Malcolm reckons two elements should inspire a good blog offering:
- Serendipity: Horace Walpole’s invention, for:
The faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. Also, the fact or an instance of such a discovery.
Well, so far, there’s nothing ‘happy’ to be extracted from the Newtown CT massacre.
- Bizarrerie, which Malcolm discussed at some length recently.
Somewhere in there comes this, from the New York Times:
Newtown, incorporated in 1711, takes its child-friendly, Norman Rockwell ambience seriously. The all-purpose landmark is the downtown flagpole, which dates to 1876. Fat and packed with small-town ephemera, including weekly equestrian news, The Newtown Bee dates to 1877. Scrabble was developed in Newtown by a local lawyer, James Brunot, in 1948, who adapted an earlier version and changed its name from “Criss-Cross Words” to “Scrabble.”
That article is topped-and-tailed by references to a local business selling Christmas trees.
Scrabble, Christmas trees … it all seems so reasonable, so normal in an unreasonable, abnormal context. One has to reach to grasp a vestige of sanity.
For the record, it’s about 75 miles — say, around a hundred minutes driving time — from Stockbridge, Massachusetts (the Norman Rockwell home) to Newtown, Connecticut. Malcolm has to wonder what the late-period Rockwell would have drawn this weekend. It would be telling, caring, gentle, and incisive: it would be infused by some of that quiet anger — liberal angst, if one must — that went into The Problem We All Live With, the painting of six-year-old Ruby Bridges going to school in New Orleans (and which hung for a while outside Obama’s Oval Office).
Or perhaps it would reflect the earlier, Birthday Surprise:
Here’s to those dedicated teachers who gave their all on Friday.