Out of labor comes sweet lull,
From this in turn sounds a fanfare
that chimes the golden merry bell
of heart with mirth and laughter.
Author’s Note: I was on the Metro this morning, and a lady sitting next to me who was a total stranger told me with a wink, “Thank God, it’s Friday. Aren’t we just glad?” Ditto. It’s the Friday Euphoria that assuaged the constraints of our weekday malady and neutralized our fear of strangers. We all deserve a pat on the back for having made it through this week, as Snoopy cheers us up jubilantly.
History is a story of a people who have accumulated their cultural artifacts, political crafts, and societal conventions into a great reservoir of Tradition that becomes the bedrock of a country. Therefore, it is always helpful to understand the origins of political and social systems as well as cultural propensities of a country if you want to pronounce your opinion on the stimulating current affairs of a country without Ignorant Prejudice.
The one such apposite example can be illustrated in the case of Brexit, which is the UK’s withdrawal from the E.U, seemingly unwelcome by people who are involved in international businesses and those who want to work and live in the UK as non-citizens. As an outsider who has never been to the UK, I think it deemed inappropriate to criticize its decision to exit the E.U. for the reason that only the decision makers and the people favoring the Brexit should know better. Nonetheless, one thing is certain that the current Brexit fervor and all its inclusive phenomena are never a new thing.
The proverbial English isolationism or exceptionalism, a quaint sense of Englishness different from its continental counterparts, goes back to King Henry VIII’s break from the Church of Rome in 1532. His unquenchable passion for Anne Boleyn, while still married to Catherine of Aragon, led him to bold separation from the Church of Rome, the Pan-European, supranational ancestor of the EU and the Leviathan of Christendom, which would disallow his divorce from his wife who was an ardent Catholic from ardent Catholic Spain. With an audacious proclamation of being the Head of Church of England, Henry VIII ordered a confiscation of the lands and wherewithal of monasteries and convents all over the Island and banning of professing the papist religion to his subjects from the Duke to the Butcher. Furthermore, the king constructed Royal Navy to remind himself and his subjects that England was Fortress bound by watery demarcation. In this manner, Henry VIII gained the absolute jurisdiction over the ecclesiastical as well as political matters and rejected any foreign authority within England. In fact, the substantial consequence of all of it is the king’s creation of England – not Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) or the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) – as a national and cultural identity, firmly entrenched in religious, political, and cultural sensibilities of the English that we frequently associate.
In view of Henry VIII’s schismatic separation from the Church of Rome, today’s Brexit movement is a historical reprise of the English exceptionalism that has something to do with its geographical characteristic as an island that shaped the particular national character known as “Englishness.” Hence, Henry VIII’s establishment of the Church of England can be regarded as the forerunner of Brexit today and the invention of the cultural sensibilities encompassing all things English deeply embedded in its national character. With this in mind, we can look at the Brexit phenomenon in a more sensible and balanced perspective and understand that history is not a thing of the past but an ongoing process that moves on within its cultural legacies for centuries.
Author’s note: this is based upon my reading of an article about ”Henry VIII’ s invention of England” from this month’s issue of BBC History. Knowing one’s history can quell blatant antipathy. Hence this essay.
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” said Coco Chanel, Godmother of the Mods. Ditto. Hence my choice of this pretty blouse:the sleeves are coquettishly but not provocatively diaphanous with cute stand collars and pretty polka dots adorably decorated on the front and back sides of this tunic-like blouse that gives the illusion of an authentic silk blouse redolent of a muslin black dress I fell in love with from Chanel 2007 Spring Fashion Show because it looked so ethereal, so graceful, and so beautiful even in its simple design bereft of any sparkling ornaments. What’s more, this blouse is very appropriate for work, rendering both professionally sleek and fashionably chic impressions. The loveliest thing about this pretty blouse is the way it hangs on your body when you walk or even stand, especially in breeze: it sways like a willow or a cosmos on a slender reed. This sensible and fashionable blouse will look just beautiful on all women with wings of fairies and aura of mysteriousness in any setting.
Author’s Note: I love this new blouse of mine, so I had to write about it. Vain? Immodest even? Hardly ever so because even someone like Virginia Woolf , who is revered as a forerunner of feminism, admitted thus: ” Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” This betokens Woolf’s indelible trait of femininity in her regard of fashion as wings of social mobility and status in society. So why not making fashion as an expression of myself in the most fabulously fashionable way?
One of my all-time favorite writers Paul Johnson, author of Intellectuals and Creators, pronounced that there’s nothing like a shot of gusto for creativity. This means that creativity value directly relates to our meaning of life, freedom of will, and will to meaning. It is a sovereign remedy for the vertiginous existential malady, and I believe it. Doing any kind of creative activity, such as writing, drawing, photographing, and filming no matter how skilled or novice you may be, puts you away from the constraints of daily life and takes you away from the humdrum existence. This is not grandiose hokum because subjects of creation can be just about anything. Jane Austen proudly proclaimed, “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me.” How similar we are! That is why I made this very short video for a lark on the last train to home after work this evening. It is not a tour de force, but still it is my brainchild. That is why I cherish Kurt Vonnegut’s one-of-kind advice to all: “To practice any form of art, however well or badly, is to grow your soul. So just do it.” Sounds familiar? Then Think Nike. Yes. Just Do It.
Caveat emptor: Readers’ whimsical and capricious opinions on my writings in the form of instant likes that disappear into the cyber ether are an aberration of civility and respect. It is a cruel form of mockery and indignity. Nietzsche might be right in defining that “Man is the cruelest animal.”
“Old Winter back to the savage hills Withdraws his force, decrepit now.”
Goethe pronounced the arrival of spring, which Vivaldi translated into “La primavera.” Spring seems to have finally arrived here in earnest. It really is. People come out of their domestic world to bask in the sun, in the glory of the beautiful weather.
To add more pleasing news to the celebration of the new season, the opening of “Bonnie’s,” a new ice cream parlor in town that serves prime quality ice cream and other refreshments in pleasingly prim atmosphere brings the grist to the mill of local business promotion and lively cultural landscape.
Proprietress of the store Bonnie is also an aficionado of the Arts, especially music, so she gladly and graciously let the Hollies hold a little recital in front of her new establishment. Thanks to Bonnie’s cultural sophistication in harmony with humanity, the recital of the Hollies made every spectator’s Sunday afternoon delightfully impressive and sweetly bright.