George Bernard Shaw on Democracy:
…I am going to ask you to begin our study of Democracy by considering it first as a big balloon, filled with gas or hot air, and sent up so that you shall be kept looking up at the sky whilst other people are picking your pockets. When the balloon comes down to earth every five years or so you are invited to get into the basket if you can throw out one of the people who are sitting tightly in it; but as you can afford neither the time nor the money, and there are forty millions of you and hardly room for six hundred in the basket, the balloon goes up again with much the same lot in it and leaves you where you were before. I think you will admit that the balloon as an image of Democracy corresponds to the parliamentary facts.
— from the Preface to The Apple Cart
My favourite pair of jeans announced their retirement the other day by ripping in what is, I’m sure, an unfashionable place (just beneath the left buttock). The zip gave up holding properly about four years ago — on a train of all places — but I fixed it by threading my keyring through the hole in the end of the zip so it could be hooked over the button at the top, a fix which has remained in place ever since.
So I went to town and forced myself to shop for clothes. I know it’s sort of grumpy-old-mannish of me, but I did find it more than slightly ridiculous that as I was looking around in search of a replacement for my ripped jeans, most shops were selling pre-ripped jeans. I suddenly felt anxious. What if I bought a pair of jeans and something was wrong with them, like a hole in the pocket or a faulty zip, and I took them back only to be laughed at and told the fault was intentional, in fact fashionable? Or should I take advantage of the situation and try to part-exchange my authentically ripped jeans for new ones? They might even have gained some sort of retro glamour in the ten or so years I’ve had them, and be worth more than what I paid for them in the first place. Perhaps I should put them on eBay.