Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The unrounded preference

I revisited the place of Donald Trump
in Virginia last weekend, that I men-
tioned in Wednesday's entry. Of course
his yard signs were spaced across the
fields as if by tractor, every tenth
rotation of the wheel a time to punc-
ture the ground again. There were no
signs for anyone else, except for Jes-
us of Nazareth and Berkshire Hathaway.
A diversified land use plan if ever I
saw one, unsparingly contradictory.

Last evening at Hofstra, he was irrep-
arably revealed as the bar room gossip
I had met through his followers last
year. Yes, he has a knack for captur-
ing the mindset of the mystified-to-be-
marginalized, because he showed it to
be his own. His signature anger is of
the fellow who is free to invent any
causation he would like to blame for
it, as if he'd never actually exper-
ienced the thrillingly habit-forming
passage of learning a thing. Infamous-
ly, this rite of refusal is widely in-
culcated in our culture by media on
the Right; but it just seems especially
sad, for billionaires to renounce the
pleasure of the mind's signal blessing.

He epitomises the adjustment of the
1960s in college admissions, moving
away from the well-rounded individual
to embrace the well-rounded class. If
only he had brought a thing with him
to contribute to that wise diversity.

van Gogh

Monday, September 26, 2016

Keep a good thought

So, the contest is tightening,
right, and time is moving now,
right, and we remember how the
hidden majority for Brexit had
simmered for months below this
very margin dividing the right
candidate from the unthinkable
one. Two points, adduced in an
interview in the Post are ger-
mane to these variations:

Britain, for all her ingenious
bulwarks against barroom popu-
list governance, lacks the re-
gal impediment of the Elector-
al College, to thwart the tiny
populations, even in their en-

And another thing to remember,
against the drumroll of might,
makes right:

              He doesn’t have a lot of patience 
              for detailed policy discussions. 
              I agree his bar is low. But for him 
              to be presidential, patient, polite, 
              and seem interested — he has not gone 
              through anything like this before. 
              With all due respect to his primary 
              opponents, they’re not Hillary Clinton.

David Plouffe
  Campaign manager
  for both of Obama's
  electoral victories

September 26, 2016

Macabre vigil

According to all reports, fully
two-thirds of Americans of vot-
ing age distrust the two persons
they have invited to entertain
them in a performance of polit-
ical theatre this evening. This
should be good news for the mo-
tels of America, those refuges
for the despairing in their dis-
placement from home. Yet, for
those who couldn't bear to al-
low their own walls to resound
any further with these voices,
the ghoulish obligation to bear
witness to their own defeat will
immerse them in plastic duvets,
for shoddy rented privacy pan-
els to tingle with a televised
bombardment. What ever happened
to hopping down to the Trans-Lux
with neighbors, to hiss Roosevelt?

Has ever an election projected
such anomie, that unanimous re-
vulsion lacks a bonding epithet?

Peter Arno
The New Yorker

Friday, September 23, 2016

Arm music vii: wearing what comes in

    There are people out there
    who wonder why Donald Trump
    isn't polling 50 points be-
    hind the candidate of the
    helping hand; why the fraud
    in Brioni is the candidate
    of people who have no choice
    but to wear what comes in.

William Gedney

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxxix: In the place of Donald Trump

In the southwest of Virginia, there
is a popular family boating resort,
in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where
the gubernatorial houseguest of a di-
et supplement huckster. Smith Moun-
tain Lake, not far from Roanoke, has
also a permanent population of acute
devotion to Donald Trump. I walked in-
to a typical roadside fish bar and
honky-tonk there, one night a year
ago this week, and was greeted amiab-
ly, by all the patrons. They were my
introduction to the attitudes Trump
is riding very well toward governing.

I knew nothing of Donald Trump, apart
from his interest in real estate, and
a television career I never examined.
I learned a great deal about him, just
by the muscular vows of vengeance for
one perceived infringement or another,
of interests evidently shared by the
entire establishment. And this is an
Establishment, we are discovering now.
Donald Trump hasn't put it together,
is their toy. If anything exposes the
catastrophic miscalculation that this
Establishment is not serious, it is
the fantasy that he would be discarded 
for his peculiarity. Let him call him-
self, their voice.

I need hardly say, that the disdain
for the Establishment Trump has iden-
tified, has aggravated and codified
a schism which will destroy the next
Presidency, even as it emerged under
many. We are not presented with
a candidate who contemplates resolv-
ing it, only evading it; and yet we
anxiously aspire for an impossible
victory for our interests and values.

As fate had it, Mrs Clinton ostra-
cized Trump's voters from her retinue 
of redeemables, allowing her stagger-
ingly exceptional candor in brutal-
ity to confess just how structural
their grievance is. It's just as well,
of the people I met in that bar, then
pitied them for their "dark emotions,
incompatible with American values,"
because he has shown Mrs Clinton's
formulation to have been no accident.
Beyond any license in its tenets or
its impulses, these two candidates
have betrayed liberalism before our
eyes, as a shameless variation upon
inhumane politics at its very worst,
rendering unfalse a sour equivalency.

So, they pray, let Trump be Trump. As
if to reinforce the suggestion, they
adopt the sectarian language his fol-
lowers use, to articulate an expulsion
not merely to statelessness, but from
their Eden of secular spotlessness.
Trump speaks merely of exile; they of-
fer the withholding of God's grace.
At its brightest and best, and at the
most urgent height of its peril, this
Establishment can marshal nothing bet-
ter than gross arrogance. They are as
merry with civil war as Donald Trump.

I have endorsed their candidacy and
I have urged the defeat of the other.
I continue to do so, because this is
our election, and its outcome is ours.
Yet theirs is a contest of spent forces,
and the polls are beginning to confirm
this. Every element of Barack Obama's
coalition is distinctly diminished, be-
yond embarrassment with his candidates.
The schism we were not allowed to heal 
has deepened, the purity of the alter-
native is distilled to alluring toxici-
ty, and we are reduced to a battle of 
condescension and fanciful revanchism.
The parties didn't have to draw us to
this place, for us to see their worth:
two sanctimonies, dragging out their
dénouement, for us to bear their shame.

In such circumstances, the livelier ques-
tion is, whether the parties possess a 
philosophical resiliency to rebound from 
what may be anomalies at the top. To turn
to their platforms for guidance may be
naïve, but everyone's entitled to the de-
fense of subscribed intent. To weigh their
conduct in the States for the same reason,
is not illegitimate, to distinguish even
their national profile from any possible
site of innocence. In these two exculpat-
ing prospects, Trump's party does come
up worse than empty. Devoted to share-
cropper economics at every turn, includ-
ing spectacularly, the most frantic and
systematic suppression of underclass
wages, benefits, education, opportunity,
health, safety, mobility, representation,
and voting rights since the 1920s, to say
nothing of the most vituperative and in-
humane hostility to gender liberation in
the Western world, this curious party is
at a loss to grope for excuses, upstream.

And for that reason, the anomalies which
Trump brings to the height of the party's
sinecure strivings are essentially ones 
of degree. Say what one will for the rude-
ness to a stately tempo in Mrs Clinton's
challenger in the primaries, the coali-
tion he assembled, too, embodies the core
of liberalism's unblemished raison d'être,
and has inoculated every office-seeker in
its colors with egalitarian expectations.
It has endowed that candidate with the
most radiantly progressive platform since
Franklin Roosevelt; and rather than embark-
ing in exultation across the land, with an
uplifting message of hope, she campaigned
and chuckle at its cuddling compliments.

Mr Sanders has shown the way the ball is
bouncing in this system, for all its ruts
and ill-run grooves; this identifies the
survivor strand, in this dark and turgid
grinding out of decrepit, shameful forces.
In every legislative office on my ballot
this year, I know where I will mark my X.
Deliverance isn't on the list just now,
and who could wish it were? Preparedness 
will do just fine. 

Henning May

Monday, September 19, 2016

In the time of Donald Trump

    If it's loveliness you want, here, take some,
    hissed the black fairy. ..

  People, so humble, all they
  can do is bake things for
  others' consumption: to be
  told, when their success
  has resulted in the shop's
  being acquired -- without
  them -- that they should ex-
  ult to be retrained or even
  resettled, to be useful. 

  No Party is the humane one,

  for very long. If I don't 
  feel the chill, they haven't
  come for me yet. Dare I de-
  pend on them, as strangers?
  How often has this worked?
  Is he a stranger, who does
  not denounce me?

John Ashbery
A Worldly Country
  New Poems
  America the Lovely
Harper Collins, 2007©
op. cit.

Tennessee Williams
A Streetcar Named Desire

River Phoenix

Saul Leiter
untitled snow