Thursday, May 24, 2018

End of the clown

Looking back, it seemed to those who
play the long game in Asia - not un-
numbering the two players, Russia and
a Nobel Peace Prize for hosting them
at Portsmouth - that the new American
President had already made every con-
cession to North Korea and China that
they could ever have begged, in with-
drawing the United States from the one
dynamic trade pact in that sphere, of
any counter-balance to their interest.

That bold blow, to isolate America and
wither its reach into the future of in-
ternational economic growth, was cer-
tainly worth a temporary retrenchment
in an exorbitant weapons program of
no productivity, especially if such a
feint might fortify their mark's posi-
ition at the head of his nation for a
second term of sabotage, and result
in the deportation of its forces.

How little like rocket science it was,
Yet through it all, he beguiled his 
people to upbraid him as a racist, a
dilatory misogynist, and incompetent
albeit savage head of state, when all
the time, he was the simplest traitor.

Herbert List

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Origins of Wednesday lxx: I never read a thing by Philip Roth

Overnight my telephone screen
flashed the New York Times'
report of Philip Roth's death
at 85. He was one of the most
heralded observers of post-War
American society, and I was a
post-War child.

The failure was not, in short, Philip Roth's. He wrote of a society and from a culture of highly fertile influence in American life, which were nevertheless circumscribed by covenants and restrictions and holocausts and other persisting maldistributions in the American dialogue in which my generation was raised: a brilliance in a shell game of bushels in scarcely glancing interaction. I knew a massive war had ended just before I was born, but I was 10 years old before I was aware there are Jews.

I think such oblivion defines the intractability of the wasteland cherished so anxiously by the new American government, that one needn't ask how It happened. It, an insidious presumption of innocence in resistance to information, withstood masterpiece after masterpiece from Philip Roth - not alone among post-War writers to do his best to give meaning to the permeating leanings of a common language, but just stellar enough to illuminate the density of the shell with each one.  

Today we hear counsels for mourning. As if this were understood.