Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sermon: Comparisons Are Invidious

     Before I break down, lose all my cool, and prepare a blog based around The Kinks song “Where Have All The Good Times Gone,” I thought it would be preferable and possibly therapeutic to examine why "comparisons are invidious."  

      I use that expression (become sort of a cliché) often because it seems frequently to apply these contentious days where the worst are definitely filled with passionate intensity and popular humor has devolved into endless repeated expressions of dark-hearted sarcasm and assertions of personal and "affinity group" superiority. 

      It’s difficult to imagine how cerebral, sometimes surreal, comedians like George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jack Benny and even Jackie Gleason (who combined delicately robust physicality with humane, socially conscious, character humor) would be able to find audiences in this ur-ugly time. 

      When I say a comparison is invidious, it's usually triggered by someone's apples/oranges analogy mistakes, but I am also sometimes telling my daughter, who is at the stage where kids compare their lot in life to everyone else’s and find fault at home, that it is generally better to shelve those thoughts because they’re unreliable and impractical.

      That being said, “physician, heal thyself,” applies to me as much as to anyone else and during this straitened, enervating period I am hardly illusion or envy-free.

  Therefore, when I discovered the other day that a local person I have known for years, someone who on paper might arouse all sorts of personal and professional jealousy, is in a hideous amount of personal and professional trouble, his name daily typeset  large all over the agora, trouble that is likely to ruin him, I was nonplussed.  

      As always is the case, the signs (which in retrospect appear as large as roadside billboards) were there all along that trouble was waiting for him.  Now that it has arrived in a first-class carriage and exploded, I wonder how we’ll all feel once the big bang shock has worn off?

  Personally, I already feel a little wiser and more secure about myself and my own instincts, ethics, and capacity to self-generate  appropriate apprehensions of fear and a sense of consequences. 


       As for the small but significant horde who formerly danced attendance on this man, some are already probably looking for new sources of gossip and backs to stab and bite; others will simply deny the significance of their prior relationship or claim they were never ever deceived.

  Say your prayers.   Amen.


  1. A great raw post. Whenever I used to complain to my mother about life being unfair, or people being dishonest or unkind, she always would say that "Nothing has changed. It's always been this way." The older I get, the more I tend to agree with her.

  2. Thank you. It IS raw, isn't it? And it goes hand-in-hand, by the way, with the NY Times article you posted on FB, by the way. Curtis

  3. This reminds me of lines from a song by my friend Brian Kelly, the wisdom of which is for me only enhanced by the obvious accuracy of what they state:

    Each of us is struggling,
    even Caesar at his peak.

  4. Roddy, I know and thank you for saying so. I'd like to hear the song. Just back from an interestingly up-and-down day where the whole rainbow of emotions were stirred. On the very positive side, Jane played really beautifully at her piano recital. We stopped at home to walk the dogs and drink a glass of nice Lirac wine and then, along with the rest of America, saw The Avengers (but in IMAX). It took a long time to get going and in the end was the sort of fun junk I expected and only a letdown if you expected a lot more from Joss Whedon. On the way out of the theater, we finally saw SuperMoon (the cloud cover finally broke) and it was amber-y and splendid. Now back to the planning table. Hope all is well where you are. Curtis