Sunday, June 24, 2018

What is David Remnick doing to our magazine?






This posting is an open inquiry, to an
anonymous friend who is a famous critic,
with whom I gratefully share a correspon-
dence, including his invaluable glimpses
into what is hip in Manhattan, a question
which portrays itself as of dwindling na-
tional interest. We've exchanged thoughts
on David Remnick's leadership of a his-
toric magazine, and he won't be surprised.
Unfortunately, the note presume a little
familiarity with the conduct of that out-
let, which has been around a good while.

Yesterday, with "New Yorker Radio Hour,"
David Remnick hosted a couple of his mag-
azine's crossword puzzle designers, to a
conversation on how they create the puz-
zles he is responsible for publishing.
To his credit, he could not have chosen
a subject of greater relevance to the
impression he wishes his magazine to
promulgate, of what we all should know.

They gorge on the glitter and the hip,
exulting now and again in infusing an
ancient foreign vulgarity among their
demands upon our knowledge of what Be-
yoncé calls her neighbor's cat. And in
these puzzles, they speak of being de-
lighted to observe straphangers enter-
ing within their minds, as if this were
a destination of our cultural conscious-
ness. Remnick was enchanted, and said so.

This is the magazine who brought a nation
together to accept the ushering out of
office of Richard Nixon. This was large-
ly the undertaking of Elizabeth Drew, in
whom the gift for explanation exhibited
an absolute suppression of the vanity now
flourishing as wit, under David Remnick.

His self-regard may have been endurable
in times less furiously polarized, than
we find ourselves in now. But the times
now call for a frame of reference which
can speak for the broadest range within
our cultures, to explain the urgency of
removing the present government from of-
fice. That fundamental task simply can
not be done from a perch of self-flatter-
ing archness, such as feasts on fashions
confined to our nabobs, as Spiro Agnew
would have said, of incomprehensibility.
The arrogance of the thing simply stinks,
when we would rather have said, it smells.





Let's see if the magazine adopts any re-
solve to being less condescending in its
displays of cultural outreach, less sil-
ly in its persistent tone of authority.
Let's see if they can recruit an editor
who can rediscover a common language, to
explain and warn of the uncommon emergen-
cy the nation faces, and call for remedy
all can accept impartially as compelling.

Soon, sobriety will be called for, again.
The present alternative is too dangerous-
ly close to enlightened bigotry, to sad-
dle moral necessity with such flippancy.
Have they lost Elizabeth Drew's address?













Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday commute clii: "We're sending them the hell back!"






    The character of a week can
    expose how porous the play-
    ful membrane of Saturday's
    conceits can be. The char-
    acter of this week was to
    reveal how little agreement
    we seem to possess, on what
    once her birth has been
    secured by statutory com-
    pulsion. Education? Pro-
    tection? Nourishment? Not
    particularly, even if we
    hold title to her for ap-
    portionment in Congress.

    exploit for places there.

    What part of this will stop
    at the border of a Saturday?















President of the United States
Duluth, Minnesota
June 20, 2018

ii  Kálmán Szöllösy
    ca 1935








Friday, June 22, 2018

Suppose it were Friday clvi: Shall we walk upon the waters?




No more than a week precisely,
after declaring North Korea to
be a nuclear threat, no more,
the Prophet proclaimed how he
(who alone can fix things) had
rectified a sociopathic defect
in American immigration tradi-
tions, dating back to the Pres-
idency of the Liberator of Eur-
ope. Not that he had intended
to put all the blame on Dwight
Eisenhower, only to deflect it
all from his obvious innocence.




Now, then, to glue all these
dismembered families back to-
gether again, who all look so
alike. Or, better still: trot
out a model, his human shield,
having applauded his strength.




They are still writing books
on the Nazi seizure of power,
and now we have moved from the
testimony of contemporaries to
the exalted plane of academics.
When we get that far with this
enchanting epoch, there will al-
ways be this press appearance's
gorgeous example, of the genius
of the hero's gift for playing,
surpassingly, an imbecile. And
to think: all anyone ever had to
do, was to have read Huck Finn.
















Thursday, June 21, 2018

Have we given enough credit to pathology of late?





A sympathetic reader, noting our distraction
this Spring by esoteric matters of policy, 
has sent us this reminder of pathology's as-
cendancy in these matters. Selecting an ava-
tar for this claustrophobic crisis, of being
sandwiched between two inadequately intimid-
ated states, with the insouciant hair of the
prime minister of the one, and the navigation-
al élan of the archetype of the other, he re-
minds us to investigate what is terrifying in
our entrapment in this vise of dreadfulness.

Is it the permeability of the fence, or the
specter of penetration that has captivated
The New Government and its flock: our 300
some odd million citizens are entitled to an
honest examination of their wretchedness, to
be exposed to this proximity of social risk.

In the annals of geopolitical conflagration,
it would be hard to identify two neighbors of
greater hostility to the manifest destiny of
our nation. Look, for example, at how equably
France and Germany have settled their Alsatian
tipping point, compared with Canada's tariff
on dairy production smaller than a sneeze in
Wisconsin, and Mexico's soothing trickle of
underpayable menial labor to, say, Pasadena.

If the European genius for border peace is
too easily explained by a long tradition of
gallant martial haberdashery, then look to
our herdings, hither and yon, of naked nat-
ive Americans, into suitably desolate en-
claves, as proof of what phobic reason can
accomplish. Are we worried that our alien
heathens will seize our condos on the East
Side? We need look no further than to their
protection by Russian oligarchs, to reflect
on resources which haven't failed us yet.

Possibly, then, if our digressions on policy
really can be dismissed as an unintended im-
pertinence to pathology, at least we have
taken care not to claim that higher cons-
ciousness as some congenital trait of our
heterogeneous lineage. That would take an
entire century or two of persistent myth-
making and denial, whilst anyone can see,
ishing the glory of firing on Fort Sumter.

It is only too unimaginative, however, to
attribute our pathology to the chronically
ingrained and infallibly unanswerable tra-
dition of stark Confederate lying about
the motives for pummeling Fort Sumter, a
degeneracy which would have been swept a-
way by wise policy, barring internal fed-
eral borders, harboring it for endless rot.
But it's a snap to find our well of policy.























Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of
  Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

1759-69
Everyman's Library
J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1912©






Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Just the neighbors again, and their fumes






Who is it, who can't feel it in
his heart to empathize with the
torments of a pure white knight
menaced and mocked at both ends
of a treaty-ruined culture, one
day having to round up the ver-
min to the south, the next, to
the north? Ah, we get ahead of
ourself. This is not the scene
at the Canadian border, from a
future garden party; this is a
parade this month in Gaza, as




Which is it to be today: the
scourging fire of Biblical big-
otry, or the swooning farts of
the lactically oppressed? By his
tweets shall we whiff the truth. 



















Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wreckage, quickly



It has been dazzling to notice the swiftness with which minority authoritarians have seized control of the American Government, and neutered its legislature with no more than a few bold, compacted strokes of blazingly candid betrayal of the country's systems of relationships, domestic and international. It was one thing, to see warnings from students of 20th Century fascism, of resemblances in our government with those seizures of power. It is another, to see our own practitioners reveling in lurid imitation. Mere days after yielding to the dictator of North Korea, the American President rejoiced in the trials of democratic Germany.




















River Viiperi






Monday, June 18, 2018

Trump's terminus




Wagering parlors are fattening on
odds that the President indulges
a keen hope that his dismemberment
of families will shortly extort a
glossy border wall for him, while
also driving from his Cabinet his
universally detested Attorney Gen-
eral -- to be succeeded by a sim-
pering sycophant from the pages of
sadism's most cherished dreams.





At the same time, Father's Day week-
end in America saw a former director
of the CIA recalling those glory days
for us all, in the President's medium.
We see the rail terminus at Auschwitz-
Birkenau, in Poland, prototype for our
El Paso -- only one small step, for a
religiously clairvoyant Cabinet priest
to extol as the 'law' of Jesus Christ.

For surely we remember the Prophet on
the Escalator, on migratory sub-humans.
Our Shoah holds to a timely schedule.
What land could designate our children,
what law sort them, for our protection?

















Patryk Tereszkiewicz