No Payne, No Gaines

I’m not as fit and healthy as I used to be. I don’t know if I have the constitution to discuss Paine. Payne was a publisher. I can’t say if anyone named Gaines authored any soaps or wrote for any television shows. There was a fellow named Jerome that wrote about his adventures George and Harris, to say nothing of Montmorency.

Personality types haven’t really changed probably for all of recorded time. People are people. They talk differently though. Even within one language the usage changes, idioms change, so do idiots occasionally. Three Men In A Boat is quite readable to modern readers. In fact modern readers are less critical of it than the intellectuals of his time. I became a fan of Robert Graves after seeing the Masterpiece Theatre production of “I,Claudius”. So I read his other stuff. In his book “The Antigua Stamp” a sibling rivalry escalates to a war between a very smart malicious person and a stupid malicious person. Who do you sympathize with? They’re both bad people, is a stupid bad person worse than an intelligent bad person? No, their intelligence makes them worse. To quote a southerner “Bless their heart, they just don’t know any better.” Yes, an evil genius is worse than an evil idiot. Graves had his evil idiot be a fan of Jerome K Jerome’s book “Three Men In A Boat.” After reading it I became a fan too. He reminds me of James Thurber. Modern readers certainly like the book. Of course, I considered “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” as adventure stories with some mythology thrown in. The popularity of movies about Troy and The 300 show that the stories can be entertaining. I didn’t read the “Divine Comedy” quite that way, but when Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote “Inferno” it did read like an adventure novel. Who do you root for Benny?

In Dante’s version he had a number of politicians there. Larry and Jerry have at least one science fiction writer there.

Time for me to retire this night.


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