A Spark of Hope

Filed under:History,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on July 3, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

(The good stuff, not that crap Barry O. is selling.)

I got this link at Hot Air, about bachelorhood. It starts out on how bachelors are likely to accomplish more and greater things in their lives than married men, and frankly, as a devotee of Dorothy L. Sayers and her commentary on that very truth as it applies to women, I was glad to read somebody’s approach to it for men. But still, as I read Christopher Orlet’s (what a great name, no?) list of the “architects of Western Civilization” who were single, I could only think one thing:

“But not Bach. Not Bach.”

Nor, in addition, any of the founders of our own American system of civilization, though of course they were working on and fleshing out premises that had been laid down by many in the list.

I have no trouble believing, generally, that accomplished single people will accomplish more than accomplished married people. But Bach. Bach is the spark of hope that it’s not all one way or the other.

I’ll see if I need to update after reading what is sure to be a twist on Orlet’s theme.

Update: The moral seems to be that this single formula works only if you are a highly accomplished person indeed. I can buy that too. Also, Mr. Orlet needs a competent copy editor or at the very least a good proofreader. Howling typos like “border” for “boarder” and “precidence” compete for attention with a notable lack of commas. Exactly the kind of thing a smart, sharp-eyed wife would prevent. (With apologies to Mr. Orlet’s wife if he has one.)


  1. Yes, but as far as Sayers goes – I don’t think she ever really proves in Gaudy Night that women must be single to accomplish great things. The characters discuss that proposition over and over, but in the end Harriet’s “job” encompasses more than her writing, as is true for many people. And who is judging what are “great things”? Is it better to contribute a perfect manuscript or a well-adjusted child to the world? I think very few people should view one or the other as their sole “job”, but that’s my personal opinion. I’d like to think you can contribute greatly to both professional and domestic spheres – maybe not at the exact same time, but over the course of one’s life, certainly.

    Comment by Tari — July 3, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Kind of OT, but speaking of Bach: Tocatta and Fugue in D minor on a Russian bayan. I wish this were on just one video instead of two (fuga in related videos), but his performance, interpretation and technique is one of the best, if not THE best I have ever encountered, aurally and visually. Breathtaking!

    Comment by cardeblu — July 3, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  3. Well, that didn’t work. Try this:


    Comment by cardeblu — July 3, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

  4. I suppose if we take into account Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Justinian, Mohammed, Henry VIII, George Washington, Napoleon … you know, like totally “unaccomplished” married men, it kind of makes sense. Heck, how many Lord Peter stories did any of them write?

    Comment by nk — July 6, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  5. I think that’s the logic behind not letting priests marry. That if you only serve one master, you’ll get more done.

    We just watched the HBO series on John Adams. His family certainly suffered from his and Abigail’s sacrifices for our country.

    Still, is the goal of life to be highly accomplished (for some, yes) or to live fully, which for me, includes a relationship with a life partner and my child. Some days just getting out of bed is a high accomplishment.

    Comment by lifepundit — July 9, 2008 @ 5:46 am

  6. nk – Dorothy Sayers was married. Unhappily, but married nevertheless.

    And I don’t think anyone was saying that 1930’s detective stories were the apogee of human civilization. They’re just, uh, nice to read.

    Comment by Tari — July 10, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  7. I think the phrase we’re looking for is “eh?”. A bunch of woolgathering scriveners are the architects of western civilization? Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, are just incidental?

    Comment by nk — July 16, 2008 @ 1:09 am

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