Friday, September 08, 2006

Samuel Johnson

Have y'all heard of this guy?
Much of my time has sunk into nothing, and left no trace by which it can be distinguished; and of this I now only know, that it was once in my power, and might once have been improved.
How much of that do you think a good tattoo artist could fit across the back of my neck?

It is, however, not necessary, that a man should forbear to write, till he has discovered some truth unknown before; he may be sufficiently useful, by only diversifying the surface of knowledge, and luring the mind by a new appearance to a second view of those beauties which it had passed over inattentively before.
Now that's even better than the catshit anodyne.

To write is, indeed, no unpleasing employment, when one sentiment readily produces another, and both ideas and expressions present themselves at the first summons; but such happiness, the greatest genius does not always obtain; and common writers know it only to such a degree, as to credit its possibility. Composition is, for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.
XOXO, Sammy.

All joy or sorrow for the happiness or calamities of others is produced by an act of the imagination, that realizes the event however fictitious, or approximates it however remote, by placing us, for a time, in the condition of him whose fortunes we contemplate; so that we feel, while the deception lasts, whatever emotions would be excited by the same good or evil happening to ourselves.
. . .
We are all prompted by the same motives, all deceived by the same fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure.

And yet:
Mrs. Knowles: "Still, Doctor, I cannot help thinking it a hardship that more indulgence is allowed to men than women. It gives a superiority to men, to which I do not see how they are entitled." Johnson: "It is plain, Madam, one or the other must have the superiority. As Shakespeare says, 'If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.'"
Boswell: Life

Saaay, Mr. Johnson, isn't that a quote from Much Ado About Nothing? And isn't it Dogberry's line — Dogberry, who earlier in this very scene utters the phrase "Comparisons are odorous" and later in this very scene utters the phrase "It shall be suffigance"? And don't you, in fact, happen to know a little something about Shakespeare yourself? I say, Mr. Johnson, you had better check yourself before you wreck yourself. Irony really won't be in fashion until the early 21st century.

This picture makes me happy.


At 2:36 AM PDT, Blogger idler king said...

That sloth loves a hand.

No quotes from The Idler? I've considered using Sammy in the dissertation (and wouldn't it be fun to go from Sammy to Sammy in the book? I said in the book? No? No.), but for every two things he says that I like, he utters one that drives me to rude mouth noises. Wouldst thou join me? In rude mouth noises?

So, I hear your post-1800 class hasn't arrived at the 19th century yet. Sounds awful but it makes me feel like I have my shit together as a teacher. How long before you ask him if he realizes the 18th century isn't the same thing as the 1800s?

At 12:47 AM PDT, Blogger piehat said...

And wouldn't we all love a hand now and then.

Sorry, Idler, The Idler wasn't assigned. Yea, verily I will join thee in making rude mouth noises at Sammy Jo. (And were you making a sandwich joke there?)

As of Thursday, our post-1800 class has been assigned to choose one Song of Innocence or Song of Experience and read it aloud to ourselves and make notes on it, every single day. Apparently there is no way we will be able to complete the (as yet mysterious) assignment he has in mind for us if we do not do this. I haven't done it yet. Any suggestions?

At 5:04 AM PDT, Blogger idler king said...

"The Human Abstract" from Songs of Experience would be my first choice. That or "The Little Black Boy" from Innocence.

You know I'm too earnest about sandwiches to treat them in jest.


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