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TED NELSON ON THE FRONT LINES (hamburg.highlights.e1)
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- Subject: TED NELSON ON THE FRONT LINES (hamburg.highlights.e1)
- From: ted@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 10 Nov 95 15:13:08 JST
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Two Highlights of
TED NELSON'S INVITED ADDRESS IN HAMBURG, GERMANY, 1 Nov 1995
(at the Interface 3 Conference).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Over thirty years ago, John Kennedy said: "ICH BIN EIN BERLINER!"
By which he meant: Like you, I am on the front lines of the Cold War.
Everybody liked that speech very much, so probably no one told him
that what he actually meant to say was "Ich bin Berliner!"
The term "EIN Berliner" actually refers to a kind of pastry,
what we call in the United States a jelly doughnut.
So what Kennedy actually said was, "I am a jelly doughnut."
Imagine if he had made that speech in Hamburg.
Well, now it's 1995, and I stand before you and say: "ICH BIN EIN HAMBURGER!"
By which I mean: Like you, I am a member of the Fast Food Generation. ...
- - - - -
People ask me, "When are you going to face Reality?"
Well, "reality" is a political word, like "adolescence" and "practical."
Its function is to color and persuade; "reality" is usually mentioned
in contrast with another point of view, a point of view which is being
questioned or criticized, a point of view deemed to be Less Real.
On this issue I am reminded of another Nelson, the great Admiral Nelson
at the battle of Trafalgar, almost two hundred years ago.
The legend goes that when he said, "Full speed ahead!", his first mate
said, "But what about those ships in front of us?"
The first mate was very concerned about what he believed to be Reality.
Lord Nelson held his telescope to his eye and said, "I see no ships."
But he was pointedly holding the telescope to his blind eye.
He won the battle, as we know, because the reality HE saw lay beyond that
which was so apparent to others.
And so when people ask me, "When are you going to face reality?", I say,
"I am. You just don't see it yet."