You will, of course, recall Containment, America/The CW’s remake of Belgium’s Cordon. Episode two was on last night and within the first few seconds I was laughing.
Oh dear. Quoting Socrates. Well, to be exact quoting a slightly loose translation of section 42a of Plato’s Apology, which is an account of Socrates’ trial, in which Plato says Socrates said:
ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἤδη ὥρα ἀπιέναι, ἐμοὶ μὲν ἀποθανουμένῳ, ὑμῖν δὲ βιωσομένοις: ὁπότεροι δὲ ἡμῶν ἔρχονται ἐπὶ ἄμεινον πρᾶγμα, ἄδηλον παντὶ πλὴν ἢ τῷ θεῷ.
θεῷ, there, referring to Zeus, of course, but I guess the all-American Containment wasn’t going there.
So why was I laughing? Because it reminds me of Joe Queenan’s America (aka Red Lobster, White Trash, & the Blue Lagoon), in which he deliberately decides to read all the worst books, watch the worst movies, eat the worst food, attend the worst events, etc that America and Americana have to offer.
This includes reading Tom Clancy novels. He notes that Clancy and similarly bad authors all have a habit of quoting much better authors at the beginning of books and even chapters of books in order to give their sub-standard works an intellectual veneer that makes them seem better than they are.
I’m going to start calling these quotes ‘Containment moments’ from now on.
As a brief aside, Queenan suggests it might be an idea to return the favour of the ‘Containment moment’ and preface classic works of literature with quotes from lesser authors, imagining, for example, what would happen if a play of Shakespeare’s was preceded with:
The Hughes 500D is an extremely quiet helicopter due to sound baffles in the Allison 250-C20B engine.
That would be aces.