I love this movement.
Both Eileen and I are feeling a bit lazy today.
I have been meaning to complain about the New Yorker ad I keep hearing on podcasts in which David Remnick claims that the magazine has the best writing in the world. Really? Really? How’s your Russian? I mentally ask this guy every time I hear this obnoxious claim. Good grief! As though English and American English at that were the only language in the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the New Yorker magazine and look forward to it dropping through my mail slot. But they are far from infallible or definitive as far as I’m concerned.
I figured out that I wasn’t confused about Herodotus being an earlier historian than Thucydides. I was confusing Herodotus with Suetonius. I thought I had misplaced my copies of Herodotus and Thucydides. But recently I was looking around and discovered my copy of The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius. Oh. It was Suetonius I was thinking of not Herodotus. Suetonius is later than Thucydides and writes in Latin. So i was correctly placing him later and in Latin. I remember a lot of this stuff by visualizing the books I own. I don’t own a copy of Herodotus’s histories.
This morning sitting in the cool air, I read the following in Montaigne:
“It is not perhaps without good reason that we attribute to simplemindedness a readiness to believe anything and to ignorance the readiness to be convinced, for I think I was once taught that a belief is like an impression stamped on our soul: the softer and less resisting the soul, the easier it is to print anything on it.”
from the essay, “That it is madness to judge the true and the false from our own capacities”
Michel de Montaigne 1533-1592
In it, he tells a story about Harold MacMillan and the De Gaulles.
They are meeting some time after the end of WWII. MacMillan says to Madame De Gaulle in his eloquent French, “Now that the war is over, Madame De Gaulle, what do you want out of the rest of your life?”
She replies equally charming, “I want a penis.”
MacMillan is understandably flustered. He notices Charles De Gaulle snickering.
De Gaulle leans over and confides to MacMillan that what Madame means is that she she wants “‘appiness.”