Saturday, March 3

The guy who runs the sushi-&-miso stand at the market does not speak English.

I'm in a bit of a muddle, not wanting to write. It rarely happens, you know--as evidenced by my multiple blogs and regular upkeep of them--but right now is the 3/4-way mark of my time in Ireland, and ergo it is also the hardest. My morale is at a predictable low.

And don't even MENTION thesis topics. Thesis bad.

Anyway, I have been reading Gaudy Night bits and pieces again--mostly the bits with Peter or Lord St. George in them because they have a quick, witty sense of humour that does not take pages and subtlety to appreciate.

"For another person's sleep is the acid test of our own sentiments. Unless we are savages, we react kindly to death, whether of friend or enemy."

She must have thought the Greeks, the Old Ones of England, the Romans--maybe all older "civilisations"--as barbarians. But she doesn't mean that, clearly, unless she generalises savagery to all civilisations modern and otherwise.

"It does not exasperate us; it does not tempt us to throw things at it; we do not find it funny."

Now that is certainly untrue. Death is both exasperating and funny as much as it is an ever-open wound. If I may quote another, "Even the most appalling of realities eventually loses its novelty" (Penelope Wilcock). Also, I could quote the Road Runner on the same subject, except that the whole "meep meep" thing doesn't translate out very well.

"Death is the ultimate weakness, and we dare not insult it."

Tell that to Hector. Well, never mind; Achilles was a barbarian.

"But sleep is only an illusion of weakness and, unless it appeals to our protective instincts, is likely to arouse in us a nasty, bullying spirit. From a height of conscious superiority we look down on the sleeper, thus exposing him in all his frailty, and indulge in derisive comment upon his appearance, his manners and (if the occasion is a public one) the absurdity of the position in which he has placed his companion, if he has one, and particularly if we are that companion."

That is an interesting idea, isn't it? All it needs is some shaving cream and a feather.

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