A Confederacy of Dunces – quotes and extracts – 73

Dear Reader,

Nature has sometimes made a fool; but a coxcomb is always of man’s own making.

— Addison

As I was wearing the soles of my desert boots down to a mere sliver of crepe rubber on the old flagstone banquettes of the French Quarter in my fevered attempt to wrest a living from an unthinking and uncaring society, I was hailed by a cherished old acquaintance (deviate). After a few minutes of conversation in which I established most easily my moral superiority over this degenerate, I found myself pondering once more the crises of our times. My mentality, uncontrollable and wanton as always, whispered to me a scheme so magnificent and daring that I shrank from the very thought of what I was hearing. “Stop!” I cried imploringly to my godlike mind. “This is madness.” But still I listened to the counsel of my brain. It was offering me the opportunity to Save the World Through Degeneracy. There on the worn stones of the Quarter I enlisted the aid of this wilted flower of a human in gathering his associates in foppery together behind a banner of brotherhood.

Our first step will be to elect one of their number to some very high office — the presidency, if Fortuna spins us kindly. Then they will infiltrate the military. As soldiers, they will all be so continually busy in fraternizing with one another, tailoring their uniforms to fit like sausage skins, inventing new and varied battle dress, giving cocktail parties, etc., that they will never have time for battle. The one whom we finally make Chief of Staff will want only to attend to his fashionable wardrobe, a wardrobe which, alternately, will permit him to be either Chief of Staff or debutante, as the desire strikes him. In seeing the success of their unified fellows here, perverts around the world will also band together to capture the military in their respective countries. In those reactionary countries in which the deviates seem to be having some trouble in gaining control, we will send aid to them as rebels to help them in toppling their governments. When we have at last overthrown all existing governments, the world will enjoy not war but global orgies conducted with the utmost protocol and the most truly international spirit, for these people do transcend simple national differences. Their minds are on one goal; they are truly united; they think as one.

None of the pederasts in power, of course, will be practical enough to know about such devices as bombs; these nuclear weapons would lie rotting in their vaults somewhere. From time to time the Chief of Staff, the President, and so on, dressed in sequins and feathers, will entertain the leaders, i.e., the perverts, of all the other countries at balls and parties. Quarrels of any sort could easily be straightened out in the men’s room of the redecorated United Nations. Ballets and Broadway musicals and entertainments of that sort will flourish everywhere and will probably make the common folk happier than did the grim, hostile, fascistic pronouncements of their former leaders.

Almost everyone else has had an opportunity to run the world. I cannot see why these people should not be given their chance. They have certainly been the underdog long enough. Their movement into power will be, in a sense, only a part of the global movement toward opportunity, justice, and equality for all; (For example, can you name one good, practicing transvestite in the Senate? No! These people have been without representation long enough. Their plight is a national, a global disgrace.)

Degeneracy, rather than signaling the downfall of a society, as it once did, will now signal peace for a troubled world. We must have new solutions to new problems.

I shall act as a sort of mentor and guide for the movement, my not inconsiderable knowledge of world history, economics, religion, and political strategy acting as a reservoir, as it were, from which these people can draw rules of operational procedure. Boethius himself played a somewhat similar role in degenerate Rome. As Chesterton has said of Boethius, “Thus he truly served as a guide, philosopher, and friend to many Christians; precisely because, while his own times were corrupt, his own culture was complete.”

This time I shall really confound Myrna minx. The scheme is too breathtaking for the literal, liberal minx mind mired in a claustrophobic clutch of clichés. The Crusade for Moorish Dignity, my brilliant first attack upon the problems of our times, would have been a rather grand and decisive coup had it not been for the basically bourgeois worldview of the rather simple people who were members of the vanguard. This time, however, I shall be working with people who eschew the insipid philosophy of the middle class, people who are willing to assume controversial positions, to follow their cause, however unpopular it may be, however it may threaten the smugness of the middle class.

Does M. Minkoff want sex in politics? I shall give her sex in politics — and plenty of it! No doubt she will be too overcome to respond to the originality of my project. At the very least, she will seethe with envy. (That girl must be attended to. Such effrontery cannot go unchecked.)

A debate between Pragmatism and Morality rages in my brain. Is the glorious end, Peace, worth the awesome means, Degeneracy? Like two figures in the medieval Morality play, Pragmatism and Morality spar in the boxing ring of my brain. I cannot await the outcome of their furious debate: I am too obsessed with Peace. (If any perceptive film producers are interested in buying the movie rights to this Journal, I might here make a note on the filming of this debate. A musical saw would provide excellent background accompaniment, and the hero’s eyeball may be superimposed upon the debate scene in a most symbolic manner. Certainly some attractive new discovery could be found in a drugstore or a motel or in whatever den people are “discovered” to play the Working Boy. The film may be made in Spain, Italy, or some other interesting land which the cast may wish to see, such as North America.)

Sorry. Those of you who are interested in the latest bleak frankfurter news will find none. My mind is too preoccupied with the magnificence of this design. Now I must communicate with M. Minkoff and make some jottings for my lecture at the kickoff rally. Social note: My truant mother is gone again, which is really rather fortunate. Her vigorous assaults and blistering attacks against my being are negatively affecting my valve. She said that she was going out to attend a Crowning of the May Queen at some church, but since it isn’t May, I tend to doubt her veracity.

The “sophisticated comedy” featuring my number one female film favorite is opening at a downtown palace momentarily. Somehow I must be there on opening day. I can only imagine the film’s latest horrors, its flaunting of vulgarity in the face of theology and geometry, taste and decency. (I do not understand this compulsion of mine for seeing movies; it almost seems as if movies are “in my blood.”)

Health note: My stomach is getting out of bounds; the seams of my vendor’s smock are creaking ominously.

Until later,

Tab, Your pacifist Working Boy

Ignatius by Daniel Worth