The Thirsty Gargoyle

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons.
'A state has no worse enemy than an absolute king.
First, under such a ruler there is no common law.
One man holds the whole law in his grasp; that means
An end to equality. When laws are written down,
Both rich and poor possess their equal right; the weak,
Threatened by a prosperous neighbour, can
Retort in the same terms; the humble man’s just cause
Defeats the great.’
Euripides, The Suppliant Women
"Our job is to police the citizens we have - not create the citizens we would like." Chief Judge Fargo, Judge Dredd in ‘Oz’, 2000AD Prog 559.

"Our job is to police the citizens we have - not create the citizens we would like." Chief Judge Fargo, Judge Dredd in ‘Oz’, 2000AD Prog 559.

johnthelutheran:

…is the story apparently told by Martin Bell of reporting on an event in Belfast in the early 1970s at which Dr Paisley was speaking, shortly after Bell had broadcast BBC reports critical of Ulster Loyalists.

Dr Paisley spotted Bell at the back of the hall, and declared (in his inimitably…

bagofdelights:

Classic childhood books from yesteryear

Confess: it’s my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don’t go out of my way to be scary.
I wear dresses of sensible cut
and unalarming shades of beige,
I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser’s:
no prophetess mane of mine,
complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.
If I roll my eyes and mutter,
if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror
like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,
I do it in private and nobody sees
but the bathroom mirror.

In general I might agree with you:
women should not contemplate war,
should not weigh tactics impartially,
or evade the word enemy,
or view both sides and denounce nothing.
Women should march for peace,
or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,
spit themselves on bayonets
to protect their babies,
whose skulls will be split anyway,
or, having been raped repeatedly,
hang themselves with their own hair.
These are the functions that inspire general comfort.
That, and the knitting of socks for the troops
and a sort of moral cheerleading.
Also: mourning the dead.
Sons, lovers, and so forth.
All the killed children.

Instead of this, I tell
what I hope will pass as truth.
A blunt thing, not lovely.
The truth is seldom welcome,
especially at dinner,
though I am good at what I do.
My trade is courage and atrocities.
I look at them and do not condemn.
I write things down the way they happened,
as near as can be remembered.
I don’t ask why, because it is mostly the same.
Wars happen because the ones who start them
think they can win.

In my dreams there is glamour.
The Vikings leave their fields
each year for a few months of killing and plunder,
much as the boys go hunting.
In real life they were farmers.
They come back loaded with splendour.
The Arabs ride against Crusaders
with scimitars that could sever
silk in the air.
A swift cut to the horse’s neck
and a hunk of armour crashes down
like a tower. Fire against metal.
A poet might say: romance against banality.
When awake, I know better.

Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
or none that can be finally buried.
Finish one off, and circumstances
and the radio create another.
Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
to God all night and meant it,
and been slaughtered anyway.
Brutality wins frequently,
and large outcomes have turned on the invention
of a mechanical device, viz. radar.
True, valour sometimes counts for something,
as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right—
though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,
is decided by the winner.
Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades
and burst like paper bags of guts
to save their comrades.
I can admire that.
But rats and cholera have won many wars.
Those, and potatoes,
or the absence of them.
It’s no use pinning all those medals
across the chests of the dead.
Impressive, but I know too much.
Grand exploits merely depress me.

In the interests of research
I have walked on many battlefields
that once were liquid with pulped
men’s bodies and spangled with exploded
shells and splayed bone.
All of them have been green again
by the time I got there.
Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.
Sad marble angels brood like hens
over the grassy nests where nothing hatches.
(The angels could just as well be described as vulgar
or pitiless, depending on camera angle.)
The word glory figures a lot on gateways.
Of course I pick a flower or two
from each, and press it in the hotel Bible
for a souvenir.
I’m just as human as you.

But it’s no use asking me for a final statement.
As I say, I deal in tactics.
Also statistics:
for every year of peace there have been four hundred
years of war.

Margaret Atwood, ‘The Loneliness of the Military Historian’
The baby doesn’t understand English and the devil knows Latin.
Ronald Knox when asked to perform a baptism in the vernacular. (via exsules-filii-evae)
other-wordly:

pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo) submitted by | chrysalismm submit words | hereJapanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

I couldn’t possibly comment. 

other-wordly:

pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo) 
submitted by | chrysalismm
submit words | here
Japanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

I couldn’t possibly comment. 

Zenith, by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, 2000ad prog 806, anticipating John Smith's death two years later, twenty years ago today.