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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: A Dream of Hanoi
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0812  Tuesday, 29 April 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 28 Apr 2003 12:13:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Apr 2003 14:29:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi

[3]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Apr 2003 11:37:48 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0784 Re: A Dream of Hanoi


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 28 Apr 2003 12:13:46 -0400
Subject: 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi

Martin Steward <
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 > writes,

>"By this I mean that superior sales are treated as superior values, and
>having influence is seen as a goal, rather than a means. The fact that
>American culture has influence is taken as proof in itself that it has
>value, even if that influence has been bought or imposed."

>So what is Anna Kamaralli saying? That the vast majority of consumers
>are fools, or boors?

Strictly speaking, nowhere in her message does she predicate anything
whatsoever of consumers, "vast majority" or otherwise.

One could easily reach such a conclusion by studying television viewing
habits, or cinema box-office figures, or best seller lists, or simply by
applying the methods of formal logic to successful advertising
campaigns.  But no such conclusion is reached by her.

Rather, she is addressing the social attitude perhaps best epitomized by
the formula, "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"  It is easily
enough found outside the arts.  I hate to think how often the Internet
has carried an exchange with this precis:

    "Bill Gates is a habitual liar and a bully."
    "Then how come he's a billionaire?"

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Apr 2003 14:29:31 -0500
Subject: 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0797 Re: A Dream of Hanoi

 John W. Kennedy quotes me thus

>>I'm afraid I find myself puzzled by the connection of Calvin to "the
>>confusing of money with morality. This is not one of his teachings that
>>I have come across, although my reading in the "Institutes" is
>>admittedly limited.

and then continues

>Although Calvin, in the "Institutes", is not so silly as to imagine such
>a thing, yet in his insistence on Divine Providence over all, he skates
>very close to the edge, as in:
>
>       But if the disasters and miseries which press us happen
>       without the agency of men, let us call to mind the doctrine
>       of the Law, (Deu 28: 1) that all prosperity has its source
>       in the blessing of God, that all adversity is his curse.
>            (I, 17, ix)

I am familiar with this idea -- but not just from Calvin. Wasn't he here
reiterating a commonplace idea of the time? Didn't it, indeed, exist
from before there was anything even Proto-Protestant?

My point is context. Calvin was different from Roman, Lutheran and
Anglican thinkers in some ways -- but was this one of them?

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Apr 2003 11:37:48 +1000
Subject: 14.0784 Re: A Dream of Hanoi
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0784 Re: A Dream of Hanoi

>Could I get a clarification on the meaning of Calvinism and Calvinist as
>used in this context?

I apologize for my sloppy phrasing, which came from writing a
spontaneous response to Richard's post, rather than a scholarly one.

I don't suggest that this was Calvin's original intention, but I do
believe the steps are traceable from Calvin and are, in fact, a good
example of the way that religious doctrines become distorted over time.
The doctrine is shaped to suit the inclination of the believer, rather
than the other way around.

It begins with the quote unearthed by John:
        that all prosperity has its source in the blessing of God,
        that all adversity is his curse.
which is then taken to mean that someone struck by adversity is being
punished, or that it is being demonstrated that they are not one of
God's chosen. Then this is taken a step further, to the belief that
someone who is materially unsuccessful is therefore morally suspect.

Martin asks whether I am saying

>That the vast majority of consumers are fools, or boors?

I suggest that there are groups of consumers that are vulnerable, and
that exploitation of the vulnerable should not be a virtue.

Regards,
anna.

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