I’m weighing whether to spend several hundred dollars with a hard drive recovery service to retrieve some crucial data from my failed hard drive. With this in mind (and after receiving a quote for $400), here are this month’s nuggets for the Toli Scrapbook. This time we have wistful zingers on the theme of war and a sense of ineffable waste – a sense which is certainly applicable to my current mood…
“And as I was going, I was just thinking how the war have spoiled my town Dukana, uselessed many people, killed many others, killed my mama and my wife, Agnes, my beautiful young wife with J.J.C and now it have made me like porson wey get leprosy because I have no town again.
And I was thinking how I was prouding before to go to soza and call myself Sozaboy. But now if anybody say anything about war or even fight, I will just run and run and run and run and run. Believe me yours sincerely”
Ken Saro-Wiwa – Sozaboy
A novel in Rotten English. 1985
We were the leopards, the lions. Those who will take our place will be jackals, hyenas. And all of us – leopards, lions, jackals and sheep – we’ll go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.
Delivered with gravitas by Burt Lancaster as Prince Salina in Visonti‘s Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) (1963)
Aureliano doesn’t understand “how people arrived at the extreme of waging war over things that could not be touched with the hand”. He is like Gary Cooper or Humphrey Bogart, unmoved by abstractions but provoked by cruelty, by the sight of victimization. This is the way that American isolation, another long solitude, ends in film after film.
The things which happen to men
Happen also to God;
But being of his own making
He can cope with them
Kwesi Brew – Flower and Blood
African Panorama and Other Poems. 1981.
“And anyway, what do you mean by ‘historical’?”
“Well, it’s like this war that’s coming… ”
“What war?” said the Prime Minister sharply. “No one has said anything to me about a war. I really think I should have been told. I’ll be damned,” he said defiantly, “if they shall have a war withought consulting me. What’s a Cabinet for, if there’s not more mutual confidence than that. What do they want a war for, anyway?”
“That’s the whole point. No one talks about it, and no-one wants it. No one talks about it because no-one wants it. They’re all afraid to breathe a word about it”
“Well, hang it all, if no one wants it, who’s going to make them have it?”
“Wars don’t start nowadays because people want them. We long for peace, and fill our newspapers with conferences about disarmament and arbitration, but there is a radical instability in our whole world-order, and soon we shall all be walking into the jaws of destruction again, protesting our pacific intentions.”
“Well, you seem to know all about it,” said Mr. Outrage, “and I think should have been told sooner.”
Evelyn Waugh – Vile Bodies 1930.
See also some earlier zingers