I keep a scrap list in Ecco of things I really ought to blog about, or stick into a wormseye, or something. It has got out of control. So here are some things which provoked thought, without the thoughts I thought they had provoked.
- Baiser and “make love”
Some words get dirtier as they grow older. There is a priceless moment in a Richard Hannay book ( Mr Standfast ) when the hero’s skin crawls at the thought of the villain “making love to” the heroine. Made the FWB’s eyeballs swivel in her skull when she first read it. Similarly, baiser now means, in modern French, “to fuck”. When I grew up, aaargh, it meant “to kiss”, as it did to Voltaire. The effect of the change might please his dirty old ghost. “Ce n’est pas ma main qu’il faut baiser”, says the Pope’s experienced daughter when she rescues Candide from the Spanish Inquisition.
- Captain Carrot as an archetype.
When I met Terry Pratchett at the Aventis prize (did I mention I had met Terry Pratchett at the Aventis prize-giving?) No? Anyway, when I met Terry Pratchett at the Aventis Prize giving, I was able to tell him the story of how I preached on Small Gods in the chapel at Wadham College. But it occurred to me that his most successful religious creation is actually Captain Carrot. I was unable to articulat this, or anything much else, very well. But Carrot is actually the figure in the unconscious of every policeman and every criminal, who stands for justice, and who makes policing something more than the exercise of brute force. You could use the Carrot as the unit of legitimacy.
- Q. Why did America prevail in Korea and not in Vietnam?
A. Wouldn’t it be nice to know?
- Pictures vs stories wrt W. Owen.
Which is more effective in the long run? The photos from Abu Ghraib, or the word-picture of a gas attack in Dulce et Decorum est?
- The bent prayer and fertility study.
- There’s an entire page of witch-doctors advertising in Ms London.
In fact there are 2 pages, split by a page of ads recruiting whores. So much for the enlightenment.
- Batteries and digital rights as guarantors of obsolescence.
Otherwise the economy stops. How come the battery in a Thinkpad dies after a year, while the battery in my phone will go on for ever?