Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Week in Seven Words #334

A waterfall of bird chatter in the hour before dawn.

Tracing threads in the development of a religion. A move towards greater compassion here, an intensifying disgust of women there. Scholars scrambling to tie together the disparate threads.

He's straining to grow a beard, so he can look like a worthy substitute for a respected older teacher. As he lectures, he scratches his cheeks.

After struggling over whether or not to call him, I reach for the phone, only to have it ring as soon as I touch it. Our conversation doesn't go well.

If only my laptop could talk back. It would freeze halfway through its request for me to stop cursing at it.

I show up five minutes late to find the stage set for a courtroom scene. I'm the accused.

We watch Chamber of Secrets together, and the part that upsets him most isn't the basilisk, but the teacher betraying the students and threatening to wipe out their minds with a spell.


Roderick Robinson said...

Francophile Brits say (perhaps even claim) we are best described as "perfidious" and that this rarely used adjective is an unintended gift from the French. It was first used by the Marquis de Ximen├Ęs, the poet and playwright, and was intended as an insult (l'Albion perfide), referring to "alleged acts of diplomatic sleights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states)". But since this string of malfeasances more or less defines diplomacy and since the word's obscurity elevates it into the Five Dollar category, I've always been happy to accept the charge when talking to the French.

It's not the only time we've been described this way. After the Falklands War, your then secretary of state, General Al Haig, described his opposite UK number, our foreign secretary, Lord Carrington, as "the most duplicitous bastard" he'd ever met. Apparently not realising that this was an essential quality for those engaged in high diplomacy. In fact Lord C later resigned from the Thatcher government on a matter of nit-picking principle, an unheard-of gesture among that gang of thieves.

Being able to convert bad into good can be useful. A British journalist I knew who served in WW2 said that after the war his group of sergeants decorated their mess with all sorts of Nazi memorabilia, swastika flags, bronze eagles, etc. German soldiers, by now acting as servants in the mess, were utterly baffled.

Brian Joseph said...

I like your encapsulation of issues that relate to religion in regards to what you wrote for "creed"

I very much like "chirruping". As it is pre - dawn right now I will be paying attention :)

HKatz said...

@ Roderick - interesting origins for perfidious, and I also like the anecdote from the British journalist.

@ Brian - Thanks, pre-dawn bird song is a promising start to the day :)