ridicule

There is no character,

howsoever good and fine,

but it can be destroyed by ridicule,

howsoever poor and witless.

Observe the ass, for instance:

his character is about perfect,

he is the choicest spirit among

all the humbler animals,

yet see what ridicule

has brought him to.

Instead of feeling complimented

when we are called an ass,

we are left in doubt.

The Flea

Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear–not absence of fear.
Except a creature be part coward
it is not a compliment to say it is brave;
it is merely a loose misapplication of the word.
Consider the flea!–incomparably the bravest
of all the creatures of God,
if ignorance of fear were courage.
Whether you are asleep or awake
he will attack you, caring nothing
for the fact that in bulk and strength you are
to him as are the massed armies of the earth
to a sucking child; he lives both day and night
and all days and nights in the very lap of peril
and the immediate presence of death,
and yet is no more afraid than is the man
who walks the streets of a city that was threatened
by an earthquake ten centuries before.
When we speak of Clive, Nelson, and Putnam
as men who “didn’t know what fear was,”
we ought always to add the flea–and
put him at the head of the procession.

— Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

Prophecy::

“As democracy is perfected,
the office of the president represents,
more and more closely,
the inner soul of the people.
On some great and glorious day,
the plain folks of the land will reach
their heart’s desire at last,
and the White House will be occupied
by a downright fool
and complete narcissistic moron.”

H L Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun,
July 26, 1920

(Thankfully that comes to an end January 20)
JM, Jan 8, 2017