05 September 2021

A Parsons Table

Rather a nasty clog of hair in the drain there…

  • From the Department of Unintended Irony, ponder whether there's something more than faintly wrong with a Black spokeswoman for a particularly dubious diamond merchant. And remember that any diamond merchant is up against some pretty stiff competition for being "particularly dubious"… and that, in turn, somewhat tarnishes the prestige of Rhodes Scholars. <SARCASM> Oops, that's a (nonparallel) metaphor regarding precious metals, not gemstones. Never mind. </SARCASM>
  • Really fun goings on in Texas. Now where have I heard about something like this before?…

    “Up with your hands!” yelled a savage voice.

    A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while his small sister, about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood. Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, greyshirts, and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy’s demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.

    “You’re a traitor!” yelled the boy. “You’re a thought-criminal! You’re a Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporize you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!”

    Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting “Traitor!” and “Thought-criminal!” the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy’s eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.

    Mrs. Parsons’ eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children, and back again. In the better light of the living-room he noticed with interest that there actually was dust in the creases of her face.

    “They do get so noisy,” she said. “They’re disappointed because they couldn’t go to see the hanging, that’s what it is. I’m too busy to take them. and Tom won’t be back from work in time.”

    “Why can’t we go and see the hanging?” roared the boy in his huge voice.

    “Want to see the hanging! Want to see the hanging!” chanted the little girl, still capering round.

    George Orwell, 1984: A Novel (1949). Most Americans — especially those who haven't critically read the book, or at all — don't know what happened before, or what happens next, let alone why. Neither do they hear the echoes of Orwell's other writings before, in, and after that passage.

  • Speaking of which: I'm not in the target patient grouping by any means, but here's a big "thank you" to essential health care providers. Given the demographics presented by my appearance, it's about all I can do now; walking in the front door of such a health clinic, at least Down There, would unduly alarm the staff — even just to give them flowers or say "thank you." And that, all by itself… irritates me.
  • Conversely, I have five fingers on my left hand. I need only one of them for Mr Hyde and his fellow monsters exercising unreasoned power and domination without a moral sense. I'd ask why these yobbos are disproportionately in favor of capital punishment (notwithstanding the error rate or the demographics… although come to think of it, that last bit explains things rather well, especially given the ironic undertones of the former name of that law school). It would be rather futile; I wouldn't get much of, if any, coherent answer, as that would require a certain level of introspection, of self-awareness, of admission to ancestral failures, that is almost entirely absent from American politics today.
  • Unfortunately, that same level of introspection, of self-awareness, of admission to ancestral failures, is also absent from places that one would expect to find it more often than in partisan politics — like writers' organizations. Sometimes it can be just a loudmouthed ignoramus who (in contemporary terms) deplatforms those holding different views. The irony that those rejected now by the commercially-successful "leaders" in arts organizations are all too often pathbreakers for the future (however "difficult, arrogant, sometimes insufferable" as people they may be, especially as inconsistent with the shabby-genteel vision of proper artistic Society embraced by those who seek and gain power in arts organizations) seems to have escaped nearly everyone.