23 January 2016

Rud Hud Hooray!

In my literary wanderings I recently came across a poem named "Hudibras" written by Samuel Butler in the 1660's. The name of his poem was taken from the name of "Rud Hud Hudibras", a legendary king of the ancient Britons who came to power after a period of great turmoil and "made his country great again". Samuel Butler's poem was written as a satire on the various religious and political factions involved in the the English civil war of the mid-17th century. In general, Hudibras is directed against religious sectarianism.

The epic poem relates the story of Sir Hudibras, an English knight who values his own esteem so highly that his conceit and arrogance readily shine through to reveal a shameless self-promoter beneath. The following lines describe his religion which sounds uncannily like that of one of our current political candidates for U.S. president.

"For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended." 


15 January 2016

Cuckoo Time

Last night I watched the Republican Presidential Primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina. I must say it was an eye opener. I was expecting a lot better from these people who want to guide the United States of America into the future. It was more like a bunch of high school sophomores fighting in a schoolyard and as is usually is the case in such circumstances, the biggest bully declares himself the winner in a loud and angry voice. As South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley remarked in the Republican response to the State of the Union Speech, "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices."

This made me think that instead of making such an ass out of itself the party might consider changing its mascot from that of the noble and dignified Elephant into a more fitting image like that of the boisterous Cuckoo. You, know, the type of bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and that has a call that sounds like its name. In Greek mythology Zeus transformed himself into a cuckoo so that he could seduce Hera, a very jealous female. In modern British slang, a Cuckoo is an inexperienced slacker who full of outlandish ideas. This idea put me in mind of a story which I just can't help myself from repeating here.

Once upon a time and long ago in a far away city, there ruled a king who was both powerful and wise. And he was feared by his people for his power and loved by them for his wisdom. Now, in the heart of that city there was a deep well, whose water was cool and crystal clear, from which all the people of the city drank, even the king and his retinue, because there was no other source of clean water. One night, when everyone was asleep, a political operative of a rival king entered the city, and poured a dozen drops of strange liquid into the well, and said, “From now on, whoever drinks this water will become cuckoo.” The next morning all of the inhabitants except for the king and his right hand man drank from the well and became cuckoo, just like the hired evildoer had predicted, but they didn't realize it. They thought that the king had gone cuckoo instead of them. That day the people in the streets and in the market place did nothing but gossip with one another saying, “The king must be cuckoo. Our king and his main man have lost their reason. Now what are we going to do? We can't be ruled by a king who is cuckoo. We must get rid of the king.” That evening, the king ordered his golden chalice to be filled with water from the well. When the chalice with the water was brought to him he took a big swig, and then gave it to his right hand man to drink. And there was great rejoicing in that far away city on that day, because its king and his main man had regained their reason. Moral of the story...I haven't got one. I must be going cuckoo and I'm not even a Republican!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.