The Lovers’ Almanac 3 December – Wish Upon & Fast or Feast – prose by Joseph Conrad – A Streetcar Named Desire

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Do you get up for breakfast?  What are you fastin’ or feastin’ on?  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac

Dear Muse,

another favorite…
we are waltzin’
in the Stanley Hotel’s
McGregor Ballroom
i in a tux and boots
you in a strapless gown
at first, the room is crowded
and every man wishes
he was me
by the end of the dance
we are alone
movin’ across the floor
as if we have done this always

of course,
it is snowin’ outside
we go out on the veranda
and stand there embracin’
warm against the cold
and wish upon the fallin’ flakes

© copyright 2017 mac tag/cowboy coleridge all rights reserved

Fast or Feast

Dreamed we were in The Court of Two Sisters
The slow green fans turnin’ in the courtyard
The green napkins, the waiters all in green
In late mornin’, we order a big breakfast
Of seafood and shrimp creole omelets,
Fruit, french bread, gr

its and grillades,
Chickory coffee, dark and bitter-good,
And bread puddin’ with whiskey sauce
We have our fill, eatin’ till we are full
Breakin’ a long fast from food, for the night before;
Walkin’ through the Quarter till after midnight
Then feastin’ on love till first light breaks

What must happen to make this dream last
For this is the only break from fastin’
And the only feastin’ goin’ on
Is a feast of heartbreak

© copyright 2012 mac tag/Cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

The Song of the Day is “Up for Breakfast” by Van Halen. © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

 

Portrait of Clarkson Stanfield by John Simpson circa 1829

Today is the birthday of Clarkson Frederick Stanfield RA (3 December 1793

Gallery

The Battle of Trafalgar

Mount St Michael, Cornwall

Mountainous landscape with a hunter and travellers

View on the Scheldt, 1826, Clarkson Frederick Stanfield V&A Museum no. 366-1901

Tilbury Fort – Wind Against Tide by Clarkson Stansfield, 1849
Joseph Conrad
Head shot with moustache and beard

Conrad in 1904
by George Charles Beresford

Today is the birthday of Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; Terekhove near Berdychiv, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire; 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924 Bishopsbourne, England); Polish-British writer.  In my opinion, one of the greatest novelists in the English language.  He joined the British merchant marine in 1878, and was granted British nationality in 1886.  Though he did not speak English fluently until he was in his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature.  He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit.  Conrad is considered an early modernist.  Many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, Conrad’s works.  Perhaps best known for his novella Heart of Darkness (1899).

The book is about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow.  Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England.  This setting provides the frame for Marlow’s story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness.  Central to Conrad’s work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilised people and those described as savages, thus raising questions about imperialism and racism.  The most famous adaptation of the book, is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 motion picture Apocalypse Now based on the screenplay by John Milius, which moves the story from the Congo to Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.  In Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen plays Captain Benjamin L. Willard, a U.S. Army Captain assigned to “terminate the command” of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando, in one of his most famous roles.

Not much is known about any intimate relationships that Conrad might have had prior to his marriage, confirming a popular image of the author as an isolated bachelor who preferred the company of close male friends.  However, in 1888 during a stop-over on Mauritius, Conrad developed a couple of romantic interests.  One of these would be described in his 1910 story “A Smile of Fortune”, which contains autobiographical elements.  The narrator, a young captain, flirts ambiguously and surreptitiously with Alice Jacobus, daughter of a local merchant living in a house surrounded by a magnificent rose garden.  Research has confirmed that in Port Louis at the time there was a 17-year-old Alice Shaw, whose father, a shipping agent, owned the only rose garden in town.

More is known about Conrad’s other romantic interest.  An old friend, Captain Gabriel Renouf of the French merchant marine, introduced him to the family of his brother-in-law.  Renouf’s eldest sister was the wife of Louis Edward Schmidt, a senior official in the colony.  Conrad’s excellent French and perfect manners opened all local salons to him.  He became a frequent guest at the Schmidts’, where he often met the Misses Renouf.  A couple of days before leaving Port Louis, Conrad asked one of the Renouf brothers for the hand of his 26-year-old sister Eugenie.  She was already, however, engaged to marry her pharmacist cousin.  After the rebuff, Conrad did not pay a farewell visit but sent a polite letter to Gabriel Renouf, saying he would never return to Mauritius and adding that on the day of the wedding his thoughts would be with them.

In March 1896 Conrad married an Englishwoman, Jessie George.  Jessie was an unsophisticated, working-class girl, sixteen years younger than Conrad.  To his friends, she was an inexplicable choice of wife, and the subject of some rather disparaging and unkind remarks.  However, apparently Jessie provided what Conrad needed, straightforward, devoted, companion.

The couple rented a long series of successive homes, occasionally in France, sometimes briefly in London, but mostly in the English countryside.  Except for several vacations in France and Italy, a 1914 vacation in his native Poland, and a 1923 visit to the United States, Conrad lived the rest of his life in England.

Conrad died at his house, Oswalds, in Bishopsbourne, Kent, England, probably of a heart attack.  He was interred at Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, under a misspelled version of his original Polish name, as “Joseph Teador Conrad Korzeniowski”.  Inscribed on his gravestone are the lines from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene which he had chosen as the epigraph to his last complete novel, The Rover:

Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,

Ease after warre, death after life, doth greatly please

Conrad’s modest funeral took place amid great crowds who happened to be celebrating the Cricket Festival of 1924.  Twelve years later, Conrad’s wife Jessie died on 6 December 1936 and was interred with him.

Excerpts from Heart of Darkness

Part I

  • Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! . . . The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires.
  • Lights of ships moved in the fairway — a great stir of lights going up and going down. And farther west on the upper reaches the place of the monstrous town was still marked ominously on the sky, a brooding gloom in sunshine, a lurid glare under the stars.
    “And this also,” said Marlow suddenly, “has been one of the dark places of the earth.”
  • When a truckle bed with a sick man (some invalid agent from up-country) was put in there, he exhibited a gentle annoyance. “The groans of this sick person,” he said, ” Distract my attention, and without that it is extremely difficult to guard against clerical errors in this climate.”
  • To tear treasure out of the bowels of the land was their desire, with no more moral purpose at the back of it than there is in burglars breaking into a safe. Who paid the expenses of the noble enterprise I don’t know; but the uncle of our manager was leader of that lot.
  • The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
  • One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny.
  • These chaps were not much account, really. They were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more, I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force — nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind — as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea — something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to. . .
  • It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up it would go to pieces before the first sunset.
  • He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness. Not a definite mistrust — just uneasiness — nothing more. You have no idea how effective such a… a… faculty can be. He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even. That was evident in such things as the deplorable state of the station. He had no learning, and no intelligence. His position had come to him — why? Perhaps because he was never ill . . . He had served three terms of three years out there . . . Because triumphant health in the general rout of constitutions is a kind of power in itself.
  • He originated nothing, he could keep the routine going — that’s all. But he was great. He was great by this little thing that it was impossible to tell what could control such a man. He never gave that secret away.
  • When annoyed at meal-times by the constant quarrels of the white men about precedence, he ordered an immense round table to be made, for which a special house had to be built. This was the station’s mess-room. Where he sat was the first place — the rest were nowhere. One felt this to be his unalterable conviction. He was neither civil nor uncivil. He was quiet.
  • You know I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies — which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world — what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do. Temperament, I suppose
  • He was just a word for me. I did not see the man in the name any more than you do. Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream — making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams.
  • It is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence — that which makes its truth, its meaning — its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream — alone. . . .
  • Beyond the fence the forest stood up spectrally in the moonlight, and through that dim stir, through the faint sounds of that lamentable courtyard, the silence of the land went home to one’s very heart — its mystery, its greatness, the amazing reality of its concealed life.
  • I don’t like work — no man does — but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — what no other man can ever know.

Part II

  • In a few days the Eldorado Expedition went into the patient wilderness, that closed upon it as the sea closes over a diver. Long afterwards the news came that all the donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved. I did not inquire.
  • Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances.
  • Anything, anything can be done in this country. that’s what I say; no body here, you understand, here, can endanger your position, and why? You stand the climate — you out last them all. the real danger is in Europe.
  • We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember, because we were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories.
  • The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there — there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were, — No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it — this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled, and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity — like yours — the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to youself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you — you so remote from the night of first ages — could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything — because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage — who can tell? — but truth — truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder — the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff — with his own inborn strength. Principles? Principles won’t do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags — rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief.
  • It occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.
  • No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to superstition, beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze.

Part III

  • I think the knowledge came to him at last — only at the very last. But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude — and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating.
  • Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn’t touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of somber pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror — of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision, — he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath — ‘The horror! The horror!’
  • Mistah Kurtz — he dead.
    • Quoted as the subtitle of The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot
  • I went no more near the remarkable man who had pronounced a judgment upon the adventures of his soul on this earth. The voice was gone. What else had been there? But I am of course aware that next day the pilgrims buried something in a muddy hole.
  • I did not go to join Kurtz there and then. I did not. I remained to dream the nightmare out to the end, and to show my loyalty to Kurtz once more. Destiny. My destiny! Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of unextinguishable regrets. I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up — he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man. After all, this was the expression of some sort of belief; it had candor, it had conviction, it had a vibrating note of revolt in its whisper, it had the appalling face of a glimpsed truth — the strange commingling of desire and hate.
  • It is his extremity that I seem to have lived through. True, he had made that last stride, he had stepped over the edge, while I had been permitted to draw back my hesitating foot. And perhaps in this is the whole difference; perhaps all the wisdom, and all truth, and all sincerity, are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible. Perhaps! I like to think my summing-up would not have been a word of careless contempt. Better his cry — much better. It was an affirmation, a moral victory paid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable satisfactions. But it was a victory!
  • ‘His last word — to live with,’ she insisted. ‘Don’t you understand I loved him — I loved him — I loved him!’
    I pulled myself together and spoke slowly.
    ‘The last word he pronounced was — your name.’
    I heard a light sigh and then my heart stood still, stopped dead short by an exulting and terrible cry, by the cry of inconceivable triumph and of unspeakable pain. ‘I knew it — I was sure!’ . . . She knew. She was sure. I heard her weeping; she had hidden her face in her hands. It seemed to me that the house would collapse before I could escape, that the heavens would fall upon my head. But nothing happened. The heavens do not fall for such a trifle. Would they have fallen, I wonder, if I had rendered Kurtz that justice which was his due? Hadn’t he said he wanted only justice? But I couldn’t. I could not tell her. It would have been too dark — too dark altogether.
  • “We have lost the first of the ebb,” said the Director suddenly. I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.
Nino Rota Rinaldi
Nino Rota 1923.jpg

Nino Rota at age 12

Today is the birthday of GiovanniNinoRota (Milan 3 December 1911 – 10 April 1979 Rome); Italian composer, pianist, conductor and academic perhaps best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti.  He also composed the music for two of Franco Zeffirelli’s Shakespeare films, and for the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II (1974).

During his long career Rota was a prolific composer, especially of music for the cinema.  He wrote more than 150 scores for Italian and international productions from the 1930s until his death.  An average of three scores each year over a 46-year period, and in his most productive period from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s he wrote as many as ten scores every year, and sometimes more, with thirteen film scores to his credit in 1954.  Alongside this great body of film work, he composed ten operas, five ballets and dozens of other orchestral, choral and chamber works.  He also composed the music for many theatre productions by Visconti, Zeffirelli and Eduardo De Filippo as well as maintaining a long teaching career at the Liceo Musicale in Bari, Italy, where he was the director for almost 30 years.

 

It was on this day in 1947 that the play A Streetcar Named Desire premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City.  Tennessee Williams began writing the play three years earlier, during rehearsals for The Glass Menagerie (1945).  While living in Mexico, he kept working on a story about a dreamy, possibly mentally ill Southern belle named Blanche who comes to live with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s violent husband, Stanley.  Early titles included The Moth, The Poker Night, and Blanche’s Chair in the Moon.

The play’s depictions of sexuality and violence onstage shocked the audience, but at the end of the evening, the applause lasted 30 whole minutes.  In the New York Times, theater critic Brooks Atkinson wrote, “This must be one of the most perfect marriages of acting and playwriting.”

The play starred a young, handsome 23-year-old named Marlon Brando from Omaha, Nebraska.  About Brando, who came to see him at his home in Provincetown, Williams said, “There was no point in discovering him, it was so obvious. I never saw such raw talent in an individual. He was very natural and helpful. He repaired the plumbing that had gone on the whack, and he repaired the lights that had gone off. And then he just sat calmly down and began to read. After five minutes, Margo Jones, who was staying with us, said, ‘Oh, this is the greatest reading I’ve ever heard, even in Texas!’ And that’s how he was cast in Streetcar.”

 Marlon Brando went on to portray several iconic film characters, like Kurtz in Apocalypse Now (1979) and Don Corleone in The Godfather (1972).  He says he learned how to play Stanley Kowalski by watching boxer Rocky Graziano during his gym practices.  Brando gave Graziano two tickets to A Streetcar Named Desire.  After watching the play, Graziano exclaimed, “The curtain went up and on the stage is that son of a bitch from the gym, and he’s playing me!”

 When Stanley Kowalski cries in agony for his wife in the rain, tearing his shirt in distress, Brando dragged out her name in one long plea: “Steeeeellllllaaaaaa!”  It has become such a famous interpretation that it has been referenced in film and on television shows.  There is even an annual competition in New Orleans called “The Stanley & Stella Shouting Contest,” also known as the “Stell-Off.”  It takes place in Jackson Square in the French Quarter and winners get bowling alley passes and beer.

On writing A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams said: “A play just seems to materialize; like an apparition, it gets clearer and clearer and clearer. It’s very vague at first, as in the case of Streetcar, which came after Menagerie. I simply had the vision of a woman in her late youth. She was sitting in a chair all alone by a window with the moonlight streaming in on her desolate face, and she’d been stood up by the man she planned to marry.”

Blanche DuBois

  • The first time I got laid my eyes on her told the story I thought to myself, “That man is my executioner!”
  • Some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the one unforgivable thing in my opinion and the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty.
  • I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.
  • Tarantula was the name of it! I stayed at a hotel called the Tarantula Arms! Yes, a big spider. That’s where I brought my victims. Yes, I have had many meetings with strangers. After the death of Allan, meetings with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with. I think it was panic — just panic — that drove me from one to another, searching for some protection. Here, there and then in the most unlikely places. Then, at last, in a seventeen-year-old boy. But someone wrote to the superintendent about it: “This woman is morally unfit for her position!” True? Yes… unfit somehow anyway.
  • Whoever you are: I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Stanley Kowalski

  • Stella. Hey, STELLA!
  • You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re lucky, that’s all… To hold a front position in this rat-race, you’ve got to believe you are lucky.
  • Don’t you ever talk that way to me. “Pig,” “Polack,” “disgusting,” “vulgar,” “greasy” — those kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister’s tongue just too much around here. What do you think you are, a pair of queens? Now just remember what Huey Long said — that every man’s a king — and I’m the king around here, and don’t you forget it.
  • Listen, baby, when we first met — you and me — you thought I was common. Well, how right you was. I was common as dirt. You showed me a snapshot of the place with them columns, and I pulled you down off them columns, and you loved it, having them colored lights goin.’ And wasn’t we happy together? Wasn’t it all okay till she showed here? And wasn’t we happy together? Wasn’t it all okay till she showed here, hoity-toity, describin’ me like a ape?

Blanche DuBois

  • [to Stanley] It won’t be the sort of thing you have in mind. This man is a gentleman – he respects me. What he wants is my companionship. Having great wealth sometimes makes people lonely. A cultivated woman – a woman of breeding and intelligence – can enrich a man’s life immeasurably. I have those things to offer, and time doesn’t take them away. Physical beauty is passing – a transitory possession. But beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart – I have all those things – aren’t taken away but grow! Increase with the years! Oh! Strange that I should be called a destitute woman when I have all these treasures locked in my heart. I think of myself as a very, very rich woman. But I have been foolish – casting my pearls before….swine. Yes, swine! And I’m thinking not only of you, but of your friend Mr. Mitchell. He came here tonight, he did, coming in his work clothes, to repeat slander, vicious stories he’d gotten from you. I gave him his walking papers. But then he returned, he returned with a box of roses to beg my forgiveness. He implored my forgiveness. Some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the one unforgivable thing, in my opinion, and the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty. So I said to him, ‘Thank you,’ but it was foolish to think that we could ever adapt ourselves to each other. Our ways of life are too different. Our backgrounds are incompatible. So farewell, my friend and let there be no hard feelings.

Dialogue

Blanche: You’re married to a madman.
Stella: I wish you’d stop taking it for granted that I’m in something I want to get out of.
Blanche: What you are talking about is desire, just brutal desire. The name of that rattle-trap streetcar that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another.
Stella: Haven’t you ever ridden on that streetcar?
Blanche: It brought me here, where I’m not wanted and where I’m ashamed to be.
Stella: Don’t you think your superior attitude is a little out of place?
Blanche: May I speak plainly?… If you’ll forgive me, he’s common… He’s like an animal. He has an animal’s habits. There’s even something subhuman about him. Thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he is. Stanley Kowalski, survivor of the Stone Age, bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle. And you — you here waiting for him. Maybe he’ll strike you or maybe grunt and kiss you — that is, if kisses have been discovered yet. His “poker night” you call it. This party of apes. Maybe we are a long way from being made in God’s image, but Stella, my sister, there’s been some progress since then. Such things as art, as poetry, as music. In some kinds of people, some tenderer feelings have had some little beginning that we have got to make grow and to cling to, and hold as our flag in this dark march toward whatever it is we’re approaching. Don’t, don’t hang back with the brutes!

Mac Tag

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