Thursday, November 26, 2015

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The Chinese astrologer wears out his years calculating the date of his death. Until dawn each night he amasses signs, figures. He ages, becomes a stranger to his fellows; but his calculations advance. He reaches his goal. Astrology will reveal the date of his death. Then, one morning, the brush falls from his fingers. From loneliness, from fatigue, perhaps from regret, he dies. He had but one sum left to perform.
     Allow me to liken the Chinese astrologer to the intellectual who died of exhaustion at a young age for, on top of a draining, harassing, and poorly paid day job, he put his every spare moment toward preparing a monumental and definitive critical edition of Lafargue's The Right to Be Lazy.
                                                                           
                                                                            —Jean Ferry, The Conductor and Other Tales


November 26

When Karl Marx read The Right to Be Lazy, he concluded, "If that's Marxism, then I'm no Marxist."
     The author, Paul Lafargue, seemed less a communist than an anarchist who harbored a suspicious streak of tropical lunacy.

     Neither was Marx pleased at the prospect of having this not-very-light-complexioned Cuban for a son-in-law. "An all too intimate deportment is unbecoming," he wrote to him when Paul began making dangerous advances on his daughter Laura. And he added solemnly: "Should you plead defence of your Creole temperament, it becomes my duty to interpose my sound sense between your temperament and my daughter."
     Reason failed.

     Laura Marx and Paul Lafargue shared their lives for more than forty years.
     And on this night in the year 1911, when life was no longer life, in their bed at home and in each other's arms, they set off on the final voyage. 
                                                                                                                —Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days




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