They Use Children

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / NoHier / Deschool /

“They Use Children,” the priest warns the young American, an artist, posing as a detective. In The Eighth Day John Case provides that artist as narrator: the hero I suppose.

A religious has been found dead. It looks like a weird suicide, but murder can’t be ruled out. The religious had lost his position in the Church but not his faith. It happens: promotion is for the slick fake, not the genuine. The Temple didn’t promote Jesus; the Temple crucified him. The dead man has willed his laptop to his friend, another priest. A man who seems to be a lawyer claims that the dead man was accumulating slander against an entrepreneur. He hires our hero for damage control. Our hero proposes to see if he can get the laptop from its intended beneficiary: the still living priest. That priest warns our hero to beware the children at the airport. Wallets, loose laptops, watches … The gypsies use children as their pickpockets: just like Fagin in Oliver Twist.

Our hero succeeds in borrowing the laptop from the priest. He delivers it to the lawyer. The lawyer erases the drive, gives the blank laptop back to our hero. Now he may return it to the beneficiary.

The dead man had intended to pass some information to his friend. That information has now been erased by the party most concerned. Except that our hero had copied the data before turning the laptop over to the lawyer. The bequest has been accomplished anyway. Told part of the story, the priest repeats: “They use children.”

Our hero had believed that he had been hired for his virtues. Now he sees that he’s been selected precisely for lacking them. Touché, he thinks. “No,” says the priest: “I meant me.”

The dead man has been trying to communicate something. The lawyer has interfered. It was like taking candy from a baby. Both the artist and the living priest are children: easy to fool, easy to take things from: like the public.

I’ve liked Case’s work before, and I’m enjoying this effort so far. I write this only one hundred forty-odd pages into the fiction. And I thought of writing this point half-way to here. In college I was told by Lionel Trilling not to think you know the novel until you’ve actually read it: every word: to the last word. Advice unnecessary: of course not. There is a difference (macro-difference) between knowing part of the information and having all of the information, knowing a whole life and knowing a fraction of that life. How many papers are written by persons who haven’t cracked the book? How many reviews? How many by persons who read the first ten pages, got no further, but still had the deadline? How many classes have been taught by professors who’ve heard the reviews but not read the text?

Once upon a time all we talked about was the Bible: and everyone had memorized at least part of it. (How many persons have ever actually read the Bible? All of it: beginning to end: in one (series of) sittings?) (Very few. But it’s not that kind of a book: that’s not how it was written; that’s not how it is supposed to be read.)

What I’m doing is different. I’m comiting to a line of response before my line of information is complete. I’m hazarding a wager, making a guess. I am not speaking ex cathedra, claim no authority.

Though I am utterly confident in latching onto the pattern about “children.” And whatever point (or set of points) Case may be making in his novel(s), I am an expert on one relevant thing: information intended for the public never getting to the public: and the public not being ruffled by its deprivations in the slightest.

One myth alone is all that’s needed to characterize the life pk has lived: life, the universe, God … sends messages: civilization intercepts them. The message never gets received.

And the public thinks that proof of its damnation is proof of its salvation!

Keyword: information, records, deschooling

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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