September 21, 2005

"real rowdy egalitarianism"

...what a great phrase.

Queen Shenaynay

I am reading a bit of Chesterton here and there, when nobody is looking. Here's a quote that keeps popping up in my thoughts, many days after the first reading:

"If anyone wishes to see the real rowdy egalitarianism which is necessary (to males at least) he can find it as well as anywhere in the great old tavern disputes which come down to us in such books as Boswell's Johnson. The demeanour of Johnson, it is said, was 'harsh and despotic.' It was occasionally harsh, but it was never despotic. Johnson was not in the least a despot. Johnson was a demagogue, he shouted against a shouting crowd. The very fact that he wrangled with other people is proof that other people were allowed to wrangle with him. His very brutality was based on the idea of an equal scrimmage like that of football. It is strictly true that he bawled and banged the table because he was a modest man. He was honestly afraid of being overwhelmed or even overlooked. Addison had exquisite manners and was the king of his company. He was polite to everybody, but superior to everybody; therefore he has been handed down for ever in the immortal insult of Pope:
Like Cato give his little Senate laws
And sit attention to his own applause.
"Johnson, so far from being king of his company, was a sort of Irish Member of Parliament in his own Parliament. Addison was a courteous superior and was hated. Johnson was an insolent equal, and therefore was loved by all who knew him and handed down in a marvellous book which is one of the mere miracles of love."

from What's Wrong With the World by G.K. Chesterton


Life is better in the South said...

Queen, Great Scot, Fa-So-La-La, and Sheildmaiden, I have posted twice and I haven't seen any comments from any of y'all! I don't think Great Scot even knew I had a Blog. But the rest of you, I'll finish you off next time I see you! ;)*winkums* Please visit, I'm to young to die, from a lack of comments~
Grits Gal *Life is better in the South*

Life is better in the South said...

BTW, your whole family is stupendous at Writing, GREAT JOB CAITLYN!
VISIT PLEASE! *smoochums*