No longer the greatest living American

Kurt Vonnegut’s died.

What would Queen Victoria really feel in the presence of what she had declared to be obscenities? That her power to intimidate was being attacked ever so slightly, far, far from its center, was being attacked where it could not matter much as yet — was being attacked way out on the edge. She created arbitrary rules for that outermost edge to warn her of the approach of anyone so crude, so rash as to bring to her attention the suffering of the Irish, or the cruelties of the factory system, or the privileges of the nobility, or the approach of a world war, and on and on? If she would not even acknowledge that human beings sometimes farted, how could she be expected to hear without swooning of these other things?

What a subtle scheme Queen Victoria evolved to make people hesitant about discussing their entitlement to more control over their lives. She persuaded them that they would deserve to be self-governing only after they had stopped thinking about all the things that human beings can’t help thinking about all the time.

Palm Sunday

I know that now I’m supposed to say “So it goes,” but I just can’t manage to be that blasé.


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