He locates the foreman and says, “I’d like a job please.”
Hearing the man’s accent the foreman says. “Piss off, you Irish are all bleedin’ thick.”
The navvie being somewhat offended responds, “I’m not t’ick”.
“Yes you bleedin’ are,” says the foreman, “you can’t even tell the difference between a joist and a girder.”
The navvie thinks for a second and then replies, “Yes I can, Joist wrote Ulysses and Girder wrote Faust.”
Why does this story ring so true? Why does it feel like an underdog’s rallying cry?
I think, because as a society we have allowed our intelligence, our knowledge and our sense of hope to be sucked out of us by an infatuation with mediocrity and indifference. We have allowed the greedy, the ignorant and the prejudiced to define our values. If we (the artists and the dissolving middle classes) wish to regain our sense of well-being there is only one way to climb out of our fast filling pit…use our brains, grow dignified hearts, and break our reliance on all the soporifics from pharmaceutically induced addictions to advertisement soaked TV and from swallowing the garbage dished out in the corporate generated news media to the obsessive thumb punching, “I’m OK, you’re OK” meaningless messages that have taken over from the communication of real thoughts and ideas.
(Phew! Glad to have that got a lot off my chest.)
We are human, we can be dignified, we can be smart, we can be generous and we can be compassionate. Why have we allowed the morals of our politicians, our soulless tycoons and our loud mouthed zealots and bigots to form our standards of behavior? Is it not finally time for us to think for ourselves? For each of us to construct our own ethical codes? To be all that we can be? To scream at the top of our lungs that James Joyce, Goethe, Yates, Rembrandt and Leonardo are worth ten thousand Dick Cheney’s and Rupert Murdoch’s?
Of course, I am talking to myself as much as anyone else. I feel so small, so unsure of how to push back the feeling that we are sliding back into dark ages. At my age I am part worn down, but there are ‘out there’ so many bright young minds and I desperately hope they’ll pursue a higher wisdom than the one adhered to by our last few generation.
Snowheart © Nick Bantock – All Rights Reserved
First posted at Nick Bantock’s Blog
Guest Author Bio
Nick was schooled in England and has a BA in Fine Art (painting). He has authored 25 books, 11 of which have appeared on the best seller lists, including 3 books on the New York Times top ten at one time. ‘Griffin and Sabine’ stayed on that list for over two years. His works have been translated into 13 languages and over 5 million have been sold worldwide. Once named by the classic SF magazine Weird Tales as one of the best 85 storytellers of the century. His paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages and prints have been exhibited in shows in UK, France and North America. In 2010 Nick’s major retrospective exhibition opened at the MOA in Denver. His works are in private collections throughout the world. Nick has a lifetime BAFTA (British Oscar) for CD Rom ‘Ceremony of Innocence’, created with Peter Gabriel’s Real World.
Produced artwork for over 300 book covers (including works by Roth and Updike), illustrated Viking Penguin’s new translation of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.
For 20 years he’s spoken and read to audiences throughout North America, Europe and Australia. He’s also given keynote and motivational speeches to corporations and teachers state conferences.
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Blog / Website: www.nickbantock.com