Friday, February 19, 2010

Practical Wisdom from Ignatius

Ignatius J. Reilly, that is, the brilliantly authentic bigger-than-life New Orleans personality created by the late John Kennedy Tool in his "comicumentary" on life in the Crescent City, A Confederacy of Dunces. In the tradition of Pastor Weedon's "Quotes of the Day," here is a little daily dose of Dunces:

"I am at this moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."

Thanks to Fr. Mason for the facebook entry that called Ignatius to mind. If you like quirky comedy (I think of it as being like Seinfeld but set in New Orleans) and have not read this Pulitzer-winning work, you might want to click here.


Ariel said... don't agree with me, that there are almost no genuinely likable, sympathetic characters in A Confederacy of Dunces, with the possible exceptions of Darlene and Jones?

I mean, don't get me wrong, the book is brilliant, and I probably would've appreciated it more if I had grown up in New Orleans at the same time that my dad did, and Ignatius Reilly is a fascinating character...but only because he comes off as so strongly and irredeemably stubborn, thick-headed, and boorish. Not many of the other characters are that much better either. What's so great about the book is that Toole manages to create a narrative that the reader can sympathize and relate to, even when both antagonists and protagonists alike are equally as UN-likable. There are very few stories that can do that.

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

A little bit of Ignatius J. Reilly is just what I needed today. Here's another one for you:

“It smells terrible in here.”
“Well, what do you expect? The human body when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions. Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I ,too, have my needs. You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate.”

or this:

"The day before me is fraught with God knows what horrors."

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

There is one line in particular, which is probably my favorite Ignatius Reilly quote. I was trying to remember where in the book it was, so I could be sure to quote it properly; then my wife suggested I try to exploit the services of Google Books, and it worked. In this dialog with Jones, a black man who had lived a life of Jim Crow, and actually hopes to get a real job with a livable wage, we have quintessential Ignatius.

"...You think I like the Night of Joy? Ooo wee. I wanna get someplace. I like to get someplace good, be gainfully employ, make me a livin wage."

"Just as I suspected," Ignatius said angrily. "In other words, you want to become totally bourgeois. You people have all been brainwashed. I imagine that you'd like to become a success or something equally vile."

Anonymous said...

There are so many hilarious sections.

"Ignatius pulled his flannel nightshirt up and looked at his bloated stomach. He often bloated while lying in bed in the morning contemplating the unfortunate turn that events had taken since the Reformation. Doris Day and Greyhound Scenicruisers, whenever they came to mind, created an even more rapid expansion of his central region...."

And the whole pyloric valve thing...

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Leave the exercise table out of this! What would Susan and Sandra say?

Calrissian said...

he is aroused by animals, what was Toole trying to say about liberal arts majors? :P