Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Feet of Clay

The motif of disillusionment via a detail, goes back to the Old Testament:

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:31-33)

An example from Austria, in the early years of the twentieth century:

Herr Professors were demi-gods  who had deigned to descend from their Mount Olympus  to impart knowledge to that sub-human species in short pants known as Gymnasiasten.  I have never forgotten the shock I experienced when I saw one of my professors eat a ham sandwich during break.
-- George Clare, Last Waltz in Vienna (1980), p. 54

We have examined another such sudden loss of reverence, this time again involving the feet, here:

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