Thursday, February 18, 2016

#49 / Bizarro Meets Tussman

I pretty much love everything that Dan Piraro (Bizarro) does. The comic above, which appeared in the San Jose Mercury on February 5th, illuminates an important political point, one documented in a much more scholarly fashion by Joseph Tussman, in his 1960 book, Obligation and The Body Politic:

There are, says Tussman, two radically distinct points of view or perspectives from which political life or the political process can be studied. First, there is the perspective of the external observer concerned with the description of political behavior. This is continuous with the interest in prediction.... 
But second, there is the point of view, not of the observer, but of the person (or persons) ... confronting his task. And this task is not predicting but deciding; the question is not what will I do but what should I do....This essentially "normative" or "practical" perspective [is] the perspective of action (Tussman, page 12).

We can, in other words, in politics and in life, be either "Spectators" or "Participants." We can be either "Observers," or "Actors."

Here is where we shouldn't let the Bizarro cartoon mislead us, however. If you want to be an actor, a "participant," you have to wake up and get involved! Hopefully, you might do that before that stick of dynamite goes off; before the whole world blows up!

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