Monthly: scrapbook: reborn each month
(Monthly Note follows below)
2017 11 14 My mother taught me to hold the door for ladies: and ladies first, all of that. In college I found myself to have an enormous advantage over those who lacked such training. The next step I took myself: hold the door, or don’t hold the door: what choice are you making? for whom? I could offer my courtesy, I could withhold it. The choice was mine!
This morning Miss Manners chastises an irritable woman for confusing feminism with rudeness. The woman addressed had a point to make, a very old point, but habit compelled her to make it; not philosophy.
But real quick let me recall a particular instance where I dediced rudeness counted more than courtesy. I wanted to shp at Macy’s, I arrived on Harold’s Square, I arrived at the door, I saw a woman coming behind me, I held the door for her. She didn’t thank me, she just put her head down, scowled, and went through. Now I was holding the door for myself: and I saw another woman quicken her pace to step into the position of she for whom the door is held. Hell, I let her get away with it: I held the door for her too. But then another woman, and still another woman, darted toward that vacuum. I saw that a dozen women were coming in from the street, that all were ready to put their head down and dive for the position of priviledge. I counted six more women through, and slammed the big door into the next one. I imposed a tax on the free ride, I made the door heavy, penalized the freeloaders.
As I explained to my freshman English class: if you know what a split infinitive is, you can take care not to split your infinities: or, go ahead, split all you want: it will be you deciding on the usage, you employing the manners; not the manners enslaving you. But first you have to know what a spolit infinitive is: the majority do not, including the majority of English teachers. They are forever in the grip of manners as accident, their fate is outside their influence.
No: hold the door, or don’t hold the door. Genuflect, or leave you hat on in church. … Know the consequences, and chose.
That latter story reminds me of another. Once I went into the West End Tavern, saw Bill, a public school teacher, and took the stool next to him. Other people came and went. A cripple with a walker came and went, some guy whispered in Bill’s ear, Bill erupted in laughter. Bill leaned toward me and whispered that the just just whispering and just whispered that he’d slammed the men’s room door onto the cripple, leaving him sprawing in the piss coving the filthy floor. This story race up and down the West End bar, the longest bar in the world, mid ’60s. I was horrified, aghast: and said so. Oh, then you don’t know So&So, and he named the cripple.
The specific irritation turned out to be that this particular cripple expected, demanded as it were, common courtesies. His assailant knew he would expect the door to be held fo him, he knew he would be scalwed at, not thanked, and Wham, he skidded the SOB across the mens’ room floor.
I’ve thought of that a lot since then. I was once so proud to be an American, to be a Christian, to be civilized, the epitome of civilization. Now, no. I’ll take plain human nature, with no guarantees concerning survival.
From then on I noticed that cripple. Yes, he was rude. All the time.
So: wouldn’t it be nice if Miss Manners’ rude feminist got an elbow in the eye while she blocked traffic to refuse a held door?
2017 11 11 Once upon a time I paid no more attention to actors in ads than to extras in crowd scenes. Who did? Then again sometimes the model in a commercial can rivet us: masses of us. It isn’t just me, the whole world falls in love with Milana Veyntraub.
No kidding. She goes straight into our hearts. Progressive has that annoying girl with the red lipstick; but however much we may hate her and the horse she rode in on, we adore, and vibrate to Milana.
Now explain to me this: how did I wind up falling in love with Jackies Stewart: refusing Heinedins with the dandy line, “No thanks, I’m still driving”!
2017 11 15 I’ll tell you another actor who’s appealing in some otherwise obnoxious ads: J.K. Simmons. Guy gets under your skin.
2017 11 04 When I was a kid I was taught to kneel at my bedside and humbly pray to God. I was taught to thank God for my life, to thank him for my natural advantages: parents, shelter. I had a sense that worship and obeisance were God’s natural dues, I felt that the worship was God’s by right; not by force: I felt no sarcasm, no irony in the gestures. The cross was my Christianity’s natural icon.
When I got to school I was taught to put my hand on my heart and to pledge allegiance not to the cross, but to the flag: that meant the American flag, the stars and stripes of the United States. It was emphasized to us that the phrase “under God” had recently been added, and belonged: “one country, under God. The founding fathers were presented to us as wise men. In another step they were holy men, saints: secular saints.
I was in my late teens, I was at college, Columbia, before I became acquainted with William Blake and his autocratic god: a slave master, the protector of all the dark satanic mills of industrial society.
The Chinese have just mandated a three year prison sentence for any who disrespect China’s icons and emblems.
Gee: you mean we’re allied with Chinese Communists? How does Jefferson fit there?
Regardless, right there we have more than enough to see the irony of “kneeling” becoming associated with defiance of authority, not subordination to authority. Notice in any case that the appeal is political, not theological.
Notice in all events that people with some control over prison budgets are palming themselves off as experts on interpretation of the stars and stripes as though it were text, the text unambiguous. The jail directors know who to put in the jails, who to line up and shoot.
I’ve been writing since 1948. It’s done little good, good visible to me at least. Now what brains are left me can’t stay focused for thirty seconds. The help I offered was despised, then plagiarized: the plagiarism perverted, the thieves judging my crimes. My IQ is falling from NY to China, right through the center of the earth. I’m glad. If only I’d been this stupid to begin with. In any case I’m glad the society is immune to guidance. Helpless hell is where we belong.
Continues as reverse chronology: Monthly Archive
Such archives date backwards: counter chronological: today, yesterday, the day before … (Continues in several archive choices.)