Saturday, August 26, 2006

Plymouth Rock and Chickens

I recently listened to the talk enititled 'Chesterton and De Toqueville' by Kurt Griffen, it was very interesting and entertaining. It was about (obviously) GKC and De Toqueville but more specifically about their trips to America. Since this was the subject, the books most talked about were (not surprisingly) What I Saw in America by GKC and Democracy in America by De Toqueville. I was interested by some of the things I heard from this talk about What I Saw in America so today (partly because I was interested and partly because I needed to post here) I picked it up. I browsed through the index and decided to try chapter 14: Lincoln and Lost Causes. I was greeted on the first page by this hilarious quote:

It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that Plymouth Rock is a chicken. Any English person keeping chickens and chiefly interested in Plymouth Rocks considered as chickens, would nevertheless have a hazy sensation of having seen the word somewhere before. He would feel subconsciously that the Plymouth Rock had not always been a chicken. Indeed the name connotes something not only solid but antiquated; and it is not therefore a very tactful name for a chicken. There would rise up before him something memorable in the haze that he calls his history; and he would see the history books of his boyhood and old engravings of men in steeple- crowned hats struggling with sea-waves or Red Indians. The whole thing would sudenly become clear to him (by a simple reform) the chickens were called Pilgrim Fathers.

What I was initially looking for (although I was not successful) was the part quoted in the afore-mentioned talk about the sameness of Hotels. How everything was the same, not only were all hotel floors the same, all hotels were the same. This in turn led to the ridiculous names frequently bestowed upon these hotels, well actually 'Inns', The Ramada Inn, The Relax Inn and the Comfort Inn. I must add to this one of the 'Inns' that my brother stayed at while on a trip, The Sleep Inn. Well there is obviously much more to be read in What I Saw in America but that's all for now. I just had share that (and I also had to post:).


Dr. Thursday said...

The thing on Hotels is in chapter 2 - called "A Meditation in a New York Hotel"... here's a snip for your delight:

Broadly speaking, there is only one hotel in America. The pattern of it, which is a very rational pattern, is repeated in cities as remote from each other as the capitals of European empires. You may find that hotel rising among the red blooms of the warm spring woods of Nebraska, or whitened with Canadian snows near the eternal noise of Niagara. And before touching on this solid and simple pattern itself, I may remark that the same system of symmetry runs through all the details of the interior. As one hotel is like another hotel, so one hotel floor is like another hotel floor. If the passage outside your bedroom door, or hallway as it is called, contains, let us say, a small table with a green vase and a stuffed flamingo, or some trifle of the sort, you may be perfectly certain that there is exactly the same table, vase, and flamingo on every one of the thirty-two landings of that towering habitation.

Ria said...

Thanks, I think that was the quote he used in the talk.

Chestertonian said...

I actually know people who patronize chains (hotels, restaurants, etc.) because they know what they're getting; they avoid independently owned eateries and hotels because they don't trust something if they don't know what it'll be like. Weird, and sad.

Ria said...

That's realy wierd that they do, but I can't seem to think clearly why, I think I need to read more Chesterton(:

Kely said...
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