Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gone With the Wind? Not quite!

By a Guest Blogger

Götterdämmerung lingers in Southern Illinois autoshops

A good thing about Southern Illinois is that life is relatively cheap, meaning, of course, that one doesn’t need too much money to buy things. For instance, it cost me only $325 to fix a broken clutch in my old Honda Civic (if you still think it’s expensive, try it in Baltimore). While checking out, I listened politely to the mechanic’s account of what had been wrong without understanding much (after all, it’s fixed now, so who cares?). As far as I could gather, there was a problem with two cylinders, one of which was “main” and the other one “subordinated”.

When I took a look at the receipt, however, I got a jolt of reality, albeit historic:

You see, while Illinois was a free state, Missouri (which is some 20 miles away from the autoshop) was not.

There is no surprise that the heritage of Ashley Wilkes and somewhat less gentlemanly Simon Legree crept in and lingered, although in a rather unexpected form.

One may object that what I saw in the receipt are just two innocuous technical terms. However, things with similar meaning are encountered in many areas, and the English vocabulary is rich enough to avoid allusions to slavery. For instance, in Finance debt can be classified as senior (paid first) and subordinated, but for some reason nobody calls them master debt and slave debt. The same thing is with preferred stock and common stock.

On the other hand, those greedy financiers are located mostly in NY and other yankee states.

What else would you expect of them carpetbaggers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the hell? . . .