Sunday 10 September 2017


"Even today, I think one’s relation to one’s alma mater is fraught with haute-bourgeois peril. In descending order of coolness are:

1. Dropped out of prestigious college;

2. Graduated from prestigious school, never bring it up unless asked—then as joke;

3. Graduated from prestigious school with honors, bring up quickly, no irony;

4. Graduated, have become garish, cheerful head of alumni booster committee."

Paul Fussell, Class: A Guide Through the American Status System

A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory.

Lord Salisbury, Saturday Review (1859)

The houses were soon under water

And folks to the roofs had to climb.

They said 'twas the rottenest summer

That Bury had had for some time.

Stanley Holloway, Three Ha'pence a Foot, his monologue about Noah's Ark

"God damn the continent of Europe. It is of merely antiquarian interest. Rome is only a few years behind Tyre and Babylon. The negroid streak creeps northward to defile the Nordic race. Already the Italians have the souls of blackamoors. Raise the bars of immigration and permit only Scandinavians, Teutons, Anglo-Saxons and Celts to enter. France made me sick. Its silly pose as the thing the world has to save. I think it's a shame that England and America didn't let Germany conquer Europe. It's the only thing that would have saved the fleet of tottering old wrecks.

F. Scott Fitzgerald on his honeymoon, writing to Edmund Wilson, May 1921 

"We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law.

It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people — white people, living mainly in rural areas — who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about. For them, it is about blood and soil, about traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy. And there were many other people who might not share those anti-democratic values, but who nonetheless were willing to vote for anyone bearing the Republican label.

I don’t know how we go forward from here. Is America a failed state and society? It looks truly possible. I guess we have to pick ourselves up and try to find a way forward, but this has been a night of terrible revelations, and I don’t think it’s self-indulgent to feel quite a lot of despair."

Paul Krugman, New York Times, November 8 2016

1 comment:

  1. do you know of any F.Scott Fitzgerald statues that we can attack and demand to be removed?

    Krugman would not have been out of place at the court of Louis 16.