Saturday, September 1, 2018

Saturday commute clvii: Camping alone

     In a way, I suppose the sub-text
     is the same strategem as hanging 
     out on the sidewalk in the city, 
     but the chef's fabulously better


We just always knew better than to beg

There are one or two things about
the send-off our society's giving
to the late John McCain, which do
trouble me. One, I think we could
consider attributing to the crook
in the White House. The other, to
the thrill-reliant custom we have
in common with his lemmings, beg-
ing protection; deliverance from
evil, one might say. What conver-
sion we find in this convergence.

I don't know how these tendencies
took root because, frankly, I was
not paying attention to trends in
American entertainment. I was too
far behind in my classics; and am
to this moment. The President has
made a contact high of his intim-
idations, and is ensconced as one
of our Tetons - by the most plain
impersonation of a Führer in that
office's history. In short, dread
of him has transformed every idea
of what to do about him, into one
horrendously laughably false con-
undrum. You hoist the raving clod
into a tumbril leaving our sight, 
not that anyone's asked.

But the deliverance-from-evil an-
xiety is what John McCain's tor-
tured trek across the continent
has revealed, as wholly beneath
any claim of respect for himself.
Just to see, or hear the trepida-
tions of the Washington press, on
how we shall ever gain any safety,
ever again, from an icon of cour-
age, honor, and the whole mythic-
al scroll of traits any tradesman
has always limned, has become so
shrill as finally to echo a boy,
begging his cowboy hero to stay.

Word for word, Brandon de Wilde
lives in the prose of Jennifer 
Rubin, Dana Milbank, Kathleen
Parker, and on and on - not that
the Post is exceptional - in the
foggiest bottom to which the 4th
Estate has ever fallen, here. We
half expect the Choir in the Cath-
edral to intone today, Pa has 
things for you to do, and Mother
wants you, I know she does.

If the American republic is on 
its knees for rescue, it's on its 
knees for what it's got in the
White House at this very moment. 
That's the heroism implored from
underdevelopment, lacking the sov-
ereign play of infantile immunity.
Only the worst of all exploiters
would answer that call, but this
open confession of incompetence
is his more perfect encouragement.

George Stevens
A.B. Guthrie, Jr.
Jack Schaefer
Paramount, 1953©

Friday, August 31, 2018

Suppose it were Friday clxi: And the greenhouse beckoned

  It isn't often that we get
  three days in our conserva-
  tory; between Independence
  Day and Memorial Day, only
  the day of the working man
  affords us this relief, 72
  hours unsullied by obliga-
  tions of others' invention.

  A weekend to take the air,
  the greenhouse so inviting.
  Exult in all its fragrance.

ii  The New York Times©
    August 31, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The dance we are

In my San Francisco decades, I can
not cite a visiting ballet as more
compelling than another. A competi-
tion for that stage, natural and
rational, meant that one would see
enough, alongside an extraordinary
local company, to nourish appetites
for the art, if not at their most
adventurous, then certainly at their
most optimistic and critical.

The infrequent appearances of Paul
Taylor's dance company always edu-
cated the appetite and exonerated
our optimism. In the years I saw
them, before the turn of the cen-
tury, they revealed that time and
the structures of their art so a-
mazingly, as to forge a thrilling
unity between humanity and order.

In many ways, this is how we are
enabled to reject demand for order,
from a rhetoric exalting disunity.
We have seen the meaning of dance.

Paul Taylor
  Michael Trusnovec
  Eran Bugge
Syracuse, New York
The New York Times©

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pep talk to the apostles

of reports of the American Presid-
ent's recent pep rally, by invita-
tion only, for his Christian mili-
tia. These commandos have been con-
fused with stalwarts he identifies
as gainfully misunderstanding the
right to bear arms, and there is
an impressive overlap, yet more in
mentality and rhetorical tempera-
ture, than in doctrine - whatever
his Attorney General may discover
in Romans. No, this was a rally
final bastion against what looks,
to the candor of every naked eye,
like a looming tide of healing,
as in a harrowing slave uprising, 
threatening to inundate repres-
sion's unctuous axis at the polls.

Were you there, when they cruci-
fied our Lord? Not on the playlist.

Poor toadies. Corralled again to
shelter what he has in store for

Update, 9:00pm EDT North America

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Indefatigable ingenuity at Court

We don't speak reverently enough
of our courtiers in the Executive
Mansion, whose waking hours, and
evidently several others, are de-
voted to our amusement. It is pos-
sibly a measure of their success,
that levity and delight tempt e-
ven their most humble subject to
assume humaneness in their intent.

But who knew, in the somber hours
of reflection in these days before
the state funeral and naval obse-
quies to unfold this weekend, that
the White House would turn its own
flagpole into a go-go dancer's prop
for Presidential peevishness? Who
could have expected such inspired
sympathy for lost statesmanship?

Film buffs could not help but rel-
ish their emulation of the snit in-
to which the Duke of Edinburgh plum-
the funeral for Princess Diana, as
modernizing Socialists complained 
that "the flag" wasn't flying at
half staff over Buckingham Palace;
there isn't a flag, he fumed, be-
cause the Sovereign isn't there.

Thus, at 1600, where the Sovereign
is the People, though a President
may come and go, the flag flew at
full staff, even when lowered at
the Capitol; then at half staff,
sort of to catch up; then raised
again when Someone Had Had Enough;
then lowered again when a Nanny
turned up, to mute all the fun.

And yet, and yet. Every day un-
til the interment must be a prov-
ocation for its seizure of our
attention, a goading inspiration
to his courtiers, to offer rap-
turous diversion. Fire someone?
Shame the saints of Bunker Hill?

We frequently ask, ain't we got
fun? Not because we wonder, but
because we marvel at these many
quarterings of gaudy slapstick
farce, flickering as he dances,
from his casuists' own gibbet.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

I think we have glimpsed a new phase
in the degeneration in underlying
pretexts for the President's holding
office, in the interruptions wrought
by the death of John McCain, in the
neurotic cycle of weekend tweets we
know to expect. There is not, this
singular disturbance reveals, of our
sordid dependence on his madness, an
emergency confronting this country
which requires enduring him. Look,
people say, we got through it fine
without him. As he noticeably ap-
preciates, the validity of that im-
pression is a beginning of the end.

It isn't necessary to alter one's
rapture in his leadership. It's 
necessary to see it's superfluous-
ness. The only people who quit co-
caine, don't deny it's fabulous. 

It's the same with the will to
strike back, a will to dominate.
The people to whom the President
is the least useful, are those
he fails incessantly to resemble,
insulting them in broad daylight.
His grasp will not be severed. 
Its rot will be just as sudden.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Old occasions

 "it's for you!"

William Trost Richards
Rhode Island Coast
  Conanicut Island
Brooklyn Museum

Nil nisi bonum

Yesterday, instead of losing an
Attorney General for a sole re-
deeming scruple, we lost a sig-
nificant if wondrously erratic
voice for good behavior in gov-
ernment, from whom a transcend-
ing contribution will require
inheritance throughout society.

The inhumane detention of per-
sons, even of incurable hostil-
ity to ourselves, is a tendency
imperfectly resisted, all too
often. The United States, and
all her States, and many muni-
cipalities, schools, rectories,
hospitals, and domestic santu-
aries, do so little to discour-
age this tendency, that it is 
almost a non sequitur to pro-
pose acceptance of the bequest
of John McCain. Now here it is.