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  • amolosh

Updated: May 30, 2023

. . . he recommended to all those who might be impressed with a sense of their importance to bury a copy or copies of each work properly secured from damp, &c. at a depth of seven or eight feet below the surface of the earth; and on their death-beds to communicate the knowledge of this fact to some confidential friends, who in their turn were to send down the tradition to some discreet persons of the next generation; and thus . . . the knowledge that here and there the truth lay buried . . . and was to rise again in some distant age . . . —this knowledge at least was to be whispered down from generation to generation.


—Thomas De Quincey, “Walking Stewart”


Livius Andronicus: An Odyssey is peregrinatory, and an Iliad, no doubt, genocidal, but an Idyssey is gestational as regards idiosyncrasy--or oddness.

Dr Johnson: Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not last.

Mrs Thatcher: There is no such thing as a womb with a view.

Ben Jonson: By G—, ’tis good, and if you like’t, you may!


—Petrus Tornarius, Imaginary Conversations



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  • amolosh

Pogo strip by Walt Kelly, Earth Day 1971


“We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities.”—Walt Kelly

 

The Third Reich was a consensual dictatorship

 —that's a Zustimmungsdiktatur in German.

Hitler had “almost until the very end” the consent of the German people.*

Fortune flashed him her intoxicating smile. He knew best, they said.

Twelve years it lasted—just a little while—plus fifty million dead.

Whatever fate may be, it works in painful ways its purpose to perform.

What seems exceptional may shortly be the norm.

It’s 101⁰ F out there today . . . they say there’ll be a storm.


 

*Tobias Buck, Final Verdict: The Holocaust on Trial in the 21st Century (New York: Hachette, 2024), 247.

 

 

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  • amolosh

"Here is the rose, here dance."—G. W. F. Hegel



“Forum dancing”—In foro saltare—

M. Tullius Cicero thought depraved.*

Just who in Rome had danced in that vile ring?

The Forum is for the gladiators’

ghastly blood-letting bouts, also for

feeding hungry lions; it's not for swing!

Cato Junior had tempted cruel Fate

“as though he lived in Plato’s Republic

and not Romulus’s shit,” Cicero scoffed,¶

who lived in Romulus's late crap himself.

His severed head and hands spiked on the Rostra,

Livia stuck her hairpin through his tongue.


Fortuna has her ways to bring you down.

She's ruled millennially in every city.

Aesop’s Boastful Traveler felt her near,

and what to think, or what to fear? “Here’s Rhodes, jump

here!” / “Here is the rose, here dance”—Hegel's dity.†

That piper plays a pleasant peasant tune.

Thus with your goddamn bourgeois piety, Marx

expostulates, “until a situation

is created which makes all turning back

impossible and the [cruel] conditions

themselves call out: Hic Rhodus, hic salta!”‡


"Thank God I'm not a Marxist!" Karl rejoiced,

observing how followers got ahead.

Dance on you happy few who give a shit

and hope to pollinate the pistils out

in the big parterre that flanks our cottage.

Much may perplex you. I’ll explain it here:

Marx and the troubadours—the latter's name means

“finders”—both steered us wrong. However mad may be our song, turning back solves nothing

for human beings formed by folly in

these Big Rock Candy Mountains. And puzzling

is a poem’s purpose, not nostalgia.


*Cicero, de Officiis 3.75. See also Nicholas Ostler, Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin (New York: Walker, 2007), 185.

¶“ . . . loquitur enim tanquam Republica Platonis, non tanquam in fæce Romuli,” Cicero writes in a letter to a friend of the Stoic Marcus Porcius Cato (95–46 BCE), called Cato the Younger (Cato Minor in Latin).

† G. W. F. Hegel, Preface to the Philosophy of Right.

‡"Let's pretend this is Rhodes, leap here." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hic_Rhodus,_hic_salta. Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

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