Nature morte: the view from the faculty lounge

David Brooks’s New York Times column for May 23, 2017 (print edition page A25) begins with a medley of David’s Greatest Hits, harmonized so beautifully that it brought back a beautiful memory. Reader, stroll with me down Fifth Avenue that summer day in 1996 as my wife and I find ourselves passing the Mother Store of Tiffany’s.

* * *

“I HAVE! to go in here!” cried my wife, and in we went. My wife looked at the jewels in the front of the store and I walked on back and looked at the watches. One in particular caught my eye: a gold watch with a brown leather strap, a little larger than most watches but plain and simple and not at all ostentatious. What it was, though, was beautifully proportioned: a really handsome accessory. The brand was one that, in those days, meant nothing to me: Patek Philippe. So I asked the clerk how much it was.

“Seventy-eight thousand five hundred,” replied the clerk.

And my wife and I left Tiffany’s and continued on down the avenue.

But every once in a while, even now, somebody or something reminds me of M. Philippe and the relationship I never established with his métier. Today, for instance, the somebody was Mr. Brooks and the something was his magnanimously inclusive word we, as in

We have a college educated elite that has found ingenious ways to make everybody else feel invisible, that has managed to transfer wealth upward to itself, that crashes the hammer of political correctness down on anybody who does not have faculty lounge views.

Thank you for that, Mr. Brooks. You’ve made me feel Tiffany-worthy at last. As a token of my gratitude, what you see below is small and not nearly adequate to express what I feel, but here anyway is an authentic view from within the faculty lounge. Think of it as an allegorical still life illustrating the sound old saying “Time is money.” The watch is the one I actually wear when I leave the lounge and go forth to propagate its unsound new views.

Can you make out the brand? Here’s a hint: it’s a brand that a lot of us professors wear. Here’s another hint: it contains the word time and a suffix meaning quondam.

 

 

 

Sanctity

1.

I feel very strongly that as governor, I need to protect the basic expectations of privacy that all individuals should be allowed to have, especially in the sanctity of a restroom.

— Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina. Colin Campbell, “Politicians seek to score points after NC nondiscrimination bill.” Miami Herald 25 March 2016. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article68212887.html

2.

The word means “holiness.” Ultimately it derives from the Latin verb sancio, to make inviolable.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

— Exodus 3.5-6

3.

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I even tagged it #satire

— but I also tagged it #libertarian and #AynRand and #GlennBeck when I posted it to Twitter this morning. Those magic words were all it took. Two substantially identical Libertarian retweets have followed so far, each of them going out to many hundreds of followers. To be inspired likewise to buy a gun and/or an investment-quality Jeff Koons, click here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xik6PpXGvuw

Dwellers in the other than tropical will want to know that my kitchen light is the kind that’s accurately called a bugcatcher, and its guardian is a watchgecko. Junior citizens, the soundtrack is a TV commercial from the Eisenhower era, when haircuts like Glenn Beck’s were taken as the outward sign of inner non-communism.

Combat journalism: from the front lines of the War on Christmas

He would stand in the Turning of a Street, and calling to those who passed by, would cry to One; Worthy Sir, do me the Honour of a good Slap in the Chaps: To another, Honest Friend, pray, favour me with a handsom Kick on the Arse: Madam, shall I entreat a small Box on the Ear, from your Ladyship’s fair Hands? Noble Captain, Lend a reasonable Thwack, for the Love of God, with that Cane of yours, over these poor Shoulders. And when he had by such earnest Sollicitations, made a shift to procure a Basting sufficient to swell up his Fancy and his Sides, He would return home extremely comforted, and full of terrible Accounts of what he had undergone for the Publick Good. Observe this Stroak, (said he, shewing his bare Shoulders) a plaguy Janisary gave it me this very Morning at seven a Clock, as, with much ado, I was driving off the Great Turk. Neighbours mine, this broken Head deserves a Plaister; had poor Jack been tender of his Noddle, you would have seen the Pope, and the French King, long before this time of Day, among your Wives and your Warehouses. Dear Christians, the Great Mogul was come as far as White-Chappel, and you may thank these poor Sides that he hath not (God bless us) already swallowed up Man, Woman, and Child.

(Section XI)