Daily Bread for 10.1.23: The Shamelessness of the Special-Interest Men

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 84. Sunrise is 6:52AM and sunset 6:35 PM for 11h 42m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 331 BC, Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela.

  In a small town like Whitewater, where the Whitewater Common Council and the Community Development Authority are beset or controlled by special interests (under the thumb of principals & operatives, and behaving as catspaws), it’s worth considering the shamelessness of the special-interest men who afflict this city. 

To be shameless — without embarrassment in self-promotion, self-dealing, lying, or ignorance — works to the advantage of these men.  

Here’s why. 

First, when they demand something selfish, something that’s an apparent conflict of interest, the very audacity of their demands stuns normal & well-adjusted people. It’s that stunned moment that is to the benefit of the special-interest men: in the surprise and hesitation of ordinary people, the avaricious, gluttonous, and proud move forward. They seize advantage of others’ moments of reflection to take and take again.

Second, these types know that if an audacious demand stuns at first instance, the repetition of that demand works a greater power when forced over and over. To insist once surprises normal people, but to insist over and over works a second power by wearing away resistance.

Special-interest men will keep demanding, and their catspaws, dupes, suckers, and stooges will keep demanding on their behalf. A bloated & bloviating dupe, who can’t make a coherent argument at any given moment, can at least make the same incoherent argument repeatedly and hope to wear others down. 

This is notably useful for special-interest leaders of Whitewater: they don’t need knowledgeable mouthpieces on the Whitewater Common Council or Community Development Association, as even a low-quality operative or stooge can repeat the same underhanded and poorly-expressed demands again, again, and again. 

Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise: The kind of men or women willing to be toadies for others aren’t likely to have any worthy talents of their own. If they had worthy talents of their own, needless to say, then they wouldn’t be toadies in the first place. 

Of toadies, here’s one etymology of that word: 

In 17th-century Europe, a toadeater was a showman’s assistant whose job was to make the boss look good. The toadeater would eat (or pretend to eat) what were supposed to be poisonous toads. The charlatan in charge would then “save” the toad-afflicted assistant by expelling the poison. It’s little wonder that such assistants became symbolic of extreme subservience, and that toadeater became a word for any obsequious underling. By the early 1800s, it had been shortened and altered to toady, our current term for a servile self-seeker. By the mid-1800s, toady was also being used as a verb meaning “to engage in sycophancy.”

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