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Brilliant…Futile…Frustrating…So long ago…

December 10, 2014


If all of what is on-going around us seems to be a modern day phenom, fear not.

We have hoed this road before. Perhaps very long before, for sure, but definitely not so long ago, if you get my drift.

The wheel, the hamster’s wheel, the wheel of the clock’s face, the trap of time, Capitalism and the futility and frustration of it’s current, metastasized form….

Been there, done that, never learned.

We are, after all, easily led.

Sometimes by the nose.

Sometimes by prose.

Surely by the Telly….

A fiery orator…

Will get us

Every time…

Without reason

Or rhyme…

Or even a decent meter….

Just fire and brimstone….

We’ve been had

My friends, pals, buddies and more….

We’ve been yoked….

Now and before..

Proof you ask?

From 1926…

1926, the times past we yearn for…

As if older is better,

Now bitter like Now….

Any how….

Ask this before you delve into what follows…

If we are evolving, why are called descendants?

Shouldn’t we be our ancestors Ascendants?


So again, from 1926……



The 1926 satirical sf novel King Goshawk and the Birds, by Irish playwright and novelist Eimar O’Duffy, is set in a future world devastated by progress. When King Goshawk, the supreme ruler among a caste of “king capitalists,” buys up all the wildflowers and songbirds, an aghast Dublin philosopher travels via the astral plane to Tír na nÓg. First the mythical Irish hero Cúchulainn, then his son Cuanduine, travel to Earth in order to combat the king capitalists. Thirty-five years before the hero of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, these well-meaning aliens discover that cultural forms and norms are the most effective barrier to social or economic revolution.

BOOK III: THE TRAVELS OF CUANDUINEChapter 6: Cuanduine meets divers strange Persons

Having shaken off his guide, Cuanduine passed out of the city and came presently to a grove not far off, wherein an army of workmen had just finished erecting a hugh pyre of logs over tar-barrels. A hundred and fifty feet square it was at the base, and forty feet high, and it was overtopped by an earthen ramp over a mile in length. Just as Cuanduine arrived torches were put to the tar, and flames two hundred feet high shot up into the sky. Then up the ramp came a motor lorry heavily laden, which, when it reached the summit, was tilted back until there tumbled upon the flaming pyre an avalanche of hams and gammons of bacon, to the amount of nearly three and a half tons. What a sizzling there was as the flames fastened on this succulent feast, and what a divine odour. It was as if a fifteen-acre rasher were being fired for the breakfast of Zeus Olympicus, which, had he smelt it, would have provoked his mouth to watering the world with a second deluge. Then came a second lorry and emptied into the fire ten thousand or so long hundreds of eggs. But that sent forth a different savour, not quite so appetising: indeed, you would have thought the Plutonian cook was brewing a hell-broth of asafoetida for the supper of the legions of the damned. This was followed straight by other lorries, more than I can count, which shovelled on to the leaping flames a goodly holocaust of meat, butter, vegetables, groceries, wheat, oats, barley, flour, fruit (both fresh and preserved), fish, poultry, game, sweetmeats, biscuits, cheeses, and a thousand other sorts of provender, some packed in bales and boxes, but much of it loose and au naturel, until the mixture of smells was so foul that the stomach of Cuanduine could stand no more of it, and he was about to withdraw in search of a more salubrious climate, when he noticed a workman standing near, whom he approached and asked the meaning of this incineration.

“This is the Regional Destructor, sir,” said the workman, “where we destroy the surplus food, sir, to keep the prices up.”

“Why do you keep the prices up?” asked Cuanduine.

The workman took a handbook from his pocket and read: “Low prices depend on mass production. Mass production depends on unlimited capital. Capital requires a reasonable return for its outlay. Therefore the prices must be kept up. Q.E.D. Socialism is an economic fallacy.”

“This,” said Cuanduine, “seems to me the very sublimate of criminal folly.”

The workman gave him a look of incredulity not unmingled with horror. “What, sir?” said the honest fellow. “Do you speak like that of the inevitable laws of political economy? — you who are so well fed. Look at me. My children are all crippled with rickets because I cannot afford to give them butter, yet I see all this butter burnt without complaint. Why? Because I know that if it wasn’t for the good Capitalists there’d be no food, nor money, nor nothing. Besides, this destructor gives employment to hundreds of men who would otherwise have none.” So saying the honest fellow picked up a firkin of butter that happened to have fallen from one of the lorries, and hove it into the fire. Then, “Thank God,” said he, “I have done my duty,” and walked away, whistling very resolutely the tune of “Blue Bananas.” Soon afterwards men came with eighty big hosepipes and quenched the embers of the fire with a deluge of milk.

Cuanduine then went his way. A little farther he came to a glade, where he found a profiteer tied to a stake upon a pile of brushwood. The unfortunate man had rashly gone for a walk unescorted, and now his captors, a dozen or so of hungry, wolfish men, were quarrelling as to who should have the honour and pleasure of applying the torch to him. Perceiving Cuanduine’s approach, they surrounded him with supplications to adjudicate between them.

“It is a pity,” said Cuanduine, “that you do not read your scriptures more closely. Let him that has never profiteered apply the torch.”

When the men had departed Cuanduine loosed the bonds of the profiteer, who went forthwith to lodge information with the police.

Cuanduine now began to retrace his steps homeward, but soon lost his way among unfamiliar roads. Presently, however, he accosted a labouring man whom he met, a flat-faced fellow with humped shoulders and vacant eyes, and asked him how many miles it might be to London.

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“Nay,” said Cuanduine, “that cannot be, for I left it no more than three hours ago. Do you mean perches?”

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“Then pray tell me by which of these roads in front I should proceed.”

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“You are fooling me, sir,” said Cuanduine. “There are but three roads yonder. If you know which of them is mine, please you to say so: if not, why, say so too, and we’ll end the matter. Now, which is it?”

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“Have you no other word in your language but ninety-nine?” asked Cuanduine.

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“That is not a large stock,” said Cuanduine. “Pray, name me some.”

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.
“I marvel you are so bold to keep on answering me so,” said Cuanduine. “Are there none that hold you dear?”

“Ninety-nine,” said the man.

“A wife, doubtless?”


“And children?”


“One to each wife? It is a moderate allowance, like your vocabulary.”

Here Mr. Robinson came up the road, looking rather hot and dusty. “How on earth did you give me the slip?” said he. “I’ve had the devil’s own job to find you.”

“See this excellent fellow here,” said Cuanduine, presenting the workman. “I wish you would hold converse with him. He seems to have but one word, Ninety-nine, and I would like to know what he means by it.”

“That is easily explained,” said Mr. Robinson. “He is probably a worker in one of Goshawk’s factories, and has been making Part Ninety-nine all his life.”

“Part Ninety-nine of what?” asked Cuanduine.

“Oh, goodness only knows: I’m sure he doesn’t know himself. It might be anything from a sparking plug to a screw for a watch. Whatever it is, he’s been making it ever since he was a kid. He can make it to perfection, but he can make nothing else. By this time he probably can think of nothing else. That’s Goshawk’s policy: one man one job, and get it Right. He’s hardly got it going properly in this country yet; but, by Jove, you should see how it works in America. They’ve whole towns out there that can only say one word, like our friend here. Think of that! A whole town in which every blessed man, woman, and child is making, or being trained to make, Part Umpty-um of some blamed thing they’ve never seen entire, or even heard the name of. There’s progress for you. That’s what has America where she is.”

“Where is she?” asked Cuanduine.

“On our necks, my boy, and don’t you forget it. I suppose our boss seems pretty big to you — coming from a backward place like Ireland, I mean. Well, Cumbersome’s big enough, as big men go in Europe. But I tell you this. He only owns what he does own by Goshawk’s permission.”

“Ninety-nine,” said the workman.

“Quite right, old chap,” said Mr. Robinson. “We mustn’t talk treason, eh? Come, Mr. Coon-dinner, let’s be getting home. There’s an aerodrome just round the corner.”

Read the rest here:






4 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Ince permalink
    December 13, 2014 6:56 am

    Many thanks for bringing this work to my attention

  2. Melda Laure permalink
    December 17, 2014 5:44 am

    “teach them to be honest!”
    “too soon for that – first we must teach them to fight decently.”

    descendant indeed. (saw it mentioned on zerohedge some while back… really a hilarious story – Too bad Terry Gilliam couldn’t have done something with it.) If we did not at sometimes laugh at the horrors of the present we might just fall into despair.

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