Neighbour introducing new movee Mr. Handslip into neighbourhood:
“On your other side is Mrs. Egremont, a widow. A very nice lady, Philippa is marvellous, the children are OK, most of them.” with a quickening.
“How many got ?” startled.
“Four. Paul’s the oldest, he’s going in the Army when older. Not the sort of life I’d choose, but it’s a good thing we’re not all alike, isn’t it ? two girls, Ysobelle and Nancy, and… the youngest, James.” A stilted note modulated his enthusiasm, unnoted by the questioner.
“Any of them noisy ?”
“They won’t be any trouble at all.” Eagerly, “The girls are very pretty, and although they could be boisterous and cause difficulties, they don’t. The oldest lad is square strong affable, very decent young man.”
“And the younger ?”
“As I said Paul’s going into the Army, which I think such a waste.” Mr. Pigg was by way of being a pacifist, which the two boys had always respected with the great tolerance of which they were both very proud. “He really could do anything, very brilliant mind indeed.” respectfully, “And unassuming with it. You always feel he’s working out formulæ with a part of his mind while talking easily to one…”
“And the other ?” Handslip enquired bluntly. Mr. Pigg nearly cringed.
“Um, Jamie. Well, he’s different.”
“You mean, er, mentally disturbed ?” with a faint shyness intruding into the brusqueness of the bald enquiry.
“Good God no ! And you’d better not ever hint of such a thing. I doubt if he’d care a rush,” bitterly, “but any of the others, let alone his dear mama, would be very offended if anyone considered such a thing. No, he’s normal enough, and bright enough, even if he doesn’t shine at school from all I hear.”
He sighed, Philippa had confided at length enough times to weary him with the subject; but having done badly himself when young he was sufficently sceptical to wonder if schooling was as important as it was cracked up to be. Conversely he respected brilliance, and was anxious to get back to Paul’s mental prowess. In fact he had long decided never to initiate comment upon, or prolong discussion upon, James Egremont.
“Well, what’s wrong with him ?” bluntly
Pigg looked around.
“Jamie,” picking his words, “is not someone to annoy; or complain about; or piss off. Do not criticise any of the family where he can hear you. He has a strong family feeling. I said the others are no trouble: one reason is that they… continue, upon the lines he lays down. If any person confronts his feelings, or does something he construes as unpleasant, things sometimes happen.” Delicately.
“You mean he’s one of these violent youths ? Some kind of yob ?” wondering what sort of brute was going to appear.
Pigg was shocked and amused. “He’s only 11 or 12 ! I forget which; and weak with it. He’s as pretty as the girls in fact. I guess he’s bullied at school: but that’s there: in his patch, it’s different. As say, an old-fashioned squire visiting London might be vulnerable in the great world, but master of his own domain; which was one reason they usually preferred to cultivate their own gardens. With experience he may be able to grow and handle parts of the great world. I hope not. Very courteous. They all are: but him the most. He’s the hidden patriarch of a patriarchal clan. They do what he directs with only half knowing the fact.”
“You know we have an excellent Guy Fawkes Night and they all used to come. At least when it was the parents and the two older kids. Then the year before Mr. Egremont died that kid, he was very small, took against it — wasn’t scared by the bangs; some bloody nonsense about not liking the Guy being burnt: he knew it was just a, a lay-figure, not real: but he still hated the idea. Now you or I would have left him at home with a baby-sitter, but they’ve never come since.
I can’t imagine how anyone would listen to a bloody toddler, Philippa, well sometimes I reckoned she was weak-minded or something: I mean, yes well now, if he was my child, I’d probably do precisely what he said; life would be simpler that way, and he’s the sort of kid who would be right most of the time: but back then… he was so small. We thought well, she’s just lost a husband, that’s why not: but the next year they wouldn’t come. Asked her why not: ‘Jamie says it’s wrong to pretend to burn people, and you know, I think he’s right.’ Look, he… he wasn’t dominant back then, even in that weird family; he is now: back then he’d just argued at them. I’d have told him to take a running jump; some fucking small kid talking back at me. Pity that because Christian and Philippa were always generous about joining in village stuff.”
“So does one have to show him one’s friendly ?” uneasily.
“What’s to prove ? Just be nice to him and don’t say anything to make his mother unhappy.”
“About him ?”
“No.” He laughed at the mistake. “Not about him: about anything. What I meant was try never to do aught that doesn’t conduce to Philippa’s happiness in life. Mrs. Hutchinson, who is separated from her own husband, had a nervous breakdown and moved away a year ago. She’d been sniping at Philippa in the Mother’s Union. Apparently someone posted her phone number as emergency counsellor for marital breakdowns; a 24 Hour Plumbing consultant; and Police Liaison Officer for the local Police Authority, specialising in all reports from concerned victims for Follow-Up Action. I remember that,” he continued reflectively, “since it never stopped after she denied the post in the local rag, and the police, confused themselves since half the time they’ve no idea what further idiocy the Home Office has shoved at them, not only didn’t deny anything, they even referred a few people to her. That was actually the least annoying thing that happened to her. Both boys have an unpleasant sense of humour. Unlike Paul he acts on it.”
But the truth is that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and Justice are virtues and excellences of all times and of all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. Physiological learning is of such rare emergence that one man may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostaticks or astronomy, but his moral and prudential character immediately appears.
Milton when he undertook this answer was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audience.
His political notions were those of an acrimonious and surly republican, for which it is not known that he gave any better reason than that "a popular government was the most frugal; for the trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth." It is surely very shallow policy, that supposes money to be the chief good; and even this without considering that the support and expence of a Court is for the most part only a particular kind of traffick, by which money is circulated without any national impoverishment.
It has been observed that they who most loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally grant it. What we know of Milton's character in domestick relations is, that he was severe and arbitrary. His family consisted of women; and there appears in his books something like a Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate and inferior beings. That his own daughters might not break the ranks, he suffered them to be depressed by a mean and penurious education. He thought woman made only for obedience, and man only for rebellion.
The wisdom of the nation is very reasonably supposed to reside in the parliament. What can be concluded of the lower classes of the people, when in one of the parliaments, summoned by Cromwell, it was seriously proposed, that all the records in the Tower should be burnt, that all memory of things past should be effaced, and that the whole system of life should commence anew ?
Samuel Johnson : The Lives of the Poets --- Milton
I am always stupified by an aspect of militant atheism never remarked upon: these curious little chaps so outraged and so angry at a non-existent God they devote time to refuting Him and belief in Him --- for time is the one thing they cannot afford.
Let us suppose that God does not Exist. OK then, if not thrown by eventual nothingness --- which on the contrary they gleefully embrace --- there's very little to be said; and certainly nothing of eternal value: however one may as well live one's life out as pleasantly as possible according to one's own choices. It is tough to spend half of that time labouring at a job one detests, yet this too is not a problem for them, since they enjoy whatever weird stuff they do --- such as being a professor or economist; but time runs out no matter how one uses it. If mentally unstable they may substitute Humanity as their ersatz-religion of choice, chosen solely because they happen to be human, and insist on working for and lecturing to humanity, ( and if so inclined, working for the eradication of social elements opposed to their own social philosophy of choice for the betterment of all mankind [ except those elements eradicated ] ) despite the fact that all of humanity is destined for nothingness just as much as they when time runs out. And that nothing will be left of them, their acts and thoughts, nor those of any other, when time runs out.
So let us suppose one of these: he is say, 40, that gives him roughly 40 more years of existence until he is extinguished to the point that he will never know he was extinguished or was ever alive. Not to mention that the memory of him will be as vanished as most in 10,000 years. Allowing two-thirds of time for eating, sleeping, working, worrying about money or worrying about social stability etc., that leaves 13 years of possible enjoyment. Instead he uses up this time on earth self-righteously persuading others that they will go into nothingness and unimportance with no salvation, and arguing about a deity in whom he does not believe. All the time the clock clicks to his termination and his remaining time runs out, as in a death cell. This has to be a definition of insanity: to spend the sole amount of time you will ever have, not even in anger at not going on to an afterlife, but railing against a God one thinks non-existent, hating the idea that others believe they go on, and mocking those whose faith is sure.
Karl Marx was one such, and despite his seminal work as a social philosopher and economist, all for an aim he believed he could never be conscious to see and which would end in nothingness itself, was largely inspired by early nineteenth century romantic rebellion against the God he didn't believe Existed, and Whom rationally he should not have cared about in the least, as a magnificent essay by Murray N. Rothbard I have referenced elsewhere makes clear.
Here are lyrics to Mother Nothingness ( The Triumph Of Ubbo Sathla ) from The Vision Bleak, and some of Marx's poetry from that essay: try and guess first...
Worlds I would destroy forever,
Since I can create no world;
Since my call they notice never
I shall build my throne high overhead,
Cold, tremendous shall its summit be.
For its bulwark –-- superstitious dread.
For its marshal –-- blackest agony.
I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind.
Ha ! Eternity ! She is an eternal grief.
Ourselves being clockwork, blindly mechanical,
Made to be foul-calendars of Time and Space,
Having no purpose save to happen, to be ruined,
So that there shall be something to ruin
If there is a Something which devours,
I'll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins --–
The world which bulks between me and the Abyss
I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses.
I'll throw my arms around its harsh reality:
Embracing me, the world will dumbly pass away,
And then sink down to utter nothingness,
Perished, with no existence – that would be really living !
In the steaming morass
Of a newborn earth
Lies the formless mass
Which to all gave birth
In a sea of sludge
Of immense extend
Lies the thoughtless mass
Which is source and end
We all must follow
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return
Her voiceless howl
Resounds through time
From primal mud
And fenses foul
A limbless thing
Mindless and coarse
This wretches guise
Is end and source
We all must follow
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return
Fall through the aeons
Onward to the earth in it's prime
Fall through the aeons
Becoming the spawn
Of the great old slime
…the leaden world holds us fast
And we are chained, shattered, empty, frightened,
Eternally chained to this marble block of Being,
… and we – We are the apes of a cold God.
Once when young I saw an old album cover which rather stuck in my memory, --- despite then and now being mostly uninterested in prog rock, as I here discover it was --- it's not everyday one sees a budgie waving a gun, let alone wearing a bandolier ( down-under, budgerigars roam in huge flocks, although I doubt they cover the sun with their wings nor the sound drowns out the wind and thunder: over here they are stuck singly or in pairs in small cages and called Petie ). Although it stayed, I never expected to find out where it was from. However, an hour back, from mere chance I typed the first word I thought of into Demonoid search under Music, not expecting any results at all --- it was 'napoleon' --- and it came up with 'Budgie's Bandolier'. With the instinct that only pure genius can achieve in mental comparison and patterning, like a flash I realised that it might quite possibly be connected to that ancient image. Which it was.
More recently, here I made a post a few years back reffing Robert Browning with a postcard --- complete with camel in those innocent days --- of pre-Great War Venice Beach. The almost imperceptible joke being that Venice Beach is rather different now and whilst still worldly enough to satisfy Browning's magnificent judgemental gloom, has not the qualities to satisfy the exacting standards of the Haute Ton. Still, I daresay one can find cameltoes there if one looks sufficiently hard...
Although none of the comments can quite match mj88's perfect critique of California in a City Data Forums' thread
'I've never been to CA but they both sound like great and lovely areas (NOCAL or SOCAL). I always seem to hear positive things about CA such as the weather, friendly people, and beaches. The one and only drawback I have heard is that it occasionally gets congested on that one freeway in LA - can't remember its name at the moment.'
which carries subtlety to a new level, Yelp has a list of comments on Venice Beach which engagingly shows why it has an especial place in the hearts of it's countrymen:
The best way to describe Venice Beach is as a psychiatric hospital on a beach. Depending on how you feel about that, you can easily be entertained...or lose faith in humanity. Classic examples include guy collecting funds to rebuild Death Star and recruiting to kill off Jedi, guy in alien mask reading book in corner, and kids telling me how marijuana is the cure all drug (i.e. stub your toe...smoke a joint). In a one mile stretch, there were no less than 25 of these kids passing out cards. The numerous stands and booths all get horribly repetitive. Essentially, the boardwalk plays like one of those old time cartoons where the artists just recycled the background over and over. Food options are limited to mainly pizza places with a few burger places sprinkled in...and the occasional fruit cart.
Incense wafted everywhere like a light, perfumed fog it coiled about and hung over the Strand to mask or enhance the transitory and brief wisps of burning sage, scented candles, marijuana and body odor. Furry freaks danced with bespeckled nerds while tattooed rastafarian wanna-bes pulled stunned, pale and overweight tourists into impromptu reels as drums pounded incessantly to the accompaniment of piano, flute and electric guitar. Bleached blond surfers, salt-licked from a morning go-out passed by ancient hippies still peddling peace signs while cops turned their heads like they never saw the kid with the fat joint.
I especially thought the bums with a "Parents killed by ninja monkey. Help me pay for karate lessons" sign and a "I'm not going to lie, I want weed" sign were special.
If you don't like Venice Beach, you don't belong in California...
No, seriously get the hell out! This place is awesome! I love the atmosphere! Everyone's so chill. My only advice is be picky about the crazy people who perform their stunts, some of them aren't worth it, lol and I think they just spend the money on crack
2. I always see that guy who sells tongue whistles. I think the price is 5 different whistles for a dollar. I can't think of anything in this world that I would want less to spend a dollar on.
The creativity of the beggars is also notable. Just today I saw signs stating "Need fuel for my learjet", "Will fuck for weed" and "the happy wino".
I guess you have to love it or hate it. More on yelp love this place, but I have to disagree yet again with the yelpers. This place is nasty. Nasty in a dirty, homeless, shady, don;t bring your kids, way. My baby dropped her hat, (just purchased) and in 2 minutes it was gone. Someone stole a hat for a BABY that said Princess on it!!!! What real and I do mean real losers would do that? Even the homeless cannot possibly wear it.
What you get when you arrive, regardless of your reason for being there, is a dismal, despressing wasteland, and if you're from Nebraska or somewhere else decidedly non-Californian, much of what you'll see here you've already seen on your State Fair's sad midway. Decrepit and depressing tattoo parlor after tattoo parlor, sad and dejected t-shirt shops, and grimly appointed pizza stands make up the bulk of the boardwalk. The same astonishingly depressing people from your State Fair midway are here, too.
Sadly, Mr. Mozena has not yet become mayor of LA, and worse will not become write-in governor of CA, although there is no possibility that he could do worse than the laughable Arnold or either unholy front-runner in the present race between rich retards. However, on the credit side, Venice Beach has inspired many, many artists.
After dawdling around Monaco itself, we went round to the 'Jeux' --- a large gambling-house established on the shore near Monaco, upon the road to Mentone. There is a splendid hotel there, and the large house of sin, blazing with gas lamps by night. So we saw it from the road beneath Turbia our first night, flaming and shining by the shore like Pandemonium, or the habitation of some romantic witch. This place, in truth, resembles the gardens of Alcina, or any other magician's trap for catching souls which poets have devised. It lies close by the sea in a hollow of the sheltering hills. there winter cannot come --- the flowers bloom, the waves dance, and sunlight laughs all through the year. The air swoons with scent of lemon groves; tall palm trees wave their branches in the garden; music of the softest, loudest, most inebriating passion swells from the palace; rich meats and wines are served in a gorgeously painted hall; cool corridors and sunny seats stand ready for the noontide heat or evening calm; without are olive gardens, green and fresh and full of flowers. But the witch herself holds her high court and never-ending festival of sin in the hall of the green tables. There is a passion which subdues all others, making music, sweet scents and delicious food, the plash of melodious waves, the evening air and freedom of the everlasting hills subserve her own supremacy.
When the fiend of play has entered into a man, what does he care for the beauties of nature or even for the pleasure of the sense ? Yet in the moments of his trial he must drain the cup of passion, therefore let him have companions --- splendid women, with bold eyes and golden hair and marble columns of imperial throats, to laugh with him, to sing shrill songs, to drink, to tempt the glassy deep at midnight when the cold moon shines or all the headlands glitter with grey phosphorescence and the palace sends its flaring lights and sound of cymbals to the hills. And many, too, there are over whom love and wine hold empire hardly less than play. This is no vision; it is sober, sad reality. I have seen it to-day with my own eyes. I have been inside the palace and breathed its air. In no other place could this riotous daughter of hell have set her throne so seducingly. Here are the Sirens and Calypso and Dame Venus of Tannhäuser's dream. Almost every other scene of dissipation has disappointed me by its monotony and sordidness. But this inebriates; here nature is so lavish, so beautiful, so softly luxurious, that the harlot's cup is thrice more sweet to the taste, more stealing of the senses than elsewhere. I felt, while we listened to the music, strolled about the gardens and lounged in the play-rooms, as I have sometimes felt at the opera. All other pleasures, thoughts and interests of life seemed to be far off and trivial for the time. I was beclouded, carried off my balance, lapped in strange forebodings of things infinite outside me in the human heart. Yet all was unreal; for the touch of reason, like the hand of Galahad, caused the boiling of this impure fountain to cease --- the wizard's castle disappeared and, as I drove home to Mentone, the solemn hills and skies and seas remained and that house was, as it were, a mirage.
John Addington Symonds : Diary