Bending the Ark

You can bend an arc but not an Ark.

The unfortunate Uzzah’s encounter with the Ark of the Covenant reminds me of a purple passage in Barack Obama’s victory speech on election night:

We are, and always will be, the United States of America. It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

What I first heard was:

… put their hands on the Ark of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Can you have a bendy Ark? You can find model Arks for sale on the Web, many but not all spinoffs from the Indiana Jones movie. Here’s an example:


I couldn’t however find a bendy one, even as a toy. And quite right too. The Indiana Jones plot is of course tongue-in-cheek tosh but in one detail it’s sound. The bad guys, Dr Belloq and Major Toht, try to exploit the Ark, to bend it to their human desires. They find like Uzzah that this is lethally dangerous. The Ark of conscience bends us instead. And the better day it promises is not necessarily ours.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web