Silence = Trump

As they say in the corridors of officialdom, mistakes were made. Enough of them to go around––and I guess it’s always like that. You see your mistakes when you fail, and overlook them when you succeed. Well, we failed. Not just some sect, race, or gender, but everyone who didn’t vote. Their silence gave us Trump.

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Where the Heart Is

They [Mexicans] brought their third-world ****hole here and while it’s a little bit better than what they had in the process of doing it they dragged us into the gutter with them.

What’s one more racist projection now when Alt Rightists give Nazi salutes and the President-elect’s consiglieres are (brutish or kinder/gentler) white supremacists? Acts speak louder than spew. Still, the line above jumped out at me because of where I came across it. Not at an Alt Right conclave or website, not in a bar or…locker-room, but in an email by a distinguished D.C. cardiologist, Dr. Oskoui, to a group who read and sometimes respond to William Greider’s Nation articles.

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Compline 2016

The very heart of the very last hour of the daily rhythm of prayer, both in the very ancient and contemporary rites of the liturgy of the hours, is psalm 91, especially these lines:

“For you he has commanded the angels,
to keep you in all your ways,
they will bear you upon their hands,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
Ps 91:11-12

I learned some deeper meanings to these words in the last weeks. Bear with me, as I try to explain.

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French Provincial

being17

 

On my way to Andre Techine’s Being Seventeen, I stopped by Patisserie Claude for savory take-out and felt nicely sated as I found my seat in the theater, but the film stoked other appetites. (We cannot live by quiche alone, not even Claude’s.) Techine’s french lessons sky beyond “grub-first, then ethics” materialism. His scenarios feed your head and your heart, tuning every organ to desire’s pitch. I sensed Being Seventeen would be one of Techine’s full body-and-soul workouts early on when Thomas (Corentin Fila)—lovesome, bi-racial bully-boy (who’ll end up taking it like a man once he beats his fear of being gay) humps it up the mountain, past where his adoptive parents have their farm. The snow looks freshly fallen—perhaps it’s not that frigid?—and his secret brook hasn’t frozen over yet. He strips and dives in…

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The Falcon and the Pardon-Seeker

Maybe it is a good time to revisit the story of Christopher Boyce. Certainly Open Road Media, which just re-issued an E-book of Robert Lindsey’s The Falcon and the Snowman (1979), thinks so. I had not read the original, but I’d seen the movie — Timothy Hutton as Boyce (The Falcon) and Sean Penn as Daulton Lee (The Snowman). Now, having mastered Adele’s Kindle, I’m down with ORM’s decision.

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Trow, Trump and Truman’s (Imaginary) Pussy Diary

I flashed on George Trow’s exit from The New Yorker when I scrolled through Roseanne Barr’s tweets for Trump.  (“If you support HRC who stayed married to a rapist, funded ISIS, robbed starving Haitian children, you deserve xtreme horrors of her globalism”)  Back in the day, when Roseanne was a phenomenon not a has-been, Trow resigned in protest from The New Yorker after celeb-mongering Tina Brown had Barr guest-edit an issue of the magazine.  At the time, Trow’s gesture seemed locked into a class-bound, liberal artsy terrarium. And there’s a risk of making too much of his elite dudgeon. (I’m not putting him on a pedestal with Tommie Smith and John Carlos!) Looking back, though, Trow’s protest hints at how he was always alive to sketchy alliances that threatened to pollute the American air. As per John Irving:

More than [Trow’s] words, it is his face I remember from Exeter. As I was a slow and struggling student, I used to feel that there was something arrogant or smug in George’s smile; I occasionally felt that George Trow was smirking at me. Now I realize that he was simply more alert and more aware than I was. What I mistook for smirking was instead something prescient in his smile; it was as if the unfathomable powers of precognition were already alive within him.

The satiric movie scenario posted below provides further confirmation of George Trow’s power of precognition.

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Joy ‘Round Midnight

A real-time response to MSNBC’s post-debate roundtable.

I’m giving it up to sat-sun morning Joy — who’s so joyous, so exuberant, so happy to bring up every flaw every silliness every cruelty every mistake she can’t contain her pleasure in the trumpy details — even to the point that Chris Mathews chuckling not unappreciatively (coz for all the horribles of CM he likes The Girls and he’s especially fond of Joy) sez, You’re not gonna let go, you’re going in for the kill.  That beaming face (she literally cannot stop her delight and laffing) is irresistible.  Happy makes happy.  Sleep tight.

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Common Sense

Meredith Tax’s A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State is a book of revelations about life during wartime in Rojava—the autonomous region in Syria led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is linked to (what Tax terms) the “Kurdish liberation movement network.” Readers should be inspired by PYD’s experiment in secularism, radical democracy, pluralism and feminism. Tax’s reporting certainly gave me a lift. Her take on Rojava, though, may be a little too rosy.  In this review, I’ll try to touch on what’s iffy about her positivity without undercutting her effort to cultivate solidarity with Middle Eastern women who fight the Islamic State.

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“To Free a Family” (Distilled)

Underground Airlines‘ alternate history (see First‘s review above) calls to mind Sydney Nathans’ actual history, To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (2012).  That journey began when Mary Walker ran away from bondage, leaving three children behind (along with her mother) after her master announced he planned to send his “impudent” slave to a plantation in Alabama, far removed from her family in North Carolina. Once Mary Walker got settled in the North, she spent years trying to free her family and Nathan provides a gripping chronicle of her efforts. (Struck by the drama of the book and its cast of characters, more than one reader has invoked Dickens.)

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