The NY Times’ Freaky Fixation on the Clintons

Charlie provides an invaluable reminder of the weirdest case of journalistic fixation I can think of. Welcome note of what a rodent William Saffire was, too. I though he might be the last of a dying McCarthyite breed, but nooooooo.

The broadest explanation I’ve run across is a regional/cultural disdain that grows ever more repulsive: who do these Arkansas lumps — her with the fumpy dresses, him with the fast-food and shades and saxophone — think they are trying to run a country that’s crowned by Manhattan? They’re too seedy to not be guilty of something. And we’ll find out what that is if it takes 50 years and we have to make it all up.


Marathon 2017

Every year, a bit after 10 AM, I walk down to where the course turns onto Beacon Street to see the firsts in each category.

Highlight (as always): The leaders, radiant with vitality, know they have a strong shot at winning if they are in that position at that stage of the race. I tear up every time.

Lowlights (this year): Windy. A stranger, seeing my Cubs cap, assumes I’m a diehard fan and starts yakking up about the team. When I explain the cap is more about attending a few games with the journalist friend (Mark Caro) who gave me the headgear, the stranger gives me this look that suggests it’s weird, even wrong, hell — immoral to wear a logo if you aren’t proclaiming your love-object to the world.

Yes, Boston has taught me everything I know about how not to be a good sports follower.

The Concocted Controversy About “La La Land”

This cooked-up conflict was inevitable once attention took off about this modern musical. The dig is that it has an “incorrect,” even hostile, attitude toward jazz. C’mon — the thing is part fairy tale. The jazzman lead is named Sebastian, not Wynton. To present him as the film’s golden standard of integrity and honesty is a severe misreading. He’s a dreamer — and dreams can be absurd and ridiculous as well as ideal. This is a musician who correctly recounts that the essence of jazz is that every performance is streaked with the new — but who insists that the best of the music is the same old, same old. This makes him, you know, self-contradictory and more than a bit ludicrous. In fairy tales, dreamers are allowed to realize even absurd dreams, in part anyway, and we the alert audience are supposed to understand this is a ritual, not a comment on the real world.

Saint Ronnie vs. King Donald

Glad to see this very predictable hogwash/whitewash denounced in the comments.

But I vas dere, too, Davey, and I’m here to say King Donald is really Saint Ronnie with the bark off and the barking on.

RR was not a popular president — he was fiercely divisive. The last POTUS somebody tried to take down, remember?

Who cares what tone he projected? He pumped “family values” without having any himself, religious fanaticism without interest in church, drug wars that wallowed in racial profiling.

His movie-fantasy memory system was as alarming in its own way as the seething paranoia currently in charge.

He took credit for “ending the Soviet Union” when the place would have collapsed if Yehudi was President. He was a fan of the fantasy Star Wars defense system that would have made nuke conflict much more likely.

What difference does it make if the GOP “felt” different — the goals were identical: pamper right-wing superriches and the rest of you who take up space in this country are on your own.

Finally, the relentless distortion of Saint Ronnie and his legacy was the plainest warmup imaginable for the Big Lie strategy out in the open now.

“On Thermonuclear War” — Ageless Insanity

Sad to say, it’s still essential to get to know Herman Kahn. His masterpiece, On Thermonuclear War, is the most meticulously deranged book I know of.The horror just builds and builds. Of course we could get through an all-out nuclear war. My favorite suggestion is to feed the most radiation-contaminated food to the oldest people in the fallout shelter, since they’re gonna die soonest, anyway. Whether any sane person would want to live on in such a world is a question never asked. The utterly wacko tone hanging over it is, “well, you could get up in the morning and still salute the Stars and Stripes and that would make it all worth it.”

I despise fat-shaming, but I will say in this case, Kahn being gruesomely overweight added to the effect of his madness.