Napoleon, with his usual assurance, not that what was right was right, but that whatever entered his head was right, wrote to Kutuzov the first words that occurred to him, though they were utterly meaningless. - page 1182
Of course, then the exchange that follows between them does nothing to bring about peace. But Moscow and the citizenry and the army -- and Tolstoy -- are still regrouping and reckoning with Borodino and the march of historical events. It's taking me an exceedingly long time to read this part. I'm on the page-a-day plan. I am just too busy. My afternoon coffee shop time is now entirely given over to doctor appointments, play preparation/rehearsals, or some combination of these. At night I fall into bed and am lucky to get through one page before falling asleep! So maybe I won't even finish The Book before leaving Korea!
But don't we all know someone like Napoleon?
Or, as Ani puts it, "everyone is a fucking napoleon." Well, not to put too fine a point on it:
Now you think, so that is the way it's gonna be
That's what this is all about
I think that that is the way it always was
You chose not to notice until now
Yeah now that there's a problem you call me up to confide
And you go on for over an hour 'bout each one that took you for a ride...
- Ani DiFranco, 'Napoleon'
Her song is actually about the music industry, although it's also about a lot of other things, of course.
We expats over here are intrigued by tales of massive immigrant protests and political uprising back in the States. I heard on the AP Radio News a wonderful Bush sound bite. In response to the new Spanish version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" he was saying people who want to be U.S. citizens ought to learn English. He said, "And they should learn to sing the national anthem in English!" And the way he said it was just so classically -- Bush! Faux folksy, adamant, a slight feel of bewilderment. I couldn't help wondering if he can sing the national anthem. No one can sing the national anthem! Or if he knows all the words. I remembered Ramona Quimby's "by the dawnzer's lee light" as she puzzles over it and decides a dawnzer must be a kind of lamp.
And so time marches on, as do we all. Armies are on the move; emperors are born and emperors die, and their empires often do the same, if it takes a bit longer.
To recap for those who missed it, I would like to point out that, yes, I have just quoted Leo Tolstoy, George Bush, Ani DiFranco, and Beverly Cleary in one blog post. Imagine all four of them as guests at one dinner table!