Another quickie (it's that kind of day):
Every now and then Sitemeter will inform me that someone new has added a link to my blog. While I'm not particularly anxious about the readership of this blog, this always makes me happy - it's nice to know that someone else likes / enjoys what you're writing. Plus it makes the pretense that this blog is written for other people and isn't just about me being a narcissist with a poor memory that much more credible. And it's proved a useful way of identifying new blogs that it might be interesting to follow. (Not to mention that having more readers means that there's a higher probability that at least someone reading what I write will be deeply insulted.)
Take this person, for instance, who added me to his blogroll yesterday (or at least, yesterday was the first day that I saw the referral come through). I was mildly pleased to be mentioned on his blog, I would almost say I was grateful. Just one minor problem: MY NAME IS NOT FLAGSTAFF!!!!!!! It's Falstaff. Falstaff as in Prince Hal, Falstaff as in "The better part of valour is discretion", Falstaff as in the happiest, most life-affirming and least principled character that Shakespeare ever wrote. Falstaff who (as Harold Bloom has so cogently argued) is not Prince Hamlet, but his exact counterpoint; Falstaff, who is, in Eliot's incredible words:
"an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool."
Falstaff. Not some stupid pole to fly a country's rags from. Not flagstaff (flagstaff forsooth!) Falstaff.