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À quoi bon faire sortir du néant ce qui y dort ? Faire venir un être, c’est faire venir un misérable.—Flaubert

My old friend Peter Green* once suggested to me that there might only be a handful of real people in the world—all the others were merely figments.

How nice it would be to believe that! Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Jacob Zuma, Benjamin Netanyahu . . . figments all!

One had conjured the miserable wretches out of the nothing in which they slumbered, and, as Flaubert says, what earthly good is that! Now if only you could perhaps conjure them back into oblivion!

But then again, to the others, one is probably just a figment oneself.



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