Friday, September 30, 2011

On exceptions and hypocrisy (and other, less important things)

The Radetzky March has to go back to the library, but I wanted to copy out and share this little paragraph before I hand it back:
During her brief marriage to Herr von Eichberg, his wife had made many friends, and after his death she had rejected a few ardent marriage proposals. Out of pure esteem, people ignored her adulteries. That was a stern time, as we know. But it recognized exceptions and even liked them. It was one of the rare aristocratic principles, such as that mere commoners were second-class human beings yet certain middle-class officers became personal adjutants to the Kaiser; that Jews could claim no higher distinctions yet certain Jews were knighted and became friends with archdukes; that women had to observe a traditional morality yet certain women could philander like a cavalry officer. (Those were principles that would be labeled "hypocritical" today because we are so much more relentless: relentless, honest, and humorless.)
Interesting. Maybe too thinky for Friday though. Let's see, what kind of amusing quotes are lurking in my Kindle's clippings file?
Then and now I thought about politics with the indifference a grizzled city coroner has toward the body of a murdered prostitute. (How I became a Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely. Go read it, it's fantastic.)
Things never seemed quite as grim with a tallboy in the house. (An Evening of Long Goodbyes, by Paul Murray. He's talking about furniture, not beer.)
The great Gothic spaceship known as the Albert Memorial was built just west of where the Crystal Palace had stood... (At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson.)
Talking to him you would say: he is an ass, but an agreeable ass, a humble, transparent honourable ass. He is an innocent and idiotic butterfly. (GK Chesterton quoted in the biography by Maisie Ward.)
My husband drives the whole seven hours because I don't have a driver's license. It's just one of the many ways in which I am developmentally stunted. I don't drive. I can't cook meat correctly. And I have no affinity for animals. I don't hate animals and would never hurt an animal; I just don't actively care about them. When a coworker shows me cute pictures of her dog, I struggle to respond correctly, like an autistic person who has been taught to recognize human emotions from flash cards. In short, I am the worst. (Bossypants, by Tina Fey. I know it's cliche for girls in their twenties to identify with Tina Fey/Liz Lemon but... seriously.)
There we go.



    Thanks for clarifying that beer/furniture thing. Also I checked out that book from the library. YOU'RE WELCOME.