The Dumbbell's Dictionary
Immanuel Kant, n. Perhaps the Western World’s most destructive philosopher. His
introduction of his noumena, as opposed to phenomena, led to the belief that we cannot
trust the evidence of our senses, for you see, every sense perception received by the brain
has passed through a filter. Of course it has. We don’t see an object in front of us, but
only the light reflected from that object. So what? Our minds allow us to adjust.
For correctives, see Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick. In the domain of moral philosophy as
well as metaphysics, I have nothing but scorn for Kant. His categorical imperative is bad
enough, requiring us to behave according to a rigid set of rules that cannot be revised, no
matter what the circumstances. What is even more reprehensible, however, is his dictum
that any action we undertake which, side benefit or not, benefits us to the slightest degree,
is morally unacceptable. If followed with any degree of faithfulness, we would become
nothing other than sacrificial animals.
Karma, n. That which runs over one’s dogma.
Katyn Forrest Massacre, n. Very unfortunate application of Communist theory in action,
thus: The massacre of 15,000 Polish Officers in the spring of 1940, who had already
surrendered to the advancing Soviet army. I can’t help wondering where Bill Ayers, a
communist with a small „c,’ was when somebody needed him.
John Keats, n. Most famous of England’s three Lake Poets of the early nineteenth
century, the other two being Shelley and Wordsworth. Keats died much too young at age
24. Probably his most famous poem is „Ode on a Grecian Urn.’ In addition to
remembering the poem, we should remember the elderly woman who crafted the urn so
long ago in classical Athens, for without that urn there would have been no poem to
Kelp, Kelp, n. What you should yell while running down the beach after having been
attacked by a giant seaweed.
John F. Kennedy, n. Mediocure president and serial adulterer. His main claim to fame
would seem to redound from his sexual conquests. Consider Fiddle and Faddle in the
White House swimming pool while Jackie was away. (Almost got caught once.) A
question of character (per the title of a book on the era, see Richard Reeves) it would
seem. As he told Greg Powers, he couldn’t go a day without a woman, otherwise,
migraines. He also told Powers that he would not be satisfied until he had had the woman
all three ways.
It was not enough for him to have Angie Dickinson as a partner during the night of his
inaugural balls. Do Sam Genevose and Judith Wexner come to mind? Best of all,
perhaps, is his traipsing into Marilyn Monroe’s „Garden of Earthly Delights.’ I perhaps
would not be remiss, should I ask at this point, just how he managed to get PT-109 in
position to be cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. But then, that wouldn’t be good form,
And of course, 1961 was less than a good year for JFK: Being pummeled by Khrushchev
at the Vienna Summit, and then the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, when he refused
immediately available air support to the rebels. And then he was surprised by the Cuban