Which one do you mean? There are so many, lined up against the pock-marked wall, their faces fatty and flabby and pox-marked, eyes screwed up against the suddenness of bright sunshine, a phenomenon that we had long since given up hoping for, believing that we had entered a state of permanent overlapping of autumn and winter; the seasonal clock winding on a few clacks of the worn out ratchet and then slipping back. Jerry and Dave guffawing as they must, as they have long been programmed to do; surely this can’t be real – a sort of intermission from the early days of television and at any moment Bill and Ben will chirrup their way on to the screen and all will be well. Nanny will arrive with a soft-boiled egg and nicely toasted soldiers, dripping with the best butter that unearned money can buy.
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Their trousers are round their ankles. What have they been up to? I do hope they haven’t been playing with that nasty, jumped-up Aussie . . . what was his name? Rupie . . . yes, I think that is what it was. An unpleasant ambitious sort of person, up to all sorts of no good tricks – very good at making unverifiable promises, actually very good at telling woppers. Question: how do you get the outcome you’ve promised your big friends whilst pretending to be impartial? Now, that is the skill of this game that we’ve blagged our way into – politics.
Question: how do you get away with impoverishing much of the population whilst begging for their votes?
Oh, yes, that’s where Rupie comes in.
Is that what they call a virtuous circle. I mean we get richer.
It was unfortunate for Dave that the wind that had filled the Australian’s sails for these last twenty or so years was flagging just as Dave got into power. It’s true he was still able to shift the blame from the bankers who had rather overstepped themselves – but we mustn’t get in the way of wealth creation for the few by regulating their behaviour or taxing their dubious casino transactions – on to the previous government.
Question: can we shoot them now? No, sorry, but we have something called the rule of law and they do have access to the most expensive lawyers in the land. No wonder they are guffawing, it’s touch and go, but they believe they can still get away with it. Like their hero, the slippery Tony B, it’s all about timing the exit, having clawed your way up into the super rich category. Come on, even Ken Liversalts has become rich enough to pay those clever accountants to find those perfectly legal tax dodges.
But let’s leave the last word to St Wally Benjamin:
‘In the appreciation of a work of art or an art form, consideration of the receiver never proves fruitful. Not only is any reference to a certain public or its representatives misleading, but even the concept of an ‘ideal’ receiver is detrimental in the theoretical consideration of art, since all it posits is the existence and nature of man as such. Art, in the same way, but in none of its works is it concerned with his response. No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.’
(The opening paragraph of his essay, The Task of the Translator.)
Actually I do believe that I could pick at random any paragraph from Walter Benjamin and it would be a gem.
And I don’t think Benjamin was a salesman.