This many years later, Monty Python remains the funniest comedy-team I've ever seen. I watched the Pythons faithfully when Public Broadcasting TV brought them to America in the late 1970s. I was sort of late catching on to them. My college friends harped on about the Pythons, and said the team rescued their sanity from the perils of overwork.

In the Argument-Clinic skit, a poor, bedeviled English Everyman visits a curious office for a particular kind of conversation. In one bureau, Everyman can listen to abuse from one of the clinic's therapists. In the second, he can enjoy an argument with the therapist. The Abuse Bureau is tailor-made for masochists. In the argument clinic, he can reinforce his sense-of-self.

The Pythons must have read E. M. Forster. In Forster's novel Howard's End, Mr Wilcox and Margaret Schlegel take Evie Wilcox and her fiance Mr. Cahill to Sunday dinner at Simpson's Restaurant in the Haymarket. While Mr. Wilcox and Miss Schlegel engage in adult conversation, Evie and Mr. Cahill have a "Yes-I-did;" "No-you-didn't" conversation.

Many educated white people are so timid, they fear losing their sense-of-self to an assertive partner. So they have a polite "yes-I-did," "no-you-didn't conversation," as part of the courting ritual, like watching Mockingbirds dance.

 


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September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.


September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.


September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.


Lloyd Bowers

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