DAY 181: The quick brown fox

August 7th, 2016 § 0 comments


Jumps, we are told, over a lazy dog. And having recently acquired a lazy dog, the old phrase has started me thinking about its sociological implications – about the way in which society seems inevitably to fall into two categories, the quick brown foxes and the lazy dogs; and once you’vefoxsorted that point out, you can probably skip reading the works of Hobbes, J. S. Mill, Rousseau and even Nietzsche. In this world, it’s jump or get jumped over: and the question for most if not all of us is, are you a quick brown fox or a lazy dog?

Which leads us naturally, from sociology to ethics: or, is it better to be quick and jump, or to be lazy and be jumped over? In a society where , as we see, the jumpers control everything from the policing of borders to the NHS, it’s obvious which gets you more mileage. To return to the ruminations of the last post, neither choice would have got you far under the emperor Commodus. The film Gladiator, which features Commodus in a starring role, makes (it would seem) few moral judgments but…

And while we’re on the subject of films, I don’t think I’ve yet got round to recommending Chantal Ackerman’s Je tu il elle a film with so many advantages that it’s jetuhard to start listing them. It’s free on Youtube; it involves a breakdown, a solitary woman in a room eating a vast amount of granulated sugar; it has much more nudity and indeed lesbian sex than you can normally find online without explicitly stating that that’s what you’re after. It has few of those boring conventions of plot and character which force you to concentrate, so you can pick it up and put it down anywhere. It doesn’t – to return to our original theme – tell you who’s a fox and who’s a dog, or what they are to do about it. But maybe that’s where cinema is, or should be heading? The simple values which separate John Wayne fromvalance

James Stewart are no longer to be trusted – Belgium is not Colorado. I could go on about the E.U. and intervention in Syria at this point, but – in the wake of the fall of Aleppo - it might be wiser to hold off. (Not to mention Brexit, where I should certainly not venture again. Who, as between Britain and Europe, is the quick brown fox, and who the lazy dog?)

It is indeed hard to make a choice of solutions to what – following my initial statement – one might formulate as the ‘jumping problem’. So let me take a completely different problem, always a good strategy, and leave you with Keats’ solution:

NO, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
  Wolfs-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
  By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,         5
  Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
    Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
  For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
    And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.         10

 

 

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