Forum Replies Created
… if the story were well told, the telling might bring into focus, both in an entertaining way and maybe also in an edifying way,
"the ludicrous disparity between… intellectual arrogance and basic ignorance."
What a brilliant turn of phrase.
Again, my what if question, is what if the body-conscious Culpepper through repeatedly running up against the hard rocks of reality became aware of just that disparity, and then started trying his damnedest — in his habitual boorish way — to close the gap.
But the question might also arise: what if if the more ‘mindful’ Ben Trotter also aspired to close the gap — in his own habitually wimpish manner — through the intellectual self-awareness of a novelist? How would that work? As a means of really combatting ignorance, how effective might that be?
That is very kind of you Jonathan (or typically wimpish, Culpepper might think), but I remember that back in the 1970s the name Cross was primarily associated with Crosse & Blackwell, producers of spicey condiments. Besides that, like Culpepper, I was captain of junior rugger, i.e captain of the U16XV when you would have been in the under 15s. Plus, though I do accept that Culpepper was a largely fictional caricature, in many respects I in my teens was an even bigger tosser than Culpepper was – a fact that such a keen observer of human behaviour as yourself could not have failed to notice. So I would like to claim at least partial ownership of the character of the prize dickhead.
To me Culpepper, the villain of The Rotters’ Club, epitomizes the striver, the doer, the competitor, whereas the hero Ben Trotter is the observer, the non-doer, the artist.
Can the Culpeppers of this world, maybe with the dawning realism of old age, turn into Trotters? What if one of them actively tried? I think the consequences of such an incongruous pursuit might, for a Culpepper, be tragic indeed. But if the story were well told …
Speaking of incongruity, I would like to ask you a what if question concerning a character from The Rotter’s Club…
What if Culpepper’s vanity had led him to Japan in pursuit of enlightenment through Zen and the martial arts? What if Culpepper had pursued Zen enlightenment like he played rugby, with eyes set determinedly on the prize, but without showing much compassion for anybody he perceived to be opposing his will?
If you could make a story of it — a tragedy or a comedy? — it might potentially be a very interesting study in “forward where the knocks are hardest” (the principle of direct striving which guided Culpepper’s efforts on the rugby pitch) vs the Buddha’s timeless truth of non-doing.