>Friends Become Troglydytes

>In the last year or so, an old friend has becoming a raving neo-con. At first, I thought it was a joke because he always had an ironic tone when he espoused such positions; a number of savage exchanges later, I’ve discovered that he’s not joking. It’s an odd time for that movement to gain a convert – they’ve failed in so many ways. Yet it has. He even goes so far as to say the Iraq war was a good idea, just poorly executed. According to him, the war was the brainchild of Bush and Cheney and anyone who claims Wolfowitz and Feith were involved is anti-Semitic.

My friend labels himself a ‘realist’ but what could be less realistic than the belief that invading Iraq would spread peace throughout the Middle East (he also claims that ‘everyone’ supported the invasion until it went south)?

It’s strange and sad to see a friend undergo such a conversion in early middle-age – it’s as if he joined a cult. I’ve tried to trace the evolution of the change. My friend, from the working class, always resented the liberal pieties of the upper-middle class and rich kids he went to college with. His attitude for years though was generally contemptuous and nihilistic (with some left elements). I remember reading a Trotsky review of Celine’s first novel. Trotsky presciently wrote that someone who so intensely perceived the filth and misery of world and hated the bourgeois as much Celine did, would soon become either a fascist or a communist. We know what happened to Celine.

>An Interesting Sentence

>In these forlorn regions of unknowable dreary space, this reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre the multiplied rigours of extreme cold.
– Francis Spufford, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination

Americans are taught to not write like this. When I get notes, they usually tell me to shorten my sentences and simplify my prose. Yet there’s something lavish and intriguing about the sentence above, something Mevillean or 17th Century. I get tired of our clipped phrases.

I don’t know anything about the book, which got roundly panned on Amazon. The writer seems to have praised for other of his work, however.