THE INFORMATION #917
DECEMBER 2, 2016
…but these backwaters of existence sometimes breed, in their sluggish depths, strange acuities of emotion….― Edith Wharton
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-NINE: KINGDOM COME
“Of course, Yob” said Count Justin Victor to me, as we walked through the now-empty and snow-covered park where all the hoboes camped out in the summer, “there’s a difference between a Yellof who plays dumb, and one who is a certified stupe. Usually, that Yellof is a rube. A hayseed, a gawk. A clodhopper. A cornball. A hick, a yokel. a chawbacon,a rustic oaf. Why all this animosity, you ask? Me, personally, I don’t mind ’em none. They’re easy to fool. And so much fun to watch! I’ll tell you Yob, that watching the ways of some of these bone-ignorant country folk is oftentimes more fun than being in the front row of a dog fight.”
“You can always tell right away that you’re dealing with your garden-variety backwoods hick because they are prone to consider intelligent people as evil godless queers, and educated fools. And to say things like ‘That there’s tainty taint meat–taint mine and taint yourn.’ And they also talk about God, and especially their good pal Jesus, every day, as though Jesus were some cousin or pet dog of theirs. Jesus cured mah rheumatiz’, and Jesus got me to stop drinkin’ whiskey in public, Hallelujah, I’m saved, and now I only get loaded when I take several sly nips of Peruna every night, which is eighteen per cent alcohol by volume, but who cares! It’s mah special secret medicine!
“These country lads and lasses seem to be operating under the delusion that a long-dead hallucinating desert nomad is alive and well, and cares so much as one jot or tittle about their everyday doings. Which goes to show that in certain matters of intellection, they have the mental capacity of a five year old. They seem to actually think that Jesus is not only watching them, but that he also really cares if they play cards, or excel in sports, or fornicate with their cousin under the bleachers, or go dancing in a shit-smelling hay barn. Jesus stands in relation to the everyday doings of these chuckleheads as the good policeman stands in relation to You or I. ‘Mustn’t spark with a purty gal–Jesus wouldn’t like it.’ ‘Mustn’t Sass my Mammy–hit will make Jesus cry bitter tears of pain.’ ‘When I think of that faithful back, scourged with whips and clubs, and that faithful head, running with rivulets of blood on account of a crown of piercing thorns, it gives me the inside meemies, and makes my every bad deed loom large, because he was beaten to a pulp specifically for MY SINS.’ And the hell of it is, the most educated man in the whole community–the only man with book-learnin’ at all–is the country preacher, who is the one who spreads these very same superstitious nostrums both far and wide. Their whole religion is based on fear, and punishment, and dread of eternal torment. And those snake-handling, hellfire-spouting, Bible-pounding preachers are in back of all of it. You can bet that none of the big plantation owners give any more than lip service to such cretinous rot. But they’ll always invite the preacher-man in for a chicken dinner–because he keeps the work force temperate, and lulls the Negroes into a god-besotted stupor.
“Don’t even get me started about the way they treat their sharecroppers. Good God! The only folks more ignorant and downtrodden than the smallholder is the sharecropper. Imagine if the boundary of your entire life, and your Pappy’s life, and his pappy’s life before him, consisted of staring at a mule’s ass as you guide a plough over worn out soil with rocks the size of goose eggs. Imagine having no money at all. None. Imagine looking at the account book used by the white man who runs the company grocery store–staring at the cover with a can of W.E. Garrett Scotch Snuff on it–and knowing that with every purchase you are somehow being cheated and falling further and further behind. Imagine your bairns having to walk to the well in bare feet in the snow because you can’t afford to buy ’em any shoes. Imagine them leaving off schoolin’ after the 4th grade on account of having to work on the farm chopping cotton. Imagine indulging your wife by buying for her a nickel feed sack so she can sew it into a dress. Imagine having no prospects other than that–for as long as you live. And for generation after generation. No wonder they are so lacking in civilized refinements! The have no civilization to speak of, at all. they live in the same way as savages always have, since time immemorial.
“Of course, these country Younkers don’t have a great many of the more sophisticated botherations which afflict every man of affairs in the big city. There’s no gangs, no movin’ picture shows, and no pool halls and taverns on every corner. About the biggest thing they have to worry about out there in the big stick country is boll weevils eating up all their cotton, or tornadoes and hailstorms destroying their wheat, or rats and weevils getting into the flour, or hogs eatin’ the baby, or swallowing their own chaw of tobacco, or getting kicked in the head by a consarn mule, or having their kiddies drown on account of their goin’ swimmin’ down at the gravel quarry even after you told them not to. Nor do they ever have to worry overmuch about getting nutted on the head by a snowbird and waking up naked in a filthy alley with a missing wallet. and an aching lump on the back of their noggin. Sure–every now and again one of these fine country denizens will get a bad batch of moonshine or will catch cabin fever or will accidentally ingest locoweed and go a little nutty and maybe shoot up someone’s house up with buckshot, but all in all, country life ain’t anywhere near as dangerous as city livin’. All they have to care about is working from can until can’t, and laying in provender for the livestock come winter, and sowing and tilling in the spring, and haying in the summer and harvesting in the fall.
“If only for all the reasons I mentioned, they are among the most fearful and closed-minded people in God’s green earth. Would you count on them in a pinch if you needed to have a hoss shoed, or to catch a rabbit? Sure you would! But they ain’t too much for thinkin’ on the intellectual level. Sure, you might have a schoolmaster here and there who has read a book, but you can bet that all the pretty damozels are fixin’ instead to be married off to that husky hired hand from the farm just down the road.
“Why? Because ”Too much book-learnin’ ruins your shootin’ eye.’
“Unless, of course, it’s The Good Book.”
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCENE
SARA CRAZY CHILD
THE WORST TASTING FLAVOR IN THE WORLD
RODNEY DANGERFIELD ON JOHNNY CARSON (1983)
A History of Music Bootlegs, Told Through 25 of the Most Significant Recordings
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
THE NORTH POLE IS AN INSANE 36 DEGREES WARMER THAN NORMAL
WHAT’S REALLY WARMING THE WORLD?
6* DAILY UTILITY
TINEYE IMAGE SEARCH
“Go to the TinEye website and install the TinEye extension to your browser. Then you can right-click on any image and instantly search TinEye for matches. I do this almost every day to find larger, smaller, or clearer versions.”
THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
THE DARK SIDE: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
THE COMEDIANS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN COMEDY
AVOIDING FAKE NEWS SITES
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
MITCH O’CONNELL: NOT-SO-SUBLIMINAL ADS
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
876. THE HOBO ETHICAL CODE OF 1889