WALKER PERCY WEDNESDAY – 42

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Jamie told him that Sutter drove an Edsel to remind him of the debacle of the Ford Motor Company and to commemorate the last victory of the American people over marketing research and opinion polls. The engineer wasn’t sure he liked the sound of this. It had the sound of a quixotic type who admires his own gestures.

. . .

Now freed by her preoccupation with the forgotten trophies of her past, the sentient engineer swung full upon her. What to make of it, this queer casualness of hers? Was it Catholic, a species of professional unseriousness (death and sin are our affair, so we can make light of them), almost frivolity, like electricians who make a show of leaning on high-voltage wires?

. . .

“There it is,” said Sutter, loading the clip, “the entire melancholy procession of disasters. First God; then a man who is extremely pleased with himself for serving man for man’s sake and leaving God out of it; then in the end God himself turned into a capricious sentimental Jean Hersholt or perhaps Judge Lee Cobb who is at first outraged by Abou’s effrontery and then thinks better of it: by heaven, says he, here is a stout fellow when you come to think of it to serve his fellow man with no thanks to me, and so God swallows his pride and packs off the angel to give Abou the good news—the new gospel. Do you know who did the West in?”
“No.”
“It wasn’t Marx or immorality or the Communists or the atheists or any of those fellows. It was Leigh Hunt.”