Leverett Butts - Musings of a Bored English Teacher

Occasional web log from Southern writer Leverett Butts.

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Location: Temple, Georgia, United States

English Professor in Georgia. Writer of Southern lit

Monday, November 29, 2004

Happy belated Thanksgiving,y'all.

You know what's bothersome?

For weeks I haven't had much to say on the blog. Ideas just haven't come to me, so rather than write something stupid or post a lame personality test or something, I simply didn't post anything.

I'm a firm believer in not talking if you don't really have anything to say.

Now, however, I have a story I want to tell. I think it's a story that needs to be told, full of action, adventure, intrigue, and really wild things.

It could even blow the lid off an international conspiracy poised to destroy life as we know it and install a figurehead government bent on developing a new world order in which we all follow the dictates of a "star spokesman" for an all-seeing, all-knowing spiritual power.

Sadly, the quarter is drawing to a close, so I have all kinds of "responsibilities " to meet and so-called "duties" to perform.

Also, I'm almost close to finishing Thief II: The Metal Age on my PC at home.

My story will be told, though. Hopefully, this week.

And it'll be a doozy.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm still working on my Roanoke report. It's really hard to boil down three days of books, Lev, and paranormal into a few paragraphs, but I'm trudging on.

Also I've figured out how to post pictures ot my blog, so my tale can be illustrated.

In the meantime, in between time

Here's an ad that just makes me giggle like a prepubescent girl and feel really bad about it later.


Ain't we got fun?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I just found out that one of my two oldest friends has left for war in an undisclosed land (I can't tell you where, but I suspect there's a lot of sand).

Cpt. Rob Davis left Monday for training. By the middle of next year, he'll be sweating in a foreign land.

Rob, I can't say anything nearly as poignant as Scott wrote (for one thing, the words won't come right now; for another, they'd just be badly repeating what he's already so eloquently stated), but know that my feelings are exactly the same.

Keep your head down, your helmet on, and don't do anything stupid.

Come home as soon as they'll let you, but get back safely.

Go with God.

We'll all be praying.

P.S. For those of you worried, the mountain didn't kill me. I'll file my report on the adventures in Roanoke soon.

I promise.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I am in Roanoke, VA this weekend attending the SAMLA conference. It is now just after 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, November 13, 2004. In a little while, I and the remaining Georgia State contingent will embark on an expedition up a mountain to see a star and explain a mystery. It could be dangerous, or it could simply be cold.

I will explain later when I return home. However, if I don't report by week's end, fear the worst, email me to make sure, then tell my family to stay the hell away from Roanoke and to fear the star.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

--And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

--John Hancock

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Recently, I have received comments and emails from my readers complaining about my lack of posts and threatening to quit reading my blog altogether.

I appreciate everyone who reads my blog. I have been doing it for over a year, now, and I'm constantly amazed at how many total strangers tune in every week to see if I've left more ramblings. I expect my friends and family to check in, and as much as I enjoy hearing their comments about my entries, it's the people who don't know me that really mean the most to me. Perhaps its the narcissist in me enjoying the effect (however small and insignificant) I have on the lives of people whom I will never meet face-to-face.

It's kinda humbling.

Oh, who am I kidding? It's fucking amazing, and I can't get enough of it.

I realize, therefore, how frustrating it is for my readers to drop by week after week and not have a new entry. I drop by several blogs, myself, and get disappointed when I see the same entry from last week or the week before.

That being said, though, I have to ask that you all be patient with me. If I don't have an entry for a while, it's probably due to one of a few reasons:

1. Nothing important happened today: Remember that I live in a rural town in Georgia, not war-torn Iraq or the politically intriguing Washington, D.C. I'm an English instructor at a small community college, not a great mover and shaker with my finger on the pulse of our nation's culture and politics. An average day consists of my teaching students how to make verbs agree with their subjects and how to communicate a complete thought. Afterwards, I usually go home and watch T.V. or play a video game until I'm sleepy.
These entries would would bore you quicker than T. S. Eliot reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby cover to cover.

2. Important stuff happened, but you wouldn't care: I have had an ongoing correspondence this week with Rosanna Warren, Robert Penn Warren's daughter, gathering background information on a possible paper comparing Frodo Baggins to the heroes in RPW's fiction. I have also been contacting the Jesse Stuart Foundation in Kentucky to discover which of Stuart's stories were published in the Southern Review during the thirties and forties. While I find these happenings extremely exciting, I sincerely doubt the majority of you would find much entertainment in them. Again Eliot reading Fitzgerald might be more attention grabbing.

3. Nothing unimportant happened today either: I realize that my best writing usually deals with the amusing minutiae that happens to me from time to time, but not all minutiae is worth writing about. If my shoes are untied, I tie them. I don't write long articles about it. If I'm eating lunch, it's not really worth letting it get cold while I tell you today's menu. Some things just aren't that amusing.

4. I don't get paid for this: While I enjoy writing these blog entries and appreciate your tuning in, I'm doing it pro bono, usually when there's free time at work. Teaching, grading, and committee work put food on my table, a roof on my house, and clothes on my back, not observing life's amusing anecdotes on a weblog. Sometimes I have to let my hobby go, so I can keep enjoying my hobby.

So . . .

If you get bored with the same old entry week after week, read someone else's blog that day, or read a book, pet the dog, and love your family.

Or get back to work, slacker.

Don't get upset with me and take my blog off your reading list or something; that's just silly. I haven't gone anywhere. I promise I will write more when I have time and something worth observation happens.

If I trip on my untied shoes and fall face first into my lunch while grading papers, I promise you'll be the first to know.

Now, if you'll excuse me I've got a stack of essays calling me.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Okay, today I'll talk about it .

It's no secret that I'm not exactly Bush's or the GOP's greatest supporter.

It's also no secret that I did not want Bush to win a second term.

Not because he's a Republican; he isn't.

He is a megalomaniacal idiot chimp with a Napoleonic complex the size of Shaq.

He seems intent on destroying this country from within by tacitly encouraging our industry to move elsewhere, slowly eroding our civil liberties in the name of security, and overextending our armed forces in conflicts across the globe (I don't see how we're going to avoid a draft no matter how much he claims we won't need one. I'm not saying he's lying, folks. I'm just saying he's either not telling us something, or he's a fucking moron).

While he claims he wants to unite America, I can't help but remember these same words during the first election. I haven't seen much unity. A whole lot of division? Yeah, that we got in spades, but unity? Not so much.

For Bush, "uniting" America seems to translate as "brow-beating or humiliating everyone who disagrees with me until we all think and believe the same things."

And if we don't agree with this administration's policies, according to Dick, we can all go fuck ourselves.

That's a form of unity, I suppose.

The really surprising thing to me is the idea emerging that America's government is somehow responsible for the citizenry's morality. A significant percentage of voters claimed in exit polls that "moral issues" constituted their most important concerns in this election, beating out the Iraq clusterfuck and our disintegrating economy.

First of all, could someone please explain to me how Shrub's opponents were immoral? I haven't heard that any of them diddled livestock, children, or relatives. To my knowledge none of them has ever murdered anyone. In fact, I can't think of anything overtly "immoral" any of the opponents have done. I can't speak of substance abuse, but then again, even Bush himself is a self-proclaimed alcoholic.

Glass houses and stones.

However, much of this morality debate is academic, anyway. I fail to see how a person's personal morality reflects on how well he can do his job. JFK, whom Bush admires, passed Marilyn Monroe back and forth with his brother. FDR was allegedly found dead in the arms of his lover. Reagan divorced his first wife amid accusations of mental cruelty.

Indeed, immoral behavior among influential political figures is as old as the country itself. Thomas Jefferson slept around with his slaves and fathered a child on at least one of them. Ben Franklin had more illegitimate children than Zeus and Odin combined. Andrew Jackson was a drunk, and Ulysses S. Grant took opium.

Whence this idea that immorality equals bad leadership and that great leaders must necessarily exhibit high mindedness and moral rectitude?

Most importantly, though, are we to ignore the ideas of our forefathers who fought and died to create the first country in which the church and state were two separate entities? We came to this country in an effort to escape a government which dictated how we should live and whom we should worship. Our founding fathers drafted a Constitution which guaranteed the citizenry would never have to live under such oppression again.

Yet here we are, not even three hundred years later, reinterpreting this same Constitution in an effort to force the citizens to live the way one ideological group (admittedly a very large and diverse one) believes everyone should live. This group hopes to deny legal rights to other groups who don't subscribe to this very narrow view of life.

Regardless, the Republican emphasis on "family values" and morality will prove, as it almost always does, a hypocritical smokescreen. They appeared to give us what we want so that they may surreptitiously take from us what we need.

I simply hope when the sons are dead, the jobs are gone, and the homes are repossessed, we're still satisfied with our moral president.

Am I bitter? A little.

Will I get over it? Most assuredly.

I am a son of the South, and as such I know how to handle defeat. I was raised on it. I drank it in my mother's milk, and I internalized it in history class.

The Republican Party has been screwing us for over a hundred years now. The only difference is that nowadays they give us a kiss first and a smoke after.

And some of us seem to enjoy it.

One more carpetbagging scalawag won't make that much of a difference.

Wake up, Folks.

As the chimp's former co-star once proclaimed, it's mourning in America.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I don't want to talk about it.