Stephen adjourns the skull session at the newspaper to a local pub, apparently eager to blow some of his cash before he does something silly with it, like I don’t know, pay off a few bills?
This guy needs a debt ceiling.
I said I wasn’t going to use any secondary sources, but this description kind of made me want to figure out what was happening. Stephen and the boys go out into Dublin and they spot a couple of ladies:
Two old Dublin women on the top of Nelson’s Pillar.
SOME COLUMN!-THAT’s WHAT WADDLER ONE SAID
-That’s new, Myles Crawford said. That’s copy. OUt for the waxies Dargle. Two old trickies, what?
-But they are afraid the pillar will fall, Stephen went on. They see the roofs and argue about where the different churches are: Rathmines’ blue dome, Adam and Eve’s saint Laurence O’Toole’s. But it makesthem giddy to look so they pull up their skirts…
So basically they’re oggling a couple of old ladies who are standing on top of this thing:
Of course Myles Crawford warns the fellas not to make any comments, although its sometimes hard to know his meaning since nobody has yet invented the proper punctuation to indicate sarcasm. Someone makes a comment about the one-handed adulterer (I think it’s Stephen) which could have a couple of meanings.
What’s weird about this scene is how we’re getting a look at how these supposedly literate men become fascinated by what they are witnessing, to the point where they actually think it’s newsworthy. From a modern standpoint, it can be seen as a commentary on how the news media operates. In this case it feels like an echo of the crass, sensationalistic journalism that is everywhere these days. These newspapermen are not so far off from the modern journalists of today. They are always looking for a story and not always careful about what they deem to be of interest.
Within the context of the book this strikes me as a contrast between Stephen’s attempts at creating art (as outlined in “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”) as opposed to the newspapermen’s craft of creating good copy. The two are almost diametrically opposed. When Stephen is inspired he creates poems based on what he sees, whereas Crawford and his reporters can take the same incident and turn it into sensationalist entertainment for the masses. Both are observational and voyeuristic in some ways, but one takes an everyday incident and makes it an epiphany, while the other can take the same incident and reduce it to its lowest common denominator.