03/30/17

Imogene

Imogene

By Janet James

    No, I’m not amused and I want to go for a smoke. I’ve been sitting here for two hours listening to nattering and bitching about how Johnny was caught by the schoolmaster for kissing Becky What’s-Her-Name and the trouble Mrs. Standish has with her cook. I wish they’d choke on their tea.

    When George and I moved here from the city, he assured me that I’d never be bored and that social functions would fill my calendar. Well, the daytime social functions turned out to be tedious exercises in perseverance while watching equally as tedious women get bloated on tea or tipsy on sherry. Whilst the evening parties are sustained by demure smiles and delicate conversations, like how many debutantes are coming out this year. Not a wicked book or a naked painting to be seen. The boredom is endless.

    Oh god – it’s nearly three o’clock. The rally must have begun already, but hopefully with the strength and conviction of the women attending, it would go on for some time. Maybe I could catch at least the end.

    If George discovered my involvement with the suffragettes or even that I smoke, he’d lock me away or pack me off to the country with some imaginary illness. But then husbands can be like that, so arrogant about tedious virtues. And with the company of these priggish biddies, I feel even more compelled to support what I’ve always believed. The rights of women – they’ve been ignored long enough, but I would find no advocates in this room.

    Oh, Mrs. Riddley, a woman of whopping proportions, is offering yet another round of sweet cakes, and after listening to her go on about the gown she’s having made for her daughter’s coming-out ball, I can’t help but wonder how many bolts of cloth were used, one dozen or two?

    I don’t suppose another feigned headache could get me away from this monotony. I’ve used that excuse for the last three parties. But oh god – can I stand any more of this drivel?

    Servants, planning parties, dressing up, pouring tea – that’s the best these women can do for excitement. What this bunch needs is a good scandal. Not just some maid, who’s become a fallen woman, and oh, how I hate that expression – but something totally unsavoury, rancid even. For that matter, I could light up a cigarette right here and then excuse myself with a sweet smile and say I’m off to the suffragettes’ rally. That would get some attention. Oh, but dare I? What’s to be gained and what’s to be lost? Self-satisfaction – yes, I would most certainly get that and my open support for the suffragettes would lend them strength. But, unfortunately the losses would be mostly George’s. His peers would not treat this lightly and aside from that, he may be totally extricated from his club.

    Ah, perhaps that’s too harsh. Two social disgraces in one day for George would be a bit much. However… “Ahem, excuse me ladies, I’m sorry to have to leave this little gathering, but I must be on my way. I am off to attend the suffragettes’ rally, ta ta.” I’ll light up another time.

 

 

10/9/15

Sticky Notes and Random Quotes I

pliny the elder

  “Man is the only animal that knows nothing and can learn nothing without being taught. He can neither speak, nor walk, nor eat, nor do anything without the prompting of nature, but only weep.”

-First century Roman, Pliny the Elder (23 – 79), lawyer, author, naturalist, natural philosopher, army and naval commander, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian, comparing humanity to the wonders of the animal kingdom. He died at the beachside resort of Stabiae, on the south-west coast of Italy, sixteen kilometers (nine point nine miles) away from Mount Vesuvius when it blew its stack in the year 79, and which also took out the nearly twelve thousand residents of nearby Pompeii, almost instantaneously.

 

“Fascism is capitalism in decay.”lenin

-Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924), also known as Lenin. Russian communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist, he was head of the government from when the Russian Empire was dissolved and replaced with the Soviet Union, a one-party socialist state. He remains an ideological figurehead behind the political theories of Marxism and Leninism.

 

 

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

mussolini-Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (1883-1945) also known as ll Duce, was an Italian politician, journalist and leader of the National Fascist Party, which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1945. He was the founder of fascism, a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, and venomously anti-liberal, anti-communist and anti-conservative.

 

 

 

“What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. naziism

                                                  (Political poster for the 1932 Nazi Party)

Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, regretted. Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing) … You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.”

-German professor after World War II describing the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s, to a journalist.

 

“Taken on the whole, I would believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause, but by non-participation of anything you believe is evil.”

einstein-Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German born anti-racist, socialist, agnostic, and Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist, who developed the general theory of relativity, also known as the geometric theory of gravitation, which describes that gravity is a geometric property of space and time, in a United Nations radio interview recorded in his study, at Princeton, New Jersey, (1950)

 

 

 

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries – the realists of a larger reality. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.”le guin

-American author and staunch critic of the publishing world, Ursula K. Le Guin, (born Oct. 1929) as she accepted the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th annual National Book Awards ceremony, in November 2014. She believes rightly that capitalism has turned writers into producers of market commodities rather than creators of art. Much like it has for most of all the arts.

 

 

 

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, hedgesand our banks destroy the economy.”

-Chris Hedges, born in 1956, is an American journalist, activist, author, Presbyterian minister and socialist.

 

 

 

“The general population doesn’t know what’s happening and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know. And as long as the general population is passive, apathetic, and diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.”chomsky

Noam Chomsky, (born 1928), is an American author, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, libertarian socialist, traditional anarchist, and political commentator, whose ideological position revolves around “nourishing the libertarian and creative character of the human being”.

 

 

 

 

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, pull back the curtains, move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

-Frank Zappa (1940-1993), American social critic, satirical rocker, jazz-rock fusionist, guitar virtuoso, electronics wizard, orchestral innovator, atheist, anti-censorship, and perhaps one of rock and roll’s zappasharpest musical minds. He strongly believed that the United States was becoming a “fascist theocracy”.

“I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a ‘temporary license to exist’—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn’t own you.”

 

 

 

 

 

10/31/12

Joyce Carol Oates on writing.

American author of more than 100 books – short-story, poetry and essay collections, novels, memoirs, young adult and children’s titles. She believes the most important writing quality is energy.

On being asked about writer’s block, she eloquently answered, “When a writer is trying to push his or her work, which isn’t ready to be written, it’s likely the material is obdurate, and can’t be easily shaped…. Much preliminary work, research, note-taking, sketches of chapters, must be done before the novel is actually begun. Novels begin, not on the page, but in meditation and day-dreaming — in thinking, not writing.”

11/7/11

Roosevelt’s Citizenship

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“Citizenship in a Republic,”

Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910