A mole-hill as high as Tenerife

by Chris Bertram on December 29, 2009

John’s Shakespeare thread, featuring George Scialabba’s somewhat idiosyncratic opinions on the playwright, has reached the point where comments are closed. Not that I specially want to open them. But I was reminded of George’s deployment of Shaw earlier today when reading Hume’s “Of the Standard of Taste”. Here’s Shaw, as quoted by George, seeking in his poets a kind of will to moral improvement:

bq. All that you miss in Shakespeare you find in Bunyan, to whom the true heroic came quite obviously and naturally. The world was to him a more terrible place than it was to Shakespeare; but he saw through it a path at the end of which a man might look not only forward to the Celestial City, but back on his life and say: ‘Tho’ with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get them.’ The heart vibrates like a bell to such utterances as this; to turn from it to ‘Out, out, brief candle,’ and ‘The rest is silence,’ and ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded by a sleep’ is turn from life, strength, resolution, morning air and eternal youth, to the terrors of a drunken nightmare.

And here’s Hume:

bq. Whoever would assert an equality of genius and elegance between OGILBY and MILTON, or BUNYAN and ADDISON, would be thought to defend no less an extravagance, than if he maintained a mole-hill to be as high as TENERIFFE, or a pond as extensive as the ocean. Though there may be found persons, who give preference to the former authors; no one pays attention to such a taste; and we pronounce without scruple the sentiment of these pretended critics to be absurd and ridiculous

Jeux Sans Frontieres

by Henry Farrell on December 29, 2009

The “Financial Times”:http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7bdcce10-f3e0-11de-ac55-00144feab49a.html

Among the wave of reality board games to have hit the Argentine market in recent years, Eternal Debt has remained a niche favourite among those who still blame the IMF for leading the country into a nearly $100bn default eight years ago. The game, by local manufacturer Ruibal, involves taking Latin American raw materials, turning them into industrial products and selling the finished goods in world markets, using IMF capital.

Also available is Bureaucracy, which exploits locals’ disenchantment with the country’s notoriously cumbersome civil service. … The game is designed to elicit groans of recognition to anyone who has ever spent hours grappling with regulatory issues in public offices in Argentina. The game, made by toymaker Habano, cheerfully invites players “to waste time and lose their patience” as they move across the board with a lengthening list of documents to procure and departments to visit in their quest to complete a simple piece of paperwork. It is a game “where everyone loses”, crows the box.

Other suggestions for topical boardgames, in Argentina, the US or elsewhere, welcome in comments.