Friday, March 11, 2016

That will do

    One reads with moral disbelief
    this evening, that Mrs Clinton
    advised Americans today that 
    Nancy and Ronald Reagan "start-
    ed a national conversation" on
    HIV/AIDS during his Presidency.

    Her remarks were broadcast by
    MSNBC in a brief interview ear-
    lier today. That's strange; we
    didn't see Barack Obama on the
    steps of the Lincoln Memorial,
    praising Antonin Scalia for
    raising awareness of Al Gore.

    Today is not an occasion for ig-
    noring the maxim, Nil nisi bo-
    num. But it is an occasion, and
    this is the only reason she took
    it, and the only reason it was
    offered to her, for evaluating
    the candidacy of Mrs Clinton for
    any office in this nation.

    The extreme falseness of her com-
    ment on this history is not a mat-
    ter upon which "reasonable minds
    may differ." Its boundless insult
    to the mentality of her genera-
    tion's survival of that era is
    not the first; it makes sense
    only as the predicate for rein-
    scriptions of her White House
    years. Yet, this is routine.

    What matters is her compulsion
    to falsify. It flourishes under
    chronic temptation, spontaneous-
    ly to redefine ethics in any way 
    expedient to striking an excul-
    pating or self-aggrandizing pose.
    Yes, she's been shot at on that
    tarmac in Croatia more than once.
    Of all the social climbing qual-
    ities this candidacy embodies,
    its grotesque groveling for in-
    timacy with power or danger has
    to be weighed, against how many
    times we have seen it before.

    How does this differ from what
    Tacitus saw: Plunder, slaughter,
    dispossession: these they mis-
    name government; they create a
    wilderness and call it peace.

    What could be more charming,
    than false compliments from
    the late-coming Mrs Clinton,
    on that effortless toleration 
    of global suffering, propagated 
    by the silence she admires for
    raising awarenesses? She basks
    in praising death, to call it,

Thomas Tallis
If ye love me
San Francisco Chanticleer

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Arm music

     Many people converge now
     to vie for unseen others,
     to abscond with our appro-
     val, indeed with any hope.

     I'm put in mind of purple
     fingers we used to admire
     as exculpation for unjust
     war: when the persons el-
     igible to pose as vessels
     of our trust, arrive with
     precious stains to verify
     our capitulation, let 'em
     cool their heels, and vol-
     unteer their consolations.
     Rest an arm across a knee,
     yet another along a thigh,
     and hear composure pene-
     trate their giddiness.

Face off

In Preston Sturges' sometimes un-
dated and exceptionally funny com-
edy from 1941, Sullivan's Travels,
a high-minded star director thinks
it's his duty to cast aside escap-
ist frolics, and sets about an im-
mersion in the life of the common
man, culminating in a spectacular-
ly sadistic Southern prison, where
the inmates are sometimes pacified
by a glimpse of cinema at the loc-
al African-American church. And it
works; movies can do things.

Layers of difference would have to be con-ceded, in how we see another high-minded star director's examination of the life of the common man in post-Cold War Europe, in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blue (1993), White (1993), Red (1994), but again the cinema works its ambivalent escape.

That most cinema is watched in solitude today, must call upon assumptions in a director which are as wholly unexpected as a lifting of political censorship. A coincidence of history raises a defining question, of whether the DVD has only exchanged one alienation for another. In Blue, which is as far as I've allowed myself to step thus far - for about 20 minutes - I couldn't say I've ever seen imagery of greater eloquence in movies. And this impression generates another: does the great film, the superlative symphonic performance, require the participating witness by the many, not just to be endurable in full or to be achieved in full, but even to be received in time?

Clément Chabernaud
Sean O'Pry
Donath Szatmári

Monday, March 7, 2016

Progressive baptism

  Before our very eyes we
  watched a progressive
  winning nominating cau-
  cuses in breadbox States
  his Party can win, while
  losing a demographically
  unbalanced primary, in a
  State his Party will not
  win. And we awoke to see
  that the progressive had
  won the wrong way, again.

  Someone will have to an-
  swer for Santino, Carlo.
  Now, who approached you?

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
  and Mario Puzo
The Godfather
op. cit.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday drivers

I would sooner be ex-
posed with a friend,
than complacent with

Heraclitus says of them, The Eyes and ears are bad witnesses for men with barbarian souls. 

I doubt that one could witness them without some diurnal practice with a nearer one.     

                  The lark's breast will open to 
                    the light
                  And a song will hang suspended
                    in mid-air
                  Sowing the four winds
                  With golden grains of fire

                  Liberating earth's beauty.

6th Century BC

Nikos Gatsos

Odysseus Elytis
  Adolescence of day

Edmund Keeley
Philip Sherrard
  and editors
Voices of Modern
  Selected Poems
Princeton University Press, 1981©