Walker Percy Wednesday 120

percycovercroppea

“Hear this, Tom. I’ll make it short and sweet. We’re not talking about some bush-league medical project—fluoridating water to cure tooth decay. We’re not even talking about curing AIDS. We’re not even talking medicine, Tom. We’re talking about the decay of the social fabric. The American social fabric. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know—all the way from the destruction of the cities, crime in the streets, demoralization of the underclass, to the collapse of the family.”

000000

“There is still grace, style, beauty, manners, civility left in the world. It’s not all gone with the wind. You know who’s coming up for the reception? Pete Fountain and his Half Fast Band. And Al Hirt. Both are personal friends of mine. I wish you could join me.”

00000

“Here’s a switch. Here’s Vergil, the scientist, skeptic, the new logical positivist, and here’s the uncle, defender of old legends, ghost ships, specters.”

00000

She is one of those women who have no other qualification than pleasantness and reliability.

00000

“You’re talking about violating the law of the land, gentlemen,” he says quietly. “Doe v. Dade, the landmark case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court which decreed, with solid scientific evidence, that the human infant does not achieve personhood until eighteen months.”

00000

There’s Hawkeye and Trapper John back in Korea. I never did like those guys. They fancied themselves super-decent and supertolerant, but actually had no use for anyone who was not exactly like them. What they were was super-pleased with themselves. In truth, they were the real bigots, and phony at that. I always preferred Frank Burns, the stuffy, unpopular doc, a sincere bigot.

00000

The Canadians are as affable but standoffish—though not as shy as the English.
But both, Canadians and Ohioans, are amiable, gregarious, helpful—and at something of a loss.

00000

The Ohioans looked zapped but keep busy.
The Canadians looked zapped but also wistful.
Every time I talk to a Canadian, either he will get around to asking me what I think of Canada or I will know that he wants to.
I realize that I do not have many thoughts about Canada. Reading Stedmann, who mentions the heroic role the Canadians played in World War I, I realize a curious fact about Canadians: When you hear the word Canada or Canadians, nothing much comes to mind—unlike hearing the words Frenchman or Englishman or Chinese or Spaniard—or Yankee. I realize this is an advantage. The Canadian is still free, has not yet been ossified by his word. (Why am I beginning to think like Father Smith?)

71xts9yjggl