Saturday, December 11, 2010

* Grind, Grind , Grind those Delicate Souls!

The Founding Father:
Bill and Melinda Gradgrind Foundation
Thomas Gradgrind
( Hard Times by Charles Dickens)
Thomas Gradgrind, a Utilitarian school governor with political aspirations, believes his young charges should strive for unemotional perfection through rigid, crushing repetition of facts, and facts alone ("Facts alone are wanted in life."). Decorations such as pictures of horses drawn by the children will never adorn his walls, because in real life, would horses ever appear on actual school walls? If not, then they are "fancies," products of the dreaded human imagination, and are to be avoided at all costs.

From Chapter II
 (Murdering the Innocents)
 Hard Times
THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir - peremptorily Thomas - Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind - no, sir!

In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words 'boys and girls,' for 'sir,' Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.

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