George Walford: Editorial Notes (47)

RATIONALISTS convinced that religion is on the way out might bear in mind that the world’s largest human gathering is still the pilgrimage to Allahabad that takes place every twelve years. Some 15 million people gather for ritual bathing.

JOHN Chadwick, QC, is quoted: “Secrecy is the badge of fraud.” (Observer 29 July) It is not made clear whether he was speaking of the Official Secrets Act.

SPEAKING of the Basques and events in Soviet Russia, Fred Halliday points out that were the restrictions imposed by existing states to be removed the potentiality for fission is almost unlimited. Linguistic divisions alone account for 4,000 groups and many more secessionist movements define themselves in regional, religious, ethnic or supposedly historical terms. (TLS 22 June)

He doeth best who loveth best
All creatures great and small.
The streptococcus is the test.
I love him most of all.
(Origin not known)

KEATS got it wrong. It was not “stout Cortez” but Vasco Nunez de Balboa who stood silent upon that peak in Darien (Simon Winchester in TLS 1 June)

PSYCHO(-)ANALYSIS: In the name of the discipline founded by Freud use of the hyphen seems to be optional; it did not originally appear in the name of the Journal, but now does so. (Roland Littlewood TLS 22 June)

WHEN the ventriloquist took up mediumship a fiver enabled you to speak to your lost ones. For £10 they would answer, and for £20 you could continue this conversation while the medium drank a glass of water.

WHILE people live in one world each of them, in exercising free will, imposes determination on the others.

WRITING about the effects of childhood experience upon adult behaviour, Rosemary Dinnage remarks that not the microchip but the baby-sling may turn out to have been the greatest of recent inventions; she has never seen a baby crying in one. (TLS 22 June)

LENIN did not originate “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”; we owe it to Etienne Cabet. (M. H. in Freedom 30 June). Cabet, 1788-1817, is described by the Biographie Generale as “chef de communistes.”

“WOMEN’S studies now constitute a politico-commercial enterprise on a serious scale; one which needs continually to be fed with new books… ” (Liam Hudson in TLS 1 June)

IC 46 QUOTED a description of medicine and law as “non-intellectual subjects learned entirely by rote.” Harold Klawans, in Newton’s Madness (Bodley Head 1990) speaks of doctors being trained to run tests rather than to think. (TLS 6 July 90)

RECOUNTING a visit to a grocery, Eric Korn speaks of “the aisles of grease.”

from Ideological Commentary 47, September 1990.