“…The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are as starkly sober as so many convicts in the death-house, but the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets to in the wind. Pithecanthropus erectus ( (ape-human that stands upright) was a teetotaler, but the angels, you may be sure, know what is proper at 5 p.m.
All this is so obvious that I marvel that no utopian has ever proposed to abolish all the sorrows of the world by the simple device of getting and keeping the whole human race gently stewed. I do not say drunk, remember; I say simply gently stewed – and apologize, as in duty bound, for not knowing hot to describe the state in a more seemly phrase. The man who is in it is a man who has put all of his best qualities into his showcase. He is not only immensely more amiable than the cold sober man; he is immeasurably more decent. He reacts to all situations in an expansive, generous and humane manner. He has become more liberal, more tolerant, more kind. He is a better citizen, husband, father, friend. The enterprises that make human life on this earth uncomfortable and unsafe are never launched by such men. They are not makers of wars; they do not rob and oppress anyone. All the great villainies of history have been perpetrated by sober men, and chiefly by teetotalers. But all the charming and beautiful things, from the Song of Songs to terrapin a’ la Maryland, and from the nine Beethoven symphonies to the Martini cocktail, have been given to humanity by men who, when the hour came, turned from well water to something with color to it, and more in it than mere oxygen and hydrogen.” ~ H.L. Mencken – from “A Mencken Chrestomathy”
Perhaps Mr. Mencken was onto something when he wrote the above back in 1924. I sometimes think that nearly 100 years forward now, that men and women have progressed to the point, particularly here in America (for this is where I live and can’t speak of another country) that the general population is, for the most part, beyond the help that a fifth of Scotch might afford.
Apathetic, uninvolved, uninformed, undemanding of their “leaders” and seemingly very willing to put up with any and all forms of guano they’re presented with…it’s dark days in America circa 2017.
Every blessed soul in America is “busy”. Too busy, apparently, to take a wisp of a scent of what is going on around them.
A POTUS threatening to literally destroy another country; NATO Launching a New Black Sea Force to Target Russia; 751 Bombs Dropped in Afghanistan in September; more than 3,000 troops will be ‘combat duty’ in Afghanistan; our government allocating more than $700 Billion for military spending while many of our fellow citizens are homeless, sick and lacking the basics of free healthcare that most all other nations provide their citizens – the insanity goes on and on and on.
And it’s not just Washington’s drooling for war that is most depraved. We have Monsanto looking for a way around California’s labeling of glyphosate as a probably carcinogen; “no refusal” traffic stops soon to encompass more than alcohol testing; a country where the California Attorney general has to sue Gatorade for $300K for teaching children to “avoid water”; even to the bizarre yet believable, where the US government has experimented with controlling hurricanes – and our personal favorite for today – Trump Brags of Higher IQ Than Tillerson and Proposes Taking Test to Prove It – it’s one bag of dung after another, so much so that we need to twist Mr. Mencken’s thoughts a bit and say that the average American, circa 2017, NEEDS to be “gently stewed” just to be able to withstand the amount of horseshit he/she/ze faces each day.
One turns, as is completely understandable when faced with the daily onslaught of bullshit, seeking sane and greener pastures – no matter where they may be.
And as the mainstream media continues to pound Washington’s drums for war with (insert country of choice here) but with particular relish to getting it on with Russia, we ask ourselves why. Given that Washington and the mainstream media that supports its depravity continues to smear Russia, a country where 5000 churches and 10,000 clergy has been added in the last six years, and where its leader has said:
Without the moral values that are rooted in Christianity and other world religions, without rules and moral values which have formed and been developed over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity.
AND RUSSIA THINKS IT IS RIGHT AND NATURAL TO DEFEND AND PRESERVE THESE MORAL VALUES.
…Evidently, such regard for human dignity is beyond the grasp of the stench currently running the show in America.
Yet when all is said and done, and if fortunate enough to be cognizant on their death bed, will they look back with pride on the misery they heaped upon innocent souls, or reflect and think…if only they had listened to that which beats in us all, some to a lesser or greater degree…our love of humanity that we all are born with – some choosing to honor it – some sadly choosing to bury it.
As Beethoven was a particular favorite of Mr. Mencken, and certainly one of ours here at the Asylum, if not our all-time favorite – we offer what is, in our opinion, the most beautiful piece of music ever written – the 3rd movement from his 9th symphony. If not only Americans but every living soul could sit quietly and listen, and let the essence of the music into their heart and soul – there would be no need to ever be “gently stewed” to do what is right by one another.
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 – Movement 3 – Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Photo credit (front page): http://www.unsplash.com/@impatrickt
Photo credit (Mr. Mencken): http://www.flickr.com/photos/union-square
Photo credit (Beethoven): Joseph Willibrord Mähler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons