Date of publication: 2017-08-25 06:39
“No, no, no, you’re all doing it wrong! The secret to developing realistic drawings lies in your ability to study every nuance of the object in front of you,” my art teacher advised. “Try sketching with one eye closed it’s all about perspective, people!”
I mustn’t stereotype, mustn’t I? I squib upon one corner of a poetry I cannot read, except in translations a poetry most nimble across a wide range of spiritual, and material themes. It is unmistakably Christian, but from the intersection with the ancient pagan world, in a place where Gaelic and Latin meet, also. Only in the last century did the scholars realize that the Gaelic metres are not copied from Latin hymns that both, as Greek, have deeper “Indo-European” antecedents.
I was in Seoul, Korea, the next summer, and beheld the tides of willowy chittering maidens walking that city’s sidewalks, speaking not to each other but constantly into tiny bejewelled cellphones. Yes, this was the future: everyone “linked” in the electronic cloud, progressively freed of physical interaction.
Forty-seven years have passed since that mama dragged me along Dundas Street in London, Ontario, to a high-end tailor’s. I was just-turned seventeen, and off to a new job at a small squalid newspaper in Asia still a fairly fresh high school drop-out. She thought I should cut a figure on arrival. A photo of me, besuited at Malton airport, is still in my possession. (I look very I still have the boar-bristle hair brush she bought me on that day, and use it every morning (honest, mama!) while saying a little Catholic prayer for her immortal soul. Indeed, the brush seems immortal, too: few signs of wear. It is amazing how long things last when they are made properly.
Reconciliation is not an easy thing, the way things go on this planet. It is more like mercy than like justice and justice, though rare, is actually more common. There can be no end, if we decide to re-litigate the past, armed as we are, with our ignorance, only.
Moreover, there are subsidiary issues. Has President Trump sufficiently condemned those with antiquated tastes in sculpture? Was he quick enough to do so? Is he bigoted, or prejudiced, or just a racist? Why hasn’t he ordered the destruction of monuments himself? There are many around Washington, DC.
How the great self-cancel! Few end well and even those still lionized in old age, as Churchill, know themselves failures as they think back. In the long game, of human history, all the men of action are failures, and only the Saints leave legacies which moths, rust, thieves, and intellectuals are unable to corrupt.
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