On November 1, 1755, a devastating earthquake hit Lisbon, Portugal. In the aftermath, combined with tsunamis and fires, the Great Lisbon Earthquake destroyed the city, and killed anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 people.
The response may have been worse. Disciples of Liebniz, in every church in Europe, retreated into the warm arms of the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy, and spread the gospel that “all was for the best,” and since all was for the best, this unfathomable tragedy must have been a good thing, as it was all but certainly part of a grand plan by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator. If all knowing, all powerful, and all good (the broken logic followed), every objectively horrid thing that happened must have actually been for the best.
Voltaire was, as you should currently be, incensed at this feckless response. He fired off a poem, “Lisbon,” in 1756 which eviscerated such a response. In 1759, as this message only strengthened and became the status quo (it still is, by the way), he penned a brutal reductio ad absurdum Menippean Satire focused entirely on this singular, irrational idea, which he called Candide, or Optimism.
We now live in an era when gun massacres are a near daily occurrence. As always, when these tragedies occur—and they occur near constantly—we are met with a similar feckless, disingenuous, irrational, so dumb it drools, epidemic of bullshit excuses response. Who would have thought the simple phrase “thoughts and prayers” would become, as a former professor and current friend said, “the most bitterly obscene phrase in the English language”? If you disagree with this, you are part of the problem. If you retreat to Paul Ryan-esque “what can be done?” or “now is not the time” or “we need to not make a knee-jerk reaction” pointless pablum, you are the problem. If you say, “this is not a gun issue, but a mental health issue” while forgetting that one of the first bills the president signed was to revoke gun background checks for the mentally ill, you are either an idiot or an asshole. Likely both. If Voltaire were alive today, he would never stop writing sequels to Candide. He might do more.
We are led by frightened little men who do nothing but order their aides to write elegant equivocations to rationalize their doing of nothing. If I get banned for this, great. I’m done with this. I’m not going to shut up. The country is on fire, and pouring gasoline on it is not the answer. If you do not wake up each morning with righteous anger, you are either willfully ignorant or in the pocket of the greedy and unfathomably uncaring. I don’t care if you can live with yourself. I cannot live with you.
Nor can the children of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Blacksburg, and every place that has not been directly affected by this, but is affected emotionally, psychologically, and in practice, daily. As an educator, I have to go to work each day with the knowledge that nothing is stopping my school from being next. I have to witness a Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House “All is well!” response after each and every one of these tragedies in which those in charge speak to the students not to talk about the political absurdities that have led to this reality, but to lie to them that they have nothing to worry about—that they will be safe. Worse yet, I am surrounded by the collective cognitive dissonance of it all, or the collective numbness of those who can’t truly process this. This is not a life. This is not a country. This is hell.
Now for the distraction we all need... Vanderbilt baseball season opens today. Better yet, against a school we all hate: Duke.
Beyond that, in an era of illogical horror, we open our season with the most logical move a person could make. Yes, my friends, Alonzo Jones has finally been moved to the outfield.
Coach Tim Corbin implies that tomorrow's starting outfielders for @VandyBaseball will be JJ Bleday in RF, Pat DeMarco in CF, and Alonzo Jones in LF.— Max Herz (@MaxHerzTalks) February 15, 2018
"JJ has the experience."
"Demarco's played well and he's been a good fit."
"Alonzo has been working hard."
Beyond that, the three freshman hitters we are most excited about from the consensus #1 recruiting class in the country (Jayson Gonzales, Pat DeMarco, and Philip Clarke) will be in the lineup at 3B, CF, and DH, respectively.
Clarke was expected to split time between catcher and DH, and until Ty Duvall’s injury (all I know is he took a bat to the head) heals, it appears Corbin will go with converted catcher Stephen Scott and his beer league power bat. It’s not expected, but it does potentially make sense.
Beyond that, junior 2B Ethan “Chili P” Paul is poised to have a breakout season, as he straight up raked in the Cape this summer.
Our pitching staff is a bit more up in the air, but Drake “Brian” Fellows will get the ball on opening night. Patrick “Mad Dog” Raby has a foot injury, but expect him to be the Friday starter when he returns.
Who will stand tall on the mound on Saturday or Sunday? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
My best guess is Jackson Gillis and Chandler Day. I’ll let you know when I know.
See you at 4pm (aired on SECN+). I know I damned sure need a distraction.
In a year of bleak news, opening day is still something to be thankful for.