November 05, 2013

Geras Obit Improves after Decent Interval

For all I enjoyed Flying Rodent's obit of Norman Geras in its own right and as a corrective to some of the downright mad tributes from the old curmudgeon's supporters there was a bit I thought was very good that I hadn't understood at all.

See this:
Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did
 Now I thought that was a reference to Norm's passing and to the tributes that poured in.  So did someone calling themselves, Utopian:
Could you elaborate on what you mean by this:

'Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did'.

You seem to have been quite a keen Normblog reader and therefore you were presumably aware that Geras was an atheist. So this seems a strange way to describe someone's premature death from a horrendous illness, leaving behind much-loved family and friends. Or do you think that Geras would have considered it a price worth paying for the sake of some nice broadsheet obits?

I noticed one of your twitter friends commenting on how 'small d-decent' (ho ho ho) it was of you to wait a whole two weeks before laying into Geras, so I just wondered whether he/she had overlooked that particular sentence, which personally I found quite offensive, and imagine Geras's family and friends may have found even more so. 
Well this Phil chap realised that Utopian (and I) had got the wrong end of the stick:
this seems a strange way to describe someone's premature death from a horrendous illness

Probably because it quite plainly isn't. Run along and find something else to get outraged about.
Well I wasn't outraged.  I thought it was rather good but Flying Rodent explained himself for the outraged or the just not so bright:
Could you elaborate on what you mean by this:

'Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did'.


Gladly - I meant that, while many of us may harbour grand schemes for the betterment of humanity, few of us will even get to see them being adopted by a political party that has a chance of implementing them.

Professor Norm, however, saw much of his grand plan adopted by the most powerful people on Earth, not least by the President and government of the USA, who hurled bajillions of dollars, immense effort and the most awe-inspiring military machine in human history at the enterprise.

I can see why some folk might mistake the concept of "Utopia" for a religious reference, but that's not the intention.
Hmm, even better than when I misunderstood it and I liked it then...

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