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Walker Percy Wednesday 133

Question (I): Are people depressed despite unprecedented opportunities for education, vocations, self-growth, cultural enrichment, travel, and recreation (a) Because modern life is more difficult, complex, and stressful than it has ever been before? (b) Because, for men, competition in the marketplace is fiercer than ever? (c) Because, for women, life as a housewife is lonelier than…

Walker Percy Wednesday 132

The word boredom did not enter the language until the eighteenth century. No one knows its etymology. One guess is that bore may derive from the French verb bourrer, to stuff. Question: Why was there no such word before the eighteenth century? (a) Was it because people were not bored before the eighteenth century? (But wasn’t…

Walker Percy Wednesday 131

Question: During the week following Pearl Harbor, the incidence of suicide declined dramatically across the nation. Was this decline a consequence of (1) A rise in patriotic fervor and a sense of purpose? (2) A new sense of interest (e.g., something, even war, is better than nothing. Peace in the 1930s was like nothing)? 00000…

Walker Percy Wednesday 130

THE LAST DONAHUE SHOW The Donahue Show is in progress on what appears at first to be an ordinary weekday morning. The theme of this morning’s show is Donahue’s favorite, sex, the extraordinary variety of sexual behavior—“sexual preference,” as Donahue would call it—in the country and the embattled attitudes toward it. Although Donahue has been…

Walker Percy Wednesday 129

Question (I): Which of the two, the actors or the townspeople, are the more real, that is, perceive themselves as more nearly what they are? (a) The townspeople because they have no illusions about themselves, their humdrum lives and workaday selves, whereas the actors not only live in a tinsel world but are themselves forever…

Walker Percy Wednesday 128

A RECENT POLL ASKED people what they feared most. A majority of respondents agreed in ranking one fear above all others, above fear of sickness, accidents, crime, war, even death. It is the fear of speaking before a group, stage fright. Yet in the conventional objective scientific view, man is an organism among other organisms…

Walker Percy Wednesday 127

THERE IS NO FASHION so absurd, even grotesque, that it cannot be adopted, given two things: the authority of the fashion-setter (Dior, Jackie Onassis) and the vacuity or noughtness of the consumer. E.g., bustles in the West, bound feet in the East. 00000 The efficacy of fashion turns on the self’s perception of itself either…