Beautiful Fools

Lovely title isn’t it?

I borrowed it from R. Clifton Spargo who so titled his novel about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald … so apt. Loved every line of it. Zelda would no doubt scoff at my remark as a cliché and one lacking imaginative grace at that.  I fancy the three of us would snuggle into each other’s insanities rather cosily. No longer trying to be useful anywhere in the world. Perhaps. Either that or my brain remains saturated in the lingering residue of the book I just finished. It always inhabits me for a while afterwards.


It is Saturday morning. Late winter, cold still hanging on but only just. I have seen daffodils and pink and white hyacinths swaying their delicate blooms somewhat drunkenly over the little patch of dirt by my door. Morning air still sharp and cough threatens to burst my lungs open once again. Is there anything more romantic than a slow decline from such a noble ailment as weak lungs, while writing one’s last (or first) lines confessing it all in a delicate prose … secluded in some forsaken sanatorium (or asylum), shrouded in cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes!  Only dashing Scott or Earnest (perhaps less refined but more manly) is missing from that picture of the pure indulgence … oh The Life of a Fantasist! For a second I even contemplate it as a fit title for the story I am thinking of writing … as always one day. It would have to be the same day on which fantasies about life became inapt to insulate from the life itself. Or the world at large.

For the moment, however, the world at large continues to spin on axis of slaughters and sorrows everywhere, only our focus changes according to whatever is heralded most loudly. And even than for a few moments only as there is always more to be seen or heard elsewhere. And as always there is never any shortage of choices; from atrocities in Gaza to Ebola in West Africa to horrific scenes of human remains rotting across the sun drenched fields of eastern Ukraine while Putin shrugs his shoulders knowing full well that neither Obama nor Europe can (or will) do much (if anything) to stop his revival of Russian’s legendary exceptionalism and power.

Still amongst all that carnage what truly stopped me cold was the news of Robin Williams’ death. I did not need to hear the details; I knew instinctively that he ended his own life. And sea of sadness washed over me. For the man who laughed and cried with his whole being … unguarded, exposed, human, real.  Open to life in all its glory and all its grime. It takes a true grit to do it. And true grit demands the highest price. It was a privilege to be in audience.  Thank you Captain.


Meanwhile here, in good-old NZ investigative writer Nicky Hager wrote a book he titled; ‘Dirty politics’ and released it with razor-sharp instinct for successful marketing only weeks before the general election. Before any reader that might stumble upon this post from elsewhere gets too excited, let me clarify – elections here are rather subdued affairs. There are two major parties which swap places every few years or so. General populous is by far more pragmatic than excitable, and for the most part politicians are dull rather than colourful, larger-than-life characters.

There is a little wonder then that the book promising to reveal an ugly and destructive style of politics became breaking news within minutes of its appearance and sold virtually overnight! Large white-board placed by the door of my local book-shop announces almost the hour of the day when more copies are scheduled to arrive and a handsome young man reading a copy next to me on the bus smiled when he caught me glancing at it. He offered the book to me to have a look before his stop. He is studying law at the local University and pronounced the book to be ‘a bombshell, eh’!

I skimmed through it … leaked emails and other assorted on-line communications revealing cosy relationship between an attack-style right-wing political blogger and those in position to feed him privileged information as ammunition against their political opponents, abuse of powers, smear campaigns … in a word – a smorgasbord of well-known political tricks!


So why is everyone so shocked or at least wishes to appear so?

Because, just like in Spargo’s novel when Scott is unable to witness death of the mortally injured gamecock because for him, just like for the rest of his countrymen – ‘it does not fit with their image of themselves’ – an image of NZ as an easy-going, relaxed, friendly place where there is neither appetite nor need for any of those negative, dirty campaigning that goes on elsewhere or for underhanded attack politics that is poisoning so many other political environments has been shattered. A familiar collective fantasy carefully nurtured to insulate from the world at large suddenly exposed for what it was – purpose designed collective blindfold. And as everyone knows when long worn blindfold is suddenly ripped off – too much light causes shock!

Oh no wonder I do so love you New Zealand … such beautiful fools.

 Nicky Hager Dirty Politics


Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

24 thoughts on “Beautiful Fools”

      1. Hi Daniela 😀 Thank you for unspamming the comment. I kept it short as I wasn’t sure that you checked your spam. So how are things in Hobbitsville ? I do hope you are well and full of bounce ! ❤ xox


      2. Things in Hobbitsville are ticking on along and yours truly is nursing terrible cough and hoping for the end of winter asap! So bounce rather diminished for the moment! Only temporarily though! You know my ‘philosophy’; what does not kill us in this life – makes us stronger! So no mopping around – chin up, lipstick on (goes for us both – only you can skip the lipstick -:))!


      3. I keep forgetting that it’s winter down your way as I am cooking in 38degC day after day with no rain for months. Those winter bugs can be quite nasty. I hope you are keeping warm, supping hot lemon and honey. Oh dear ! Do I have to mop ? I have a cleaner who does that ! I never mope though ! Lipstick is not in my bathroom items so I’m au naturale ! xox ❤


      4. Oh you must be well cooked in 38 degrees! Might even be time for condiments -:)!

        No moping here but do keep assortment of lipsticks in case you change your mind -:)!



    1. Hi Bruce,

      Yes blindfolds are great comforters indeed -:)! Still – those things do happen down here too. Perhaps not as much as elsewhere given the rather modest population size but still the ancient call of power-struggle is hard if not downright impossible for any number of humans to resist!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!


  1. I find finishing a book always leaves me thoughtful, too. And suddenly more aware of the beauty and pain surrounding life. Beautiful Fools seems like an apt description of the book’s characters. Richard Burton was described as a Beautiful Ruin at the end of his life and it also fit.


    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Lovely to see you – thank you for visiting the Lantern!
      It is indeed true that beauty, be it visible to a naked eye or not, often commands the highest price of those who have been blessed (or cursed) with it.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,


  2. I had a pollster phone me on Friday. One of the questions was something like this, “Do you think Hager’s book will affect the outcome of the elections?” I should have had the wit to say, “How would I know? I haven’t read the book.” Also, it’s rather sad that a book should be considered a factor in determining the outcome of an election and not real issues, like unemployment, health care etc. Still, sad as that is, and as quaint as our politics may be, I am very glad we don’t have to put up with the likes of the politicians across the ditch. Hope your cough clears up soon.


    1. Hi,

      So lovely to ‘see’ you!

      From what I gathered so far the book’s aim was/is to expose kind of activities political elites are engaged in and because of that become disengaged with the real issues care of which has been entrusted to them by voters. The paradox seems to be that instead of saying – enough is enough we are fed up with all that staff and want to focus on the real issues such as widening gap between rich and poor, or unemployment of young educated people, or shortage of affordable housing, etc. … all everyone is talking about is the book and slagging matches that ensued from it! Which overall might not be as bad as it at least raises the alertness! All in all when I discuss our political climate – it is mostly in affectionate terms hence the ‘beautiful fools’ -:)!

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting,


  3. Every year seems to be worse than the last for the horrors of life to emerge exposed and waiting for humanity to come up with some instant remedy. Sometimes I think we are total failures as human beings. And then there are those who see it all, feel it all, and give up – like Robin Williams. It’s a very sad picture all round, but with occasional rays of hope. Then there are the times and the people who sustain us. I hope you recover from that cough soon Daniela and back to your thought provoking blog. Thanks for this one. ~Dor


    1. Hi -:)!

      Thank you for visiting the Lantern! Unfortunately no instant remedy for humanity but just long slog of searching for one ray of hope at the time.

      I feel terribly sad for Robin … I admired him as an actor and a genuinely nice guy.

      Many thanks,

      Keep well,


    1. Thank you my friend -:)! One cannot ask for more but to be missed!

      Yes, unfortunately there is no shortage of bad news anywhere and my little ‘patch of dirt’ in South Pacific is no exception, although I would venture to say – not as bad as elsewhere -:)!

      Take Care,


  4. Beautiful, poignant details, Daniela, and I’m glad you’re back.
    In college, I did a sociology paper (not a literature paper!) about the effects of fame on any one family I chose to research. I focused on F.Scott’s and Zelda’s daughter Scottie. I have to say that the respect I had for some of their creativity faded a bit when I learned more about their self-absorbed effects on their child.
    Even as literature teacher, I’ve never had the same appreciation for THE GREAT GATSBY and THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED as other readers.


    1. Dear Marylin,

      Thank you so much for visiting the Lantern -:)!

      Yes Scottie … I felt much the same when I first read about. As a mother myself I can never ever reconcile that … but as a writer (at least wanna-be one -:) I know how extremely self-absorbed one can become! It is almost necessary in order to create – form of madness really! While I have no answer that can satisfy this dilemma – I know I have (and would have again) made the same choice – I am a mother first and foremost! Maybe, just maybe by making that choice I have also foregone any hope of becoming a writer … but that is the price I am willing to pay. Because somebody will write ‘my novel’, but nobody else can be a mother to my daughter.

      Take Care,


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