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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Catch-45


The Zulus considered that the greatest honour that they could give to a person was never to mention his name.  I draw this information from my childhood reading of King Solomon’s Mines by Rider Haggard - a book, I might add that I heartily recommend, not for its implicit and explicit racism and colonial assumptions, but rather for some excellent characters like Gagool the witch and for being a damn good yarn.  I, and the greater part of the world, am not Zulu.  Never to mention a person’s name is not seen as an honour, but as a distinct mode of contempt.
I am adopting this approach to the Orange Holder of the Post of President of the United States.  That arrogant narcissist sets such store by his fabricated name (seemingly oblivious to the fact that, in English slang it means ‘fart’) that to deny its use is obviously hurtful to his thin-skinned sensibility.  From this time, onwards I will refer to him as ‘45’ (as the 45th holder of his position) and I encourage all those thinking people who are offended by any or all of his spiteful pronouncements to join me in limiting the space given to his odious name.  You might look here about this attitude:
Thinking about the attitude of 45, I was reminded of the novel Catch-22 (which everyone in the world should read at least once) and in particular his resemblance to one character in that crushingly funny book, especially in Chapter 21, General Dreedle.
He is described as “a blunt, chunky, barrel-chested man . . . His nose was squat and red, and he had lumpy white, bunched-up eyelids circling his small gray eyes like haloes of bacon fat.”  He is also, coincidentally, accompanied by his son-in-law “That bastard” as he complains to everyone, “Everything he’s got he owes to me.  I made him, that lousy son of a bitch!  He hasn’t got brains enough to get ahead on his own.”
The parallels do not stop there.  One of the funniest-unfunny parts involving General Dreedle is when, during an army briefing the airmen start moaning with desire about the General’s astonishingly beautiful companion (!) until ordered into silence by the General, “his great, red domineering face . . . gnarled with perplexity and oaken with awesome resolution . . . his eyes glaring with disapproval”.  A hapless Major lets out an involuntary moan of frustration at something else entirely and the General’s response is to demand, “Take him out and shoot him.”
It is at this point that Colonel Moodus (the General’s son-in-law)
“stepped out diffidently toward General Dreedle with a sickly air of self-sacrifice.  ‘I think you’d better wait a minute, Dad,’ he suggested hesitantly.  ‘I don’t think you can shoot him.’
             General Dreedle was infuriated by his intervention.  ‘Who the hell says I can’t? he thundered pugnaciously in a voice loud enough to rattle the whole building.  Colonel Moodus, his face flushing with embarrassment, bent close to whisper into his ear.  ‘Why the hell can’t I? General Dreedle bellowed.  Colonel Moodus whispered some more.  ‘You mean I can’t shoot anyone I want to?’  General Dreedle demanded with uncompromising indignation.  He pricked up his ears with interest as Colonel Moodus continued whispering.  ‘Is that a fact?’ he inquired, his rage tamed by curiosity.”
Far be it from me to point out similarities between the bellowing of General Dreedle and 45’s fury at the interruption of his racist programme via presidential edict and his ranting against the judges who have a constitution role in the government of the country – but I think it holds. 
45 has no conception of the different strands of government and considers that his powers are directly linked to those of an emperor!  One only hopes that 45 will be restrained from testing his supposed powers to the breaking point!
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