Tuesday, September 26, 2006


When I am reduced to quoting Yeats, you know I’ve had a bad day.

We wouldn’t have gotten along, Bill and me. A champion of the aristocracy and an ardent nationalist, he was the worst kind of romantic: spoiled, unthinking, and politically confused. Like many other artists of his time, he publicly professed his admiration for Mussolini, the Italian purveyor of fascism for aesthetes. So long as it matches the sofa.

Still, today, I find myself mulling over two dislocated lines, which I exscript from both their original context and intent:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Somehow, they say everything about my day.

1 comment:

Sparky said...

As one, I have to come to the defence of my fellow romantic...appreciating the fascists was de rigeur in many European intellectual circles. Yeats was, beyond being a little spoiled, also an ardent occultist and weirdo, flirting with Crowley's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (now those guys were fascists!). Besides, its funny how the "unthinking" fascist types always seem to have such insightful things to say about the basic character of human nature. Lefties, in contrast, refuse to see the reality of that character, and rely on idealism as a crutch, hoping that people will all suddenly realize their folly in unison. That never happens...