A Working Class Hero is Something to Be


Gustave Caillebotte, Les Rabateurs de Parquet (The Floor Scrapers), presented to The Paris Salon of 1875, is one of the first occasions that members of the urban proletariat had been displayed to the general public. The jury, shocked by its crude realism but voyeuristically fascinated, rejected it as “vulgar subject matter”. In choosing to submit himself simply to the rigorous formulae of traditional realist painters, Caillebotte eschews any of the political, social or moral messages of his contemporaries like Courbet or Millet. It is as if he were a documentarian exposing us only to gestures, tools and the accoutrements of these stripped down modern heroes of antiquity. One year later he, along with Edgar Degas, were the toast of the town. … Could there be a more apropos moment to take note that a working class hero is something to be?

Chance or Chancery?


Life truly is like the Court of Chancery. Whereas it really should be a place of infinite justice, in which all are treated equally, often it is simply unfair. This was the very truth, Miss Flite, the very astute and seemingly minor character in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, found out from her many years of living on only the vaguest promise of a slender thread of hope. Such a life is often the ruination of the soul.

Presented here a list of her aptly named birds all “to be released on the day of judgment”. Take your chances where you find them.

Hope – Desires, expectations, longings and dreams.

Joy – Happiness, revelry, pleasure and jubilance.

Youth – Adolescence, inexperience, jejunity. Innocence yet to be despoiled.

Peace – Accord, truce and conciliation. A longed for harmony.

Rest – Calm composure and quiescence. That which may give you tranquility.

Life – Essence, élan, spirit and the very joie de vivre of being.

Dust – Ashes, cinders, dirt and the fragments of life.

Ashes – Charcoal, ruin, relics and the sad burned remains.

Waste – Reckless spending, decay and desolation. A life squandered.

Ruin – Destitution and bane. Bankruptcy.

Despair – Anguish, sorrow, hopelessness and misery.

Madness – Delusion, insanity, lunacy and mania.

Death – Annihilation, dissolution, eradication. The final cessation.

Cunning – Sly, artifice, guile, deceit.

Folly – Absurdity, rashness, stupidity, triviality.

Words – Colloquy, utterances. The means of communication.

Wigs – Periwigs. The trappings of the court’s costume.

Rags – Scraps, shreds, tatters. The remnant of the matter.

Sheepskin – The testimonial document. Certification. Credentials.

Plunder – Theft, contraband. That which is stolen.

Precedent – Antecedents and the authoritative exemplar. A paradigm.

Jargon – Exclusive phraseology. Pernicious patois.

Gammon – To fleece, to dupe, chicanery. The game of swindle.

Spinach – Prevarication. The avoidance of truth. A bald lie.