Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Generous Among Us: What Do They Want?

Toughy sings of birds and a man. Truly, I found myself wondering, what does Toughy see in the birds that implies generosity? Or does Toughy observe the birds, take note of their particularly ungenerous nature, and think of other more generous creatures? Who among us has not observed the subject, only to find our thoughts rushing to what is not there?

Ultimately the question is: what does Toughy perceive as generous? I believe we need to construct both an operational definition of generosity and then a Toughy definition of generosity in order to better unpack these lines. For if Toughy envies sincerely or ironically - for what Toughy envies sincerely or ironically - that, to me, is the crux of the matter.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed -- who is Toughy addressing in his pronouncement of envy? (Moreover, what does it mean, to announce your envy to the object thereof?) If his subjects are in fact the birds, then Mr. Lindley's symbolic interpretation may lead us to conclude that Toughy envies their "arrested glory" -- in stark contrast to his own "arrested adolescence."

    But what if we instead conceive an interpretation independent of the Lindleyian symbology? To answer your magenta question (what does Toughy perceive as generous?), perhaps we need to consider what does Toughy consider scarce [which, perhaps, the birds possess in easy, open-hearted abundance]?