Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer Liebling iv: And you thought catamarans were degenerate

  One had only to be
  in Florida to wit-
  ness the decline of
  stealing second, af-
  ter Ty Cobb had set
  the standard by fly-
  ing in with sharpen-
  ed spikes. This is
  what passes for ath-
  letic intimidation

  And as for the blue
  muleta, is there a
  self-respecting bull
  who'd bother with it?
  O Barbary, o mores ..

A.J. Liebling
The Sweet Science
op. cit.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A young man, traveling in Italy, writes to me of his passion

They are still making my mistakes,
I find, yet I've seamlessly declared,
without false valour, that they were
marvelous beyond price. A youth tells
me, his Italian journey has acquainted
him with a girl who's gone to New Zea-
land, and that he must dash home to
northern Virginia to amass funds to
commit himself to a permanent reloca-
tion. And, by the way, would I recom-
mend him to colleagues there in agri-
culture, for the usual reasons?

I wouldn't mention it, but his note
happens to reach me on the anniversary
of a wedding in which I was a princi-
pal, which I was expecting to observe
this evening with customary discretion.
Just now my English Cocker is gnawing
a post-prandial rawhide, with more than
enough concentration to revive the high-
lights of that occasion, its indifferent
aspects suspended by the little fellow's
startling pleasure.

I'll not reproach this lad for conduct
he exults in confessing now, for I was
not even cognisant of it, then. I refer
to that abrogation of all ties in the
pursuit of the betrothed. People who've
written about it outnumber the rest of
us in that particular, only. Nor is this
merely a male trait, either by destiny
or cultural tradition. My shatteringly
Jamesian wife committed it, too, very
much on time. And of course youth has al-
most nothing to do with it, for all the

I've cited too much Lamb, lately, so I
won't bog you down this evening with A
Bachelor's Complaint. Mine is not the
bachelor's. It's the spouse's dawning
comprehension of subscribing to adieux
almost on the scale of renunciation:
forsaking all others, almost disowning
them. (I thought, Damon and Affleck got
this very well, in their undergraduate
masterpiece). Of course there is always 
hope for a rare exception or two, to 
those dismissals. They are the trustees
of our truest, constant love.

I had mine, possibly he will, too.

Poverty's a little different from just not finding work

Poverty no longer rising 
but grips 46,000,000.

yesterday's date

Even feudalism is doctrinally
predicated on the employment
of the employable. Not "right
to work" America. We have mas-
tered inefficiency in the name
of efficiency - as Bob Dylan
wrote for a track in Modern
Times, to "compete abroad."

Every exquisite element of this
injustice has been enshrined in
fiscal policy since Reagan. All
of it has been sold as a pipe-
dream of revenge on the under-
class, or the patronising in-
sult of healing it by example,
in a pentecostal fandango of 
greed. Where capital has en-
countered the threat of distri-
bution, we have enjoyed warfare.
Yes, what else is new?

46 million persons should not be
impoverished in the solar system.
agony here, is a phenomenon which 
summons Lamb's A Dissertation upon
Roast Pig and his Complaint of the
to the same luncheon entertainment
at the Economic Club in Washington,
where just now the Secretary of the
Treasury opined, We are not where
we want to be. Jay Gould, himself,
could not have put it better. 

This was polite of him, given the
mystery that he is not behind bars.

I did not come to the internet to
sequester myself in a Speaker's
Corner in a leafy page. But I did
act which is directly affronted,
intimidated, and suppressed, by 
any brutality. I cannot accuse the
Steps Scene in Battleship Potemkin,
or its view of maggots on the sail-
ors' butchered meat, of agitprop,
and suffer a Treasury Secretary to
confide, he isn't happy. It ranks 
right up there, with infant mortal-
ity and malnutrition. Happiness: 
didn't Mr Jefferson aver, we might
all pursue it?

              Close the restaurants? Well, it'd
              be a start; but those people really
              can't find other work. Tithe the
              Koch brothers? God forbid. Why not
              just eliminate the innocents who
              see - which is, I assure myself,
              not actually, truly, really, and
              certainly the Right wing's program -
              and spare ourselves the remorse of
              their effrontery? I think of asking
              this of Stephen Crane, I think of 
              asking Melville, James and Faulkner.
              I think of any surfer, trusting in
              another wave. The literature of our
              people is of power without force.

              Who would betray a second chance?

Sergei Eisenstein
Eduard Tisse
Battleship Potemkin

Charles Lamb
op. cit.

Timothy Egan
("Context" Sidebar)
New comment of note
September 19, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If this had been a real emergency

    This is just a test
    of our hierarchical
    hygienic system.

    If this had been a
    real emergency, you
    and other siblings
    would have been di-
    rected to a shower
    in one of the avail-
    able guest rooms.

    On a friend's advice
    I found myself lately
    in an expansive rol-
    ling meadow in Virgin-
    ia, where local vine-
    yards were exhibiting
    themselves. All about
    me, there were silent
    clusters of friends, 
    tippling from glasses
    oxidised in the sun,
    staring into screens
    they were petting with
    mesmerised absorption.
    The nimbler of these
    scholars even managed 
    to clasp both vessels 
    in the palm of a single
    hand, their extracts
    fusing pleasantly in
    the mind.