For all of my Design-Obsessed Peeps -- Day 1/TEXT + IMAGE (Jacques Barzun)


I believe that the dog days of summer are upon us.  Both Lady Emblom and I agreed today that so much watering must be done in order to ensure the slightest degree of lushness, and the petunia borders in her garden absorb water faster than papyrus or reeds.  This week promises to be blistering hot on quite a number of days; I intend to stay shuttered in my basement lair, only emerging at dusk to witness the playful dance of fireflies in the long narrow passage between the towering laurel bushes and the neighbor's privacy fence, which I humorously call Fern Walk due to a profusion of ferns, bergenias, and variegated euonymous.   

I frequently encounter the phrase 'a good picture is worth a thousand words.  Wikipedia states 
the adage " A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the idea that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. It is believed that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers' Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.[1]The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, "One Look is Worth A Thousand Words."  I have always wondered-- if a picture is worth a thousand words, is there a limit to the images elicited by a good word?  How about a phrase or an enlightening passage; are the results conjured here by the magic of language endless; are the possibilities simply limitless?  During this week's peepshow, I thought I would share some of my favorite literary passages paired with beautiful images that support, enhance or illuminate its content, and on occasion I will expand upon the context of the selected text. 

Jacques Barzun writes, ' {An} Inquisition as such, that is, apart from methods and severity of results, have remained a live institution.  The many dictatorships of the 20th century have relied on it and in free countries it thrives ad hoc -- hunting down German sympathizers during the First World War, interning Japanese Americans during the second, and pursuing Communist fellow-travelers during the Cold War. 
In the United States at the present time the workings of "political correctness" in universities, and the speech police that punishes persons and corporations for words
on certain topics 
quaintly called 'sensitive,' are manifestations 
of the permanent spirit of inquisition. '

Beautiful mythical creatures, they. The mermaids. Quite different from any of us, and certainly 
a species apart from Mankind.  Thread cautiously, or in this case, swim cautiously, for in these times anything other than what is pliable, accepted, sanctioned, verified, or the familiar, is subject to scrutiny, investigations, isolation, and possible elimination.