Friday, June 24, 2011

A Few Lugubrious Thoughts for Friday Afternoon. . . .

- I would like to thank and congratulate the NDP caucus for their opposition to the back to work legislation concerning the Postal Workers. It is an important, if symbolic, gesture of solidarity which reminds us that there is someone opposing the corporate agenda of the Harper government.

-I hope that CUPW is inclined to challenge this legislation in court because in my reading of events this is a clear violation of the SCC decision concerning HEU vs the Government of British Columbia. It is, therefore, legislation that violates the constitution. Of course this government has made it clear that they possess nothing but contempt for the constitution and human rights in general. The fools and rogues that have supported this government will only realize that their rights have been taken from them when it is too late, just as many Germans only realized too late what a real threat the NAZI party really represented.

-I heard today that the Government of Italy said that they didn't have the monetary wherewithal to foot the $35 million bill to make the necessary renovations to the Coliseum in Rome. It seems that the 2000 year old building is showing its age and needs some TLC in order to avoid longterm damage so they managed to get an up-market shoe company to pay for the repairs in exchange for, what? Supposedly just for positive public notoriety. Really?! I am sure, given the level of corruption in Italy there is something else going on. And even if it is all on the up and up, what does that say about the government in Italy. As I understand it the Coliseum is the number one tourist attraction in Italy. And the government of one of the wealthiest nations in the world is not willing to spend the money to restore one of the most important architectural symbols in the world. Scary if you ask me.

-Today I sat by the Rideau River at a quiet spot where I used to take my dad when he was still around. It made me sad and happy at the same time. I read from one of my favorite books, Our Village by Mary Russell Mitford. It is a series of sketches of the English countryside that appeared in five volumes between 1824 and 1832. The pieces are so charming and written with such skill and affection that it made Mary Mitford nearly a household name for some years in the Victorian Era. I hope some day to write a book about dear Mary Mitford because there is just something so interesting and appealing about her and she, along with a number of other women writers of the early 19th century like Elizabeth Inchbald, deserves more notoriety. If you have never read any of Our Village, I highly recommend it and you can read some of it here. If you have only a moment read the chapter entitled The Cowslip-ball, it will give you a warm feeling.

-In the 1920s André Breton, the so-called Pope of the Surrealists, asked his contemporaries whether suicide as a legitimate course of action. Breton lost more than one friend to suicide and was always interested in this difficult question. Antonin Artaud, one of the most interesting of the Surrealist artists and one of the most interesting men of the entire century famously replied that he had already "been suicided by society." This phrase was from his now renowned essay "Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society." In it Artaud had written that "Van Gogh did not commit suicide in a fit of madness, in dread of not succeeding, on the contrary, he had just succeeded, and discovered what he was an who he was, when the collective consciousness of society, to punish him for escaping from its clutches, suicided him." I must admit that few days have passed since I was 18 years of age that I have not thought about suicide. Thus far I have never taken the plunge, so to speak. But I have certainly been suicided by society!

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