Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dickens and the Too-Persistent Truth

Charles Dickens. He knew stuff.
I was reading a feature at The American Scholar website (surprisingly accessible and fun, with jargon kept neatly in check) called Ten Best Sentences, and came across this one from Dickens, so very apt for these days we've been going through:
There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets. (From Nicholas Nickleby)
And I got to thinking about how the super-rich must wake up each day and be a bit disoriented, wondering why no one has come for them yet, why the Lexus hasn't been stolen, overturned, burned, or at the very least keyed, why the eight bedroom, five bath monstrosity is still intact and unsullied, why they haven't been dragged through the streets, why their "work" moving abstractions around will go on as it did before. Then the reassuring thought must arise: There will be no trouble. I'm living in a beautiful dream where there are no consequences, legal or otherwise. And, well, if things go bad there won't be jail time; we've seen that. And besides, the American people suspect the alternative would look a bit like Hugo Chavez.

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