Saturday, March 7, 2020

Apple-eating weather, if ever

It was ideal apple-eating weather; 
the whitest sunlight descended
from the purest sky, and an east-
erly wind rustled, without rip-
ping loose, the last of the leaves
on the Chinese elms.

The rejection of Elizabeth Warren,
from within her own Party, of the
candidacy she waged to be the next
President, has finally taken place
this week, and there is much turn-
ing of faces to the wall in hearts
where in season, the tawny infinit-
ude of wheatstalks bristle, blaze.

These American places, which are
reduced to speechlessness by the 
pure evocations of themselves in
Lincoln, Whitman, Truman Capote,
and Elizabeth Warren, are silent-
ly aware of how they waken them.

All over the country, we read of
people in the reading media, set-
ting down their reasons for why
Elizabeth Warren's campaign will
be remembered -- having hastily
drawn the conclusion, that it's
ended. There can be no disputing
the intensity in these remarks,
apart from the telling imitation
of an academic festschrift.

To paraphrase a comparison Orson
Welles once offered to Peter Bog-
danovich, between Howard Hawks 
and John Ford, Clinton was prose,
Warren is poetry. The latter is
the most literally - strikingly,
to be fair - optimistic artist
of political outreach in my ex-
perience. At the same time, it
was inevitable to hear the male
rivals complaining, that she
audibly was undaunted. What a
telling stain she did reveal.  

Possibly Elizabeth Warren does
know, in her one hears a beauty
that the literate would recognize
immediately, but one also hears
an irritation, that this is not
enough. Here, it's apple-eating
weather, and it will do.

Truman Capote
In Cold Blood
Random House, 1965©

ii  Harris Dickinson

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hey now, Super Tuesday, who will hang his name on you?

If this "Super Tuesday" casino of political preferences is not the end of the Democratic Party in the United States, it is likely to be cited as the last required mile marker of that destiny. A doctrinaire hysteric from one of the very least representative jurisdictions in the country is said to be poised to dispatch the candidacy of a gen-uinely mawkish bore, endlessly boasting of great personal sorrow and flattering servitude in a previous Presidency as its ceremonial gofer. In the contest still is the single credible candidate remaining, without the stature she originally brought to the field, yet with still more vitality than it would welcome.

It isn't that the program disappoints, it's that what could utterly have been foreseen by the unapproachable, anonymous, and incorrigible powers who structured it as a compulsory cataclysm waiting to happen -- appears so plainly to have been foreseen. Particularly after the last Democratic "Super Tuesday," when the least popular politician in America highjacked the political rights of an electorate starkly deprived of viable choice, who could not have predicted this re-run of the same generation of the same credentials, given how sparklingly well that worked to block the fascist seizure of power in America? 

Let it be remembered while it can be, then, what lies beneath this morally impeccable structure of policy distribution in America. Some 327 million human lives, all arrayed to function as required, if not to be marginalized by the only choice which is theirs. Rosebud. 

Lise Sarfati

Monday, March 2, 2020

The field, unwinnowed

  The withdrawal of Pete Buttigieg 
  does not leave the field of can-
  didates for the Democratic nomin-
  ation properly winnowed, so much
  as it sustains his renown for a
  shrewd appraisal of his position.
  He's left before he'd be crushed.

  Lest we forget, a winnowing is
  supposed to dispose of the chaff,
  not the grain, but the reverse
  befalls us all, in the resulting
  concentration of expectation up-
  on alternatives perfectly matched
  in dispiriting unacceptability:
  a noisy, confused fundamentalist
  for justice, and a maudlin wreck
  of a vapid egotist. Yes, our own
  intact, but its intactness looks
  like a symptom of being ignored.

  Our responses are already be-
  ing assiduously shaped to pre-
  serve Buttigieg as the polite
  and valiant spokesman, for a
  future he was allowed more to
  embody than to rally, having
  argued (assiduously) for con-
  geniality over conviction, if
  the latter requires more than
  goodwill toward an inoffensive
  outcome. Betting all one's
  chips on one's private life, 
  to evince a capacity for com-
  mitment, turns out not to be
  so winning as he'd thought. 

Has our political history ever presented us with such a striking case, of a candidate who so squandered the virtues of youth as to campaign against them all at every turn: naïveté, fire, fecundity, iconoclasm,
He campaigned as the knight of the managerial class he was hired by McKinsey to be, not as the knight of the risk-welcoming class of the politician he most disdained, Elizabeth Warren. To think: in a single generation, everything we learned from John F. Kennedy, Robert Ken-nedy, and Ronald Reagan, submerged in a porridge of bland calculation, was offered as the tocsin of a "new generation of leaderhip." Yes, he did it ingratiatingly, and yet why, therefore, did our connoisseur class fail to tell him what the winner would be serving? 

The field is the loser, for this gainless occlusion of the qualities of youth, but for the persistence of Elizabeth Warren. One fine day she, too, may be counseled to do the noble thing, but I think it is likelier that she would be defeated by others' flight from nobility. 

Bruce Davidson
ca 1960

Harris Dickinson