The weeping picture: /
Nostalgia for the forgotten. /
Captured by brush stroke.
Paddy says to Mick, “I’m getting circumcised tomorrow.”
Mick says, “I had that done when I was a few days old.”
Paddy asks, “Does it hurt?”
Mick says, “Well I couldn’t walk for about a year.”
Shamanic powers of insight and the power to bring order out of chaos. Is the detective a priestly figure for our times?
There are many criteria by which to judge a society. Dostoyevsky recommended examining its prisons. Gandhi said to look at how it treats its weakest members. If you want to discover a society’s attitude towards authority, or to gauge the power of its official belief system, I suggest that you could do worse than look at its relationship with detective fiction.
Crime stories are one of the oldest literary genres, dating back at least as far as Cain and Abel. But the genre that concerns me here is the crime story’s modern descendant, in which a felony is committed in mysterious circumstances and then an individual follows clues and makes deductions to discover what happened. This is a relative innovation: the first modern detective novel is usually attributed either to William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794), or to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841). There is no doubt, however, that the 1860s saw the arrival of detective fiction as a whole. This was the decade that saw the publication of Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868), ‘the first, the longest and the best modern English detective novel’, in the opinion of T S Eliot. In France, Émile Gaboriau published his first roman judiciaire in 1866; L’affaire Lerouge was a big success and spawned a series of novels starring the detective Monsieur Lecoq. Methodical and smooth — certainly in his later cases — Lecoq was an inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (although in A Study in Scarlet Sherlock Holmes dismisses him as a ‘bungler’).
Why should detective fiction have emerged at this time? There are some conspicuous material factors. Industrialisation and the growth of literacy meant that more people than ever before were able to read. To satisfy this new market, new machinery was developed that could produce cheap books in vast numbers. Booksellers in Britain set up stalls in stations. Their best-sellers were sensationalist, the kind of stories sneered at by literary types: ‘the tawdry novels which flare in the bookshelves of our railway stations,’ the poet and critic Matthew Arnold complained in 1880, ‘and which seem designed, as so much else that is produced for the use of our middle class, for people with a low standard of life’. Unabashed, ordinary readers were hungry for this kind of stuff; when the first detective novels came along, they lapped them up.
Source and the rest of the essay: Unholy modernity and the shamanic powers of the detective | Aeon Essays
Time, once again, for New words to live by. This is a word or phrase not currently in use in the U.S. English lexicon, but might need to be considered. Other words, such as obsurd, crumpify, subsus, flib, congressed, and others, can be found by clicking on the tags below. Today’s New Word is created by taking two nouns and creating a new word. Without further waiting and just in time for spring, blundermouth.
Blunder, n. Gross, stupid, careless, thoughtless mistake.
Mouth, n. The opening through which a human speaks, or utters words and sounds.
Blundermouth, n. the act of uttering or speaking gross, stupid, careless, or thoughtless speech. Often do to a lack of concern for the information or the person being spoken to. Blundermouth can also be a verb.
Used in a sentence: Once again the U.S. President was a blundermouth, speaking openly of classified information about Russia while the press, the Russian diplomat, and other senior Russian officials where in the room. When asked about it, the White House Press Secretary replied, “The President blundermouths all the time. He considers his duty to do so to the fake media.”
Most recent new word: furture.