It is a first for me to find, let alone try and figure what to do with quails – they are tiny! They are fragile and yet very long and svelte. I found them one day in the local Asian/Mexican grocery store I stop in every week to buy ducks and other odd bits of things which I experiment with. I bought them without any clue as to what to do with them. I love that this place is different – so utterly different from other places I go. I love that Mexicans and Asians have brought their culture, their cuisine with them, and allow me to engage in it, mingle in their world. People, wrongly I believe, fear immigrants – as if they water down the culture and make it into something they no longer know.
I love immigrants. As an American, I can think of no better way of renewing the lifeblood of what has become a certain sort of cesspool which surrounds me. I don’t like politics – I don’t embrace the idea of anyone actually representing me – they’ve never asked me what I want or sought me out or asked my opinion – they’ve only ever told me what I’m supposed to be thinking of.
It is a strange experiment I’ve conducted on myself – tuning completely out of the news, the media, current events, forms of entertainment, for well over a year now. It is lonely, somewhat, yet cathartic, when you realize what it is to hold your own thoughts, your own convictions about things, to engineer your own entertainment. I wonder what the world would be like if for a week, a single day even, everyone tuned out, went on listening to themselves…
I say this because lately all the talk has been ever increasing about politics and debate and it reminds of a book I discovered a number of years ago, one which I’ve read time and again. It is called, “Defying Hitler”.
It is a fascinating book and story. Nothing exists without a context, after all. It was written by a man named Oliver Pretzel (pen name Sebastian Haffner) who grew up in Germany, born prior to the First World War and lived as youth/teen/young adult in the period between it and the second one. He fled Germany at some point about 1940 and landed in the UK and eventually wrote as a journalist and penned a number of books about Naziism. I’ve read none of them. This memoir, this book, was his exploration into writing – he wanted to be a writer but his father considered it a hobby, noble, perhaps, but urged him to find suitable and stable work as a referendar. It is a journal, reflection, insight and prophecy to the ugly slag heap of a malignant political body. It was tucked away in a box which his children found after he died as they were settling his estate. It is a beautiful work which I am glad they found and shared.
There is one poignant thought which always sticks in my brain now as a result – the simple marveling that as Naziism came to rise, all of life had some political ramification, some definition of you as a person, as an individual. People weren’t free to pursue their own paths, write poems or compose music or simply enjoy being, reflecting, in their idle moments. The words you spoke, the beliefs you held, the company and friends held dear – all of it was a political matter.
I see and hear friends and acquaintances now all falling into the same trap, drawing lines among themselves, debating topics on behalf of a malignant political body who wishes nothing more than to divide and cultivate hatred and fear of each other. It is an ugly, heinous trap… I have no solution for this madness, other than to sit back and watch and cook things like quails and wonder who really won the last world war…