Ignatius

New Orleans was founded on this date in 1718. Some of my new students are from there (met two of my new classes yesterday, two more today), as is one of my favorite old ones. The scene in the courtyard yesterday just outside my classroom on Opening Day was perfectly mild and evocative of summer’s transition to school days. The soundtrack would have to be something sweet and jazzy.





Quick free association: first thing you think of, when you think of the crescent city? Louis Armstrong, Mardi Gras, letting the good times roll? Katrina? For me it’s one Ignatius J. Reilly, philosopher-slob, critic of modernity, Boethius and Batman enthusiast who said “leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.” I love it that New Orleans has a statue of him, not that many fictional antiheroes earn such a distinction.

“You must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,” Ignatius said solemnly. “Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books… I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.” ― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces 

5:30/6:15, 58/80

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