May 2010 Archives

A sign

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(Via Ty Greenstein)

In my story about Marine General James Mattis and risk-taking in combat, I wrote about the idea of trying to teach restraint in moments where instinct and training would make a person react with force. Today a report in the Navy Times says that the military is considering a medal for acts of restraint.
I'm enjoying the book, and a passage caused me to write this in the comments section at the bottom of a story I'd written.

In light of the discussion we've been having below I offer Matthew B. Crawford's very smart point about the automatic faucet. Every politician running against the inefficiency of government should use this analogy. It appeals to common experience and gives a clear understanding to all of us who have felt the blind rage of the unfairness being done to us. If you heard this as an analogy at a political rally you would repeat it to your co-worker and speak favorably about whichever politician told it to you, I'd bet.

From Shop Class as Soulcraft: "Consider the angry feeling that bubbles up in this person when, in a public bathroom, he finds himself waving his hands under the faucet, trying to elicit a few seconds of water from it in a futile rain dance of guessed-at mudras. This man would like to know: Why should there not be a handle? Instead he is asked to supplicate invisible powers. It's true, some people fail to turn off a manual faucet. With its blanket presumption of irresponsibility, the infrared faucet doesn't merely respond to this fact, it installs it, giving it the status of normalcy. There is a kind of infantilization at work, and it offends the spirited personality."