Saturday, May 14, 2016

The indecent descent

Yesterday, in the op-ed pages of
The New York Times, Texas' Sen-
ator Cruz revived confidence in
our dread of Friday the 13th by
fulminating in highest evangel-
ical dudgeon, for the principle
that the foreign policy of the
United States should be shaped
of the ruling coalition in Is-
rael's Knesset. When you peel
away the languour in his rhet-
orical swoons, as the fetching
draping of a fisherman's sweat-
er from the fallen trapezius of
his argument, it exposes his
chronic insinuation of lubri-
cious fervor where discipline 
has failed. We know vampires
of cooler head. 

Americans now know, only one
candidate is commenting with
necessary to guide themselves
away from the revolting escap-

Much shenanigan and sideshow
lend cover in this season for
ignominy more enduring and bi-
partisan than the parodies we
suffer in our discontent. Our
seduction by contentment hums
along on continuing consensus.
Even Le Pavillon closed as yet

Xavier Serrano

Friday, May 13, 2016

Suppose it were Friday cxiii: In the fluent café

      Happens all the time. You have
      to hasten away from your table
      for a moment and you glance at
      a nearby stranger and then nod, 
      at your half-sipt macchiato and 
      folded paper. The appeal is too
      familiar to be stated.

      Watch this for me ?

      Which came first, the change of
      rhythm or the emotion? The text
      had hollowed itself out, to sal-
      vage itself. Had this been an act 
      of force, or of our literature?




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Gangland get-together

Any moment now, innocent bystanders
of the momentous tête-à-tête the GOP
has arranged between Mitt Romney's
casuist running mate, the Speaker of
the House, and the loose cannon can-
didate who opposes most of their a-
genda, are going to realize that we
do have a dog in that hunt. It is the
defeat of faux Conservatism from with-
in its own ranks. Given that the Dem-
ocrats promise to present us with an
exponent of triangulation, is neces-
sity for expunging the loony-tunes 
liturgy of laisser-faire, from erupt-
ing in our face over every proposal 
of sanity in government, worth infil-
trating a mole in that sorry place,
instead of a shepherdess of foxes?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxviii: That boy in the churchyard

Fans of Dickens in Italy are
a small elite who, whenever
they meet, start to reminisce
about characters and episodes
as though talking of people
they actually knew.

    I lent a dvd to someone at the
    office, which opens with a boy,
    accosted in a graveyard. All o-
    ver the world, the 3 letters in
    his name flood the mind on pre-
    cisely this synaptic sight. Pip.

    All over this world. And today,
    I can't offer you the name of a
    single man who knows who is his
    Congressman. Is this not sound,
    given the business they are in:
    serving-wenches to remote prop-
    rietors, mugging a way of life.

        Eternal preachers, that corrupt the draught,
        Idiots with all that thought, to whom the worst
        Of death is want of drink and endless thirst ..

    lection. It is a way of life e-
    lection. Readers of Dickens in-
    habit this electorate in peril-
    ous abundance, and know, honest
    narrative of the wholesome life
    in trial to enjoy its dignity.
    The whole shell game of bi-pol-
    ar blame has finally exhausted
    "discrimination," itself, as in-
    adequate in measuring injustice.

    Did we ever discover Pip, beset
    by sadness? Oh, lovelorn, in a
    timely time or two; but angry,
    vituperative, outraged, defiant,
    pathetically cornball indignant?
    for his trust, his irrepressible
    energies, his gift for affection,
    much less his mental well-being?

    to sustain nostalgic accusation,
    in default of urgent renovation,
    in a choice between a nitwit de-
    featable in four years, and Miss
    Havisham's incinerating umbrage.

    I think the avatar of our temper
    this year is Pip, in all genders.
    The election is not about Women's
    Pay, it is about Pay. It is not a-
    bout racist Flint, it is about de-
    cay. It's not about managing twi-
    light in one generation against
    the dawn of another. It is about
    securing open avenues to a thriv-
    ing way of life. No party favors,

    The Party which attracted a can-
    didate of this position, has al-
    ways been determined to marginal-
    ise him. But the people are still
    coming, still listening, still in-
    nocently hoping, and still voting.
    As we exchange thoughts in this page,
    people are assembling Summer reading.
    Dickens is a cornerstone of that re-
    storative custom. Pip is coming.

Italo Calvino
Why Read the Classics?
Martin McLaughlin
Jonathan Cape, 1999©

David Lean, director
David Lean, Ronald Neame,
  Anthony Havelock-Allan
Great Expectations
Rank, 1947©

De Rerum Natura
   III, fragment
John Dryden
John Dryden
  Selected Poems
Steven N. Zwicker and
  David Bywaters, editors
Penguin Classics, 2001©

Albert Razumov

Cornwall, 1930s


Monday, May 9, 2016

A reprieve for Republicans

I come by this aspiration honestly,
having been indentured to lick pos-
tage stamps for Party literature as
a child, for a Senator campaigning
for re-election as a Republican in
California - little suspecting much
of anything would come from it, a-
part from a maternal donation to my
piggy bank. Who could know, my home-
land would furnish the driving vit-
riol of the Party's collapse into
Nixonian cynicism, Reaganite hallu-
cination, Birch Society paranoia, 
and all nine yards of strip-mall
pseudo-Christianity? Back then, we
were simply post-War imperialists,
extending the mantle of corruption
to every regime we could patronise.

So one does owe the GOP a flick of
compassion in any wave of a hanky
to its misplayed game this season.

1. The Republican Party has been
snookered into a box which certain-
ly will cost it dearly in House and
Senate races this year, if it pro-
ceeds to extend nomination for the
Presidency to Mr Donald Trump, who
would not fare well in that effort
and who, it is plausibly feared,
would diminish the Party's immacu-
late reputation for the qualities
cited above. This would be adverse.

2. Therefore, by what blindness do
the Republicans even contemplate
proceeding down that path, if not
extending the nomination to Trump
could spare its name and a handful,
at least, of its incumbents? By the
blindness of habit.

3. The solution, staring the Party
in the face, is for the Convention
in Cleveland to be called to order,
for the chair to recognize a dele-
gate who will rise to propose, "Mr
Chairman, I move we adjourn," for
a second to be requested, and for
a show of hands to register, that
the Convention had concluded its
business for this quadrennium. A
gavel's as good as a balloon-drop.

Who could believe, that any Par-
ty would create by-laws for itself,
obliging it to nominate a candid-
ate for the Presidency? In a situ-
ation where catastrophe is assured,
why not avoid the situation? Ah, 
"our pimped Federal Judiciary,"
you say, "our casuistry caucus on
the 'Citizens United' Bench." Yes,
but the way to be sure of sustain-
ing the partisan pollution of jur-
isprudence, is to protect a posi-
tion in the Senate, sufficient to
block appointments. Why fritter
that away, to ornament the loss
in a Presidential fiasco?

Just sayin'. I think as well of
Cleveland, Ohio, as the next man,
but I wouldn't want to write home
to say, I spent my Summer vaca-
tion anywhere near Donald Trump.

Why do anything to grant a vic-
tory, to the mendicant of the
Electoral College's largesse?
And take the long view: short-
sighted wars are certain to be
resumed, without your signature.
Why costume the unthinkable in
the garb of legitimacy? Why go
down in history as enabling a
sordid Presidency, by proposing
an impossible one? Take 4 years
off, tidy up a few prospects, 
and run the tables in 2020.

But, that's it, GOP. With this
settlement, I do renounce thee.

Man Ray