Monday, October 31, 2016

Susan Faludi on Hillary Hatred

Great piece by Susan Faludi ("How Hillary Clinton Met Satan" NY Times, 10/30/16), putting Hillary hatred into sharp historical perspective.

First, she notes, the right-wing hated and reviled both Bill and Hillary (1992), much, as in my view — bear with me for a bit —  the Germans hated the Weimar Republic, which they saw as utterly and essentially un-German, absent roots in German life or tradition (monarchy, authority, militarism, volkisch mysticism, all that German stuff.). For them, Weimar was an implant, imposed from without due to a defeat in war, and needing removal.

I am not proposing that the United States is in anyway as shaky or tentative as the Weimar Republic was from the very outset. Nor am I suggesting we are reeling from anything like the shattering defeat Germany suffered in World War I.


For the Freikorps, then the Nazis, Weimar, to apply the terminology of Islamicists — another stretch, I know —  was the "near enemy." Europe and the Soviet Union were the "far enemy" and would be dealt with once Weimar was gone, and a proper sort of Reich installed.

Heil Hitler.

The United States hasn't lost a World War. But we were beaten and humiliated in Vietnam, leading the right to focus its beam of hatred on the Clintons as if they were implants, imposed from without. That "without" happened to be a significant within, the sixties — the anti-war, feminist sixties.

For the right, Reagan and Reaganism represented the real America, and therefore, as per Faludi, "Clintonism had to be delegitimized. . . . This led first to an attempted legislative coup in 1998 and then to a judicial coup in 2000."

Now Bill is gone or keeping, mostly, to the shadows, as he should. That leaves only one Clinton, and she attracts the concentrated fury of the right as even Obama didn't. Hatred for Hillary on the right knows no bounds; you can't even get accused of racism for hating her.

On the other hand, virulent sexism slides by.

Faludi writes:

The left needs to acknowledge what the right has long known: that it’s a fiction to think we can move on beyond the brawl of the 1990s without settling it — and settling it requires helping Mrs. Clinton triumph once and for all against the calumnies that were created to define her.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

See you a Hirst, raise you a Princess Di

Does anyone watch Black Mirror, now streaming on Netflix?

I've only watched the first, which was captivating. Gruesome and funny. So very Brit.

There's an artist who has captured a Brit princess (a Di type) and will kill her unless the Prime Minister fucks a pig on camera.

A grunting pig. Eating slops.

Will he or not? What do  the polls tell him to do?

Is it funny? Very very. And macabre, with references to an art world that enshrines the likes of Damien Hirst, which features flies being born out of carcasses that devour the meat until hitting fly paper; which features skulls made of diamond. Etc. Which features disintegrating sharks.

True, Hirst has never transgressed this far, never mutilated — or pretended to have mutilated — a human, as depicted, much less a Di.

Bet it occurred to him, though.

My problem with Black Mirror is I am captivated enough to binge.

Netflix has put the first three seasons on all at once.

Or maybe it was Damien Hirst.

Or maybe streaming television has gone one step better, turning Hirst and his hot art world stratagems into pawn in the streaming game.

As in: See you a Hirst, raise you a Princess Di.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Internet of Things = Monster of Things

The IoT — Internet of Things — such a groovy concept, where all these things, objects equipped with microchips — toasters, baby monitors, refrigerators, smart  phones, synthesizers — are equipped with a certain particle of sentience, and communicate with each other, sparing us some bother. For example, your refrigerator burps it's out of eggs. . . nice to know, no? Maybe even the toilet paper gets a beep. Don't want to run out of that, do you?

Except, as the recent attack on Dyn DNS demonstrated, there's a monster brewing in the IoT, and this attack, which took out swathes of the internet, was a baby monster on trading wheels.

What can you do? Not sure. 

We, here, are going change our router password. The program responsible for the attack — Mirai — tries to get control of all our useful, innocent devices, connect them, and turn them against the Internet itself, by working with simple, off the shelf passwords. 

Can't hurt to make the monster's work more difficult.

Internet of Things: Monster

The IoT — Internet of Things — such a groovy concept, where all these things, equipped with microchips — toasters, baby monitors, refrigerators, smart  phones, synthesizers — are equipped with a certain element of sentience, and communicate with each other, sparing us some bother. For example, your refrigerator burps it's out of eggs. . . nice to know, no? Maybe even the toilet paper gets a beep. Don't want to run out of that, do you? 

Monday, October 24, 2016

What you didn't know about the Weather Underground

First appeared:

Arthur Eckstein Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution

My first reaction to this book was to ask: who needs it? Another book about Weatherman, a group that exeunted left — way left — circa mid- '70s? Hasn't that group been scrutinized, glamorized, and vilified across a full gamut of genres, including memoirs, novels, works of history, documentaries, Hollywood films, and FBI files?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

War on Democracy


"I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win," Trump told supporters here in his first comments since the final debate. ( 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Poor poor Melania . . .

Poor poor Melania

A friend opined that Melania's life, as a Trump wife, is a living hell.

My view is betcha she doesn’t think her life is a living hell, because it isn't, coming as she does from small-town (or as my brother might have said, Dumbfuck) Slovenia and emerging in upscale Manhattan.

Monday, October 17, 2016

This presidential election is unlike any other I've known. It's taken over, is a 24/7 kind of thing. I don't even escape it in my dreams, having dreamt Trump twice that I know of. The dream I remember best was far from pleasant — he was a confused, distracted, bully who wanted to invade my space — but not as nightmarish as the reality.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

No Demons . . . they don't exist . . .

Trump is tearing himself apart. Much as I despise him and heartily wish his ruin, it's not a comforting sight. It's crazy and, why not admit it, a little frightening. As in, something terrible is about to happen, something you might want to shield your children or grandchildren from.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rings, rings of power . . .

Interesting that Trump is turning his endless, sweeping, lunatic wrath on the likes of Ryan.

Cruz bowed down, or, if you will, kissed the Ring.

Christie wants in and has lowered his considerable girth — aka big fat ass — enough to enact the kiss of obeisance. (If the punishment fits the crime this crimeball of a NJ governor will be run over in the left lane of the GW Bridge — on some TV show. It's bound to happen. Law & Order, Blacklist, the plot is coming together.)

Giuliani, well, it's hard to describe how loathsome he has become, not that he was much less loathsome before, before he, too, knelt before the one Ring.

Question: Don't these assholes read about rings? The prehistory?

There is, for example, the Lord of the Rings. Many have heard of it. In it, The One Ring is finally reduced to atoms in Mount Doom, and with it, all those who had succumbed to its power.

They wander witless in the world.

Wagner takes up the theme of the Rings in his Nibelung saga. To summarize, all the complexities detailed in the Wagnerian ring cycle, which I won't trouble to summarize here, since the story extends over four long operas, have to do craving for a Ring, Ring of power.

Rings, rings, rings.

Rings of power,
Iphone rings,
Rhine maidens,

Ryan hasn't thoroughly bowed down. His approach to the Trumpian Ring of Power can be compared to a checked swing. Did the batter follow through or didn't he?

Ryan, Ryan, which side is he on?

He reminds me of Gollum. . . who, miscreant that he was, had some use in destroying the Ring, that One Ring of Power.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Second Debate

The Times

compiled and published ongoing responses to the Second Debate by many of its writers, including Judith Shulevitz. Shulevitz thought Clinton lacking in her response to Trump. I felt something similar, and it made the debate hard to watch. There was a stifled, airless cum unreal quality about it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Monsters are real — and human.

I'd like to praise Donald Trump for, despite himself, exposing deep rifts in this country better than any other candidate. Before you call me an apologist, let me say I am a Trump detester of inordinate degree. And yet, it must be granted that inadvertently Trump has done much better than Sanders, for example, at pointing to genuine problems of our culture and economic system.