Monday, 21 November 2011

occupy the central aisle

Thanks to the Normster (the excellent Norman Geras) for what is below, and I ask his forgiveness for reproducing it in full. He titles it "Me and my left knee".

We were on the train last night coming back from London to Cambridge when WotN pointed out that I was sitting with my left knee jutting out into the corridor, where it might obstruct people. My immediate thought was to pull my knee in and so remove the potential obstacle, but I hesitated. Should I treat my knee as a simple adjunct of myself and deny it any autonomy? Perhaps it had decided to join the Occupy movement and Occupy the Corridor. If it had, I felt bound to take its concerns seriously. It could be protesting against unacceptable levels of inequality in our society and wanting attention drawn to the size of bankers' bonuses or the latest figures for youth unemployment. But then what if my knee was amongst those benighted knees that closed their eyes (well, you know what I mean) to the good reasons for Nato's interventions in Afghanistan and Libya? I thought I should give my knee the benefit of the doubt. Autonomous as may be, the knee is, after all, my knee, and through long years of contiguity and even attachment could be expected to be wanting to Occupy the Corridor for good reasons rather than bad.

I was veering towards letting it be, therefore, sticking out like that into the corridor, when it occurred to me that it could make its points effectively - whatever they were - without getting in anybody's way, by holding up a placard with those points clearly inscribed upon it. On the other hand, people might not look at a placard if the knee holding it up wasn't jutting out. The placard might not be prominent enough. I had to think hard. In the end I came to the conclusion that my knee should be withdrawn from the corridor, though it could continue to register its protest in other spaces and venues.

Did I, then, force my knee back into the bay where we were sitting? Of course not. I persuaded it by gentle reasoning and some relevant reminiscence about the past.

Posted by Norm at 12:56 PM | Permalink


Anonymous said...

Excellent sense - and quite witty too.

dreamingspire said...

Nonsense! Norm seems to have a split personality.