The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A CHANGE IN EDITORIAL DIRECTION: You may not have noticed this, but there is a distinct lack of intellectual or philosophical content here at The Passing Parade. I worry about this sometimes; the writer in America should strive for moral and intellectual uplift, speaking truth to power, standing up for the oppressed, and dealing with the great social, political, and philosophical questions of our time. I am sure I could turn in a ripping good essay damning both the Republican and Democratic wings of the political class on issues ranging from abortion to Zimbabwe or dealing with the great moral issues of the day, and as soon as I think of what such an issue might be I’ll mention it forthwith, instead of wondering if the government mandated ethanol in my gasoline means that my car is driving under the influence.

Instead of dealing with those issues, however, The Passing Parade deals with such niche issues as just what kind of wood did Gepetto make Pinocchio out of? The story, by Carlo Collodi, only says that Gepetto carved Pinocchio from a piece of firewood, but firewood is not a species of tree, merely the designation of any branch unlucky enough to get caught up in the wood-gatherer’s dragnet. Collodi points out that Pinocchio spoke to Gepetto from inside the piece of firewood, a situation like that of Shakespeare’s Ariel from The Tempest, whom the witch Sycorax entombed in a tree. This comparison fails, however, to take into account the key difference between Ariel and Pinocchio: Ariel was in the tree—Pinocchio was the tree. So we are stuck in the same conundrum we started with and without a ticket to get us all the way to the end of the line. I like to think that Pinocchio was made from the cherry tree that George Washington didn’t cut down as a boy; George could not tell a lie and neither could Pinocchio, despite his best efforts, because the spirit of the great man would not allow him to. Experience is a great teacher, but if one follows a great moral example you can usually skip the experience, which is often unpleasant and leaves greasy grass stains on the knees of your trousers.

So I think most of us can agree that The Passing Parade suffers from a deplorable lack of intellectual seriousness. Having identified the problem is the first step to it, as most self-help books will tell you. I am currently looking over my options, trying to find a subject of suitable earnestness that I can display my extremely well-developed sense of moral dudgeon over. High moral purpose, that’s the new theme around here and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The Passing Parade will be relentless exposing the corrupt system that oppresses us all from one end of this our Great Republic to the other, from sea to shining sea. The dudgeon will start just as soon as something sufficiently outrages me.


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