Thursday, May 17, 2018


     Lymie came up from the locker rooms,
     in his street clothes,
     with his logic book under his arm,
     and his leather notebook, his an-
     thology of nineteenth century poetry.

William Maxwell
  III: A Cold Country
Christopher Carduff
Early Novels and Stories
The Library of America, 2008©

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Plan now

It is becoming clear that the 're-education'
of Germany by the allies will not be a pious
aspiration, but an unavoidable duty.. 

First, although the German people certainly
did know about the horrors of the concentra-
sion camps, their real crime was not that 
they failed to stop them when all power was
in the hands of the Nazis, for this would
have been practically impossible, but that
they ever allowed the Nazis, whom they knew
to be villains, to rise to power at all..

Secondly, it is no use hoping to build any-
thing except on some foundation of national
tradition. Germany will not be a tabula rasa.
Every means should be taken to persuade the
Germans that they themselves have such a tra-
edition, however completely forgotten now, 
on which a decent society can be based.. It
was in part the influence of American schol-
are who had caught the flame in Germany that
made Harvard, as early as the 1830s, a stead-
fast defender of the scholar's freedom from
political and religious pressure..

Thirdly, the Germans must learn to respect
the Slavs. In Western Europe it is not gen-
really recognized that one of the main tra-
editions in German history, and the most 
sinister, is that of the conquest and col-
onization of Slav lands. As a result the
ordinary German has come to regard the Slav
as an inferior being..

Yours faithfully,
                  R. Birley

May 8, 1945

Sir Robert Birley
Headmaster of Charterhouse
  later, Headmaster of Eton
  Advisor to the Military Governor,
    Control Commission of Germany
    1945 - 1947
Letter to The Times [London]
Kenneth Gregory, editor

Friday, May 11, 2018

Suppose it were Friday cliv: A fixer's payroll

Casual Friday brings out the paddle
player-hero in all of us, to the ex-
tent that all we have to wear on our
sleeve to distinguish ourselves are
the testimonials of prior conquests.
Yolanda, Liz, the redoubtable Erica.

And, one keeps looking for the name,
in that realm, but how soon we for-
get the roster of our vanquished as

Sascha Schneider

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What do "they" care?

Untrammeled play in the fields
of the lord does not very ac-
curately describe the range of
possible gestures, even in the
most liberated state, available
to the practitioner of speech.
In surfing, we have long known
that the gods conduct a monitor-
ing of behavior, which we have
lately learned our corporations
and other manipulators maintain,
to anticipate and shape the arc
of our play. Every time we ven-
ture into a discernibly oblique
convergence with currents in the
New American Government, the lis-
tening posts of Russia leap into
the acutest concentration, al-
though whether for that nation's
policies or for this one's, one
couldn't possibly claim to know.

This is the consumption pattern
of the first 36 hours of the pre-
vious posting, on the NAG's em-
brace of a torture administratrix
to supervise a widely known unit
of our secret intelligence service.
Yet, all with no mention of Russia.
Given the NAG's affection for the
government of Russia, one could 
hardly attribute this interest to
any apprehension of mistreatment
of its citizens. Of whom, then;
for whom are "Russians" reading?

Upon coincidences of much less
persistence, the paranoia sustain-
ing the NAG continues to be fed.
Why not the curiosity of occasion-
al critics, condemned to be read?

iii  Willy Ronis


Monday, May 7, 2018

The Gina Haspel obscenity

Stalwart fellow, always willing 
to support his underlings, and 
lead them in the service of the 
Nation as defined by his superi-
ors. Extraordinarily experienced 
and demonstrably devoted servant 
of the American people. Show the
threat, and turn your gaze away.

This impeccably impregnable
claptrap for any abuse of the
Constitution of the United 
States is on offer once again,
this week, in the frantic ef-
forts of the New American Gov-
ernment to expose the humanity
of its dissidents. One has to
count oneself among them, simp-
ly to breathe a better air. As
our entertainment, the NAG now
offers, at phenomenal hazard of
discovery, a lady to navigate
the gates of its Trojan horses.

If told to, this servant of a
finer civilization will claw at
captive throats, submerge them
indefinitely in water, and make
sure no bruises are discovered.
the imagination of the infant
upstairs, as much as Clarence
Thomas struck George Bush the
Elder as the finest legal mind
of his time. They are loyal.

Such prohibitive affronts to the
dignity of self-government, itself,
illuminate the constant agenda of
ostensible Conservatism today: to
break the will of the People to up-
hold restraints upon self-dealing.
The NAG, in its zeal to debauch 
every value won in the nation’s
evolving aspirations, has select-
ed a frantic grifter to ruin the 
Environment, an ignoramus to shep-
herd Education, a constellation of
bigots to tear down the Lincoln 
Memorial, and Orwellian stooges to 
mop up the entrails of their fes-
tive savagery. Now, openly to pro-
tect viciousness, itself, from any 
risk of resistance, it has anointed 
a female to stand as torture’s own 
shield, against every humane notice.
Seldom has moral capitulation gath-
ered such surpassing negotiability.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Portrait of corruption

   The Times published this portrait the
   other day, and I thought it brought
   out so well the obsessive compulsions
   of the American President that I al-
   most overlooked the spell they've suc-
   cessfully revealed through the noble
   implement for dealing with them. I re-
   fer to that wand of superior magic,
   of instantaneous manipulation, in the
   President's anxious grasp. He, Jobs,
   and Zuckerberg have embedded their
   place in history with the abandonment
   of reflection, itself. They have very
   much less the more self-confident il-
   lusions of literacy. There will be no
   corrective mallet, only detoxification.
   We are witnessing a greatness, surely.

Jasjyot Singh Hans
The New York Times©

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day

         I give my hand to justice, 
         Diaphanous fountain, sublimest spring,
         My sky is deep and changeless
         All I love is incessantly reborn
         All I love is always at its beginning.

Odysseus Elytis
1911 - 1996
  [final verse]
Edmund Keeley and
  Philip Sherrard
  editing and translation
Voices of Modern Greece
Princeton University Press, 1981©

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Origins of Wednesday lxviii: Only, our misplaced modifier

I spent a little bit of this
morning's coffee, trying to
rinse the grit from my eyes
of the latest Presidential
display of puerility, by im-
agining Dwight David Eisen-
hower, tidying the lapels
of Charles de Gaulle. Only
by admitting to myself, how
forgotten they are, was it
possible to regard that im-
age with any comprehension.

 The American President is a
 case study in the misplace-
 ment of an exclusive singular.
 Only because this is so cus-
 tomary, do we indulge his
 indiscipline as only routine.
 It'd be worse than bizarre,
 to see it as comprehensible.