Ten years of “Tzurezuregoosing”

(This column has been recycled, against the threat of climate change, from the age before the Batflu, in line with the proposed nitrogen cutbacks of Justin Trudeau.)


Today is again Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael and all the Angels. On this day, precisely ten years ago, I wrote my first “Essay In Idleness,” on the Internet, citing the detached, mountain-dwelling, 14th-century Japanese monk Kenko, his Tsurezuregusa, as my model. I acknowledged that I would no longer be appearing in print, in my native Canada.

It happened that my last “mainstream meejah” employer had found enough money in his budget to make me go away. It hadn’t been his first retirement offer; but as the money would be seized by competing government departments (long boring story) it was not the principal issue. Rather, I had tired of being ever on the defensive, against sleaze and liars; and having people promise to defend me, who would disappear when required.

Perhaps I shouldn’t let the devils shut me up so easily, I thought; it seemed I still had many loyal readers. But then I thought again. My columns in Canadian newspapers were “politically imperfect” — I was frequently accused of expressing “conservative” views — and as one complainant to the Ontario Press Council alleged, I “openly admitted to being a Catholic.” (They let me off on that one, however, though I pled Guilty.)

Over my last decade in the “respectable” meejah (ah, the irony), I had attracted more than nine hundred formal complaints of one sort or another, tying my editors up in red tape. (This is a longstanding Leftist tactic: “the process is the punishment.”) Verily, I could understand why those editors would want to shake me off, even if they sympathized with my opinions.

That they didn’t, could be guessed from the number of newspapers that carried my column. It shrank from more than a dozen to just the one that was contractually stuck with me. But that last paper was in Ottawa, “the city fun forgot,” where “liberals and progressives” are most lawyered up.

The world is as the world is, and one shouldn’t bemoan it, too often. We are commanded by the Lord, to deal with it for a season. Shrieking injustice, lewd wickedness, and vicious tyranny are commonplace down here, and it isn’t always possible to hide from them. In boxing terms, offering to resist is “leading with the chin.”

By contrast, the best way to deal with the Devil is not to antagonize him openly. It is to afflict him with poetry and laughter. Such whimsicality triggers all of his “efficiency experts.”

As gentle reader may have discovered, I particularly enjoy triggering Satan’s little minions. The conceit of writing these brief Essays, as if with an Oriental brush, then posting them on the walls of my cabin in the mountains, is perhaps too ambitious. For often I descend, downhill, as if drawn towards squalor.

But now it is irretrievably ten years later. The end is surely near.