The Strong are Saying Nothing

Robert Frost is one of our greatest American minds — and the delivery method for sharing his genius was the poem.  On November 17, 2005, I wrote — Humility in Adoration — for Urban Semiotic, where I described the moment Mark Van Doren introduced Robert Frost to adoring fans at Columbia University in the City of New York:

The lesson of Coriolanus was echoed decades later by the genius American poet Robert Frost in 1950 when he was accepting an award at Columbia University. Frost whispered to his good friend — and fellow genius — Columbia Faculty member Mark Van Doren, that he didn’t think he deserved the award he was getting, but he felt it would be rude to go against the will of the people who wanted to honor and admire him.

Van Doren smiled, agreed, and introduced the great poet to a Columbia crowd who provided a thunderous standing ovation for Robert Frost. Mark Van Doren used that private discussion with Robert Frost to explain Coriolanus’ downfall in human terms his Shakespeare literary students could understand. The learning we must curry from Coriolanus and Robert Frost and Mark Van Doren is how we must all willingly accept praise and compliments from others without questioning intent or assuming there is a hidden purpose behind the kindness.

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Mark Van Doren on the Death of a Good Man

Mark Van Doren was a good man who fathered a disgraced son.  In the lesson of the Van Dorens, we come to understand that goodness in a man is unequal and earned and not given and it is certainly not passed along by birthright.  When our friend, Alan Champion, died on Friday, those who knew him knew he was a good man, and the article I wrote about him in January of this year — “Alan Champion is Not Dead!” — proves beyond assumption and wondering that Alan was known, even tangentially, to be a good man; and we have empirical proof of such as seen below in the readership chart for the Memeingful blog in which my updated article about Alan appeared.  Alan died at 10:00am on the 22nd.  The 23rd is a Saturday.

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