A Confederacy of Dunces.

     "Oh Fortuna,
         you degenerate wanton!"

for as long as there have been gods, goddesses
and humans looking
up to them,
a cry has echoed from hilltops
and street corners...

only the names change...
Fortuna is the deity of choice of one
Ignatius J. Reilly, who is the hero
of one of the best books
i've ever read.

A Confederacy of Dunces.

three times, so far and i'm probably
due again.
the title is drawn from this
quotation of Jonathan Swift.
- see also A Modest Proposal
and Gulliver's Travels.


it is New Orleans in the 1960s,
and walking down Canal Street,
one can't help
but notice Ignatius.

 "A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once.

Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs."


Ignatius is both our hero, and our spirit guide
to New Orleans 20 years before crack showed up
and 40 years before Katrina blew it all to hell.

now, that New Orleans only exists in the memories
of the people who lived there, in the recordings
of Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair,
Toussaint and all the rest,
and in a book like this.

Confederacy of Dunces was written
John Kennedy Toole, a brilliant, fragile
man who loved literature, language
and the people and the city
of New Orleans.

Ignatius is a man in search of peace,
and a place where he can devote
himself to unveiling the abominations
that surround him.

He is an office worker,  he is unemployed,
he is a pirate hot dog vendor ,
pushing his cart through the Quarter
advertising "Twelve (12) inches
of Paradise".

here is Ignatius, in his own words...

"The day before me is fraught
with God knows what horrors."

"I am at this moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."

“When Fortuna spins you downward,
go out to a movie and get more out of life.

Ignatious was about to say this to himself;
then he remembered that he went to the movies
almost every night, no matter which way
Fortuna was spinning.”


"It smells terrible in here.'

Well, what do you expect? The human body, when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions.

Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I, too, have my needs.

You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate."


"Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart
of darkness, the true wasteland begins."

… I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make ever chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality."

"I refuse to 'look up.'
Optimism nauseates me.
It is perverse.
Since man's fall, his proper position
in the universe has been one
of misery."

but if you like Big Bang Theory,
i'd say the odds are 65/35 on love.


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