Friday, January 13, 2012

"a beast in a gilded cage:
that's all some people ever wanna be"

A passage from Patt Morrison's L.A. Times book review of Sally Bedell's Elizabeth the Queen:

Sure, why not. Let's have yet another biography of Elizabeth II, this one as she's about to mark 60 years on the throne.

So what is new to justify Sally Bedell Smith's massive "Elizabeth the Queen"? What is left to uncover, and what should be left uncovered and unknown in the life of this exemplary lady whose predetermined existence of regal obligation is yawningly unenviable, however bejeweled the box it comes in?

And this classic passage from the Chuang Tzu:

Once, when Chuang Tzu was fishing in the P'u River, the king of Ch'u sent two officials to go and announce to him: "I would like to trouble you with the administration of my realm."

Chuang Tzu held on to the fishing pole and, without turning his head, said, "I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Ch'u that has been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its bones left behind and honored? Or would it rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?

"It would rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud," said the two officials.

Chuang Tzu said, "Go away! I'll drag my tail in the mud!"

from The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Burton Watson, trans.

I wonder what Queen Elizabeth would say to Chuang Tzu.


1 comment:

Sperwer said...

Deliciously ambiguous