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04 February 2009

Canto XIX

More about the military-industrial complex, and complex it is. We start in Manhattan, with what reads like the self-satisfied reflections of a successful and unscrupulous businessman. Then this strange film-noirish scene:
So we sat there, with the kindly old professor,
And the stubby little man was upstairs.
And there was the slick guy in the other
corner reading the Tatler,
Not upside down, but never turning the pages,
And then I went up to the bed-room, and he said,
The stubby fellow: Perfectly true,
"But it's a question of feeling,
"Can't move 'em with a cold thing, like economics."
And so we came down stairs and went out,
And the slick guy looked out of the window,
And in came the street "Lemme-at-'em"
like a bull-dog in a mackintosh,
O my Clio!
Then the telephone didn't work for a week.

Which I quite like, although I can't fit it to anything around it, and of course film noir was not yet known.

And there follows more about (I think) the effect of the Russian revolution on the end of the war - the real or apparent collusion with Germany. And there's more about monopoly capitalism, market-fixing, and so on.

I guess we could summarise this canto as deploring the state of business and its pernicious effects. I also guess contemporary people would have had a better idea of what individuals could match the types described here. We're not so far here from Dante's hell, or the hell of the cantos; we have the behaviour depicted that would earn these people their punishment. In this section names aren't given presumably for fear of libel action.

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