Saturday, October 25, 2014

Plague notes: Lily goes bowling

My daughter is rewarding herself for three hard years working in the Japanese education system with an extended trip around the Great Capitals. Since Paris, her guide has been Randy Newman's "Great Nations of Europe" (she's a well-brought-up and dutiful daughter, our Lily).
A few days ago she went to a little bowling alley in Brooklyn which has now gained a certain notoriety.
Which makes the last verse of the song (from 3:00) eerily prescient...

Not that Randy is the only, or the first, with that gift:  

Gare du Midi   
A nondescript express in from the South,
Crowds round the ticket barrier, a face

To welcome which the mayor has not contrived

Bugles or braid: something about the mouth

Distracts the stray look with  
alarm and pity.

Snow is falling, 
Clutching a little case,

He walks out briskly to infect a city

Whose terrible future may have just arrived.

                                         W.H. Auden (1938)

Note: While Auden and Newman's apocalyptic tone is attractively horrifying, the inefficiencies of the present contagion suggest it's unlikely it will be our terrible future (this despite the Australian government's strange reluctance to join in the effort to nip it in its West African bud). 
The fingerpointing and scapegoating of Fox News and its ilk—at times almost implying that the brave and unfortunate Dr Spencer is some sort of bio-terrorist, and accusing the US president of being personally culpable for the panic they themselves are inciting—is particularly disgusting, even by their disgraceful standards.    

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