George Walford: Editorial Notes (49)

RATIONALISTS complain that less attention is paid to them than to the exponents of religion. Perhaps if a rationalist were to get himself crucified and buried, and rise again after three days?

MARIE Sara, a Parisienne and the only top-ranking woman bullfighter, has killed fifty of the animals The Brigitte Bardot Foundation regards her as a disgrace, speaking of softness, love and tenderness as a woman’s qualities. This suggests some confusion between actuality and aspiration. (Sunday Times 30 Sept).

“SOCIALISM” has many meanings. In the East German version it meant the state buying eggs from the producers for 40 pfennigs each and putting them on retail sale at 10. Recorded egg production rocketed, but no eggs could be found in the shops; the producers got them all by paying 11 pfennigs, to resell to the state at 40, each deal improving the statistics but worsening the condition of the eggs. (Sunday Times 30 Sept)

THE FROG TEST: Does the presence of an ecology comprising frogs demonstrate the feasibility of one containing nothing else? Obviously not, yet it is common to find believers in co-operation arguing that because some undertakings function in this way therefore a whole society can do so.

OUR WONDERFUL WORLD: Wilhelm Koppers says of some prehistoric skulls that they are placed “facing West, the part of the sky in which the moon appears to rise” (Koppers W. 1952 Primitive Man and his World Picture: Sheed & Ward, 7)

AN EARLIER issue of IC reported the discovery of Christian atheists; the Observer newspaper (28 October) has now gone one better with a conservative Christian anarchist. (It was Richard Ingrams, the former editor of Private Eye). Are there any higher bids? An atheistic conservative Christian anarchist, for example?

PRIME Ministers, like mushrooms, should be kept in the dark and occasionally fed on bullshit. (Sunday Times 22 July 90)

SURPRISE SURPRISE “Privatised companies do not regard improved product quality and better customer service as high priorities.” (The Times 12 Oct 90, reporting on a study by the London Business School)

WHEN forming opinions about the state of society from newspaper reports, remember Claude Cockburn. He claimed to have written the dullest headline to be published in the Times: Small earthquake in Chile; not many dead. Had he gone the whole hog and written: “No earthquake in Chile, nobody killed, nobody injured,” it would never have been published at all.

“WHEN the going gets tough, the tough get going” – usually, over the horizon.

“MANY of us like to do our hunting in the supermarkets, the same as everybody else”. (Leader of the Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia, quoted in the Economist Sept 20)

WITH the rabbi alone dissenting, the committee managing the synagogue had gone against all Jewish tradition by resolving, ten in favour one against, that future services should be conducted in English, not Hebrew: As the secretary was entering this vote in the minutes thunder crashed and lightning wrecked the building. Crawling out of the rubble the secretary corrected his entry: ten in favour, two against.

STUDY of the rubbish-heaps they left shows that 2,000 years ago the Aleut inhabitants of Amchitka Island had already destroyed their fishery. They killed off the entire local population of sea otters, permitting sea urchins to flourish and wipe out the kelp the fish needed. (New Scientist 29 Sept.)

RED EARTH Publications have undertaken to publish the detailed and definitive history of the British labouring classes 1700-1990. Reckoning it will require 1,594,104 individual books by an estimated 159,410 authors, they have so far produced 3 books by 2 authors and admit to some uncertainty whether they will complete the job. Contact them at [address].

from Ideological Commentary 49, January 1991.