Spengler, again, on the inauguration of Barack Obama.
He quotes Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd,” a story that I had missed altogether or simply forgotten about:
â€œAs the shades of the second evening came on, I grew wearied unto death, and, stopping fully in front of the wanderer, gazed at him steadfastly in the face. He noticed me not, but resumed his solemn walk, while I, ceasing to follow, remained absorbed in contemplation. â€˜This old man,â€™ I said at length, â€˜is the type and the genius of deep crime. He refuses to be alone. He is the man of the crowd. It will be in vain to follow; for I shall learn no more of him, nor of his deeds. The worst heart of the world is a grosser book than the Hortulus Animae, and perhaps it is but one of the great mercies of God that es lasst sich nicht lesen.â€™*â€
That is a rather Baroque way of portraying a person for whom there is no â€œthereâ€ there, whose inner life is so tormented that it cannot endure its own company. The idea of a twenty-four hour march in search of this man was a clever device, despite the turgid prose. After twenty-four hours of unrelieved Inauguration coverage, I felt at one with Poeâ€™s narrator, who learned no more of his quarry than the rest of us learned about Barack Obama.
* “It does not permit itself to be read.”