Thursday, June 11, 2015

To Vet a Leader

Tomorrow is the 586th anniversary of the assault on the fortress at Jargeau by Joan of Arc.  Consider an earlier travail this seventeen-year-old leader endured in her pursuit of her Generalship.

"So we traveled to Poitiers, to endure three weeks of tedious delay while this poor child [Joan of Arc] was being daily questioned and badgered before a great bench of--what?  Military experts?--since what she had come to apply for was an army and the privilege of leading it to battle against the enemies of France.  Oh, no.  It was a great bench of priests and monks--profoundly learned and astute casuists--renowned professors of theology!  Instead  of setting a military commission to find out if this valorous little soldier could win victories, they set a company of holy hair-splitters and phrase-mongers to work to find out if the soldier was sound in her piety and had no doctrinal leaks.  The cats were devouring the house, but instead of examining the cat's teeth and claws, they only concerned themselves to find out if it was a holy cat.  If it was a pious cat, a moral cat, all right, never mind about the other capacities, they were of no consequence."

-- Mark Twain: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by The Sieur Louis de Conte (Her Page and Secretary) Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France by Jean Francois Alden, vol. 1, p. 160


Secondary Roads said...

I can't even relate to that.

vanilla said...

Chuck, in my reading I have now gotten to the trial. Makes this episode look like peaches and ice cream.

Grace said...

And that was how the world worked THEN. And unfortunately still does, just look at any discussion of political candidates - intelligence, education, experience not as important as wardrobe or spouses or family connections or...their tweeter feed.

vanilla said...

Grace, in my opinion the reason the world worked that way then and still works that way is that the world is full of-- people.