16 May 2007

Two fragments

Today, two word fragments particularly caught at my attention.

The first comes from the final page of Ursula K Le Guin's short story The birthday of the world, in a collection of the same title[1], which I've just read for the first time:

It takes a long time to learn to live without God, and some people never do. They would rather have a false God than none at all.

I don't quote it to make an atheist/religious point. Though an atheist myself, the words seem equally true for all of us, on both sides of the divide - and as true of Richard Dawking as anyone else.

The second was in a Tom Paxton song. Unlike the le Guin story, this wasn't new to me - but I've not listened to Paxton for several years and had completely forgotten the song Lyndon Johnson told the nation[2], from which this is the strangely topical refrain:

Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
"Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn't really war,
We're sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet Nam from Vietnamese."

Post script: since writing the above, I've discovered that I am way behind the curve. Other people listen to Paxton more often than I: the whole world and its live in friendperson has already commented on the current relevance of that song. In fact Paxton himself has already, earlier this year, released an updated George W told the nation, downloadable here.

  1. Ursula K le Guin. The birthday of the world. London, 2003, Gollancz. 0575074795.
  2. Tom Paxton. Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation. Newport Folk Festival, 1964.

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