Transferable avarice

October 10, 2006

In my favorite of the Patrick O’Brian novels, there’s a scene where Stephen Maturin and the spymaster Sir Joseph Blaine are discussing a privateering action which made the fortune of Captain Jack Aubrey. Blaine has a line like this: “But a kind of vicarious cupidity and delight in gain makes me gross: forgive me, Maturin.”

I couldn’t help thinking of that all yesterday when the Google acquisition of YouTube was announced. Everyone I knew was IMing me to discuss the matter, and all the tech blogs were gaga with the news. It’s fascinating how strong an emotion, or set of emotions, can be aroused by the sight of people you actually know becoming unholy wealthy.

One Response to “Transferable avarice”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Wow – I didn’t know you read O’Brian. (I’ve read them all twice, and one of the biographies of time … actually, reading the biography prompted me to read them all again). Now I like you better.

    (The next post, re NYT copyediting, also made me like you more; keep blogging!)


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