Saturday, July 22, 2006

BOOK: Angelo Poliziano, "Silvae"

Angelo Poliziano: Silvae. Edited and translated by Charles Fantazzi. The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Vol. 14. Harvard University Press, 2004. 0674014804. xx + 215 pp.

The dustjacket of this book says quite accurately: these poems are introductions to the courses on literature that Poliziano gave while lecturing in Florence. It's an interesting and curious idea — to get the students interested in studying a poet's work, you write a poem that praises the poet and alludes to his various compositions. I wonder if this approach really had any effect on Poliziano's students. Would it have any effect on me? Would I become more curious about an author's work if I first read a longish narrative poem about him and his works?

Frankly, I doubt. My main complaint about these poems of Poliziano's is that they are very learned; they are truly chock-full of classical allusions and the like, no deity is ever named by its standard name as long as any obscure nickname is available that hasn't been used yet, etc. Sometimes I felt that Poliziano was trying to show off his learning, to show that he could match the classical authors themselves in this area. The editor's introduction rightly observes that ‘he is the quintessential scholar-poet’ (p. x). Fortunately the editor provided endnotes whenever Poliziano mentions something from classical mythology or alludes to some particular work by the poet that is currently being discussed; but surely nobody really enjoys reading literature where such explanatory notes are necessary for every second or third line. (Footnotes with actual interesting content are different, of course — e.g. Gibbon's footnotes are justly famous and often great fun to read.)

Just like all the other volumes in the I Tatti Renaissance Library series, this one is bilingual, with Latin originals on the even pages and English translations on the odd ones. Perhaps if I understood any Latin I would have enjoyed this book more; but as it is, I can't understand any Latin whatsoever and was thus limited to the English translations. Thus I can't comment as to how good or accurate the translations are (though I see no reason to doubt that the translator did a good job), but I certainly felt that they aren't very poetic. If little else, they are plain and simple prose — the original, of course, is in verse, with metre and so forth, but none of that has been left in the translation. I don't see any obvious reasons why anybody would want to read these poems nowadays, except those with a knowledge of Latin who would be able to appreciate the technicalities of the originals.

As for me, mere praise of a poet, e.g. of Virgil (to whom the first poem in this book, Manto, is dedicated), doesn't really mean much to me. Poliziano briefly mentions all of Virgil's poems, including those that were believed to be his during the Renaissance but are now considered the work of other (unknown) poets. He rarely or never alludes to a poem by title, but instead gives a brief description of the subject of the poem (e.g. pastoral and rural life in the case of the Eclogues and Georgics), or a brief synopsis (in the case of the Aeneid). Poliziano praises Virgil a lot, but doesn't make any efforts to explain or demonstrate what is it that makes Virgil such a great and important poet; most of the praise is little above the level of ‘Virgil has a bigger prick than Homer, Rome has bigger balls than Greece, nyah nyah nyah’ (ll. 14, 23, 79–80).

Maybe my problem with this poem is that I'm not terribly fond of Virgil in the first place. In fact I've only read his Aeneid, which I found quite boring, much more so than Homer's epics. I couldn't help feeling it was all just a rip-off of Homer anyway; besides, I was intensely disgusted by Virgil's shameless efforts to suck up to the emperor Augustus and his ancestors. Underneath it all, the Aeneid seemed full of just the sort of ugly, boisterous, rowdy patriotism that the world needs so much less of; the sort that might appeal to some rabid neocon/PNAC devotee nowadays, but not to any decent person.

I really should try reading Virgil's other works some time. If they are about bucolic subjects, they might be much more to my liking than the Aeneid was; I like pastoral poetry quite a bit. I enjoyed Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar, and I absolutely loved Daphnis and Chloe. I think I also read a few Theocritus' idylls at some point, but I don't really remember much about them. Anyway, I hope I'll get around to reading Virgil's shorter poems eventually.

To return to the Manto; another thing I somewhat disliked about it is the fact that somebody who isn't yet familiar with Virgil's work wouldn't be able to make sense out of half of the allusions in Poliziano's poem anyway. I suspect that, as an encouragement to the study of Virgil, this has to be said to be a failure. If I wanted an introduction to Virgil, what I'd want to see is a nice and clear bit of prose, with a short biography, a description of the context in which he wrote, and a list of his works with a short description of each. Then would be a good time to start reading some of the extracts from Virgil's actual work. Instead of anything of that sort, Poliziano gives us his own pedantic verse, praising the poet to high heaven but giving precious little clear and explicit information about him in the process. I couldn't help feeling that these poems are somewhat of a circlejerk; that Poliziano cared more about showing off his own skills rather than giving an introduction to Virgil or indeed than writing something actually pleasant and poetic.

The second poem in this book, The Countryman, looks like a fairly typical example of bucolic poetry. It's full of romantic idealization of the rural life, simple, modest, contented, free of stress and worries, calm and serene, surrounded by the beauties of nature, etc., etc. Most of which, of course, is undoubtedly complete bullshit. Surely it must be obvious to anyone that farmers did a huge amount of hard and messy work, that they were often poor, cold, underfed, oppressed by various rulers and landowners, etc., etc. Perhaps it makes some amount of sense if a poor city-dweller looks somewhat enviously at the farmer's life — the farmer may also be poor but is at least surrounded by vegetation, not by the paved ugliness that is a city. But it's sheer hypocrisy when rustic life is idealized by an intellectual such as Poliziano, who surely didn't need to do a day's worth of backbreaking work in his whole life. If he really felt that peasants have it so good, what was stopping him from buying a farm, picking up a mattock and starting to work the soil? Still, if we manage to ignore this annoying aspect, the poem as such is quite nice; I only wish it were translated into verse rather than prose — this would befit such a bucolic subject much better.

The third poem, Ambra, is about Homer. Actually the poem starts by mentioning that it will be about Homer, but then immediately enters upon a long description of a gathering of the pagan gods, with a lengthy lamentation by the goddess Thetis about the loss of her mortal son Achilles (ll. 83–112). I started to wonder what all of this has to do with Homer, but then finally reached the point where Zeus promises Thetis to make it up for Achilles's death by ensuring that a really great poet will make Achilles famous through his poem (ll. 162–71). Poliziano also mentions a few legends of Homer's early life; his mother was “[a] maiden from the nearby island of Chios who in her union with a daimon from the chorus of the Muses brought forth Homer. Poliziano credits this rather esoteric information to Aristotle in his Oratio in expositione Homeri.” (Translator's note 56 on p. 177.) After an overview of the contents of the Illiad, the poem continues with an interesting scene where the ghost of Ulysses appears to Homer and urges him to write another poem about him just as he had written one about Achilles (ll. 411–31). A synopsis of the Odyssey then follows, and finally a few more lines in overall praise of Homer, his influence on all later poets (ll. 515–89).

Interestingly, Poliziano mentions that “the land of the Ganges long ago translated him [i.e. Homer] into their language” (ll. 581–2) — too bad the translator doesn't provide any comment on this. It would be interesting to know more about this supposed ancient Indian translation of Homer's poems. It isn't impossible, I guess, for the Greek and the Indian cultures did come into contact for a while during the period of hellenism; after all, Alexander's armies did get all the way to the Indus. But Poliziano refers to the Ganges, which is much farther east.

The fourth and last poem in this book, Nutricia, is about poetry in general, and particularly about famous ancient poets. The poem begins with some rather weird ideas on the origins and early history of poetry; people originally lived in a brutish and uncivilized state of nature (ll. 34–74) until finally the gods, “weary of the stupidity of those obtuse minds and of those hearts benumbed by a long sleep” (ll. 66–7) sent them poetry and song, whereat the “savage crowd rushed together; and marveling atthe rhythms and measures of the voice and the mysterious laws of poetry, crowding together in bands, their minds alert, they stood in silence until they learned how custom differs from what is morally right; what is the origin and limit of the honorable;”, etc., etc., in short all the basics of decency and civilization (ll. 75–82). It was “Eloquence” (l. 120) and her “sweet song” (l. 122) that led the previously savage human “to the beauty of the good” (l. 124). The first poetry consisted mostly of oracles and other such things and was inspired by the gods (ll. 146–245); “the first poetry spread obscure oracles abroad” (l. 199; but the same could be sad of quite a few later poets too :-)). He also briefly mentions that there are some poems in the bible (ll. 246–60).

I suppose these curious ideas of his on the origins of poetry are hardly worth discussing. Surely nowadays nobody doubts that every human culture, no matter how ‘primitive’ it may be, has some sort of poetry. Eloquence — being able to make a point effectively at a deliberative gathering or during an embassy to the neighbouring tribe — is also often highly prized in such societies. The truth is that progress in poetry went hand in hand with progress in other spheres of life; when the way of life of some group changed, its poetry responded to the new circumstances; but to say that it ever went the other way around, that poetry led the people towards progress, is surely ridiculous. Or does this merely mean that I have been indoctrinated, without being aware of it, by some kind of Marxist ideas that it's material culture, with such things as economy and technology, that influencs the non-material culture (including arts such as poetry), and not the other way around?

The remainder of the Nutricia is basically a long series of allusions to a large number of ancient Greek and Latin poets. Most of them are not mentioned by name, but by some other bit of information — perhaps for the right sort of reader (maybe for Poliziano's students?) this could be a charming kind of quiz: how many of these poets can you recognize? But not for me, of course; most of them are too obscure for me. Fortunately they are all identified in the translator's notes at the end of the book. Anyhow, this enumeration of the poets and their works is not terribly interesting, and most of them are mentioned very briefly anyway (as is natural, since there are so many of them). The ones that get more attention than anyone else are the two earliest and more or less completely mythical ones: Orpheus (ll. 283–317) and Musaios (ll. 318–39). Near the very end of the poem Poliziano also mentions a few modern poets: Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, and Guido Cavalcanti (ll. 720–7).

When you find more interesting passages in the translator's notes than in the actual text of a work, that's a clear sign that something is not quite as it should be :-) Nevertheless, here are a few interesting bits:

“But the work of the poet remains forever and lasts through length of years.” (Manto, ll. 338–9.)

“when the wise mulberry tree begins to put forth its foliage (previously it was wise, now it is ambitious)” (The Countryman, ll. 122–3). Seeing as I despise ambitious people, I very much appreciate his implication that ambition is incompatible with wisdom :-)

Ambra ends with a rather bucolic scene that doesn't really have anything to do with Homer (who is the subject of most of the poem); this includes the following memorable lines (ll. 614–6): “and as the tender sheep pasture, the huge Calabrian pig, with its obese body, stays closed in its fetid sty and with its grunts demands one feeding after another”. This would fit very nicely under some cartoon of a greedy capitalist or politician or some similar person.

“Sappho is credited with the invention of the plectrum in ancient sources.” (Translator's note 167 to Nutricia, p. 167.)

Pratinas of Phlius (a town southwest of Corinth) was the first to introduce wild satyrs on to the stage naked. Cf. Horace, Ars poetica 220.” (Translator's note 229 to Nutricia, p. 201.)

“Aeschylus [. . .] who was struck by a turtle falling from the sky” (Nutricia, l. 667).

Translator's note 217 to Nutricia (p. 200): “Sotadic verse was named after the Cretan Sotades of Maronea (fourth-third century BC), author of licentious and satiric poems.” I first encountered the word ‘sotadic’ in Richard Burton's Terminal Essay, which he published along with his famous translation of the Arabian Nights. It was obvious enough from the context that he uses it to refer to (male) homosexuality, but I couldn't find out then what the origin of the word was. Well, now I notice that it is also explained in the Wikipedia.

What to say at the end? Like many other volumes in the I Tatti Renaissance Library series, this one was not so bad once I actually forced myself to read it, but I certainly can't say that I particularly enjoyed it, or that there was much else to keep me reading but my sense of stubborness. Perhaps if you can read Latin, you might be able to enjoy the original texts; but someone like me is limited to the English translations, which didn't feel terribly inspiring. The Countryman is a pleasant enough pastoral poem, if you like things of that sort; the other three poems in this book are largely didactic, and a person with a classical education (again, something I don't have) might enjoy them as a puzzle (how many allusions to poets and their works can you figure out without peeking at the endnotes?), but a casual reader such as me would not lose much by avoiding them altogether.


The translator's notes to Nutricia mention a few curious (and obscure) poets, including:

  • Parthenius of Nicaea: “His Erotika pathemata, a collection of prose summaries of esoteric love stories, survives.” (Note 87, p. 188.)

  • Helvius Cinna, a native of Brescia, friend of Catullus, who gave high praise to his short epic, Smyrna, on the incestuous love of Myrrha for her father, Cinyras.” (Note 224, p. 201.) His Wikipedia article, however, doesn't give me very much hope that this poem is still extant, except perhaps for a few fragments.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

BOOK: Alex Abella, Scott Gordon, "Shadow Enemies"

Alex Abella, Scott Gordon: Shadow Enemies: Hitler's Secret Terrorist Plot Against the United States. The Lyons Press, 2003. 158574722X. xv + 352 pp.

This is another of those instances where my decision to buy the book was partly influenced by the price, not just by the subject matter: it sounded only moderately interesting, but it was quite cheap ($5 for a remaindered copy of the hardback edition) so I decided to buy it anyway. And the results, as I should have expected, are that it's not a bad read but nothing terribly exciting either. I should learn to be more selective in the future. (In fact I already am — this book is one of my numerous last year's purchases; this year I'm buying much fewer books than last year.)

The book is about one particular instance of Nazi efforts to conduct sabotage and terrorism in the U.S. In 1942, eight agents disembarked secretly from German submarines on the east coast of the U.S. They were selected for the mission because they had all lived in the U.S. for substantial periods of time before the war (two of them were even naturalized American citizens). They were given some training in sabotage techniques in Germany, provided with explosives and other equipment, as well as impressively large amounts of money (a total of “$160,000, the equivalent of more than $1.7 million today, all in fifty-dollar bills”, p. 49). Their mission was both to sabotage various American factories (e.g. they were provided with “the complete plans of American aluminum plants built in the Tennessee Valley before the war under contract by [I. G.] Farben for Alcoa. The technicians who explained the plans were the very same ones who had supervised their construction”, p. 48) but also to plant explosives in certain (Jewish-owned) department stores and the like, in the hopes of demoralizing the civillian population and also to (p. 22) “link the bombings to Germans so that the United States government would overreact, persecuting German-Americans indiscriminately. This would then cause, in theory, all Americans of German origin to close ranks and support the Reich by default. This theory had very recent historical precedent”, i.e. the internment of Japanese-Americans following the Japanese attack on the U.S.

They didn't get very far, however — the leader of the group, George Dasch, apparently never seriously intended to carry out these operations anyway, but mostly saw the mission as a means of getting out of Germany (p. 73); he reported himself and his colleagues to the FBI within days after their landing. (Hoover, the director of the FBI, later made it look to the public as if it was all due to FBI's vigilance, rather than to betrayal by one of the saboteurs; p. 125.) In this he had the support of approval of another one of the would-be saboteurs, Ernst Burger, while the remaining six were committed to the Nazi cause and so the FBI had to arrest them by surprise, one by one. The story so far is covered in the first half of the book, with a few interesting chapters about the background of the eight agents, their training in Germany, and also about the various pro-Nazi organizations that flourished among the German-American community in the 1930s (and with whom several of the would-be saboteurs had at one time or another been affiliated). Some of the technology used by the saboteurs is also described, e.g. pp. 45–6 describe how a triggering mechanism can be built using dried peas: you put them in a tube, pour water over them and close it with a cork. Slowly the peas absorb water and expand, eventually pushing the cork outwards.

Their arrest by the FBI was followed by a trial in which they were found guilty, with Dasch being sentenced to thirty years of hard labour, Burger to hard labour for life, and the other six to death in the electric chair. They were speedily executed, while Dasch and Burger were released from prison (and then deported to Germany) a few years after the war. Anyway, this trial is the subject of the second half of the book. One of the authors (Gordon) is a lawyer, and it shows in the amount of attention devoted to various legal details and technicalities. This part of the book was a bit more boring for me, but someone with more interest in the legal questions involved could probably enjoy it quite a bit.

There is in fact much that I strongly dislike about the whole legal proceedings against these eight would-be saboteurs. The public opinion, of course, with the irrational bloodthirstiness that always characterizes it, and its sanity now further clouded by the fact that a war had been going on, just wanted them to be executed as soon as possible (p. 167). So did Roosevelt (pp. 126–131), the then president of the U.S., and to make sure that no time would be wasted with a lengthy trial in an ordinary court (where the accused would be protected by all sorts of legal and procedural safeguards), he appointed a ‘military commission’ (pp. 131–2) consisting of seven generals; they were to carry out a trial, be satisfied with evidence that would “have probative value to a reasonable man” (p. 132 — a lower standard than in ordinary courts, which require evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’), and inform Roosevelt whether they found the accused guilty and what sentence they recommended.

Of course, the defendants weren't too happy with this kangaroo court, and they managed to get the Supreme Court to decide whether they should be tried by a regular court after all. However, the Supreme Court decided that (although the S.C. wasn't terribly happy either to see the president side-stepping the judicial system in this way) using a military commission to try a case such as this one was legal. The argument seems to be that, even though they hadn't yet committed any acts of sabotage or terrorism, they entered the U.S. in enemy uniforms (which they did so they'd be treated as prisoners of war should they be captured at landing), but removed them afterwards, thereby turning themselves into spies, unlawful combatants (p. 259 — apparently this term, which became quite notorious in the recent years, actually has an old history and a well-defined meaning), etc., to whom a hefty chunk of the Hague conventions do not apply (p. 261), etc., etc. They were (unlawful) belligerents simply because they entered the U.S. in enemy uniforms and then took them off, regardless of the fact that they hadn't yet injured anyone or demolished anything (p. 263). Apparently the standard military thinking is that if you capture an enemy in uniform, he is to be treated reasonably decently as a prisoner of war, but if you capture an enemy out of uniform, i.e. a spy or saboteur or something like that, he can be pretty much shot without much fuss. I can't really approve of that — surely espionage and sabotage and so forth are inevitable and crucial parts of warfare nowadays, and somebody has got to do these things, so it really wouldn't be fair to kill somebody just because he has been captured as a spy rather than as a regular front-line soldier. Besides, these agents hadn't yet done anything — even if they did come as spies or saboteurs, why treat them so harshly when it's clear that they hadn't really done any spying or sabotaging yet?

Incidentally, the full text of the supreme court's decision is included in the book as an appendix, but it's pretty boring to read. The other appendices are more interesting — one about William Dudley Pelley and his fascist organization, the Silver Shirt legion; and one about the internment of German and Italian Americans during the WW2. This is less well-known than the internment of Japanese-Americans, and also proceeded on a considerably smaller scale, but it happened nonetheless. “Roosevelt wanted all German aliens and German-Americans to be interned” (p. 272); but that would mean several millions of people, so the idea was abandoned as impracticable. “By 1948, the government had arrested and detained almost 11,000 German-Americans.” (P. 272.) As for the Italians, many lived on the Pacific coast and made their living as fishermen; “they were forced to move, giving up their livelihood and their homes. The Coast Guard used many of the fishing boats to prowl the coast in search of Japanese submarines. In the meantime, the boats' owners were paid a nominal rent.” (P. 273.) It seems that the U.S. authorities were afraid that, in the event of a Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific coast, these Italians would side with the Japanese (since both were axis countries).

One very annoying thing in this book is the large amount of errors in German words — as if none of the people involved with the book had even a vague sense of German spelling. And remember that my knowledge of German is extremely rusty, so it's quite possible that there are other errors that I overlooked. Here are some examples: “Deutscher Weokruf und Beobachter” (the name of a newspaper; this misspelling occurs on pp. 20, 61, while p. 66 omits the ‘und’ but uses the correct form “Weckruf”, i.e. a wake-up call); “Kreigsmarine” (p. 4; they got it right on p. 247, though); “Ordnungs Dients” (p. 31; Google finds 318 hits for ‘Ordnungs Dienst’ and 194000 for ‘Ordnungsdienst’); “Hackenkruez” (p. 204); “Larger” (twice on p. 222, but they mean ‘Lager’, camp); “Unternehman” (p. 237). They are sometimes inconsistent with the umlaut characters (e.g. “Kapitänleutnant” on p. 4 but “Reichsfuehrer” on p. 17). On p. 268 they mention “Articles of War 38, 43, 46, 50½ and 70” — I wonder what Article 50½ is supposed to mean.

Here is another unusual passage from p. 28: “He [Dasch] was given the cold shoulder there for his lack of professional degrees and his use of common German—his many years in America had made him forget the complex High German or Hoch Deutch.” First, note the misspelling: Deutch instead of Deutsch, and it's usually written together anyway (Hochdeutsch). Secondly, High German usually refers not merely to the standard (written) form of German but to all dialects of German except those from northern Germany (which are known as Low German). Dasch was born in Speyer (p. 23), which seems far enough to the south that his native dialect was undoubtedly from the High German branch. See this explanation from the Wikipedia: “The German term Hochdeutsch is also used loosely, but not by linguists, to mean standard written German as opposed to dialect, because the standard language developed out of High rather than Low German. This is based on a misunderstanding, and the attempt to rationalise it by suggesting that ‘high’ means ‘official’ doesn't solve the problem. In English, ‘High German’ has never been used to mean ‘Standard German’.”

When Roosevelt was informed that all eight agents had been arrested: “As always when hearing good news, the president was exuberant yet sarcastic, and very specific in his reply to Biddle: ‘Not enough, Francis. Let's make real money out of them. Sell the rights to Barnum and Bailey for a million and a half—the rights to take them around the country in lion cages at so much a head.’ ” (P. 124.)

Security measures during the trial were ridiculously exaggerated, as if the defendants were eight supermen rather than eight measly saboteur wannabes.

John Martin, a drunken British sailor, visited the jail where the eight saboteurs were imprisoned, offering to help with the executions. “Allowing him and his friends to shoot the men, he explained, would save the American government some electricity.” With some difficulty the guards convinced him that his offer could not be accepted (pp. 193–4).

“Hitler was furious at the failure of his pet project. [. . .] Ever sly, Canaris let his leader vent, and then he offered the excuse that the terrorists really had not been Abwehr [intelligence agency led by Canaris] men but untrained Nazis picked by the SS. This further enflamed Hitler, who screamed, ‘Why not use criminals or Jews?’/ Canaris would later use Hitler's words to spirit Jews out of Germany, and fom the grip of the Gestapo, under the cover of service for the Abwehr, arguing that it was being done under the orders of the Fuehrer himself.” (P. 207.)

To conclude, this is not a bad book if you find the subject matter interesting. People who are keen on the U.S. legal system, the separation of powers (judiciary vs. executive), etc. might well find the legal questions raised by this case exciting, but I was rather bored than not. But if you are chiefly interested in this book for the sake of espionage and sabotage, or if you are hoping to read something thrilling like in a spy novel, you might be disappointed (after all, the eight agents were all arrested before actually doing any sabotage).


Friday, July 07, 2006


V eni od zgodb o Sherlocku Holmesu slednji pripomni, da po njegovem mnenju ni preveč pametno, če človek zatrpa svoj spomin z vsemi mogočimi irelevantnimi podatki, ker bo zaradi tega prej ali slej prišlo do prostorske stiske in do težav pri hranjenju kakšnega bolj koristnega podatka. Tega sicer po mojem ne kaže jemati čisto resno, ampak kljub temu se mi je ta argument vedno zdel simpatičen.

Zato bi načeloma štel za dobro, če bi mi uspelo o stvareh, ki jih imam za irelevantne, vedeti čim manj oz. v kar največji možni meri živeti tako, kot da sploh ne obstajajo. In zato sem vedno znova po malem presenečen sam nad sabo, ko vidim, koliko irelevantnih stvari kljub vsemu vem, pa čeprav si domišljam, da si nikoli ne prizadevam prav posebej, da bi se poučil o njih — primer so na primer irelevantni podatki iz politike in pop-kulture, nad katerima načeloma vsaj na deklarativnem nivoju viham nos. Ampak očitno mi kljub temu uspe spotoma vsrkati precej podatkov o njiju.

No, to samo po sebi me niti ne bi preveč motilo; tisto, kar me šokira, je to, da pa tu in tam vendarle vidim ljudi, ki jim nekako uspe ignorirati vse to, česar meni ne. V čem je skrivnost? Kako jim to uspe? Kaj bi moral jaz početi drugače, da bi šle vse te irelevantnosti tudi mimo mene, tako kot gredo mimo njih? Tako sem bil na primer šokiran pred leti, ko je afera z Monico Lewinsky že nekaj mesecev na ves glas odmevala po vseh mogočih in nemogočih medijih, nek moj sošolec (ki je bil drugače vse prej kot nerazgledan ali socialno izoliran človek) pa je, ko je pogovor slučajno nanesel nanjo, čisto nedolžno vprašal: „kdo pa je to?“ Kako zavidam ljudem takšno hvalevredno kombinacijo ignorance in indiference!

In tako pridemo do tistega, kar me je pravzaprav spodbudilo, da sem se lotil pisanja tega posta: na nekem forumu sem namreč videl danes še en tak sijajen in zavidanja vreden primer:

Prijateljici bom verjetno za rojstni dan podarila sliko Zadnje večerje,ker vem, da si jo zelo želi. Mene pa zanima, kaj motiv zadnje večerje sploh predstavlja, zakaj se tej večerji reče zadnja??? In kdo,poleg jezusa so sploh še za mizo? Nisem namreč kristjanka in o tem nimam pojma, pa me res zanima.

Kako zavidam takim ljudem! Kako jim to uspe? Vrabca, saj tudi jaz nisem veren in celo življenje imam opravka več ali manj le z ljudmi, od katerih zlepa ne bi slišal dobre besede o veri, pa si vendarle vsaj približno predstavljam, zakaj se večerji reče zadnja in kdo še sedi za mizo. Kaj bi dal, da bi uspelo tudi meni doseči takšno čudovito stopnjo nevednosti o zadevah, ki jih ne štejem za vredne, da bi jih človek poznal. Nekateri ljudje se očitno zmorejo upreti takšnemu nenamernemu vsrkavanju irelevantnih podatkov iz okolja, meni pa to ne uspe. Vrag si ga vedi, v čem je skrivnost njihovega uspeha.

P.S. Impresivno je tudi to, koliko ljudi raje pošilja vprašanja na forume, kot pa da bi vtipkali dve ali tri besede v Google ali Wikipedijo in dobili tam odgovore na vse, kar jih zanima. Saj razumem, da je lenoba nadležna zadeva, ampak kaj ni več dela s pisanjem vprašanja na forum kot z enim ali dvema queryema na Googlu?