Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Metaphor, off-course

A commentator on CNN this afternoon: “Corporate America has become the moral compass that is leading the argument.”

Related reading
All OCA posts (Pinboard)

[I’ve broken my no-cable-news vow, repeatedly, repeatedly.]

Recently updated

A resignation Now with two more resignations and two fewer councils.

“The burden is reality”

James Baldwin on what makes achieving a revolution different from overthrowing a dictator or repelling an invader:

Time and time and time again, the people discover that they have merely betrayed themselves into the hands of yet another Pharaoh, who, since he was necessary to put the broken country together, will not let them go. Perhaps, people being the conundrums that they are, and having so little desire to shoulder the burden of their lives, this is what will always happen. But at the bottom of my heart I do not believe this. I think that people can be better than that, and I know that people can be better than they are. We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.

“Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind,” in The Fire Next Time (1963).
I started this post planning to quote a passage from this book about why life is tragic, but I see that I already did so in a 2006 post.

Eleanor Roosevelt on optimism

It is true that I am fundamentally an optimist, that I am congenitally hopeful. I do not believe that good always conquers evil, because I have lived a long time in the world and seen that it is not true. I do not seek the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow or think that “everything will have a happy ending” because I would like it too.

It is not wishful thinking that makes me a hopeful woman. Over and over, I have seen, under the most improbable circumstances, that man can remake himself, that he can even remake his world if he cares enough to try. And I have seen him, by the dozen, by the thousands, making that effort.  . . .

Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try.

Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1960).
Also from ER
Doing what you think you cannot do : Honoring the human race : Attention : Maturity

Escaping in a Buick


[Zippy, August 16, 2017.]

Our president was tweeting at 3:12 and 3:18 this morning (EDT). Not normal. I’ll take the Buick.

Related reading
All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)

[I’m well aware that this kind of nostalgia involves a significant element of privilege. A 1947 Buick would be a different proposition if, say, one had to rely on the Green Book when driving.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Recently updated

A resignation Now with still more resignations from Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.

Must be read to be believed

Here is a transcript of Donald Trump’s remarks and exchanges with reporters at a news conference this afternoon. Must be read to be believed.

Trump has obviously been given some additional talking points. He now says that his statement on Saturday was non-specific because it was too early to say more: “Before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.” (A gift to late-night hosts, that line.) Everyone thought the statement was “beautiful.” There were “very fine people on both sides” of Saturday’s events. (Back to “on both sides.”) And Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were slave owners: “So will George Washington now lose his status?” To shift from Robert E. Lee to Jefferson and Washington is a pretty daring instance of whataboutism. And when Donald Trump speaks of slavery, it’s not to mourn the original American sin: it’s only to proclaim that everybody did it.

Most remarkable to me: the casting of those who oppose neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “the alt-left.” As if opposing neo-Nazis and white supremacists is itself a form of extremism.

Recently updated

A resignation Now with more resignations from Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.

Gui, c’est toi?


[Detail. Adolf Dehn, The Battery. Casein on panel. 29 × 60 inches. 1953.]

Adolf Dehn (1895–1968) was an American lithographer and painter. The Battery was part of a recent exhibition at Terre Haute’s Swope Art Museum, Adolf Dehn: Midcentury Manhattan. This stroller, from the painting’s bottom left corner, bears a marked resemblance to Guillaume Apollinaire, so marked that it immediately announced itself to me.

The Battery, or Battery Park, is a park on the southern tip of Manhattan. This image, not nearly large enough, gives an idea of the entire painting.

Words from Whitman


[As seen in May.]

A detail of the New York City AIDS Memorial, designed by Jenny Holzer, at the intersection of Twelfth Street, Greenwich Avenue, and Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village. The memorial includes excerpts from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, arranged in a spiral and narrowing to a triangle: “Missing me one place search another, / I stop somewhere waiting for you.”