Rendered Fat Content


Govaert Flinck: Blessing of Jacob (1638)

Mrs Snipkin and Mrs Wobblechin

Skinny Mrs. Snipkin,
With her little pipkin,
Sat by the fireside a-warming of her toes.
Fat Mrs. Wobblechin,
With her little doublechin,
Sat by the window a-cooling of her nose.

Says this one to that one,
"Oh! you silly fat one,
Will you shut the window down? You're freezing me to death!"
Says that one to t' other one,
"Good gracious, how you bother one!
There isn't air enough for me to draw my precious breath!"

Skinny Mrs. Snipkin,
Took her little pipkin,
Threw it straight across the room as hard as she could throw;
Hit Mrs. Wobblechin
On her little doublechin,
And out of the window a-tumble she did go.

Laura Elizabeth Richards

" … the riskiest of all propositions …"

Morality, the Thou Shalts of behavior, necessarily restricts some behaviors and altogether enjoins against others. It would prove an absolute fool's mission for me or anyone to attempt to delineate all the terms and conditions within our or anyone's SocialMorality. In very real ways, one must come to know without explicit instruction; much of that learning can only come from sincere observation. Woe be to the unobservant, for they seem destined to embarrass themselves without knowing it. They will become the ones quietly looked down upon, the self-selected second- and third-class citizens who repeatedly disqualify themselves through their actions. These feral citizens complicate the operation of any decency-seeking society and create an attractive nuisance for the more acculturated, for unlike our Skinny Mrs. Snipkin, we daresent go throwing our little pipkins every time another manages to offend us. Rightness does not empower anyone to start tossing around their pipkin, however righteously engaged in.

The righteous hold greater responsibility than anybody.
If one knows, then one's just expected to know better than to go around casually or even vengefully throwing pipkins, and this injunction includes invective. The immoral engage with oaths and curses without appreciating how personally demeaning those can seem. Free speech never sanctions loose talk, and we're enjoined to practice patience when encountering the less cultured among us. Those who would make fun of or belittle us without cause deserve more patience than most of us, for they display a tenacious ignorance of how our universe works. Their invective remains at best ineffective, however offensive it might seem. It screams impotence and frustration rather than justice or reason and is best ignored for what it isn't. It isn't effective threatening if it requires lessening your stature before attacking. It's fear and perhaps loathing, nothing tossing any pipkin could ever hope to gain any real influence over reforming.

I'll make a particular comment here on the far too often observed phenomena of the human dogpile. These appear after extended tension and considerable irresolution when the responder feels justified in tossing their entire stockpile of pipkins in response to some orthogonal comment or behavior. Finally feeling in power, the attacker quickly overwhelms their opponent to the point of public humiliation or even beyond. This always amounts to an abuse of power and therefore falls on the socially immoral side of every fence. There can be no civil justification for this socially nuclear option, for it can always produce an irreparable rift. However offensive the triggering comment, it can never justify so vilifying difference since difference remains our God, our point of worship, and what we adore. Even the potentially righteous occasionally fart in church. Even they deserve forgiveness for their trespass, even from their downwinders.

I take no joy in seeing our ex-president indicted for a fourth time, for he's in such peril now that he's in danger of ending up at the bottom of a dogpile. Each pipkin so far tossed has certainly seemed well-deserved. He has righteously earned whatever humiliation he's garnered, yet he remains proud. He might even qualify as a special case; one so damned clueless that there could be no hope of ever taming his compulsions. He might embody a social evil so rarely seen as to remain unnamable. That he's garnered so damned many followers might speak more to an eroding SocialMorality than it speaks to anything. When a society loses its direction, it might easily reject the results of even the fairest election in history, thereby calling into question the whole notion of civilization. If it produces such malignant skepticism, what have we become, and what of our future?

We had better learn to hold our own water. We were not born to piss on everything but to learn to become ever more civil and social. We might be the babies here, with seemingly every species way ahead of us on their evolutionary cycles, except for certain viruses. We were recently introduced and must still be learning our appropriate behaviors. Earlier iterations insisted upon an us-centered universe, but dominion never bought us much that's lasting. We're learning painfully slowly and are still determining whether we'll be learning fast enough to avoid destroying ourselves.

Further, we seem damned forgetful and nostalgic for how it was when we were still relative infants. We overly-revere our founders, for instance. As I suggested in yesterday's essay, we seem to lose our morality anew with each successive generation before rediscovering it just before that generation passes. This curious process seems the riskiest of all propositions upon which to rest the future of all of this. Pray for us. Pray for yourself.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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