Sunday, January 22, 2012

Read to us the funnies, Mayor La Guardia

South Carolina in 1786 made any
defendant found guilty of pre-
meditated mayhem subject to the
death penalty. Mayhem was defined
as 'violently depriving' another
person of a member of his body,
excepting the ears and nose. The
ears and nose were excluded be-
cause their loss only disfigured
the victim. Despite the severity
of the law, gouging flourished.

Judge Aedanus Burke, who worked
the Edgefield circuit, was ap-
palled by the number of one-eyed
men in his courtroom. 'Before 
God, gentlemen of the jury, I 
never saw such a thing before
in the world!' he once exclaimed.
'There is a plaintiff with an
eye out! A juror with an eye
out! And two witnesses with an
eye out! What a state of society
you must have in this part of 
the country!'

I never did suppose I'd bring Fox Butterfield's masterpiece on the morals of South Carolina to this page; but then I never did reckon with a candidate for President, rising from its malarial maw on the valour of marital betrayal. And such a candy date he is, to tinge our cappuccino with the nutmeg of this news, that indignation grates its pungent pod of righteousness in every froth of fancy down there still. A Party primary is what it is, a chance for the angriest to flourish; but this is where they flourish hottest, in chronic resistance to the Country. Read to us of Sumter, sir, and of Shaw.


Fox Butterfield
All God's Children
  The Bosket Family 
  and the American Tradition 
  of Violence
Knopf, 1995© 


  1. You sure know how to sock it to em ! :-)

  2. As I tried to establish in the entry dedicated to Tassos Paschalis, yesterday, on the upturned face, I regard these "fire on the beach" presentations as heinous impositions on my readers, but also on rmbl. The " em " in your comment are making themselves the fattest, flabbiest target toward whom any word of greeting has ever been directed; thank you for the comment but it doesn't say much, except that we're among those who are unwilling to do nothing. These people desire misery of others, Lucien. Can you imagine giving them a nation?

  3. Hi, I could not find your emailaddress, could you please delete above picture from me from your blog? please give me your emailaddress so I can explain why.

    1. I'm happy to co-operate with such requests within reasonable limits, even when a portrait has been widely circulated without evident restraint, and adapted here to unabusive purposes. The adjustment finds the face of Nicholas Ripoll standing in for a model holding a cup within a saucer, with obvious links to the textual metaphor. But the election is over and the better side won.