Book Passage of the Week: from Lancelot, by Walker Percy

I spent much of the book believing that Percival is a figment of Lancelot’s imagination. The brilliance of Lancelot‘s format is that by addressing the reader directly, we become Percival, the priest who hears his confession and his deranged ideas about ushering in a new order.

Good book. Highly recommended.

On to the quotes:

Next follows catastrophe of some sort. I can feel it in my bones. Perhaps it has already happened. Has it? Have you noticed anything unusual on the “outside”? I’ve noticed that the doctors and guards and attendants here who are supposed to be healthy — we’re the sick ones — seem depressed, anxious, gloomy, as if something awful had already happened.

Talk? Talk about what? Some years ago I discovered that I had nothing to say to anybody nor anybody to me, that is, anything worth listening to. There is nothing left to say. So I stopped talking. Until you showed up. … It’s strange, I have to tell you in order to know what I already know. I talk, you don’t. Perhaps you know even better than I that too much has been said already. Perhaps I talk to you because of your silence. Your silence is the only conversation I can listen to.

That was one of the pleasures of the sixties: it was so easy to do a little which seemed a lot. We basked in our own sense of virtue and in what we took to be their gratitude. Maybe that was why it didn’t last very long. Who can stand gratitude?

I’ve discovered that even in this madhouse if you tell someone something, face to face, with perfect seriousness, without emotion, gazing directly at him, he will believe you. One need only speak with authority.

Missing Hong Kong Booksellers + Book Passage of the Week (1/9/2016) – from The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy

HK booksellers have gone missing, if you haven’t heard the news. One of them was a British citizen, so the CCP is now kidnapping citizens of other countries for publishing books they don’t want you to read.

And don’t doubt for a second they’re behind it. You can’t put anything past the mainland regime. When you operate the strictest internet censorship in the world and require companies to turn over customer data as a condition to do business in their country…yeah, it’s not a stretch at all.

The appropriate response would be to disseminate these books as widely as possible. Far as I know, the book is about Xi Jiping’s alleged mistress. If I had more power, I’d do everything I could to not only publish it but make it as widely read as possible: every language, every country. Fuck your hurt feelings.

As it stands, I’m here, blogging about it. If you want to help, spread the word. Sign the petition. Don’t let them get away with this shit. You think this just stays in Hong Kong? Wake up. It sets a horrible precedent all over the globe.

This passage is from The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. He’s the guy who helped get Confederacy of Dunces published, which is how I knew about him and ended up reading The Moviegoer:

For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead.

It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of a sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death. There is little to do but groan and make an excuse and slip away as quickly as one can. At such times it seems that the conversation is spoken by automatons who have no choice in what they say. I hear myself or someone else saying things like: “In my opinion the Russian people are a great people, but—” or “Yes, what you say about the hypocrisy of the North is unquestionably true. However—” and I think to myself: this is death.

I felt the same way the other day at work, when people had a length discussion about whether Caitlyn Jenner still has a penis, and does this make him a man or a woman? I can’t even pretend to care about this shit.