“Halberdier Shanks, sir, has put in a request for leave,” said Rawkes.
“But he must know it's no use.”
“Urgent compassionate grounds, sir.”
“What are they, sergeant-major?”
“Won't say, sir. Insists, as is his right, on seeing Company Commander in private, sir.”
“Very well. He's a good man, is he?”
“One of the best, sir. That is to say of the militiamen.”
Halbberdier Shanks was marched up. Guy knew him well, a handsome, capable, willing man.
“Well, Shanks, what is the trouble?'
“Please, sir, it's the competition. I must be at Blackpool tomorrow night. I've promised. My girl will never forgive me if I'm not.”
“Competition for what, Shanks?'
“The slow valse, sir. We've practiced together three years now. We won at Salford last year. We'll win at Blackpool, sir. I know we will. And I'll be back in the two days, sir.”
"Shanks, do you realize that France has fallen? That there is every likelihood of the invasion of England? That the whole railway of the country is disorganized for the Dunkirk men? That our brigade is on two hours' notice for active service? Do you?"
“Then how can you come to me with this absurd application?”
“But, sir, we've been practicing three years. We got a first at Salford last year. I can't give up now, sir.”
Waugh recognized that it's never about the abstract big cause; it's always about the concrete personal desire. It's not about you, it's always about me, regardless how desperate circumstances might be for any number of yous.
No civilized person will argue that the terrorist attack in Paris Friday night is nothing less than a tragedy. But unless you're family of or friends with the victims, or within physical proximity, the attack imparted no visceral discomfort. Yes, in a vague sort of way you empathize with the victims; you're also thankful your body wasn't one of the count. Still, no appointments were missed, no sleep was sacrificed, no meals were forsaken.
On the other hand, had you been suffering heartbreak -- your lover jilted you; a loved one recently passed -- at the time of the attack appointments would have been missed, sleep would have been sacrificed, meals would have been forsaken. Not because of what occurred in Paris, mind you, the two miseries are hardly conflated. The misery in Paris would be meaningless until your personal misery was relieved.
The ever politically opportunistic prevaricator Al Gore (That this man accumulated wealth measured in hundreds of millions of dollars is a travesty and a tragedy. Every million of it is owed to political patronage and coercion.Gore is crony capitalism incarnate.) embraces this concept as easily as everyone else. One-hundred-and-thirty-two Parisians and sundry tourists lie dead Friday night, but Gore had bigger fish to fry on Saturday. In the grand scheme of world events as they coalesce in Gore's mind,132 murder victims are a trifle compared to the threat of ocean levels rising three centimeters over the next 300 years.Therefore, no rest for the weary. Gore and his dreary band of useful (or is it useless? I'm never sure) idiots pressed forward to proselytize their global warming/climate religion. For no fewer than five hours, Gore et al spread the gospel in the same burg where a massacre occurred just hours earlier. A few of the idiots suspected the timing was sub-optimal .Potential recruits might just be preoccupied and return on investment might just be too low. Better to wait until potential converts are more receptive. So the global warming/climate change acolytes turned down the rhetoric and turned up the waterworks. "Out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris, we have decided to suspend our broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth," read a statement on the webcast's site.
Solidarity apparently includes copious amounts of celebrity prayer: Hugh Jackman Tweeted, “Sending prayers and love for our dear friends in Paris.” Pink got her thumbs working between prayers to Tweet, “My prayers are with the people in Paris tonight. I pray for your safety and for your comfort.” LeBron James was more matter of fact and more emphatic.He Tweeted, “Prayers sent to all the families!” Kevin Spacey Tweeted, “My thoughts and prayer are with everyone in Paris.Stay together – stay strong.” Caitlyn Jenner put transgendering aside for the moment to Tweet, “I'm praying for all of you in Paris.” Jenner's ex, Kris, implored everyone who read her Tweet to “Please pray for Paris tonight.”
I'm unsure which is more off-putting – the repetitiveness or the vacuity of it all.
Does anyone endowed with a smearing of sentience think any celebrity dropped to a knee hands clasped and prayed? And if one did, what are the odds he or she prayed to a conventional Western deity? Low, I suspect. More likely our pious celebrity demonstratively emoted to air, to oneself, and, most importantly, to everyone within earshot, though I'd pass on even that wager.
It's all talk and nothing is cheaper than talk. No one “stands with” or “supports” strangers if it means bearing an inconvenience or incurring an expense. Tweets are nothing more than an avenue to drive brand recognition to an unthinking rabble. "Yes, the massacre in Paris is a tragedy not of my doing, but if I can leverage what has already occurred to promote the brand of my own design, what's the harm?"
SNL actress Cecily Strong, in the opening monologue this past Saturday, claimed to speak for the cast. Said Strong, "Our love and support is with everyone there tonight. We stand with you." She neglected to verbalize the unspoken addendum: That is, we "love," "support," and "stand with" as long as love, support, and stand with are sentiment twaddle devoid of obligation.
When something goes without saying, it's best left unsaid. On the other hand, if you're willing to pipe up with the unexpected and admit that you're there in words only, pipe up, by all means.