Pity The Fool

I read a story this morning in which a particular actor was described as a narcissist. I’m sorry, but is it news to anyone that actors are self-absorbed? It all reminded me of a Mark Twain quote:

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

Mark Twain

Their lives could be regarded as one big selfie, as they ramble from one role to another, each time pretending to be somebody other than who they are. And the better they are at deceiving us, the more praise they receive.

Henry Fonda, who conned me dozens of times

At some point in human history, actors were regarded as a very low class of people, indeed. Little more than decadents traveling in the company of other decadents, riding in a gaily decorated wagon as they traveled from village to village. But in our present day, some of them have been raised to god-like status through our odd fascination with everything they do. It is now quite possible for a “major” star to become unbelievably wealthy by doing the same thing that got them ushered briskly out of towns on morals charges in the past.

If they play a role of an intelligent person, we impute intelligence to them. If they portray a brave person, bravery. But they are hoodwinkers at heart, and little more than that. And while it can be amusing to let oneself be bamboozled, it’s a good idea to know what we are doing and keep our heads when we leave the theater.

As a preteen I attended a Saturday afternoon matinee nearly every week, provided I could round up the 12 cent cost of admission. Most of these were “cowboy” films, usually accompanied by a newsreel and a cartoon. When I left the movie house, I would feel taller and braver as I strutted on my way home because I had temporarily adopted the persona of the hero, and didn’t let go of it when I hit the streets. Usually this had worn off by the time I finished the six-block journey to my home territory, but not always. I’m pretty sure it amused my parents to have a three-foot tall version of Roy Rogers or Gene Autry come walking in the door every Saturday, with no six-gun at his hip but tons of attitude.

I was, and I remain, a susceptible. I am exactly the sort of person these con men and women are looking for in the audience. A mark. A chicken ready for the plucking. A sucker to the end. Fool me once, fool me twice? … I am waaaaay past that.

King of the Cowboys, by The Amazing Rhythm Aces


From The New Yorker


The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

The lady Elizabeth was queen for nearly my entire life, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I bothered to learn what her role really was in the English system of government. What power she had came from maintaining an image, a persona, and she knew it. My own feeling is that she did it awfully well.

It seems that whenever the subject of British royalty comes up, there arises in the media a boring repetition of the game that is criticism of the monarchy followed by support for the institution. Back and forth. They never get anywhere. I find myself wishing that the Brits would decide one way or another and quit nattering about it. Elizabeth’s job was to be a symbol, and a fine symbol she turned out to be.

[To me, the only really interesting royal in the last fifty years was Diana, and that was because she was naughty.]


From The New Yorker


One of the joys of harvest time is eating produce that is grown where you live. Fruits and vegetables are never fresher or tastier than when the truck brings them to the store from a farm down the road. In this part of Colorado we can gorge ourselves on peaches that I’m pretty sure are very close to what we will be served in Heaven. Fruit so juicy you need to eat it at the sink, leaning forward to keep the front of your shirt dry.

And a nationally famous brand of sweet corn, Olathe Sweet, is grown in fields just ten miles away. I wish corn were slightly more nutritious because I would probably eat only that from mid-August to mid-September if I could survive the month without getting scurvy or beri-beri.

Blessings you can eat. Life is good.


All this fussing and dithering about if we should or shouldn’t stick ex-pres Cluck in jail for his offenses against the U.S. I have no problem with him going to the pokey, but of course I have never been one of his fans. The guiding principle that no one is above the law is all I think I need to justify my position.

In fact, I am such a vengeful sort that I think we should dig former President Nixon up and stick his coffin in solitary for a couple of years for all the bad stuff he did. Pardon or no pardon. Gerald Ford thought it would be too traumatic for the country to prosecute Nixon way back then. Baloney, B.S., and balderdash … I said it then and repeat it now. It might be painful to lance a political boil, but not doing so allows it to continue to do even more damage.

Maybe if we placed a few politicians in the juzgado when they deserved it we could improve the overall health of the genre, as when we cull a flock of chickens to get rid of those who aren’t laying eggs. I have no data here, and I could be only blowing smoke once again. But could we try it … just once … starting with “the Donald?”

In the Jailhouse Now, from the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack album


Lastly, a link to a thoughtful NYTimes article on the subject: “Would human extinction be a tragedy or a good thing?” Whatever your answer, it’s unutterably sad that anyone might seriously pose such a question.



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