Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday commute cix: Urban sprawl

I notice, some very nice
people are worrying aloud
left to live for, without
oppression. One can't help
but understand. But then,
that prospect is such a
long way off, the emergen-
cy is not yet with us.

And besides, aren't they
forgetting something? We
still have gravity, and
we still know what to do
with it.

Carlos Quezada

Friday, June 26, 2015

A different night, a different morrow

   I noticed this portrait, a while
   ago, for illustrating a contrary
   proposition, of which I doubt we
   shall see the like again: a youth
   gathering consciousness at dawn,
   contemplating what the day will
   do to punish his dreams. For his
   entirety of growing up, he was
   cast among a lot who could never
   even share this speculation with
   each other.

   I take myself to sleep this even-
   ing, thinking of Whitman, the po-
   et of our cruelest war, our most
   redemptive vision. To think, that
   we now can see the day so clearly,
   as if it were as imminent as it
   seems, when no one would probe his
   sentimental sexuality for dismiss-
   ing his art, is preposterous but
   uncannily, reasonable. He may or
   may not have liked guys: so is he
   not fine? 

   What does he destroy?

   We anticipate a gigantic adjust-
   ment inherent, in awakening unre-
   luctantly. Now we need to be gen-
   erous in exhibiting what we've
   concealed, to those who inherit
   us reluctantly, as fellow men.
   They feel only loss, in extremes
   with which we're too familiar, to
   forget the isolation, humiliation,
   amnesia and dismemberment. They
   plan a Crusade against us, long
   enough to sustain mob cohesion
   at the polls. But have we lost
   touch with our own genius, to

   Would one be awakened, too?



Somebody asked, if I'd "saved a bottle for this"

   An amiable expectation in my
   friend's inquiry is not to be
   rejected for its shallowness,
   which after all is the plane
   of convenience on which most
   of the people I've known dis-
   pose of, say, winning Amer-
   ica's Cup or beating Harvard.

   I'm not dining at all, this
   evening, for what could one
   "order" to observe a water-
   shed like this, which could
   never hope to discover par-
   ity in consumption? Justice
   Kennedy, himself, remarked
   on behalf of the Court, how
   injustice sometimes isn't 
   seen in its own time*; I
   am certainly astounded to
   observe the truth of that,
   in the profound sense of a
   weight being lifted that I
   only dimly sensed, myself.

   This is a day to be consec-
   rated to the immensity of
   being alive and aware of it
   in one's own time. St Émil-
   ion would be the first to
   understand. My feasts have
   been generous, memorable.
   Now I have the vantage of
   an altered state, and not
   merely my own, yet even
   mine as well**. 

Obergefell v. Hodges
June 26, 2015

* Cf., Origins of Wednesday xvii
June 24, 2015

** Cf., The leaf
June 25, 2015

Something in the way he looks

I have long had the im-
pression that the agony
of Tea Party Republic-
anism owes a great deal
to something in the way
the President looks.

We saw this again yes-
terday, from Scalia's
unscathingly juvenile
attack on his Court,
to Boehner to John El-
lis Bush. This thread-
bare, recklessly il-
legitimate and extrem-
ist reaction relies,
incontestably at last,
on something that re-
wards it, and eagerly
absolves every tirade
of hysterical casuist-
ry with unctuous pro-
tests of innocence: an 
anger with his looks.

Is it his infuriating
calm, his outrageous
ease with being grown?

God, how humiliating.

King v. Burwell

Bruce Weber

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Luis Barragán did my shorts

 And now Donald Trump 
 boasts, nobody builds 
 a wall like him. As 
 Benedick said, when 
 bid to come into din-
 ner, there's a double 
 meaning in that. What
 a wall he truly built,
 between himself and
 Univision. Now he wants
 to sue, but for which
 of his two monuments:
 glitz, or phobia?

Some days, one just
has to love the Re-

Luis Barragán
Cuadro San Cristóbal

William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing

The leaf

      All that he had ever wanted,
      he had now. All that was lost
      had come back to him, just 
      because he had been patient.

William Maxwell
The Folded Leaf
Early Novels and
The Library of 
  America, 2008©


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Origins of Wednesday xvii: Calling names

Mythologically, the history of 
our people is of one emergence 
after another, of those we force 
underground. Our law, the story 
goes, is continuously informed by 
their genius for caring for each 
other. But this proposition of the 
benignly glassy sea is only missing 
the ingredient of turmoil to preci-
pitate these turns. One arbiter af-
ter the next is allowed, thereby, 
to muse on whether there has been 
enough turmoil, to retire exhausted 
law. Read our pages. We are not a
people who will ever be exhausted 

But there is another strand in this, 
which no one can deny, who lives in 
any republic, anywhere. It is that  
we are peoples who are responsible 
for how our laws behave, or can not 
bear responsibility for ourselves. 
It is the rôle of our institutions 
not merely to allow this to happen, 
laws resemble us, but unless they 
are wise, humane - what we call, 
just - we cannot resemble them. In 
every discernible cycle of submer-
gence and ascent, we come to recog-
nize the decrepitude of mistake, 
oversight, or worse, and direct our-
selves toward its remedy. Here we 

The great fortune of this nation is 
to have bred a people prepared to see 
that it is fair, even if we never saw 
coming, from every family here, an o-
versight announcing its own name. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sea change

   The hardest thing about the
   end of the Confederate bat-  
   tle flag is how we all were
   not even looking at what it
   does. We came to believe in
   the end, that it could fin-

   It's only curious, we have
   no such sense of real guns.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Once, just once

      I just wish
      Dior Hommes
      would not
      be perfect.

      How'd we get
      without such
      inégalité be-

      Tell us how
      we did that,
      Robbie Wadge.

A joke so old, it is germane

         Liberty is no babe of a heaving
         sigh, born of hugs of welcome to 
         romance's bourgeoisie. It sums the
         toll whose bell is bursting, every
         chime a threnody, to be engaging, 
         maybe thriving, one by one:

         in employment, in housing, in ac-
         commodation, in credit, in admis-
         sion by all portals in the land. 

         Mr Lincoln never said, emancipa-
         tion comes in pairs. Free them,
         he reasoned. Let nature let them
         marry as they like.

         So arose the truth of it, on the
         day when it was told, by a Chief
         Justice of the United States ~

         The freedom to marry, or not mar-
         ry .. resides with the individual,
         and cannot be infringed by the


Chief Justice Earl Warren
  appointed by Dwight David Eisenhower
Justice Hugo Black
  appointed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Justice William O. Douglas
  appointed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Justice Thomas C. Clark
  appointed by Harry S. Truman 
Justice John Marshall Harlan II
  appointed by Dwight David Eisenhower
Justice William J. Brennan
  appointed by Dwight David Eisenhower
Justice Potter Stewart
  appointed by Dwight David Eisenhower
Justice Byron White
  appointed by John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Justice Abraham Fortas
  appointed by Lyndon Baines Johnson
  9 - 0

Loving v. Virginia (1966)

Michael Shaw
The New Yorker
December 18, 2006©

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer sightings from day one

    Their line is gone out through all
    the earth, .. In them hath he set
    a tabernacle for the sun,

    Which is as a bridegroom coming out
    of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a
    strong man to run a race.

    His going forth is from the end of
    the heaven, and his circuit unto the
    ends of it; and there is nothing hid
    from the heat thereof.

Psalm 19, iv-vi
King James setting

More haughty Douthat

Does anyone know when American
poseurs to Conservatism first
laid down the pompous preten-
sions of contempt popularised
by William F. Buckley, Jr in
the 1960s, infused into train-
ees such as David Brooks, and
embraced anew by the likes of
Ross Douthat? Let's enjoy de-
lectation of that genealogy,
some other Sabbath; for now,
our task is to adore its sig-
nature in the propagation of
non-existent dichotomies, to
change the subject from human
obligation. We see it in Dou-
that's present column at the

The ruse would be farcical
if it weren't compulsively
malicious, and on its face,
scared. It boils down to ar-
guing that there exists an
intellectually adroit race,
and a sub-class of unimagin-
ative dullards, such as men
who cannot see the virtues
of being robbed in broad
daylight. Today's witty sob-
riquets for the Manichaean
Heresy of the argument are
(you will admire this), dy-
namists and catastrophists.
It takes a sophist to know
one. Essentially, Douthat's
dynamist is a man who can't
think of responsibility with-
out crying, rape, and the
catastrophist, it follows
ineluctably, is his deluded
nemesis. And we thought Sca-
lia was a wit.

I've been there, you've been
there, we've been there but
separately, as Benjamin Frank-
lin put it, as false prophets
of our patrimony have hung it
out to dry. But this grisly
misadventure of the mind has
had a monumentally bad week,
across the world of plain-
seeing men and women of our

                My song, I ask that you
              speak out your message diplomatically
              because you go among a haughty people
              whose wills are full, I fear,
              of ancient and uncivilising customs,
              always the enemies of truth.
              But you must try your luck
              among the few who cherish magnanimity;
              say to them: "Who'll protect me?
              I wander, crying out, Oh, peace, peace,

Francesco Petrarca
1304 - 1374
David Young
The Canzoniere
The Poetry of Petrarch
  1 - 366
  128 final stanza
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004©