Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Writer's Notebook - 7 July 2015

On Pandering

The 2016 US presidential campaign is seemingly in full cajole. This gem was uncovered in the Economist news magazine in the Lexington column of their 20 June 2015 issue:
"Rick Perry, a former governor of Texas, rode to the barbecue on a Harley belonging to a disabled war hero, accompanied by exNavy SEALS, to raise funds for a charity that gives puppies to military veterans."

Mr. Perry spent five years in the US Air Force from 1972-1977, three years of which he was a pilot of C-130 cargo planes. As the Economist journalist noted, his appearance in Iowa reached the level of performance art.

My wife points out, "I would laugh at that if I read it in a Terry Pratchett book." Indeed. Perhaps my next business venture should be a family game called "Truth or Pratchett?". One would vie with peers to guess whether a ridiculous quotation actually happened, or was rebranded from a Pratchett novel.

Quotes of the Day

Both of today's quotations are from the classicist Edith Hamilton, from her masterwork The Greek Way.

  • "The ancient priests had said, 'Thus far and no farther. We set the limits to thought.' The Greeks said, 'All things are to be examined and called into question. There are no limits set to thought.'"
  • "Before Greece the domain of the intellect belonged to the priests. They were the intellectual class of Egypt. Their power was tremendous. Kings were subject to it. Great men must have built up that mighty organization, great minds, keen intellects, but what they learned of old truth and what they discovered of new truth was valued as it increased the prestige of the organization. And since Truth is a jealous mistress and will reveal herself not a whit to any but a disinterested seeker, as the power of the priesthood grew, and any idea that tended to weaken it met with a cold reception, the priests must fairly soon have become sorry intellectualists, guardians only of what seekers of old had found, never using their own minds with freedom."

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