Book Lernin’

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Yep… that’s what the school marm was s’posed to give ya. Some lernin’ outta books.

I know somebody who actually attended one of those old-time, one room school houses. It was high up in the hills and far back in the woods in a remote part of the state that still hadn’t caught up with the 20th century… even though more than half of it had already whizzed by.

That wasn’t long after the day when teachers had to be spinsters and they got by with only a little more than a high school education. Nevertheless, leaning was always valued and books were respected. A little history lesson, anyone?

Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd President, even made himself a little rhyme of it.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…
it expects what never was and never will be.”

And that famous Rough Rider who charged up hills at war on horseback, Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th President, went one step farther into territory which is, I think sadly, now a little less popular but just as urgently needed. He said, “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

So, should we be engaged in moral education at home, in schools or in the media? That’s a deep pit of debate we can lose ourselves in, so I won’t debate it. But the Jamestown Gazette this week offers you an interesting set of experiments you can try for yourself that might help you look into the issues in a kind of novel way.

The experiments are as old and as new as humankind itself. They are called Literature, Drama and Art.

Consider the great novels. Don’t they say, in one way of looking at it, “If these people believe XYZ, here’s how life might work out for them.” Think about Moby Dick, Tom Sawyer, Lord of the Flies or the Bible… different philosophies, different results… and all great works of art in their own ways, but they can also be read as experiments in morality.

Then there are those star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Families, traditions, feuds and prejudices all do their own kind of dirty work… and those nice kids wind up dead.

But speaking of high drama, there’s also Mike & Molly, Middle and Last Man Standing. Laugh and have fun with the one-liners as usual, but just to give your poor, tired, overworked brain a little adventure one day, watch them as simple experiments in moral values. See what works and what doesn’t.

This week, if you think you might be entertained by the notion of eaves dropping on a few rough ‘n tumble experiments in life in the raw, go down to the Spire Theater, hang on to your seat and enjoy. Whether you are terrified or titillated, whether it is hilarious or horrific, you’ll definitely be entertained by something new.

And in honor of literature, drama and art, you’ll also be contributing to our own bastion of lernin’, Jamestown’s Prendergast Library. It’s a good time in support of a good thing.

So, enjoy the read and get a little of that good old lernin’ along the way. Lernin’? Andy Jackson, Pres. # 7, said, “It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word.”

Walt Pickut
Editor
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.