“There are men whom nothing but a physical punishment will bring to reason, and with these we shall have to deal at some time in our lives. A lady is insulted or annoyed by an unwieldy bargee, or an importunate and dishonest cabman. One well-dealt blow settles the whole matter….A man therefore, whether he aspires to be a gentleman or not, should learn to box….There are but few rules for it, and those are suggested by common sense. Strike out, strike straight, strike suddenly; keep one arm to guard, and punish with the other. Two gentlemen never fight; the art of boxing is brought into use in punishing a stronger and more imprudent man of a class beneath your own.” — 1859 British author of The Habits of a Good Society, cited on p. 82 of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.
Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability. View all posts by Jonathan Erdman