Henrik Ibsen was born on this day in 1828. If it weren’t for him being generally a jerk, I would have given the day to him. He was a hell of a playwright though. I really appreciate Russian painter Illarion Pryanishnikov, who was born in 1840. Most people won’t care, but I have an unnatural love of the Nixon White House: John Ehrlichman was born in 1925. And Fred Rogers was born in 1928. What a group of people!
But I have to give this day to B. F. Skinner. It isn’t that I don’t think that he wasn’t largely a creepy guy. But he is the only major psychological thinker of the 20th century whose ideas were basically right. And more important: his ideas are actually helpful in a therapeutic setting. I know: most of it is like the Henny Youngman joke, “I went to the doctor and said, ‘Doc, it hurts when I do this!’ So he said, ‘Then don’t do that!'” But it is a hell of a lot better than the Freudian ideas of childhood sexuality or the Jungian ideas of cross generational haunting. (Note: I like Jung, I just don’t find him all that useful.)
So a big “Happy birthday!” to the strange Dr. Skinner.
I will use any opportunity to listen to this song:
No comments about the teeth!