The Secret Lives of Diaries

Breathing On Windows

Posted in Society by secretlives on April 27, 2006

The Brothers Goncourt were originally artists who turned to writing and are today remembered for the Prix Goncourt, France's most influential literary award.  Their journals are a lively, irreverent record of 45 years of their lives and opinions, beginning on the day of Napoleon III's coup de'etat in 1851 and ending with Edmond's (Goncourt) death in 1896.  Their journals capture the manners of France in particular and Europe in general.

May 5, 1863

Aubryet told us the other day that a little girl in the street had offered him her sister, a child of fourteen.  Her job was to breathe on the windows of the carriage so that the police could not see inside.


Thunder & Lightning

Posted in Society by secretlives on April 22, 2006


April 21, 2006

In a small strip mall up the block from where I work, a man, with his young son in tow, took a base-ball bat to the head of a cabbie.  There was profuse bleeding, the trauma to the son was great, the RCMP were diligent, and despite the fact that I work with profound trauma in the clients who seek my help, despite my insight into the source of this violence, despite the thousands of stories like this one that have been vented across the space of my groups, despite all of this, I still shake my head and wonder what in the heck this man was doing – not to himself, not to the cabbie, but to his son.

There is an explanation.  But no matter how well the dynamics and the historical triggers for this behaviour can be explained, there is still no excuse for it.  An unhappy childhood is no excuse for poor behaviour.

We have become a society of adult children: no restraint, little sense of what is 'right and wrong' as opposed to what is pragmatic – a culture of highly educated, intelligent barbarians.  The development of character, dignity, integrity, duty, social responsibility, and a moral education have been overshadowed by the tyranny of one opinion being as good as any other.  We are a civilization untied from its moorings, embodying clearly the prophesy W.B. Yates foresaw in his poem The Second Coming. 


Watching Africans Starve

Posted in Society by secretlives on March 30, 2006


March 30, 2006 

Television is the most malevolent drug of the millenium.  It lulls us to sleep, and we drift, imperceptibly, from authentic living.  "What a pity," we say, as we floss the meat from our teeth and watch the Africans starve.

Name: Giovanni

Age: 56