My post of September 18 –with the quote about L’eclisse– sits on the page like a sour kind of parable. The Fat Man is America, you see. The lost 50 million lire is, according to your preference, a bundle of mortgage-backed securities or the $700B bailout. But Paulson is no Antonioni, though no one else wants the director’s chair just now. And not even in Bill Kristol’s sickest fantasies could Sarah Palin fill Monica Vitti’s toeless high heels. The joke really is on us. What’s left, then, but a slow shuffle down the street for a comfortless scotch or a glass of acqua minerale?
It sounds like a bad economist’s pun, but the problem, they say, is a lack of security – or, rather, having too much of the wrong sort of security. But if we’re looking ahead to a long decline of empire, perhaps there’s a bright side to it all. It may afford us leisure enough to take up old hobbies again. Time to start sketching flowers. No drawing pad? Here, use this scrap of napkin… Flowers, at least, are nice to look at and tend not to have strong opinions on economic or political issues. I can’t help but think of Montaigne in his cabbage garden. He said so many of my favorite things. One of them was this:
At a time when to do evil is so common, to do only what is useless is praiseworthy.
Which is nice encouragement, since it makes distraction heroic, and so many of the things I’m interested in doing right now fall into that ‘useless’ category.