Discordant Abomination

Ignatius chewed with a blissful savagery, studying the scar on the man’s nose and listening to his whistling.

“Do I hear a strain from Scarlatti?” Ignatius asked finally.

“I thought I was whistling ‘Turkey in the Straw.'”

“I had hoped that you might be familiar with Scarlatti’s work. He was the last of the musicians,” Ignatius observed and resumed his furious attack upon the long hot dog. “With your apparent musical bent, you might apply yourself to something worthwhile.”

Ignatius chewed with the man began his tuneless whistling again.

Then he said, “I suspect that you imagine ‘Turkey in the Straw’ to be a valuable bit of Americana. Well, it’s not. It is a discordant abomination.”

“I can’t see that it matters much.”

“It matters a great deal, sir!” Ignatius screamed. “Veneration of such things as ‘Turkey in the Straw’ is at the very root of our current dilemma.”

“Where the hell do you come from? Whadda you want?”

What is your opinion of a society that considers ‘Turkey in the Straw’ to be one of the pillars, as it were, of its culture?”

“Who thinks that?” the old man asked worriedly.

“Everyone! Especially folk singers and third-grad teachers. Grimy undergraduates and grammar schoolchildren are always chanting it like sorcerers.” Ignatius belched. “I do believe that I shall have another of these savories.”

John Kennedy Toole, from A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)

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