American Consequences - January 2018


Get Me a Quote onThat

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!

Phil Donahue: “What about the poor?” Ayn Rand: “Don’t be one of them.” Attributed to an interviewwith Rand on Donahue, circa 1979 (Not recorded in the transcript and probably apocryphal – but, as we journalists say, “too good to check.”) “We watched these blue-collar workers being interviewed on TV. For the length of the segment, it was impossible not to feel the sadness and anxiety they must have felt for themselves and their families. But soon we moved on to weather and sports...” Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End

It is the business of the wealthy man To give employment to the artisan. Hilaire Belloc, “Lord Finchley”

“Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly color. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.” A child, speaking of the social castes in Aldous Huxley’s Brave NewWorld Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand... Andwhat rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Silicon Valley to be born? William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming,” with one small amendation

Why should I let the toad work Squat on my life? Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork And drive the brute off?

Six days of the week it soils

With its sickening poison –

Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion. Philip Larkin, “Toads” (1954)

No, give me my in-tray My loaf-haired secretary, My shall-I-keep-the-call-in-Sir: What else can I answer,

When the lights come on at four At the end of another year? Give me your arm, old toad; Help me down Cemetery Road. Philip Larkin, “Toads Revisited” (1962)

84 January 2018

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