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Bertie Wooster On Suffering

Baudelaire On Satan

Probably you've heard a remark attributed to Baudelaire that goes something like this: The greatest trick of the devil is to persuade men that he does not exist. I suppose the following passage from one of his prefaces to Flowers of Evil, quoted by David Yezzi in the April issue of The New Criterion, must be the source of it. In any case, it's a considerably sharper version of the basic idea:

It is harder to love God than to believe in him. On the contrary, it is harder for people in this century to believe in Satan than to love him. Everyone is at his beck and call but nobody believes in him. The sublime subtlety of Satan.

--Baudelaire, Preface to Flowers of Evil

My old edition of the poems, with translations by various hands and the preface translated by Jackson Mathews, says "Everyone smells him." Unless these are variants in the original, that's a pretty big discrepancy. Otherwise they're more or less the same. The first is better, I think. I wonder which one Baudelaire meant.


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that's a really good quotation!

I have big problems at work so have not been doing anything except monitoring the spam situation here. But I realize on re-reading that post that I had meant to add something to the effect that "Everyone is at his beck and call but nobody believes in him" certainly seems applicable to our time.

I know you are going to remove this, but I have to laugh at this one. Spam that offers its own cure for its effect.

I don't like to click on it because I geuss it encourages them. I imagine it is selling an antispam device!

Most appear to be selling either phony drugs or knock-offs of big-name clothing brands. It's definitely a bad idea to click on them, not only because that's what they're for, but also because they might do something nasty to your computer.

Yes, it had to go, Janet, but in compensation here's an interesting quote from another one:

"From the 1968 South america Location Video game titles, this 22-year older Beamon lept until now from the very long soar rivalry that she seemed to be outside of choice of this optical perception process utilised in finding out the state time leaps. Not any jumper received previously absent for a longer time in comparison with 30 legs in addition to Beamon discovered he could include crumbled of which filter."

I didn't click on it, Grumpy, but Nexium is a medication for stomachaches.


Almost all the spam that I get makes perfect sense. Sometimes, though, it's very weird in juxtaposition with the post it's attached to. For instance, it will compliment me on my wonderful ideas, but suggest that I need more pictures, and it will be attached to a post that has a picture and a caption and no text to speak of.


I don't often look at mine that closely. But since it's just some automated thing that's not surprising. Mine seem to be mostly gibberish like the one above, or variations on this: "An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you really should write more on this subject, it could not be a taboo subject but typically many people aren't enough to speak on such topics."

Your 7:57 above was caught by the spam catcher. Makes no sense. Presumably the 7:59 one was from the same IP address as well as, obviously, the same username.

Interesting where the conversation about spammers ended up.


Janet, I didn't think you could click on it I couldn't figure out where your joke was coming from

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