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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, September 17, 2012

At the Mercy of Idiots 4:Yahoos

In my earliest days of seriously reading on my own, which must've been during the ages of 10 or 11, my two favorite books were "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe and "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift.  I can only guess how that came to be, since neither of these two English classics were from anywhere near my own times.   Instead both works were already more than 200 years old, and curiously, they first saw the light of day nearly back to back -- "Crusoe" in 1719 and "Gulliver" a tad later in 1726.

I still have my copy of "Robinson Crusoe," or maybe just one of the several copies that I may have had.   But  its pages are so yellowed and fragile that I always hesitate even to open it.  So it just sits on my shelf, a favored old friend to be lightly and reverently brushed with my fingertips every 20 years or so.

I wish I still had one of my first copies of "Gulliver's Travels," too, but I don't.  "Robinson Crusoe" doesn't stray far from being mainly what it always was, an adventure tale giving all kinds of interesting details about being stranded for years on a small and otherwise uninhabited Pacific Isle.   "Gulliver," on the other hand, is a work that can be read on several levels, from a children's story to an extremely deep and involved satire on a wide range of human failings that are still very much at work, and according to Wikipedia, it was also often amended and supplemented, even before Swift left the scene.

I guess I just had the simplest of the children's versions, but I would just want to see, to make sure.   I know that all the satire just sailed over my head, and anyway at that age I was entranced mainly by all the really cool stuff, such as the part where a Brobdingnagian lady giant newly delivered of a baby nearly drowns poor little Gulliver when she showers him with a single squirt of mother's milk from her more enormous than usual mammary glands.   You don't see that kind of thing often in a child's book of any era, and I thought it was out of sight, as you can tell from how it has stuck in my memory, to the extent that maybe that is the only thing that I can remember clearly from that section of the "Travels."

But another thing that I also remember, though only in the vaguest outline, was a part of the 4th and last part of the book, which, among other things, has to do with some thoroughly hideous and evil beings called "Yahoos" that physically had some resemblance to normal human beings but who these days would be prime candidates for incarceration in supermax prisons.   And I vividly recall how a person, even a mere child, had to come away from reading those pages in firm and lifelong possession of the knowledge that the last thing one ever wanted to be was anything anywhere near as repulsive and unnecessary as a Yahoo.

Years later, then, when computers came in, I kept wondering why the Yahoo people chose that name for themselves, though I never made any effort to find out.    I just supposed that for some strange reason they liked the sound of it and that they had never cracked a single page of "Gulliver's Travels."   Otherwise they would know how badly they had slipped up in choosing that name -- a common disease of the computer pioneers, by the way, when it came to naming things, such as "mice" for those hand-held pointing implements, and continuing to call portable memory disks "floppies" when those early 5-1/4-inch discs, which indeed were a touch too flabby, were replaced by 3-1/2-inchers, which don't have any voluntary flexibility at all.

And now, with the sir-name of the current prime minister of Israel, we have additional evidence, if any had ever been needed, that Jonathan Swift was just as accurate in foretelling certain injuries that were to come as he was in excoriating the numerous ills of mankind.

Today, you have to wonder just what B. Netanyahoo -- pardon me, "Netanyahu" -- thinks he's doing.   Have numerous American Congresspeople and even a President or two  kissed his and other Israeli leaders' rings so often that this man has come to believe that he's the giant in a land of Liliputians, as in the first Book of "Gulliver's Travels." instead of being merely the worst of his namesakes in the fourth section of Swift's opus?

How can it be that even in their all-consuming eagerness to "get that nigra voted out of the White House at all costs," so many in this country are willing to overlook so completely -- provided that they know anything at all about recent history, which I guess can never be assumed -- how, more than anything else, B. Netanyahu's current actions suggest how devotedly he's been studying at the feet of one of his masters, in this case those of none other than the German Reichchancellor of 1939?

  In his eagerness to push the U.S. into bringing widespread death and destruction to Iran on the grounds of nothing more than the mere suspicion that Iran is trying to produce the same nuclear weapons that both the U.S. and Israel itself already possess in profusion, Netanyahu's incessant pronouncements of Iran being an "existential threat" are exact replicas of the numerous charges that Herr Schickelgruber made of tiny, helpless Czechoslovakia being a "dagger pointed at Germany's heart."   But in trying by might and main to get the U.S. to do his dirty work for him, Netanyahu is being more cowardly than even his mentor-from-beyond-the-grave, who at least never thought to have anyone other than himself to turn that "dagger" aside.   Instead the Fuhrer's whole point was to have a pretense to act entirely on his own, and by naked brute force -- only to see himself and Germany reaping the whirlwind many times over just a few years later, at a gigantic cost to nearly all the rest of Europe and large chunks of North Africa and Asia as well.

Why then is it that so many in this country and in Israel can be so complacent in allowing Netanyahu to hustle them down the same all too obvious garden path?

It's because though he has a special claim to the name, he has a lot of compadres in the Yahoo persuasion on this side of the Atlantic as well.  They share a big liking for the color of blood.


Blogger Katie said...

I've never read Gulliver's Travels- but now I want to! It sounds awesome! We have watched the latest movie of Gulliver's Travels because it was filmed down the road from us and the kids love it. It did not have any enormous mammary glands in it though. I will have to read the book now!

3:19 PM  
Blogger LeftLeaningLady said...

Wonderful commentary on the issues with Israel attempting to force the President into a showdown with Iran. Why don't we ever learn?

2:41 PM  

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