Monday, October 16, 2017

"Who left the faucet running?"

    Who left the faucet running? By the time
    it was over, thousands of hectares had been inundated.
    To feed that room. He waits for me and
    makes sure I am explaining the life of the mind.
    Everybody makes the same children with them.
    Weather tipped the guy off,
    dropped the snowball.

Quick Question
  New Poems
  The Fop's Tale
Harper Collins/Ecco, 2012©


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Masha Gessen on techniques of our governance

Peace, a life at peace, has always been
and continues to be an ideal for human-
ity. But peace as a state of world pol-
itics has never been stable... In the
last quarter century, the threshold for
applying force has clearly been lowered.
Immunity against war acquired as a re-
suit of two world wars, literally on a
psychological, subconscious level, has
been weakened.

No one has done so much to validate the
reflections cited above as the man who
uttered them, at a conference in Sochi
on the Black Sea in 2015, Vladimir Pu-
tin. Now, he has an emulator in Wash-
ington, an admiring co-practitioner in
the arts of disinformation which the ac-
tivist-historian of contemporary Russia,
Masha Gessen, shows to have destroyed
any prospect for a stable civil society,
much less a democracy, in that country.

Now Putin's American admirer has demanded
the harassment and de facto seizure of an
American broadcast network, for its exer-
cise of its press freedom, while every day
inundating the culture with disinformation
regurgitated by his kept cable news hacks,
preachers, and virtual internet hordes.

One reads Masha Gessen's fine book with a
sense of urgency of any Russian - yet, in
English, in the United States. The subject
is one of the implementation of a common
policy by common means. The diverting and
quaint concept, collusion, having been ren-
dered extinct by the structures of social
media, falls by the wayside of her inquiry.
Extinction, meanwhile, remains prolifically
at the center of the American President's
own discourse, as a condition of greatness.
His are no mere flirtations with war, they
are a cultural conditioning, well under way.

Masha Gessen
The Future is History
  How Totalitarianism
  Reclaimed Russia
Riverhead/Penguin, 2017©

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is Paris burning?

 The German Chancellor's anxious cry,
 on his armies' evacuation of Paris
 in 1944, could not have been more
 desperate or more shrill than the
 American President's demand of his
 Oklahoman custodian of federal fu-
 els policy, to know if he had yet
 quashed the nation's leadership in
 global climate protection, the cen-
 terpiece of his vindictive erasure
 of the achievements of his Black
 predecessor. More than his loathe-
 some dignity, more than his meas-
 ured reasonableness, more than his
 infuriating acceptance of reality,
 every trace of his predecessor's
 identification with civilization
 must be more than avenged; it must
 be contradicted. Is Paris next?

Alexander Calder
Four Planets

Pierre Lescot
Palais du Louvre

I.M. Pei
Grand Entrance

Friday, October 6, 2017

Suppose it were Friday cxli: Remember refuge?

The climes, here and there, whenever things
got rough, and one could burrow into a nice-
ly loomed blanket, or build a fortress, back
of the mulch pile behind the garden, where
the dog may come and go, and ask what's up.

Now we understand, the problem with put-
ting away childish things is architectural,
which is to say, budgetary. But who cannot
recall well enough, the 18th Century's re-
sorts of fancy, without asking what became
of them? Tristram Shandy. Tom Jones. Some
lexicographic flight to the Hebrides, or a
rake in his progress. Friday's release of
liberty feels more and more these days like
Graham Greene's dilemma upon the advice of
his solicitor, to evade a libel suit from
Shirley Temple, launching himself upon the
lawless roads of anticlerical Mexico - the
alternative to losing one battle, by gain-
ing unexpected triumph in another. On such
a day, now and then tiresomely framed by
a rogue sociopath, enabled by gruesomely
concerted monks of media, to immerse us
ever deeper into the marginalia of failed
states, who will begrudge a fellow his day
of release to a benign casino, a landfall

Or are we to hear instead, that the author
of all our news, is not the author of all
our news? That would surely be pure evil.

Thomas Rowlandson
A view on the coast
  of Sussex 
Metropolitan Museum
  of New York

Graham Greene

The Lawless Roads

The Power and
  the Glory

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Nicer than being

I watched the other day and she 
was saying such nice things a-
bout a lot of the people who are 
working so hard. Jennifer, do 
you think you could say a little 
bit what you said about us? 

     Nothing happens in his world
     which is not inside a box he
     can turn on and off, for ex-
     citement doled out as candy.
     As previously noticed every-
     where there is a monitor, it
     is always his presence which
     matters: for that matter, is
     matter. He is not Peter Sel-
     lers in his final film rôle.
     He's his image of his image,
     a ghost of anxious pettings.

President of the United States
  to a roomful of journalists,
  Puerto Rico, United States,
  3 October 2017

Region of disdain

  Possibly the phenomenon of a cold shoulder
  is not so indebted to disdain as has been
  thought, at least among exhibitors in our
  midst. Sometimes, a notable projection of
  warmth can be deduced; but if this were a
  property of disdain, we should have no use
  for the word, disgust, which many moralists
  count among the catalogue of sin. A morbid
  curiosity, on the other hand, can manifest
  warmth, almost as commonly as wrath. These
  strenuous etymological exercises may strike
  one as spectacularly incongruous when iden-
  tifying our responses to political figures,
  habitually indifferent to meaning in every
  hazardous dimension and facet of its exis-
  tence - but inevitably are thrust upon us,
  of enduring them. Needless to say, a very
  cold winter is expected for them now, in
  the gruesome shadow of the most elevated
  of them all. Prominence is one thing, they
  seem to reason; scrutiny, entirely another.

  It diminishes their capacity for happiness;
  it hauls them, ineluctably, into the world.
  To credit the American President, however,
  as a disproportionate contributor to this
  likelihood, would be only to capitulate to
  his standard of reference - such as it is.

Ferdinando Scianna
Ivory Coast

Monday, October 2, 2017

Further sharp dealings of Moses

  When last we greeted Goldsmith's
  prophet at the fair, trading the
  of Republican tax reform, we had
  no idea he would pop over to Las
  Vegas in the same weekend, to en-
  joy another neo-Confederate dose
  of creative religion. If, in his
  country, you may assert religious
  freedom to believe anything, you
  may call treason a noble cause,
  you may call human slavery a bi-
  ological obligation, you may call
  highway robbery a reform in tax-
  ation, and you may call a reck-
  Constitutional right. It isn't
  that religion requires bigotry.

  It's that casuistry requires re-
  ligion. So again, we play poli-
  tics with its mantra, that guns
  do not kill, naughty people do -
  agreeing with every word of it.

Francisco Lachowski