Commenter Of The Day: Walter Bagehot Edition

On this side of the pond we don't hear a lot about Walter Bagehot, but the Victorian era journalist and thinker was an important part of the English historical school of economics. As the editor of The Economist, Bagehot was able to influence the thinkers of the late 19th century both in Britain and the United States. As an Englishman he was able to recognize that we Americans had "a genius for politics." Granted, he was saying that this genius for politics was the only reason that all of our various points of authority hadn't caused us to completely destroy ourselves. He was so important they still have a column named after him in The Economist. He also said two things that contribute directly to our cause today.


First, he said that "the greatest pleasure in life is doing what other people say you cannot do." Second, he said that "an inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind." Today our very own Markie Mark Arnold shared his exhaust system woes with us, launching a spirited and helpful discussion. Then DeadFlorist chimed in with his own story of conspicuous noise and law bending:

I once borrowed my friend's '86 Ford Econoline conversion van for a few weeks. It had the custom "Pederast" package that included extensive rust and blue poly tarp duct taped over a broken window. I was backing it up out of a parking space and it just stopped. It turns out I was running over my own exhaust pipe. Good times. I didn't get much attention from the ladies in that van, but law enforcement was always finding an excuse to stop for a chat.


People can't keep quiet when you're enjoying yourself so loudly. [Photo: The New School]

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Econoline vans, particularly old rusty ones, always feature prominently in any narrative of the economically marginal lifestyle in Amerika. Although I was unaware that one could order one of these in the 'Pederast Edition' livery, I think I have seen many who have ordered this option package. I have also experienced the equivalent of the 'stepping on your manhood' moment as well, but it wasn't in an Econoline Van. Exhaust systems seem to have a mind of their own, and desire nothing so much as sepaku under the wheels of their parent vehicles. One can wonder as the the reasons for this form of suicide, but I suspect that it has to do with neglect, as is the case with so many other things.