Saturday, June 14, 2014

I met with a guy this morning, who was so young before

He's a consultant in inter-net  communications, and you may ask why I waited so long to meeet him. But he was growing up, and now has mastered things I need to know. Only in his 20s, he's old enough to renovate my relationship with the world.
  In 2003 The New York Times published this portrait of our welcome in Iraq. We've lived with this grimace all this time, a keepsake of the most negligent war ever mounted by an ostensibly great nation, and now its lines are set. It's old enough to renovate our relationship with the world.

Basra, 2003
The New York Times

Tim Schumacher

Friday, June 13, 2014

Suppose it were Friday xcvii: relief of the effortless posture

At your blog, are you beleaguered
by portrait submittals of dubious
narrative clarity? Did you notice,
yesterday, how only the deposition
of a malicious cynic by an exuber-
ant zombie, in Virginia's 7th Dis-
trict, furnished narrative explan-
ation of the fetid armpits flaunt-
ed in the first portrait, the ug-
ly puerile fist in the second? Et
in arcadia ego. Accordingly, when
a portrait hauls itself over the
transom of objection here, of pos-
ture of immediate narrative and psy-
chological clarity, it sponsors its 
own celebration, rather in the spir-
it of Friday as we would welcome it. 

We note an ease in the cut-offs, re-
inforcing the unforced concentration;
an absence of vanity in the negligent
haircut, as signals of sympathy with
the tone of things as they ought to
be. Whether your blog is published,
or compiled only internally, the
effortless posture evokes an ideal,
if not of a beginning, then an end
to its impediment.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Virginians tip the hand of the Falange

  Our nativist tendency is not
  more elaborate than a galant
  reduction of feudalism's ideo-
  logy hoisted as a middle class 
  fist, a way of play-acting the
  part of the cavalier with the
  indignation of the zealot and
  the vengeance of the impotent. 
  We never had confidence in our
  candy-cravated cosmopolitan
  in Congress, and the other day
  our 7th Virginian District de-
  fenestrated him to loud huzzahs
  and the mortified awe of aliens.

  You've seen us; if it weren't
  our sacred business, our mis-
  sion to debauch ourselves in
  aggravation since the crushing
  of delight at Appomattox Court-
  House, you'd believe our threat
  to rise again. All we really
  wish to do is party in our way.

  Don't cry for us, Barcelona.

iii  Xavier Miserachs

Gerald Brenan
The Spanish Labyrinth
  An Account of the Social
  and Political Background
  of the Civil War
Cambridge University Press, 1943©

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Basically how things happen is this

I was in a computer services
and equipment shop for an ap-
pointment, an app of rare em-
ployment these days. Arriving
early, I picked up a current
tablet and dialed up the web-
site for The New York Review
- which bails us all out of
many an unattended moment -
and commenced reading in Dan-
iel Mendelsohn's review of
in these pages, The Broken
Road, which I'd noticed on-
line a couple of days before.

Fair enough, but what I was
seeing didn't look the same.
Here the article was ration-
ally laid out, full-screen
and crystal clear, and very
evenly illuminated. One had
no recourse but to note how
these organisations, striv-
ing so compulsively to ruin
our lives to the delight of
investors, are bound to ham-
mer out a good thing every
so often, like Shakespeare's
proverbial simian transcrib-
ers. Already, naturally, the
obsolescence of this shining
little accident is quite ur-
gently plotted, wherever bank-
ers and tinkerers may gather
these days, if not still at

I have a hunch, if you wish
to know what Laurent is late-
liest up to, one of these
little techboards may be the
happiest mechanism. But now,
you see, I've gone and done
it, laying down the gauntlet
of needing not another thing,
to our noodlers with things.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Life after Floris, and other intimate insults

 Our crossroads' Floris merchant
 has gone belly-up, and this in-
 volves waiting for some chum to
 visit Jermyn Street to ship one
 a stash of 89. Yet an amenity a-
 lienated is one thing, its erad-
 ication is another; and the cor-
 rupt French behemoth that swal-
 lowed Kiehl's has suddenly quit
 producing the washing milk and
 sport shampoo we've relied up-
 on for decades. I don't materi-
 ally care what this must mean
 for the decline of human tis-
 sue, generally, but I do take
 umbrage at a whittling of stan-
 dards for lack of any learning.

 Isn't this the tone to take?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Peter Grimes & the fishermen who save

Sensationally, that rarest of things,
an English opera, erupted at Sadler's
Wells in the middle '40s to exalt one
of the very great cultures of musical
performance if not of composition, af-
ter Purcell. And how riveting does it
sound, as a dark mentality's protest,
of juridical villainy in his borough:
Grimes, a fisherman, keeps losing his
apprentices, and is ostracized on cir-
cumstantial evidence. It is genuinely
to be considered with the great stage
works in English, whatever one might
think of its severe musical effects,
which reverberate outside comparison.

In the past week, we have seen multi-
national exaltation of amphibious in-
vasion of occupied France as a marker
of values we not only flatter oursel-
ves to profess, but rather delight in
holding to our nostrils. This cinemat-
ically restorative occasion sweeps us
all, in our own way, off our feet. At
the same time, right-wing casuistries
cascaded again upon a black commander
in chief, for acts (as they asserted)
humbling to the nation and its might.
Ostracism and severity are our yoke,
yet every life harbors their rebuttal.

One needs to ask permission of thugs,
these days, to suggest recalling with-
out indignation, how the 1940s' mon-
strous beast was haplessly overmatched 
by remote, unmolested industrial pow-
er, such as no epoch of man had ever
seen, after having bled itself help-
less on its vilest, Eastern front. 

I think of these selective spasms
of remembrance with respect. But I'm
not alone in recalling those identic-
al fishermen of Peter Grimes' borough,
including surely Peter Grimes, in the
great test and proof of pure courage
which that hideous aggression afford-
ed to the beaches of France. I refer,
of course, to the uprising of native
yeoman craft, registering as a cres-
cendo of treble praises, resounding
through the mossy crags of endless
stony sanctuaries of England's south-
ern shores, to save the soul of re-
sistance in the flesh of honest men,
at Dunkirk. If this world does wish
to believe in the sacrifice of men,
let it believe in that seizure of
their rescue we remark upon as play.

The heart of humankind can almost
not contain the fact: Instead of
the 45,000 troops, which the Admir-
alty had hoped to save, the war-
ships of the Royal Navy and the as-
sorted civilian craft had taken off
some 338,000 Allied troops, of whom
193,000 were British and the rest

How'd they do that?

Benjamin Britten
Peter Grimes
Boosey & Hawkes, 1945©

Antony Beevor
The Second World War
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012©