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It’s just… not NORMAL!!!

November 19, 2008

In my first reading this week of H.G. Wells’ novel, Food Of The Gods, I was impressed by one of his characters’ plea for the moral importance of Normalcy:

“But no doubt if this growth goes on, we shall find grave moral and intellectual deficiencies.  One might almost prophesy that from Max Nordau’s law. A most gifted and celebrated philosopher, Lady Wondershoot.  He discovered that the abnormal is—abnormal, a most valuable discovery, and well worth bearing in mind.  I find it of the utmost help in practice. When I come upon anything abnormal, I say at once, ‘This is abnormal.’”  His eyes became profound, his voice dropped, his manner verged upon the intimately confidential.  He raised one hand stiffly.  “And I treat it in that spirit,” he said.
H.G. Wells, 1904, The Food Of The Gods, pp. 135-136

Wells is amazing at displaying a character’s mind in just a small paragraph.

Max Nordau was a reactionary philosopher, who was highly suspicious of modern arts, urban culture, and too much excitement. 

Shown here is “The Normal Family”, a sculpture in front of city hall in my town.  (Yes, that is the actual title of the sculpture.)  If you were wondering what a ‘normal family’ is, here is your answer. 

But what is “Normal?”  Is it necessarily a good thing?  A bad thing?  Must that which is not ‘normal’ be viewed with suspicion?  How important is it to fit in?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. gruntled atheist
    November 19, 2008 at 13:14 | #1

    That may be The Normal Family” but the lady’s right leg is somewhat abnormal.

  2. Still Me
    November 19, 2008 at 21:25 | #2

    Headline from the Upcoming Weddings column in a central Illinois newspaper :

    Normal Man To Wed Oblong Woman

    Looks like they tied the knot.

  3. November 20, 2008 at 08:19 | #3

    I had to laugh. I used to tell people that in order to tell where everyone stood on the “normalcy” scale, there had to be one person who was “normal” to set the center point. I would then say that I actually was that guy, and that they should thenceforth call me “Norman Normal.” Those close to me I said, could just go with “Norm.”

    What I don’t know is why they laughed so much.

  4. November 20, 2008 at 08:21 | #4

    That is one ugly statue, by the way.

  5. November 20, 2008 at 18:05 | #5

    Normal is a term best left to statisticians.

  6. John Eabod
    August 7, 2009 at 16:40 | #6

    I went to High School in that town where the statue is. (Go Pioneers!)

    The leg looks funny because someone broke it off with a bat or something shortly after the statue was first erected.  It has been repaired.  Seems some people are offended by it.

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