from some Benjamin bio,
via Adam Mortimer:

There is an interesting gloss
on “politeness” in the essay “Hashish in

Marseilles”, which describes
how Benjamin, after smoking hashish, succumbed to

hunger, which required a
visit to Basso’s restaurant. Here he ordered oysters

from the menu, and a local
dish as a main course. The waiter returned to say

that his choice of main
course was unavailable, and offered him the menu a

second time. Benjamin’s
finger hovers over the previously chosen dish, then

settles on the dish directly
above it, which he orders. Then he orders the dish

above that one, and the
next dish, and the next, all the way to the top of the

menu. “This was not just
from greed, however,” Benjamin comments, “but from an

extreme politeness toward
the dishes, which I did not wish to offend by a


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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.