A Little Dabble Do Ya
What does "dabble" mean, anyway? To splash a bit, or spatter... to lightly examine. I once dabbled with the idea of becoming a lawyer. Lasted a day or so. A decade ago, Christine O'Donnell, the tea-partier Republican nominee for Senate in Delaware, claimed to have dabbled in witchcraft. What do you suppose that means?
One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic alter.
You made love on an altar with blood on it? Oh, sorry... I forgot. You don't do that kind of thing. Maybe there was a little kissing, though?
Maybe that blood had been dabbled on the altar, or the 'stuff like that' (whatever that means) was. Maybe your date was dabbling with you... or fooling you.
I don't know. And it doesn't seem that you do, either, O'Donnell.
Just because I dabbled with the idea of law school doesn't mean I know anything about the law. Dabbling, in fact, has nothing to do with knowledge. Or has as little to do with it as a sprinkling of water with slaking thirst.
In his "Essay on Criticism," Alexander Pope claims:
A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Which is exactly what O'Donnell, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and all of the rest of our modern Know-Nothings ignore. Their dabblings have intoxicated their minds, and the minds of their 'bagger followers, into thinking that they really do know something. Their belief in the Constitution as a "Christian" document, for example. Or the claim put forward on the Beck TV show that Jefferson signed documents 'in the year of our Lord, Jesus Christ' when, in fact, he was simply signing internationally agreed upon maritime documents for national identification of shipping. Or the truncated quote seeming to describe the Congress from The Federalist Papers #62 that the 'baggers love:
an assembly of men called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature, continued in appointment for a short time, and led by no permanent motive to devote the intervals of public occupation to a study of the laws, the affairs, and the comprehensive interests of their country
The whole sentence, as those who drink a little deeper than the dabbler know, goes like this:
It is not possible that an assembly of men called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature, continued in appointment for a short time, and led by no permanent motive to devote the intervals of public occupation to a study of the laws, the affairs, and the comprehensive interests of their country, should, if left wholly to themselves, escape a variety of important errors in the exercise of their legislative trust.
Providing, in its whole, exactly the opposite of the meaning trumpeted by the dabbling 'baggers. Dabble-Baggers?
I'm beginning to think that the only defense against these dabble-baggers is to constantly point on their foolishness, the light-weight of their thinking.
I know: people have been doing that in regards to O'Donnell, Beck, and Palin for some time, and to no effect. That will change, though, as the full volume of their idiocy and (yes) their deceit becomes clear through constant vigilance and out-spokenness on the parts of their critics.
We won't dabble with them, but will point out where they've simply sprinkled while claiming to have unleashed a flood.