Within the Octave

One looks through the drizzle on a day like this (we are passing through what I call the Northern Monsoon) — upon the glories of this world, from the incomparable height of the High Doganate, above magnificent Inner Parkdale, diadem upon this Fine Province of Ontario.

The glories, and the glorious of this world, which a retired signals officer just listed for me — Lord Zuckerberg of Facebook, Lord Bezos of Amazon, Lord Gates of Microsoft, in their sparkling might — Lord and Lady Celebrities of Hollywood and #MeToo — Dukes, Duchesses, or equivalents; Buffett Captains of Industry and Investment; the Marquesses and Marchionesses, in their Nikes — all the great and marvellously incomed! King Donald, Master of the Reality Show, to his grand courtiers, and jesters from Hannity to Acosta — what a splendid cast! How fortunate to live in such a democratic age, when even the talking heads in the box reach out through the screen to lick us! The Poets singing in the Supermarkets, immortal in their recording loops, or gathering for their Grammy Awards! The unemployment numbers down, ever down; the GDP up, ever up; and in the world at large, “Peace, peace!” Surely we live in times when giants walk the Earth; astride the giant of The People, the Leviathan!

Yet there is truth, too, in what Mephistopheles says:

Brief is the noise of Fame, the passing guest.
They all must die, the hero and the knave.
The greatest king goes to eternal rest,
And every dog comes pissing on his grave. …

(Or rather, Mephistopheles said, until Goethe decided that the lines had better be deleted.)

I gather there is some sort of election today, in the Republic of the American Dream. All very well, quite wonderful, unless it should happen that some party wins.

Don’t watch; don’t vote. Don’t eat Pringles, either.