Daily Dose of Immortality

“Why can’t I be good?” Lou Reed sings this question in Wim Wenders’s film Far Away, So Close! “Why can’t I act like a man? Why can’t I be good?” Was John good? Am I good? What does good mean? The American Heritage Dictionary says that the root ghedh- means “To unite, join, fit. 1. GOOD, from Germanic *godaz, ‘fitting, suitable.’” You are good then, in the root sense, if you unite, join, or fit, if you are fitting and suitable. But who decides what and who is suitable? And what if that leaves you out?

[from Immortal for Quite Some Time; watercolor by John Abbott]

watercolor of barbed wire

About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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3 Responses to Daily Dose of Immortality

  1. II. says:

    oh this image is very wonderful and very sainte-victoire….
    all those questions about goodness, fairly heartbreaking in its exclusionary sense….
    maybe that’s why repetition is so soothing, one can always start again….

    Like

    • Scott Abbott says:

      i found it behind a pastel John had done. the barbed wire fence is common in the American West, as are demands like “don’t fence me in” — and Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence and left to die because he is not “good” and the brokeback cowboy is destined for his family graveyard surrounded by sheepfence
      wir ordnens, es zerfaellt, wir ordnens wieder . . .

      Like

    • Scott Abbott says:

      nachdenken ist auch beten, denkst du . . . wonderful, as is the Schneiderin scene

      Like

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