Curtis Dahlgren
January 21, 2015
Fiction vs. Non-fiction: "Life isn't all beer and skittles"!
By Curtis Dahlgren

"Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything," quoth Aesop (500 BC?).

AESOP MUST HAVE BEEN A SPORTS FAN. A few words about the playoffs: The Packers game came down to who had the ball last and I must say, after that last touchdown, I heard a few naughty words that I had never heard before (at least not in my little town). "Interesting" game, but it is a game – after all is said and done. As I wrote in October:

'Tis another Monday morning in America,
And the big news is from Comerica;
A morning after in Miami and Hotlanta,
And you can smile in Green Bay if you wanta.

But are the four riderless horses beginning to trot?
Is global "warming" all that you've got? NOT!
There's heartbreak and pain from Pretoria to Peoria;
A funny thing happened on the way to Utopia.

Two hundred thousand have died in Syria,
But
millions died in Ukraine and Estonia.
So how many bullets are flying today?
How many children are dying today?


THAT is a condensed version of the column, www.RenewAmerica.com/columns/Dahlgren/141014 – point being that as loud as it gets in Seattle, how many football fans have given a thought – or even two cents – toward victims of all the wars going on in the world (probably about 20 wars). If you think there's no joy in Mudville, or Green Bay, think what it's like in Mosul or Baghdad.

By the way, some people think football is too violent, but its vicarious venting probably saves us from much violence all over this country. I'm not anti-football; I'm just anti-apathy, anti-ambivalence, so let's get serious for a minute or so. Life is not a game. Here are some choice words from our literary heritage:

- "Oratory: sounds from the chest that are mistaken for important words from the brain." – author unknown

- "But man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he's most assured." – Shakespeare

- "Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?" – William Knox (1789-1825)

- "And the devil did grin, for his darling sin is pride that apes humility." – Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834)

- "[Johnson said] 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,' but . . he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many . . have made a cloak for self interest." – James Boswell (1740-95)

- "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." – Voltaire (1694-1778)

- "In the end truth will out . . truth will come to light." – Shakespeare (1564-1616)

- "Things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream; highbrows pass as patent leather; jackdaws strut in peacocks' feathers." – W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

- "Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these flowers." – Christ (31 AD)

- "One swallow does not make a spring." – Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

- "A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep or taste not the spring." – Alexander Pope (1711)

- "A little philosophy inclineth men's minds to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion . . . There is a superstition in avoiding superstition." – Wm. Cowper (1561-1626)

- "For the sake of a few fine [philosophical] passages, are we to be bullied into a certain philosophy engendered in the whims of an egotist?" – John Keats

- "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it." – William Pitt (1708-1778)

- "I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way [around] . . increasing as the power increases. . Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." – John Emerich Edward Dahlberg-Acton (First Lord Acton, 183-1902)

- "Truthfulness is the mother of unpopularity." – Publius Terentius Afer (190-159 B.C.)

- "Speak the truth and shame the devil." – Francois Rabelais (1495-1553)

- "The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold." – Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

- "There is something rotten in the state of Denmark." – Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Notice how many contemporaries agreed on the zeitgeist, the spirit of the ages. The cynical age we live in, in which the cynics all have megaphones, and Traditionalists are stifled, is relatively new to America, but not to the Old World. In fact we came here to get away from all that. The early colonists believed in both Faith and Reason. We are lectured about bullying but the real bullies have become John Keats' "egotists." They compare the best of science with the worst of religion and stack the deck in favor of license, nihilism, and phony "freedoms."

"O Liberty! Liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name!" – Madame Roland (1754-1793)

She died at 39 on the guillotine. During the Revolution, she had been a prominent leader of the Girondists, the French moderate republican party. She was a lover of the common man like Rousseau (supposedly), but in 1793 the more extreme Jacobins and Cordeliers expelled the Gironists and beheaded them. Upon being "convicted" at her trial, she stood up and said:

"I thank you for considering me worthy to share the fate of the good and great men you have murdered."

We need more Americans to stand up and speak out against powers that have been "corrupted absolutely." This is AMERICA, not France. We are a different breed of cat. Our forefathers, in leaving behind their families as well as the Old World, did not make an easy decision or live easy lives.

But now some of their offspring can't tolerate even the mention of God's name. Thomas Jefferson said that if a man says there are 20 gods or no God, it neither breaks a leg nor picks his pocket. He calculated that in his day there were a million believers for every non-believer, so no one was offended or confounded if someone said "Bless you" after a sneeze. Nowadays there's a list of banned words. You can't call Indians Indians, you can't call Pluto a "dwarf" planet, you can't call God "God" – and you can't say "men and women are not exactly the same"!

CONCLUSION:

"I want to know if you are really affronted or only pretend to be. 'Cause if you are certainly right down affronted, I am at the end of my tether." – Royall Tyler (1757-1826)

Life isn't all beer and skittles, you know. Truth is stranger than fiction. The whole creation groans, but the whole Creation also testifies to the non-fiction of the universe:

I believe a blade of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
-
Walt Whitman

"When I was your age, I always [believed in miracles] . . Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breaKfast . . " – the White Queen in "Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll

P.S. IF WE ACCEPT THAT SOMETIMES THERE ARE MIRACLES IN FOOTBALL GAMES . . .

YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!

© Curtis Dahlgren

 

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)

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