Monday, April 23, 2012

Cranks


The dictionary defines a crank as someone with odd or strange ideas. But beyond that, a crank needs to constantly air those ideas, obsess over them. Phil is doing an article on cranks--his are political cranks, of course, and no one we have heard of.

Who are some famous cranks? Does everyone have it in them to be a crank should the right cause rear its head. What do you come closest to being a crank about? Does a crank cease being a crank if you agree with them? Does a crank whose issue is solved find a new issue or does he fade away?

Is Al Gore a crank because he's obsessively worried about the environment?
Is Ron Paul a crank because he is obsessively interested in downsizing government?

Looks like Margaret Millar beat Agatha Christie. How about Friday, June 1st? Perhaps next we'll go Simenon in mid-July. He came in second last time.
And Christie, late August?

19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I might vote for Ted Nugent as crank of the moment!

Cullen Gallagher said...

Millar, Simenon and Christie sounds like a great lineup!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I think socialists are the biggest cranks ever — they crank it up even when there's nothing to crank about. Now that I have her husband's books, I'll have to go looking for Millar's work someplace. Christie is a safe bet.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We have no socialists in the US any more. Yes, I think Millar is more obscure than even Highsmith. And I bet none of her work is online. I only have one or two myself because I read them from the library.

George said...

Millar, Simenon, and Christie: a formidable trio! The biggest crank around is Rush Limbaugh.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Without a doubt!

Richard R. said...

My last comment seems to have gone *poof*. So here is the gist: I like the line up and the monthly schedule. I've chosen HOW LIKE AN ANGEL for my Millar read... It's a Joe Quinn, and I haven't read any of those.

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of my favorites. I will try WIVES AND LOVERS.

Al Tucher said...

There are indeed no socialists left, and nobody misses them more than rightwing cranks.

Chris Rhatigan said...

No question Ron Paul is a crank. One of my favorite cranks is Dennis Kucinich (sp?).

My wife's father is also a crank. Big UFO/conspiracy theorist kind of guy. Don't get let him get you cornered!

Jerry House said...

There are too many cranks in politics to list, although I am bemused by Rep. West (R-FLA) and his pronouncements on the number of Communists in Congress.

Deb said...

To me, it's not so much the ideas that define a crank, it's the obsessiveness with which they hold to those ideas, their unwilingness to view the world through anything but the prism of those ideas, and their refusal to be budged from believing them even in the light of overwhelming evidence that the ideas are false. The "birthers" spring to mind.

Oh well, it was either Samuel Johnson or Jonathan Swift who wisely observed, "No man will ever be reasoned out of something he was not reasoned into in the first place."

Deb said...

On a brighter note, I think I've only read one Millar and that was a long time ago. If I can find one of her books at the library, I'll do a Millar FFB. However, I will definitely be doing the Simenon and Christie FFBs--and I put first dibs on Christie's ENDLESS NIGHT, her most atypical and most close to noir-ish book.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Great, Deb. I got mine through an inter-library loan. I didn't even know they had a consortium until today.

Ron Scheer said...

Patti, I actually do know a person who's a professed Socialist (capital S), but I'm not naming names. It's amazing that Eugene V. Debbs once had a substantial following among voters. They were desperate times, and who knows when such times may return.

The word "crank" has morphed in an interesting way. It showed up in an early western from 100 years ago to signify a person with minority opinions (like women's suffrage). They didn't need to be obsessive about it, just outspoken enough to be unpopular.

BV Lawson said...

Millar sounds great for the next "special FFB day," Patti! And Simenon after that, too.

Todd Mason said...

"We have no socialists in the US any more."

Yes, we do. Just one reason I'm so irritable, as I am one, and therefore far less patient with self-righteous centrists than I might be, particularly when they deviate right and try to call it Pragmatic and Sensible, as with the last several Democratic presidents. I'm more libertarian socialist/Green than Eugene V. Debs was, but like such fellow travelers of mine as Emma Goldman, I certainly respect him and his work...and these are desperate times, Ron. They always are. The last largely impactful national SP campaign was their fusion with Robert LaFollette Republicans to form the 1924 Progressive Party coalition, and that was able to do some good, even if LaFollette came in a strong third. But there has been a continuing socialist thread, even if the SP isn't much to speak of these years. (I was actually purged from the Socialist Party.) There was an attempt to draft MLK, Jr, for a People's Party ticket in 1968, but that was a bad year for such things...Benjamin Spock, the bruited veep candidate, eventually ran as the prexy offer in '72. The Citizens Party and the Green Party efforts have certainly been largely socialist, though by no means exclusively. Would that we had again a candidate and platform as good as Sonia Johnson's in 1984.

Certainly, I'm looking forward to a Millar week, seeing a Christie or Simenon week as less "necessary" given their more sustained readership. But, then, I'd be all for a Highsmith week, and she's probably doing better thus than anyone mentioned so far aside from Christie.

Cap'n Bob said...

No socialists? Then who's taxing me in order to buy some strangers food, housing, etc.?

Todd Mason said...

It takes a socialist to do that?

You know everyone in the government, including the military, or ever did?