Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In Memory of John Knight

When I first went up to university, I lived in what is now known as a dorm. There were many people there, some I related to, many I did not. One man I do remember though, John Knight.

The 'dorm' was quite a way away from the campus. There were buses, many people rode those. Some people had cars. As we were all poor, the people with cars would give rides to others and share the cost of the gas. One person with a car was an amusing fellow called Chris Penny. Chris had a bunch of people who would ride in his car. One of these people was John Knight. Another was a good friend of mine, Sean Fogarty. He was usually known as 'Swannee'.

One day, Chris and his crew went to campus as usual. They faced the common problem of finding a place to park. Chris was good and knew a few good places. They parked. It was a windy day. As people were getting out of the car, John said to Swannee "You never get out of this car." Those were his last words. A tree fell on the car and killed John.

This was all many years ago, but I still remember John. I do not recall the exact date this happened, but it was close to this time of year. So, let us all think about John Knight. To write about him after the nearly 20+ years that have passed is the least I can do.

I have lost track of all the people who were involved. Swannee is someone I especially miss. Were it not for him, I would not be a philosopher now. He was an English major. He challenged me with something I could not beat. So, I decided that I should become a philosophy major, to learn enough to respond. Thanks Swannee!

As for John, after all this time I suspect that few people think of him too often. A few days after his death, there was a concert by the Stranglers that was sold out and I did not have a ticket for. Chris sold me John's ticket, so the cash could be used for flowers at the funeral. When I got back from the concert, I lay in the snow thinking about the guy now gone. I froze my butt off. However, this post is to remember that time and to remember John.

The CP


Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

This is a good story, and you have an interesting way of telling it. I like it.

Just wanted to let you know I'm reading, still.


9:01 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Hi TS,
I'm glad that you are still reading. It was good to see you post again at your own place today (I have been reading too).

I guess that I am learning quite a bit about the blog world, as I have been watching [N.B. this terminology has been adjusted, based on your comments]. I am amazed at the level of 'fakes', cranks and nut jobs in this medium. As a journal editor, I suddenly find a new love for the blind referee process.

What do you think of what I call the Ad populam problem -- fools who are popular, despite posting utterly stupid bilge. Bitch Ph.D. is one example. There are a few others.
I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Oh yes, one final thing -- Ramen noodles are for grad students. Professors eat with Marie Callender. ;).

The CP

12:55 AM  
Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

I don't know anything about Bitch PhD, but I do know that Diane Blaine became very popular on account of her boobs, and now she has a sort of cult following of women who she appeals to by saying things like, "I didn't know what to think until I read feminist lit, and now it's all so clear," to which they reply, "I did not know how completely retarded I was until you told me, and now I am like a blank slate ready for you to fill me in." Or words to that effect.

Ad populum, definitely--but I'm not too worried by it. Those people who blindly follow the person "with just enough knowledge to be dangerous" in an online discussion--they are only going through the motions of critical thinking--like learning how to hold the violin bow and run it over the strings. They are doing warm up exercises--getting their brain used to the new positions it will have to curl into to accomodate grander and more complex ideas. But they actually *learn* by functioning in the real world.

The ideas that will stick in their heads and grow will be the ones that they can know through experience, not through listening to Blaine talk about how beautiful she is and how complete. So, even if it's some self-aggrandizing attention whore who initiates the creation of interesting new ideas, the ideas themselves have the potential to be good.

In an online community it is easy to jump on board a band wagon because everything remains theoretical--hypothetical. Nothing really has to be tried--pure idea. If we use it right, the lack of practical boundaries to discussions can be a great new creative force in the world--I mean, I think it is, already. And I think it's worth the frusteration of being caught up in debates with people who are stuck on a loop.

I hope I'm talking about the same thing you're talking about. :)

I love Marie Calendar! Lasagna! What would I do without it???!!!

BTW I left a few comments down on your words posts fairly recently. Did you see 'em?

Also, if you didn't click on the link to "The Show" in my last post, I think you should. Watch the Sept 13th vid and also the "ugly myspace" vid--very cool and interesting. Not just funny.



3:33 PM  

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