Thursday, March 22, 2018

Monomania's monorail, on track

    I could swear, I'd read some-
    where, that the President of
    the United States had placed
    a call to congratulate a dic-
    tator on his election, after
    boasting last week, of lying
    to an allied Prime Minister;
    but that he didn't mind this
    being known, only that every
    advisor in his employ begged
    him not to dabble in treason.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Origins of Wednesday lxvi: Next, it'll be Ricky Nelson's fault

I was captivated to see the col-
umnist Ross Douthat, right-wing
anthropologist for The New York
Times, coming out so forcefully
today against the corrosive in-
fluences of television, just as
everyone is finally resigned a-
bout selfies. In a nutshell, he
finds that if the sluice gates
of exuberantly disorderly ignor-
ance which brought us the pres-
ent American government had not
been Rupert Murdoch's networks,
they almost certainly could not
have preceded the President's
own life, or he wouldn't have
heard of them. This places the
line in the sand of the fall
of man in his roguish progress
at about the time of Ozzie and
Harriett, that suspiciously in-
ocuous suburban sitcom for the
showcasing of unnervingly cal-
low white male millionaires,
on the fault line between the
big band era and rock & roll.

The Douthat Thesis is bound to
distort futures in Ricky Nelson
DVDs, but this instability pales
next to the real subversiveness
in the underlying content. One
has only to step into the latest
pop up boutique in blankest Mon-
tana, to pick up one's own en-
semble in the only two garments
any gentleman has ever truly re-
quired for a weekend in Paris.

We may say, people mustn't just 
wear what they want; but that's
only because speech is free, and
wanting never is. Conservatives
are supposed to know this stuff,
aren't they?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Der stijl of the times

If anything about the present
American government deserves
to survive the conflagration
it so openly solicits, it is
its deliverance of the profes-
sion of law from tired protes-
tations of ethical constraint.

has been exploded as unsus-
tainable, enabling our law-
yers those opportunities for
advancement we extend to cat-
tle and dairymen, poachers
and policemen. With the full
collapse of reality, which
has lined our pockets, has
finally come that annoyance
with legality which no caste
should be compelled to up-
hold. And the more the Pres-
ident's lawyers can lift
that burden by example, the
sooner we should all be re-
lieved of employing them.

Theo van Doesburg

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Practicing for good weather

     Through your carapace,
     reports of irregularities
     reaching you apace,

Paul Muldoon
Horse Latitudes
  90 Instant Messages
  to Tom Moore, xlvii
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006©

Charles Hellmuth
Lower Broadway

Sailboats in Blue Water
Late 19th C

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sportsmanlike conduct

    Are we able to adopt this ancient
    phrase where the structure of the
    game has evolved to penalize fair-
    ness? An idle world admired an up-
    set victory in basketball last e-
    vening as two distinctly sadistic
    practitioners of immeasurable cow-
    they'd been suspending from piano
    wires for months. Their names are

    In their gutter flows our Rubicon,
    a minor stream no one has located
    on a map, yet undoubtedly exists,
    Now they have turned upon this Re-
    public not by right but by force,

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"We need to see the pool from the casino"

There are days, in any pundit's
life, when he frets whether he's
committed himself to the wrong
avatar for his favorite figure
of satire. Our American Presid-
ent, long may he flap, cast him-
self so endearingly candidly in
the Primaries and the Final Heat
as a helplessly craven debauché
of age 15 at military school, we
dubbed him, Donny Thump-Thump, at
no foreseeable risk of revision.

To our chagrin, who on Earth had
foretold his appropriation of the
mantle of Benjamin Siegel, "Bugsy" 
to the social-climbing, in no more
than an hour upon touching down
in the desert to unfold his para-
dise? Undergraduate film societies
and willing slaves to portable de-
vices suddenly leapt to the screen-
play of James Toback, recovering
gambler himself, for Warren Beatty
and director Barry Levinson's im-
mortal Genesis epic, Bugsy (1990). 

As the great President - indeed,
the most great, the most massive -
proclaimed that his border wall on
the glittering casino of liberty
and justice for all must, must,
he flagellantly underscored, have
a window upon the talent pool be-
ing denied entry for lack of loot
or influence among friends, such 
as Nordic flesh, dance hall legs,
or steamer trunks of rubles to
rinse in his desolate condominia,
cinéastes of devout reverence for
precedent began to recall that
earlier desert boondoggle, the
Flamingo in Vegas. And what a
cash drain it was upon the Treas-
ury, as Benny continually fret-
ted the lack of grandeur in his
monument, the lack of requisite
enviability, to justify the name
of country.

The unsheltered must be surtaxed,
as night follows day, for a header
beam between the casino and the
imploring pool beyond, to mount
a sheath of glazing fit for awe
and wonder, beyond any splitting
bodice one could rip.

We forbear to recall how all that
worked out, as some volunteering
Second Amendment people rose to
virtue's own primordial summons
- wink-wink, lecherously aside -
to perfect Benjamin's martyrdom.
We'd be just as glad to laud the
pulp-bred exhortations of our sage
as adequate, for curdling's sake.

But maybe, as Virginia says, he's
just getting old.

Once upon a time in Pennsylvania

     We haven't launched a trade war
     against our partners in commerce
     to protect national security or
     to uphold fairness. We've done it
     for one district in Congress, and
     we'll back further away from it,
     in a matter of hours. We haven't
     barred a foreign merger in the
     microchip industry to safeguard
     our cybersecurity. We've done 
     it for applause on a visit today
     to San Diego, and we'll proclaim
     our safety by bedtime, tonight. 
     All the world's a frightening
     mirror to the narcissist in the
     White House, and every day's a
     clawing panic to be flattered. 

     Conor Lamb is on the ballot to-
     day in Pennsylvania, for grown-
     ups. Let's see if they're home.