Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 13, 2018


It seems the rain will never stop.

Apropos of nothing more than a cold damp morning, good for not much beyond drinking tea, reading a good book and wondering about the world beyond the window, I picked up Robert Bork’s “Slouching Toward Gomorrah”.  It has all the makings of a wonderfully dark, thrilling and depressing (aren’t they all?) Dystopian novel: action, characters galore, plot.  Anything by Orwell or Dick would have done but they weren’t around.

About halfway through the second chapter dealing with the 60s I come across about a paragraph of prose from another book written by two survivors, two converted radicals, named Horowitz and Collier.  In this short excerpt the reformed (I will not use the word which presents itself, they are sincere.) fellows describe a kind of collapse of that movement toward the end of the decade.

What to make of that puzzles me, but, never mind.  Using their information, Bork writes about a kind of “diaspora” that the, pardon me, rats undertake.  He spends a few pages reporting on where they nested, and what they did; mainly in the media, the universities and publishing.  They became, he writes, the “chattering” class.  Oh, he also mentions politics, I think, and entertainment; that last in connection with the media.

I can’t see much in the way of difference among any of those categories.  Perhaps there is some distinction between universities and the rest.

Now I must look for the Horowitz and Collier book, which should be a “fun” read.  I understand it was published in the 80’s and has been updated.  There will, of course, be nothing about the recent disgrace in the Senate; the happenings there reminding me, almost moment by moment, of episodes from long ago.

I have a feeling that a necessary element of dystopian novels is some sort of hope at the end. “The sun will come up tomorrow…”, don’t you know.  They even fly off to another planet at the end of “A Canticle for Liebowitz”.

Well, that may be something for the book.  Certainly, it doesn’t seem that way in real life; today, anyway.

I keep thinking, though, of men in caves in Italy, or wandering around in Hippo, or Assisi, or, please God, somewhere nearby.

Before I die.

Because, I miss a lot of things that were good.

And I think of my poor, dear father on such mornings as this, defeated by forces he never knew were attacking him; the ones inside his head. And the others behind desks making promises they knew were lies. He’s the man I pray for on such days, though he’s been dead an age or so.  And I think of my older brother, only gone three years.  An exile from his family even when he was with them.  He didn’t want the old way, and tried to make his own way.
The one afraid to fight what he couldn’t see or understand, and the other no fighter at all, but a wanderer, and long gone in search of what he left behind.
And me, still here, still trying to bring it all back home; waiting for the door to open and the outside to be inside, the inside outside, and God smiling at the end.  And hoping I can stand the light.


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