all who ask. What a novel concept. There is a humanistic approach to making a person “good”, which is temporary, and then there is the divine way, the Way, the only way to change a man immortal. The humanistic approach always fails. The solution to evil falls to God. It always has. Reply Amy Foreman August 2, 2018 Well put, Mr. Southerland. James 1:5: ” If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. ” “The solution to evil falls to God,” you say. And I would add, “So does the solution to ‘folly’ or ‘ethopathy.'” Fascinating reading, gentlemen! Reply Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin August 2, 2018 You mistake me, Mr. Southerland – I am not trying to diminish the importance of religion in achieving goodness. Again, I will note that I am by no means a Biblical scholar, but the way I have interpreted original sin is the rejection of what is good, and reason is good (though not the only thing – love, for instance, is also good). I do not see how reason and religion are mutually exclusive on this point. There are nunerous proofs for the existence of God which are argued via reason rather than faith (cf. Plato, Hermes Trismegistus – the philosophy of both significnatly influenced early Christian thought). Debating religious faith was never a point of mine. In mentioning mental illness and psychiatric medication, I was not suggesting that they are the sole causes of evil. My notion was that those two mental illness and drugs, if they inhibit reason, can inhibit free will. I am sure you would agree that God grants free will, otherwise crime could be considered an act condoned by God. Reason brings us into harmony with God, for God is the Creator of order and harmony in the universe. Reply David Watt August 3, 2018 Mr. Salemi, your timely poem is well written, humorous, and descriptive of a modern truth. In considering the likelihood of ‘Ethopathy’ gaining popular acceptance as a new term, the greatest challenge may be that of enlisting a segment of the population large enough (not constrained by the blinkers of this same condition), to recognize its validity as a term and bring it into usage. Thank you for a new term and an enlivening poem. Reply Joseph S. Salemi August 3, 2018 Thank you for your comment, Mr. Watt. It is indeed very difficult to get a neologism accepted into general usage, especially if what it describes has reached a pervasive and pandemic level. These days, not being ethopathic in some way, shape, or form marks one as an outcast, a crank, a killjoy, or a reactionary. Reply Charlie Southerland August 3, 2018 All mental illness is related to the fallen nature of man. Our fallen nature inhibits reason, clouds it, distorts it, much like the drugs you speak of. Our fallen nature argues intrinsically against free will. Since we are fallen, our “will” is always against God’s will. Christians fight with the will of God and the old nature they are born with, right up to the moment of leaving their mortal bodies behind. Non-believers do not have that fight as an issue. Neither can they. There is much scripture that argues against what you call “free will”. As a matter of fact, the term isn’t in the scripture. There’s a reason for that. In the face of reason and logic, Believers are made to look like fools to the rest of humanity. There are days where this appearance isn’t a lot of fun. But God’s ways are definitely higher than our ways. Man’s logic and reason is a well of folly, deep and dry. Reply Joseph Charles MacKenzie August 3, 2018 Yet another Salemi masterpiece in all its perfection: A multilayered social critique exposing not only the problem of spiritual bondage to the distractions of vapid technology, but also the problem’s foundation in modern man’s inability to distinguish between instrumental and final causality, a distinction surviving in the only legitimate philosophy ever handed down to us, namely that of St. Thomas and the Schoolmen. Add to all of this the craftsmanship of verses cut with infallible precision to the measure of their meaning, and the poem strikes the reader with the all force and vitality of refined classic art. Reply David Paul Behrens August 4, 2018 Emerson said a thread runs through all things. I believe that thread is what we refer to as God. God is infinitely beyond the limits of human words and thoughts. Reply James Sale August 5, 2018 Wonderful, effortless, adroit – such great satire. And I, for one, could never have found the concluding couplet’s genius final rhyme: “A thing believed by addlepates,/Weirdos, morons, or Bill Gates.” – the way the generality of the attack suddenly and precisely targets exactly the right person, the one we all ‘know’. As unexpected as the rhyme itself. Consider,too, that unexpected rhymes of this magnitude usually achieve bathos, or severe syntactical strain, but here – Exocet-like – the poet blasts the modern idol to smithereens. Love it. Reply Steven Shaffer August 5, 2018 Right up there with “An Essay on Criticism”! Reply Wilbur Dee Case August 7, 2018 Joseph Salemi “Stupidity is a talent for misconception” —Edgar Allan Poe One can respect Salemi’s focus on ethópathy, a plague that rages round the World and hits both you and me. He’s marshaled many terse examples in polemic verse, alerting us to this abuse and its pandemic curse. He’s like a swirling cyclone when he offers his advice, a mild-mannered man he’s not, nor would one say he’s nice. Like Oscar Wilde with vituperation cranked up high, expostulating to the crowds found floating in the sky. He shouts aloud to bring them down to Earth, to make them see the error of their airy ways and full-blown lunacy. An Agamemnon in his hard-won literary realms, he spews and slews his snarky views in hopes he overwhelms; and yet one finds, upon occasion, rarely, to be sure, a rarefied opinion wrest-l-ing with the absur-d. And though it isn’t very often he is not uncouth, irradic’lly, sporadic’lly, he blunders into truth. Reply Joseph S. Salemi August 8, 2018 Dear Bruce Dale Wise — The word you want in your last line is “erratically” (with or without the unnecessary apostrophe). Spelling counts. Reply Beau Lecsi Werd August 11, 2018 Because of its placement—the first word in the last line—compared to the last word in the first line—I suspect Mr. Case has supplied his own neologism—he and his ilk are so prone to those. I suppose, too, that his elision correlates to the pronunciation of ethópathy he has indicated in his poem. Reply Wilbur Dee Case August 11, 2018 Mr. Salemi has alerted me to a certain slovenliness in the poem. To fix it, I shall alter Poe’s quote to “On account of the stupidity of some people…on account of their talent for misconception…” and indicate its origin, “The Rationale of Verse”. Reply Joseph S. Salemi August 11, 2018 Tell us, Bruce — do you do anything else besides this absurd and clownish posturing? 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