The Underground Lady [Page Fifteen]

It has often been remarked: Children do not love.  They merely care.

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As a society becomes more childish, it becomes more concerned with the family and its maintenance.  This reflects the inability of the society’s members to conceive of anything else as the engine or the goal of human endeavor.  Mature societies are confident in their parenting and other family skills, and hardly ever comment upon them.

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Intellectuals sometimes become annoyed easily because they have an inner life.  They are busy working out the sentence structure of their thoughts, so to speak.  For most people, thinking remains amorphous unless it is written down.  For the intellectual, writing is incidental to the real task of thought.

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The Underground Lady spends most of her time in used bookshops and old museums, and empty spaces long abandoned by a society set upon going only to the noisiest, most pointless places.

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Nightclubs should be banned.  They replaced the cafe and thereby made people more stupid.  The “bar” is America’s compromise—where, being neither cafe nor nightclub, everything is tepid, from the conversation to the booze.

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Political corruption flourishes in America because the people drink beer rather than real liquor.  No politician was ever corrupt in Ireland, for example, that didn’t get what was coming to him in the end.  Drinking whiskey is a good education for revolution—it teaches one about the potential for riot inherent in every crowd of strangers.

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Americans have to learn how to scare their politicians more, and each other less.

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The real reasons that America is not respected in the world today are that it is regarded as a nation of buyers rather than sellers, of talkers rather than doers, of fighters rather than builders, and so, of children rather than grown-ups.  Notice that this is a complete reversal, on every count, of how the world saw America a mere fifty years ago.

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The intervening time-span in the above, regarded by many Americans as a period of unparalleled triumph, was in fact a phase of precipitous moral and cultural decline.  All the popular measures for the nation’s “success” in America today mislead and misinform.

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Europeans who believed once that America’s decline would profit them, are learning now how wrong they were. 

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In order to regain its past levels of success and cohesion, America must ignore all the prescriptions being offered it today by its internal political, corporate and journalistic classes.  They are a large part of the problem.

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Detachment comes at an awful price, especially where history and one’s fellow countrymen are concerned. 

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The use of the first person “I” indicates nothing more, nor less, in my writing, than any other usage.  “I” is an elastic expression.

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I think that one should be able to offer the most awful assessements of one’s own country and be taken seriously by others who are willing to do the same, all in a ruthless attempt to get at the truth of the matter and improve the general welfare and alter the direction of the whole.  However, I am under no illusion that such an exchange is even possible in America today—this is one of the prime indications that the decline of a once great nation is nearly complete.  And so I left: I could no longer really talk with people there.

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Detachment is either ruthless or fake. 

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I have no grudge.  I am impartial about almost everything.

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Humanity has never felt freer than it does in Europe today, where there is the sense that one can do anything.  How appalling and insipid.

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The consumerist illusion is such than many who participate in it enthusiastically lose the ability to detect the illusion itself.  This occurs whenever people think they are being “self-conscious,” an impossible construction.  This is really how advertising works on people, especially “self-conscious” advertising.

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Commercials depict people that can only be described as pathologically happy.  No wonder bipolar disorder is so common in modern societies.

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Ex-patriotism cannot assuage the deeper wounds of the soul that drive one to such an extremity to begin with. 

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There is a kind of planned carelessness which isn’t planned.

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Knowledge and knowingness seldom meet.

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The Underground Lady is not fooled by the aping of her vocation—there is no type for the Bohemian except for the grounded.

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The third of the Urges comes in broad daylight.  He knocks on my door and runs off.  Sometimes he hides in the post-box and snatches a letter from my hand just as I’m about to retrieve it.  Later I find it, tucked between some old newspapers, of which I have many, or beneath a potted plant.  All these shenanigans are pointless.  He is the harbinger of meaninglessness and chaos in my life.  He is the doom that enters in at first through small things, like a sore neck, and forgetfulness, and the small uncontrollable spasms of a finger.  This is the true nature of mortality: everyday, local, squalid. 

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