Category Archives: Juvenal Early’s Archive

UPDATED (8/14/022): A Few Good Men: Juvenal Early Dons His Shining Armor For A Hebrew

America, Anti-Semitism, Democracy, FRED REED, Hebrew Testament, Ilana Mercer, Juvenal Early's Archive, South-Africa

A woman is lucky to have a friend such as Juvenal Early, writer extraordinaire, and all-round fine human being. That my toil—and persona—inspires such a valiant defense in someone so kind and gifted means a lot—and offsets unkind cuts and slights from other quarters.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Ed Dutton, and simply love to speak about “Xhosa & Zulu & Buthelezi,” some of my readers, such as the brilliant Juvenal, nom de plume naturally, had prepared substantive questions they did not get the opportunity to ask.  A frustrated Juvenal Early vents spleen on The Unz Review:

Oh, Jew! Jew! Jew! To paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara, is that all you guys ever talk about.

ILANA expressed herself in this long interview with all of intelligence, class, & erudition that she usually brings to her podcasts, and was, as always, great fun to listen to. But I’m afraid she didn’t speak to the issues I was hoping to hear about: CRT, black crime, the morass in Ukraine, the utter worthlessness of the GOP, etc. For that I blame the interlocutor, Mr Dutton. He seemed to be more interested, in the first half, to hear about South Africa, in the most minute details too, & we got a little bit more about tribal traits than we bargained for. Or perhaps that’s just me. ILANA has been in America for 20 years, & few writers understand better than her what’s happening here, & it was that I was led to believe would be the host’s agenda. But no, we got a lot of Xhosa & Zulu & Buthelezi—& the inevitable Jew questions. The patient lady rolled with the punches, & handled herself with aplomb.

When Dr. Dutton turned to the listeners’ questions, it became really evident that the fix was in. The first 3 questions came from the same guy. And they all had something to do with the so-called JQ. The rest of the questions were of a similar mouthbreather sort. The final question posited one those hypothetical situations that is completely irrelevant to the way we live now (& will be living a millennium from now), something about a world where Jews can’t hold office. ILANA’s jolly “Fuck off” was triumphant & completely appropriate, under the circumstances. It shouldn’t have been, but it was the best moment in the whole 98 minutes.

ILANA is an individual, coming at issues from an individualist’s perspective. At one point, she did say that, as far as identity was concerned, she was an Old Testament (she would call it the Hebrew Bible) Hebrew, with all that that implies with respect to embracing the truth, & raining hellfire down on your enemies. I thought that was pretty cool. Certainly an original perspective. She’s always been an original, you know. I scarcely know where the second-handers would be without her.

Now a lot of you will say how she ignores the elephant in the room, doesn’t say who’s behind all the evil in the world. You have the right to do so, & it’s a testament to Mr Unz’s love of free speech that you can do it here in the most colorful & imaginative ways possible. Personally, I get the enjoyment of a weekly wager with a friend, who also reads ILANA’s columns. We each try to guess how many JQ questions will turn up in the Comments before the next column is posted. The loser buys. We’re both getting pretty soused.

UPDATED (8/14/022):  Fred Reed sent similar sentiments:

Again, I must stress that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ed, who is a most interesting character.  I enjoy that. I enjoy interesting, out-of-the-mold individuals.  That Ed is. I’m not threatened by difference, as I am different and am blattered for it. I’ve noticed over my “career” (such that it is) that sameness is courted in North America. Perhaps I’m wrong; but I felt that Ed and I share a certain idiom; wry humor …

It’s also interesting to me—who seems to expect too little from people by way of their treatment of me (I need to work on that)—that some valued men felt differently and were kind of protective of me. That’s what makes for chivalry.

Writes the great Fred Reed, whose column I am honored to host:

I just finally got leisure to watch your Dutton interview, but couldn’t finish it. I was very much interested in what you had to say but–forgive me if he is your friend–the frequent interruptions, the lengthy high-speed jabbering were unbearable. As you spoke at a normal rate for thoughtful discourse, I couldn’t focus on what you were saying because I was constantly thinking, When is he going to interrupt and start talking over her. In my perhaps curmudgeonly view, an interviewer’s place is to ask brief questions and shut up.

On the whole America strikes me as unintelligent or at best uninformed and uninterested and without a cultural and moral glue to hold them together. If I had children today, I would much prefer that they grow up in Mexico in Mexican schools than in the US.

Fred

I have uploaded the video with Ed’s kind permission to my own YouTube channel. You can now watch the joust minus the offensive “Jewy” comments below it.

https://lnkd.in/gZeXmsuE

UPDATED (8/12/022): WATCH: My Talk With The ‘Jolly Heretic’ About The Future Of America

Africa, America, Anti-Semitism, Democracy, Judaism & Jews, Juvenal Early's Archive, Race, Racism, South-Africa

Dr. Edward Dutton of the popular “Jolly Heretic” podcast interviews me about my 2011 book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa”; what it portends for America—has the tipping point been reached?—and much more.

Ed quipped that the book has held up “quite well.” I, of course, wrote “Into the Cannibal’s Pot” with a view to boldly outlining for Americans the contours of the anti-white society that will materialize in America if… if…

Alas, that society is upon us.

I suffer the usual glut of Jewy questions and taunts, but I get the last word. A spontaneous one-upmanship, if you will. But don’t go skipping to the end.

Still, Ed and I have a jolly good time of it. Watch:

UPDATE II (8/13/022): I have uploaded the video with Ed’s kind permission to my own YouTube channel. You can now watch the joust minus the offensive “Jewy” comments below it.

https://lnkd.in/gZeXmsuE

Nothing personal, Mr. Sheer. But I’m up to my eyeballs–had it!–with brooding, sour, judgmental puritanical scolds—species prevalent in North America—lying in wait to take offense at me, my jolly fun use of English (“off with her head!”)–and my persona; simply because it’s not flat-lining. The “F” word when used judiciously is fabulous. Ask D.H. Lawrence. Being an alive, if demure, personality among the walking dead isn’t fun.

UPDATE I (8/12/022): The Mercer fan page praises me for turning in a good performance and has some mild, fussy and unfocused words (the worst kind) for the Jewy stuff that occupied the segment.

Reply: You find “Jew, Jew, Jew” “boring”? What an understatement. Try enduring it for decades. As someone who has written in depth, well-developed works on the defining issues of the day, since 1998–I was having to speak not about my writing; but rather, to defend my character on the grounds that I was born Jewish; and in response to the  irrational hate of low-IQ, emotion-driven mouth-breathers for someone they don’t know.

Here is a simple statement from a man with an obvious urge to do the right thing and an ability to say the right thing:

Robert Dolan @UnzReview says:

She takes a lot of abuse here and never whines.
Her book is actually very good.
Everytime she writes a piece we get to hear about how she’s jewish…..as if we didn’t already know….
C’mon. Judge people by their work and their accomplishments.
Consider also the fact that the people facing the harsh (and usually unfair criticism) are public figures…..they have the courage to speak their minds in public and reveal their thoughts to the world at large, inviting not only social ostracism but financial ruin.

As to the comment about “financial ruin,” Robert gets it. My income—syndication dropped—was lost after I came out against the ConOink’s Iraq War in September of 2002. And burned as hot as molten lava against it for years. Dissident in 2001; dissident now. No change.

UPDATE III (8/13/022): Juvenal Early Dons His Shining Armor: 

A woman is lucky to have a friend such as Juvenal Early (nom de plume naturally), writer extraordinaire, and all-round fine human being. That my toil—and persona—inspires such a valiant defense in someone so kind and gifted means a lot—and offsets unkind cuts and slights from other quarters.

Oh, Jew! Jew! Jew! To paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara, is that all you guys ever talk about.

ILANA expressed herself in this long interview with all of intelligence, class, & erudition that she usually brings to her podcasts, and was, as always, great fun to listen to. But I’m afraid she didn’t speak to the issues I was hoping to hear about: CRT, black crime, the morass in Ukraine, the utter worthlessness of the GOP, etc. For that I blame the interlocutor, Mr Dutton. He seemed to be more interested, in the first half, to hear about South Africa, in the most minute details too, & we got a little bit more about tribal traits than we bargained for. Or perhaps that’s just me. ILANA has been in America for 20 years, & few writers understand better than her what’s happening here, & it was that I was led to believe would be the host’s agenda. But no, we got a lot of Xhosa & Zulu & Buthelezi—& the inevitable Jew questions. The patient lady rolled with the punches, & handled herself with aplomb.

When Dr. Dutton turned to the listeners’ questions, it became really evident that the fix was in. The first 3 questions came from the same guy. And they all had something to do with the so-called JQ. The rest of the questions were of a similar mouthbreather sort. The final question posited one those hypothetical situations that is completely irrelevant to the way we live now (& will be living a millennium from now), something about a world where Jews can’t hold office. ILANA’s jolly “Fuck off” was triumphant & completely appropriate, under the circumstances. It shouldn’t have been, but it was the best moment in the whole 98 minutes.

ILANA is an individual, coming at issues from an individualist’s perspective. At one point, she did say that, as far as identity was concerned, she was an Old Testament (she would call it the Hebrew Bible) Hebrew, with all that that implies with respect to embracing the truth, & raining hellfire down on your enemies. I thought that was pretty cool. Certainly an original perspective. She’s always been an original, you know. I scarcely know where the second-handers would be without her.

Now a lot of you will say how she ignores the elephant in the room, doesn’t say who’s behind all the evil in the world. You have the right to do so, & it’s a testament to Mr Unz’s love of free speech that you can do it here in the most colorful & imaginative ways possible. Personally, I get the enjoyment of a weekly wager with a friend, who also reads ILANA’s columns. We each try to guess how many JQ questions will turn up in the Comments before the next column is posted. The loser buys. We’re both getting pretty soused.

Juvenal Early: Chronicles’ Playboy Taki Presses Flesh With Racism-Spotting ‘Poofter’

BAB's A List, Conservatism, Journalism, Juvenal Early's Archive, Literature, Paleoconservatism, Populism, South-Africa

“Murray, from what I can tell, is the latest manifestation of what Tom Wolfe once labeled ‘The Mid-Atlantic Man,’ i.e., the foppish Englishman who makes a generous living off the Americans he’s bamboozled into thinking he’s brilliant.”—Juvenal Early

By Juvenal Early

So, what in the Sam Hill is going on over at Chronicles Magazine?

The June issue features back-page gossip columnist (and reputed Moneybags) Taki extolling the virtues of his friend Douglas Murray’s latest book, The War on the West (another unoriginal title to add to the Murray canon; here’s the first, also extolled by Chronicles).

Though math geek John Derbyshire lamented the book’s lack of numbers and graphs, and said it had nothing new to offer, Taki terms it a “dozey.”  I assume he meant doozy; dozey sounds like a nighttime sleep-aid.

But, but, but. Wasn’t it only back in January that Murray called out Chronicles Wunderkind Pedro Gonzalez for anti-semitism?  And haven’t there been a dearth of Gonzalez appearances in the last few months on Tucker Carlson Tonight? And didn’t Chronicles call out the heavy peashooters in counterattack to the bitchy Brit? In short, hadn’t Murray’s name become persona non grata in the halls of the Charlemagne Institute (publisher of Chronicles)?

Let me back up a little and give some context.

It starts with Tucker, where else?  If you were following his show with any degree of regularity over the past few years, you no doubt became acquainted with Douglas Murray and Pedro Gonzalez, two of Tuck’s go-to guys, when it comes to having opinions on politics and culture. Tucker has even anointed them (unjustly we think) as public intellectuals in extended gingham-shirt interviews on his FoxNation streaming show.

Pedro writes for several outlets, principally for Chronicles, where he’s an editor and also their current Wonder Boy. Though not without talent, he has a track record of expropriating the ideas of others without giving them credit.

Murray, from what I can tell, is the latest manifestation of what Tom Wolfe once labeled “The Mid-Atlantic Man,” i.e., the foppish Englishman who makes a generous living off the Americans he’s bamboozled into thinking he’s brilliant. With aspirations to be the latest Roger Scruton, if not Michael Oakeshott, Doug’s ended up being “Con-Oink’s” House Poofter. Not bad work, if you can get it. Seems like all the Fox hosts are calling on him now. Barely-a-Blog and the “Hard Truth” Podcast have both devoted column space and air time to Murray’s sins. (Also here and here.)

So, when Murray wrote his hit piece on Bari Weiss’s Substack page, maybe he didn’t know that he was castigating a fellow Tucker-bro.  Or maybe he did, and that’s the whole point. It’s dog eat dog in what currently passes for America’s conservative intellectual battlefield.

Enter Taki and his literal PR job on behalf of Douglas Murray. Taki’s June 2022 “Under the Black Flag” column begins: “Douglas Murray’s book The War on the West has just been published, and it’s a dozey [sic]. He is a friend and fellow columnist in the London Spectator, the oldest magazine in the English-speaking world.”

What are we to think? Maybe it’s a sign of health that a polemical magazine offers differing opinions.  Or maybe it was just an oversight that it made it to print.  Or maybe the deep pockets of which Taki’s always reminding us had something to do with it. By all reports, Chronicles has survived hand-to-mouth since Leopold Tyrmand founded it. Maybe they’re not anxious to upset an important patron. Just spitballing here.

As for Taki’s literary output, it is gossip, you know, albeit, high-class gossip, as the brilliant writer and jet-set doyenne Barbara Amiel says in her memoirs.  (Hmm. Pot. Kettle. Black?) He was, she said, maybe capable of better things: “…really, had he put his mind to it, he could have been a significant writer.” Certainly, he was always invoking his heroes—Hemingway and Mailer come to mind—enough that you knew he had more than a passing acquaintance with the best writers of the 20th Century. You get the idea that he aspired to that level.

But perhaps all that money and all those yachts and all those women and all that tennis and all that judo and all that vodka sapped his talent, left him with no more than his platform at the Spectator—or wherever else he could find an eager publisher.

Indeed, the proper term for what Taki became might be writer manqué.

So where did he come by his affinity for Murray?

Well, if you’ve aspired to greatness, but fallen short, the next best thing is to find yourself in the company of the best available option. Which is often just a flavor of the month, like Dougie-boy. For Murray’s part, I imagine he likes having someone colorful picking-up the checks.

As previously mentioned, Taki is always reminding us of his colorfulness and his ability to pick-up checks. Then there’s the fortune, yachts, the houses, the women—the “candyfloss,” in the words of Barbara Amiel (before she turned around and squandered her talent on Conrad and the high-life).

Yes, money, Taki does have. He’s been telling us for well over 40 years how much better his life is than ours. He’ll get down and slum with the people, now and then, but don’t try to insinuate yourself into his world. A friend was once at conference featuring Taki. He was part of a group that surrounded Taki at a cocktail reception. Taki was holding forth on Gstaad, the ski retreat in Switzerland where he owns a house. My friend, upper middle class, well-read, well-traveled, a first-rate financial analyst, mentioned that he’d been in Gstaad recently, and had been very impressed with the place’s beauty. Taki sized him up, and replied dismissively: “you were never in Gstaad.” Why’d he do that? Push comes to shove, he’s probably just a snob at heart

And he’s just the kind of white whale a bloke like Murray dreams of hooking. Murray’s a punch-down kinda guy, or at least that’s the impression I have. He’ll suck up to who he has to, but I can’t see him sharing a pint with Joe Sixpack. A custom fit for the Greek Boy? Snobs of a feather?  Just asking.

********************************************************************************
“Juvenal Early” is a contributor to Barely A Blog. His 2020 piece, “The Dissident Right Has An Idiocracy Problem,” created quite a buzz.

When Juvenal approached me about the above piece, I applauded his instincts. Taki is, after all, quoted in Into The Cannibal’s Pot (p.18), enthusing over South Africa being “the greatest triumph of chatter over machine-gun clatter. It’s not perfect, and crime is at an all-time high in South African cities,” babbled Taki, “but at least the massacres are a thing of the past and life goes on much better than before.”

The loss of my homeland lauded … The Nasionale Party trashed by the so-called Smart Set. 

Once upon a time, the epistolary fluff ensconced at The American Conservative was detonated daily by the “pugnacious” Lawrence Auster. When Auster died, a void opened up. The “typically shapeless pieces” coming out of paleoconservative quarters, at once “weird and solipsistic”—Auster’s delicious descriptions—have escaped scrutiny. Going by the pen name “Juvenal Early,” a disillusioned former donor to Chronicles has stepped up to clear the same “shapeless” thickets once hacked down to size by Lawrence Auster.
Enjoy.
ilana

 

* Douglas pic credit

Satire In The Big Easy: ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ By John Kennedy Toole

BAB's A List, Barely A Blog, Comedy & Humor, Culture, English, Juvenal Early's Archive, Literature

The plot concerns Ignatius’s long war of attrition against the 20th Century ~ Juvenal Early

By Juvenal Early

New Orleans (N’awlins, as they say in the South) has always been a city full of characters.  Port cities are like that, and, as the Mississippi River’s window on the world, New Orleans has been the ne plus ultra of character cities, throughout its colorful history. It’s a veritable bouillabaisse of Acadians, swarthy Mediterranean types, rednecks, Cajuns, Creoles, Africans, Arabs, and anyone else who ever went down to the sea in ships. The most Catholic of cities, New Orleans did Carnival so well, its Mardi Gras became a major industry. Throw in jazz, politics, the Mafia, the flesh trade, and several quirky genius chefs, and you’ve got an unusually high quotient of characters.

Set in The Big Easy, John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces (© 1976), gave the world Ignatius J. Reilly, a latter-day Thomist, a Medievalist, a Grand Inquisitor, a man for whom the standard New Orleans character was degeneracy incarnate. Given his druthers, Ignatius would’ve chosen to live in a world purged of said characters. Fictional though he was, Ignatius has ended up becoming perhaps the grandest New Orleans character of them all. In homage, the real people of New Orleans erected a statue to Ignatius, and right on Canal Street.

Ignatius is fat, unkempt, lives with his mother, is a perpetual student of Medieval philosophy, and critic pop culture. He complains constantly about the misery visited upon him by his faulty pyloric valve (abused as it is, by Ignatius’s diet). As described in the book’s first paragraph, he is distinguished by his odd dress: baggy pleated trousers, oversized flannel shirt, a scarf, and topped off by a green hunting cap with earflaps—all this, mind you, in one of the capitals of The Long Hot Summer.

The plot concerns Ignatius’s long war of attrition against the 20th Century. The elevated language he spouts in defense of his worldview—and the way people react to it—makes for non-stop Rabelaisian pageantry.

A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel, lurching hilariously from one episode to the next, from one lively conversation to another. Ignatius is a man who can attract the wrong kind of attention just by waiting for his mother in front of a store. Whenever he speaks to people—which is often—he gets deeper into trouble. Completely without self-awareness, he insults virtually everyone whose path he crosses, assuming they’ll take it as constructive criticism from someone who obviously knows better. By the end of the book, he’s pissed off everyone to high heaven, and they all want a piece of him. The clashes and conflicts, conflated into his conversation, makes for some of the best social satire of the Sixties.

Irene Reilly wants her son to get a job. Setbacks old and new have depleted the family nest egg, and they need a new revenue source. As man of the house, Ignatius must sally forth and be the breadwinner, but his long college training in Boethius and the Middle Ages have fitted him for nothing outside of academics, and he burned his bridges there long ago. What to do? Reluctantly, Ignatius, age 30, begins his search.

He quickly lucks into a job with Levy Pants, a moribund sweatshop. The loyal but dull-witted office manager, impressed by Ignatius’s pompous language, hires him as a file clerk. Whereupon Ignatius dumps the company records in the garbage, fills the file cabinets with plants, and writes insulting letters to the company’s biggest customers. For good measure, he organizes the labor force—mostly black—and impels them to attack the company office, the vanguard holding a banner—made from one of Ignatius’s crusted sheets—proclaiming a “Crusade for Moorish Dignity.” He is, of course, summarily fired.

Next, Ignatius finds work pushing a hotdog cart for Paradise Vendors, Inc., and, of course, he ends up eating much more than he sells. His pyloric valve, as he tells everyone, completely shuts down. Dressed up as a pirate—head bandanna, sash, plastic cutlass, and earring—he roams the French Quarter, looking to cash in on the tourist trade (ironic, of course, since most tourists come to the French Quarter specifically for the great variety of Creole, Cajun, and Southern cooking). He catches the eye of a prominent member of the gay community—a sodomite, as Ignatius would say. Initially appalled, Ignatius hits on a brainstorm. If gays can be organized politically, they will eventually take over. Taking power, they will also control the military, rendering it effeminate, ineffective, and fabulous! A non-aggressive US Army means World Peace. It all fits into Ignatius’s master plan. (Hey! It’s not all that farfetched.) Ignatius sets to work with predictable results.

There is much more: the conflict at home with his mother; forays to the local movie palace, where he declaims loudly about the degradation of cinematic art; a couple visits to The Night of Joy, a Bourbon Street skin joint, where Ignatius hopes Boethius will save the world from its worst appetites. The plot builds and builds to the inevitable denouement and the unlikely Deus Ex Machina.

Most scenes are replete with wonderfully lively dialogue, at once zany and…well, altogether real. Toole knew his hometown and he captures the peculiar Brooklynese patois heard among certain of its down-market denizens (think Stanley Kowalski). Wondrous too is the elevated pomposity of Ignatius, truculence as poetry. As a special bonus, Toole throws in Mr Burma Jones, doubtless the greatest black character ever created by a white writer.

But why take my word for it. Let the book speak for itself.

There is conflict:

“You got any identification, mister?” the policeman asked…

“What?” Ignatius looked down upon the badge on the blue cap. “Who are you?

“Let me see your driver’s license.”

“I don’ t drive. Will you kindly go away? I am waiting for my mother.”

“What’s this hanging out your bag?”

“What do you think it is, stupid?  It’s a string for my lute.”

“What’s that?” The policeman drew back a little. “Are you local?”

“Is it the part of the police department to harass me when this city is a flagrant vice capital of the civilized world?” Ignatius bellowed over the crowd in front of the store. “This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians, all of whom are only too well protected by graft. If you have a moment, I shall endeavor to discuss the crime problem with you, but don’t make the mistake of bothering me.”

Movie commentary (during a public screening):

Popcorn spilled down his shirt and gathered in the folds of his trousers. “What degenerate produced this abortion?”

“Shut up,” someone said behind him.

“Just look at those smiling morons!” …

When a love scene appeared to be developing, he bounded up out of his seat and stomped up the aisle to the candy counter for more popcorn, but as he returned to his seat, the two big pink figures were just preparing to kiss.

“They probably have halitosis,” Ignatius announced over the heads of children. “I hate to think of the obscene places that those mouths have doubtlessly been before.”

Criticism of the Ladies Art Club:

“Oh, my God!” Ignatius bellowed…” How dare you present such abortions to the public!”

“Please move along, sir,” a bold lady said…

“You ladies need a course in botany. And perhaps geometry, too.”

“You don’t have to look at our work,” an offended voice said…

“Yes, I do!” Ignatius screamed. “You ladies need a critic with some taste and decency…The water in this bowl looks like motor oil.”

Helpful Race Relations:

“Shit! You think I like the Night of Joy? Ooo-wee. I wanna get someplace. I want to get someplace good, be gainfully employ, make me a livin wage.”

“Just as I suspected,” Ignatius said angrily. “In other words, you want to become totally bourgeois. You people have all been brainwashed. I imagine you’d like to become a success or something equally vile.”

“Hey, now you gettin me. Whoa!”

“I really don’t have the time to discuss the errors of your value judgements.”

Don’t forget LGBT:

“Please be serious for a moment. Stop fluttering around here.”

“Moi? Fluttering? What do you want, Gypsy Woman?”

“Have you people thought of forming a political party and running a candidate?”

“Politics? Oh, Maid of Orleans. How dreary.”

“This is very important!” Ignatius shouted …”you may hold the key to the future.”

“Well, what do you want to do about it, Eleanor Roosevelt?”

“You must start a party organization. Plans must be made.”

“Oh, please,” the young man sighed…

“You may be able to save the world!” Ignatius bellowed in an orator’s voice….

“This kind of conversation depresses me more than you could ever imagine,” the young man told him.

And the aforementioned Burma Jones at the Night of Joy:

“You oughta tell your customer use they ashtray, tell them peoples you workin a man in here below the minimal wage. Maybe they be a little considerate.’

“Listen here, Jones” Lana Lee (said)…” All I gotta do is phone the police and report you’re out of work. You understand me?”

“And I tell the po-lice the Night of Joy a glorify cathouse. I fall in a trap when I come to work in this place. Whoa! Now I jus waitin to get some kind of evidence. When I do, I really gonna flap my mouth at the precinct.”

“Watch your tongue.”

“Times changin,” Jones said, adjusting his sunglasses. “You cain scare color peoples no more. I got me some peoples form a human chain in front of your door, drive away your business, get you on TV news.”

When Ignatius is home alone, he fills Big Chief writing tablets with his unique invective, gems of nihilism, as his half-foe/half-ally Myrna Minkoff describes it:

I can at last describe to you our factory…The scene which met my eyes was at once compelling and repelling. The original sweatshop has been preserved for posterity at Levy Pants. If only the Smithsonian Institution, that grab-bag of our nation’s refuse, could somehow vacuum-seal the Levy Pants factory and transport it to the capital of the United States of America, each worker frozen in an attitude of labor, the visitors to that questionable museum would defecate into their garish tourist outfits. It is a scene which combines the worst of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; it is mechanized Negro slavery; it represents the progress which the Negro has made from picking cotton to tailoring it.

You won’t want to put this novel down. But you also won’t want to rush through it.  You’ll want to savor every dialogue. There’s nothing else like it. Sadly.

Everyone loves this novel. Everyone I know who’s read it is also saddened, disappointed, and angered to know that it’s all we’ve got. John Kennedy Toole spent most of the 60s writing A Confederacy of Dunces and trying to get it published. Failing in the latter, he took his own life in 1969. His mother, believing ardently in her son’s genius, shopped the manuscript around, until she was finally able to press it into the hands of another Louisiana novelist, Walker Percy. In the novel’s preface, Percy describes how he reluctantly took up the dog-eared pages and was dismayed, after reading the first few pages, to find that it wasn’t bad enough to dismiss. He read on and gradually came to relish its genius. He managed to find a publisher for it, and a year later it won the Pulitzer Prize.  See if you don’t think it’s not the funniest novel you’ve ever read.

I could say a lot more about the book. Subplots involving a half-dozen of the novel’s eccentrics; Toole’s not-so-hidden messages; the sexual tension between Ignatius and Myrna Minkoff; strippers and cockatoos; theology, geometry, and the consolation of philosophy. But in the end, it’s just a great book to read. What’s it all mean? Who knows? Just read it.

With apologies to Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer (which is the great Mardi Gras novel), A Confederacy of Dunces is the great New Orleans novel.

*******

“Juvenal Early” is a contributor to Barely A Blog. His first essay was “The Dissident Right Has An Idiocracy Problem.” It made waves! He has a BAB archive.