I believe in a kind of fidelity to your own early ideas; it’s a kind of antagonism in me to prevailing fads.–Grace Paley
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART SIXTEEN: THE FALL
As I got to know the fencing business that Cool Slopp kept running as smooth as a spinning top I also noticed how he treated the Yekkmen as came into his shop different from the others—he’d lock the door and summon them into his back parlor—like a spider with a delicious treat—he had his own peculiar lingo he used on the Yekkmen, like a private language—stolen goods were allus “stuff” and “stuff” was allus Red or White (as in Red or White Hot) and I also noticed that he allus talked hard numbers to the men of means–I’ll give you thirty-three on this, no more–I got to make my profit–running a risk here–precinct captain must be paid–he never said every word out loud for he also somehow made his intentions clear with knowing looks and soft gestures–palm out, pleading look to the eyes, whispered benisons in praise of big-time chisellers and benedictions lauding loud the proper authorities–he was a businessman first and foremost, and he never cheated a powerful man and he never lied to a man in a uniform. Sure, Cap’n, the dropsy is snyde, or I’ll sell you the lot at a third above what I paid, or that yellof is a bad actor as needs to be clobbered and he hangs his hat at a snuggery called The Seven Stars or ‘Look ye to the Sergeant; he’s been in here asking a lot of questions about swag that I know nought about.’ Even, ‘Sure, I’ll sell you the rings at a buck apiece above cost; they ain’t hot; they’re just cheap slum I bought from a Jew Pedlar, but you could never tell the diff without a jeweler’s loupe; you can use ’em as good will presents to pay off the shady ladies; they’re a dumb as coots; always have their mouths hanging open for glitter and flash.”
Of most womenfolk Cool Slopp had a low opinion indeed. They is weak, they is subservient and rightly so, they think with their quims, they know nought about the ways of powerful men, they is needy, they threaten to kill themselves if they ruin their crummy blouses; they is vain with their foolish powderings and their silly paints and they way the pluck and tweeze and they talk like fools and they dress like popinjays and they dance like savages; they have screwy theories; nothing is more ridiculous than a broad who acts tough; they love you and they hate you and they try to beat you down and you beat them down and they love you and they hate you all the same. They hate you if you’re manly and they hate you if you’re not manly enough. They either bring down a great man with their whining or they tell a man to be great who hasn’t got it in him and nag him to death. You can’t fight it; that’s just the way it is. Bad ‘cess to ’em all, a man is well quit of ’em if and when he makes it to the age of reason.
He spoke for all the world like a man who once was sorely disappointed in love, but if this were the case, he remained tight-lipped about the moll who was the cause. ‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he’d jest, ‘I dinna hate women.’ Oh, do tell, someone would say. “Nay, I don’t hate women; It’s people in gen’ral I despises, and womens is more in the way of being people than most men are.’ In all seriousness he would also say ‘All praise to our sainted mothers and the hand that rocks the cradle, but I got no use for a mama’s boy; the apple never falls far from the tree.’ All the while he maintained his own venerable mother in a top-flight mansion in the good part of town. The only time he seemed to leave his shop was Sunday at six, when he would take his dinner with her at their home. Otherwise, he seemed to live in the shop, and for all I know, he did. Getting older, getting meaner, getting lonelier, and surrounded on all sides by more and more rubbish bought from dyin’ pissants for pennies on the dollar and raking in moolah from hot swag and stolen loot. It was not the life for me, though I suppose it was all right for them as likes it.
Anyway, before long he began I think to take a shine to me and to share some of his worldly wisdom, and it warn’t all of it a bum steer. ‘Never pay for nothing if you can get someone to pay you for taking it off their hands. Stuff is a burden to some; you’d be surprised at what gets thrown out well before it’s all used up. Always look in the gutter to find a glittering prize; when it’s on a pedestal it is gone before you can say jack robinson but down in a sewer the treasures of the world seek their own level. No man jack can ever tell me different. You can’t take it with you; but who would want to? Stupid pharaohs, that’s who. Their loss is our gain. Superstitious savages sometimes have the finest gold. Don’t ever look down on a man on account of how he looks; the swellest yellofs hide beneath rags when they ride about sub rosa. But nor should you trust a man who doesn’t follow the reasonable conventions. If he can’t bother to dress and show consideration for the opinions of the world, then he can’t be trusted to treat you with any due consideration. That’s why crooks dress up fancy; they’re all front. That’s why cops wear uniforms; the uniform demands respect–especially when the man does not. That’s why the poor go about in rags–one nice suit of clothes is the last thing a man gives up and once that is gone, you know he’s in a bad way. Trust the clothes–not the man!”
VOLCANO SUNS 1991 (FULL SHOW)
A QUICK GUIDE TO THE WORLD SERIES
SOUNDS OF NYC CIRCA 1920
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
IS WIKIPEDIA GETTING WORSE?
6* DAILY UTILITY
THE WRITER AS MEME MACHINE
AMAZING ANIMAL SWARMS
WHY PEOPLE MISTAKE GOOD DEALS FOR RIP-OFFS
THREE ILLUSIONS THAT WILL MELT YOUR BRAIN
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
A POLITICAL CARTOON
If our current situation were to be depicted in a political cartoon, Toxic Militarism would be the stay-at-home wife with multiple dependents, and the electorate would be the beleaguered husband with holes in the soles of his shoes, patches on his jacket, and his empty pockets turned inside out.
The Tea Party, for its part, could be a ravening Tiger ala Thomas Nast while the Nanny State could be a cute Nanny Goat ala Gillray. Wearing a diaper. And a red white and blue top hat.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 714.
THE RAILWAY JOURNEY
Concepts such as fatigue only first came in during the machine age, with the interface of man and metal. The alarm clock replaced the church bell, and it has all been downhill ever since.
Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise : Zur Industrialisierung von Raum und Zeit im 19. Jahrhundert by Wolfgang Schivelbusch http://www.amazon.com/…/dp/0520059298