Rendered Fat Content


Jean-Pierre Saint-Ours, The Selection of Children in Sparta, 1785
At the age of 7, Spartan boys were removed from their parents' homes and began the “agoge,” a state-sponsored training regimen designed to mold them into skilled warriors and moral citizens.
"I genuinely want you to win, too, though never at any cost, …"

In this world where everything seems to have a price tag and few of us understand the cost of anything, deCENTcy often seems lost in the accounting. Schemes surround and smother us. Deals get made. Compromises demanded, the Bait And Switch almost obligatory. Fair deals, the rarest of all deals. Cheap-but-Good seems more weighted in favor of cheapness than goodness. Loyalties seem far too easily persuaded to switch support to shave a few pennies off some bill. Some commodities solely serve ostentation, valued by the excess expended to acquire them, for bragging rights or simply to rub some less fortunate's face in the deal, offered only at auctions where we're perennially out-bidded. Our democracy sometimes seems like that. We wonder why we should even bother entering the game. Our politics have been up for sale to the highest bidder for generations now, and only DeCENTcy seems absent from the equation because DeCENTcy costs almost nothing, a red cent lost in rounding among bilious billions and terrifying trillions. Where's the marketplace in deCENTcy these days?

Oh, here it is, right close to home.
The ancient Spartans sent their young men off for training as warriors and also as moral citizens, not trusting such a critical contribution to society to instruction by birth families. Some Spartans came from decent families, but far too many came from ones rent into nonconstituent parts and scattered to the winds, like families today. Yes, instruction in the fine arts of deCENTcy might most certainly begin at home, but certainly not in all homes. How about school, then? Well, when schooling becomes dominated by indoctrination into how to pass standardized tests, it might become too easy to forget the soul of primary instruction, which occurs almost completely within subtexts, with actions speaking far more authoritatively than any words. Church might credibly supplement, if anybody even went to church anymore or if so many denominations hadn't chosen to teach begrudgement rather than humility. Vengeful Gods seem to lack even the barest common deCENTcy. Video games seem in staunch opposition to deCENTcy, with even my GrandOther quickly transforming into a Visigoth under the influence of MindCraft®, or MindCrap, as we refer to it. Ten year-olds excel at Grand Theft Auto while struggling to even read, let alone embody deCENTcy.

I should not be surprised that a regime came into focus after an extended period of the society struggling with exhibiting simple deCENTcy. We exported jobs without supporting those who had their's swiped from them, then relegated those to the ignoble role of systemically unemployed rather than elevating them into an unlikely raw material for the next generation of job creation. We enacted rules which punished some for simply being black, poor, or boring conversationalists. We engaged in wars seemingly to simply satisfy some egos and commenced to conflating complicity with service and sacrifice. Nobody says, "Thank you for your complicity," when we see a soldier on the street, but that soldier knows their attempt at service had no hope of embodying any deCENTcy within five minutes of landing on that far away shore. One nation, infinitely divisible, with humiliation and subjugation for all. Well, for almost everybody.

DeCENTcy seems such a tiny thing but it holds more authority than any odd ton of legislated authority. The law might well grant the right to rule, but only deCENTcy grants the ability to rule justly. The electorate might select whomever it chooses to lead, but choosing someone capable of authentic deCENTcy seems simply necessary, for without deCENTcy, only an iron hand retains any power at all. Absent deCENTcy, public work must be conducted in secrecy, surrounded by spurious Non-Disclosure Agreements intended to keep even the most innocent inquiries from sticking their noses under the tent. No decent anybody could bear watching that brand of sausage being made, for it can't nourish anyone but the sausage-makers, who hold their positions to first feed the masses, and to feed themselves last, if at all. Without that penny's worth of this almost insignificance, the whole enterprise corrupts itself for want of an odd ounce of deCENTcy.

Seductions always exist, trying to twist every straight and narrow. We could suspend such deCENTcy as seems to be impeding achieving some end, but only until the end of this one proceeding, then we promise to reinstate it again. DeCENTcy doesn't bend that way. Compasses don't do corners. Not by cutting them and not by seeing around any bend. DeCENTcy marches forward, sometimes seemingly propelled by a kind of self-destructive insistence, even when it doesn't seem to embody efficiency or even spare expedience. We follow this lead because we know—or should know by now—where every alternative leads us. No one can demand deCENTcy from any other. It's not a Thou Shalt, but always, always, always an I Will, a sense instilled early or late, but somehow instilled or forever displaced. I can't cheat you, even if it would be in my best financial interest to do so, not because it might be against some law, but because of who I somehow became. I genuinely want you to win, too, though never at any cost, but at the spare penny's worth of deCENTcy between us.

It's Friday already again, so a recounting seems in order:

I began my writing week waking up in a cloud of smoke, which moved me to remember my long relationship with

I next woke up seemingly in a terrarium lacking sufficient oxygen in
Chokin', recognizing that my best defense might sometimes prove awfully offensive.

Next, I rue the numbing routine in

I then wrote about nothing at all and also about being in

I next decomposed something I'd noticed about myself and the world surrounding us in
GrudgeWork, about effort hardly worth expending.

Buoyed by Democratic National Convention speeches, I sense a real possibility that we might shortly return to some semblance of
RegularOrder, not to step nostalgically backward, but to regain some sane trajectory into our future.

I ended the week concluding that I might, following my birthday this week, be turning into a Little Old Man in

I've been getting scattered reports of The PureSchmaltz Blog being inaccessible through this week. The bug's finally hit my access, too, and so I apologize to anyone unable to see what I've posted. I will spend time today trying to get to the bottom of the bug. (Note: If you're reading this, it hasn't affected you.) Thank you for your continued interest and, most importantly, your presence here!

Warmest Regards,


©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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