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Word-crumble

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — btw, it would make sense for language to be half the world topic, since it is — or we attempt to make it — half the world ]
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Danny Cevallos, a legal analyst for MSNBC:

What happens when Congress wants to hold someone in the Executive branch in criminal contempt? Well, a rift opens in the space-time continuum, because that same Executive branch you want to hold in criminal contempt is the Executive branch that has to prosecute that contempt. There’s no other way to do it.

A rift in the space-time continuum? Really? That’s the best instance***** of exaggeration I’ve seen so far, and yes, there’s an implicit ouroboros therein.

**

And now I feel obliged to find a literary equivalent to that New Yorker header, to remove the taste of politics from our mouths with a pleasant DoubleQuote..

Here we go — TS Eliot, no less:

                                            Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

Next up, a most miscellaneous miscellany

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Camerom — no longer spending much time scanning for chyrons, but there’s still plenty of interest in my feed — note the great quote from A Man for All Seasons ]
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Unbelievable!

From Trump’s 2020 campaign manager:

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Less bogus religion, more mundane reality:

Stunning: Clint Watts offers an “life imitating art imitating life” (and I quote) instance on Meet the Press — a short, sharp overview of how Putin trolls the US electorate with malicious intent:

That interview was shot a while back, but is worth revisiting today. Omn May 1st, Watts spoke of a “war game” and it was in searching (unsuccessfully) for that clip that I stumbled on this one.

**

Let’s follow that up with a tweet-repeated ouroboros chaser:

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Somewhere I saw:

The flase narrative got out of the gate long before the truth did ..A tic-tac-toe pin for all of the games played by Mnuchin, Barr and Trump ..
impeachment is an explosive undertaking and can ricochet in all sorts of complicated directions ..
Mehdi Hasan: The Democrats bring a knife tom a gun-fight, the Republicans bring a rocket-launcher ..
Charlotte Alter: Buttegeig speaks Democratic with a Republican accent..
Mike Barnickle (re Biden): It’s hideously early in the campaign. I mean, it’s not even spring training, forget the exhibition games that have yet toi be played. It’s very early, so he’s got a big bounce from name recogmnition ..
Rick Wilson: It’s an interesting play (for Dems). I think if they camn draw the arc from nationalism to populism to statism to authoritarianism to Trumpism, they’ve got something there ..
Flannery: We have a crime syndicate in the west wing ..
I think they could have hammered him and sickled him to death ..*****

**

I’ll not bother to load the video clips themselves, but for the record, here’s Trump inviting Russia to hack Hillary’s emails, and Hillary inviting China to hack Trump’s tax returns — a DoubleQuote, albeit an obvious one — structurally equivalent to a cinematic flashback. But here’s another DQ, just a little less obvious perhaps:

Chris Matthews, incidentally, is on a roll comparing William Barr‘s situation to that of Roper in A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt. Thomas More reproves Roper for his infidelity with the words:

For Wales? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!

That’s the same Will Roper to whom More addresses his celebrated speech:

nd when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

**

That William Safire-Barr business, from Cover-up Attorney General Bill Barr strikes again — one of those crucial rhymes:

Back in 1992, the last time Bill Barr was U.S. attorney general, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as “Coverup-General Barr” because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s involvement in “Iraqgate” and “Iron-Contra.”

— and another Barr quote, from The Complicated Friendship of Robert Mueller and William Barr:

Figliuzzi described the dynamic between Mueller and Barr as one of “a boy scout” (Mueller) versus “a street fighter” (Barr). … “Mueller is a guy who plays by the rules, and he was playing by the rules in this report,” Figliuzzi told me. “He kind of trusts that the system will take care of itself, and he kicks his report over across the street to DOJ. That’s where things go south.”

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Another tweet:

Certainly a striking formulation, that — “Love, in public, is justice..” I heard that too, and had to chew on it, which is why I googled and found this tweet: the one thing this isn’t is conflict-avoidant.

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Okay, here’s a John Bolton triple:


Dexter Filkin
‘s a must-read — but his current NYorker piece leads us back to two other striking Bolton headers:

Bolton is hardly my favorite, but drawing the attention of Filkins, Gourevitch and Robin wright is surely a mark of honor of some kind.

Sources:

  • Dexter Filkins, John Bolton on the Warpath
  • Philip Gourevitch, What Is John Bolton’s Bully-Pulpit Attack Really About?
  • Robin Wright, John (“Bomb Iran”) Bolton, the New Warmonger in the White House
  • Off to a good start, chyrons, headlines, phrases, metaphors, 31

    Saturday, March 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Oxford the memory, Edward Said the music critic, WB Yeats and his Tom O’Roughley, Townes Van Zandt in the song of David Broza.. Barr and Aaliyah — four-page letters, kisses .. plus FaallBack, & Wiz Khalifa on my watch [!!] ]

    Minefield, yes —

    — but also two sides on one stage, so two virtues in the music of ideas:

  • polyphony — many voices, and
  • counterpoint, the juxtaposition, clash and resolution of contrary points of view
  • For war and peace as symphonic, see Edward Said:

    When you think about it, when you think about Jew and Palestinian not separately, but as part of a symphony, there is something magnificently imposing about it. A very rich, also very tragic, also in many ways desperate history of extremes – opposites in the Hegelian sense – that is yet to receive its due. So what you are faced with is a kind of sublime grandeur of a series of tragedies, of losses, of sacrifices, of pain that would take the brain of a Bach to figure out. It would require the imagination of someone like Edmund Burke to fathom.

    Just a snippet — the first paragraph from the Guardian piece:

    Lou Armour is a special needs teacher, an introspective man with a walking stick. If you passed him on the street you probably wouldn’t notice anything about him beyond his limp. But 35 years ago he yomped across the Falkland Islands and ran through a minefield under artillery fire on Mount Harriet. His section killed several Argentinians in a bloody battle and Armour found himself attending to a fatally wounded Argentinian soldier who spoke to him in English about visiting Oxford. He watched as the young man died.

    Ah, Oxford.

    That’s I’d say, is a very good start for this post.

    **

    Okay, back into the mire:

  • Defense One, The US Military Is Creating the Future of Employee Monitoring
  • Uh oh, just what we need!

    As I said to Ali Minai, my view is that of WB Yeats in his poem Tom O’Roughley:

    ‘Though logic choppers rule the town,
    And every man and maid and boy
    Has marked a distant object down,
    An aimless joy is a pure joy,’
    Or so did Tom O’Roughley say
    That saw the surges running by,
    ‘And wisdom is a butterfly
    And not a gloomy bird of prey.

    ‘If little planned is little sinned
    But little need the grave distres.
    What’s dying but a second wind?
    How but in zigzag wantonness
    Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?’
    Or something of that sort he said,
    ‘And if my dearest friend were dead
    I’d dance a measure on his grave.’

    **

    Back to the Mueller probe according to President Trump

    :Many, many people were badly hurt by this scam, but more importantly, our country was hurt. Our country was hurt. And they are on artificial respirators right now. They are getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    — and back to “little pencil-neck Adam Schiff” aka “Adam Schitt”:

    He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen. He is not a long-ball hitter, but I saw him today, ‘Well we don’t really know, there still could have been some Russia collusion.’

    Sick, sick.. these are sick people and there has to be accountability because it is all lies and they know it’s lies ..

    Well then:

    That’s an unexpected and welcome follow-up ..

    **

    And so to Trump:

    Wildcard*****, a nice, slightly paradoxical example..

    **

    I’m watching Hanna (Amazon), starring the skilled and lovely Esme Creed-Miles:

    Life, she is full of variety, no?

    **

    elshi & Ruhle:

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    MTP 3/29/2019:

    Again, trump, trump, trump..

    Rep Jamie Raskin, his way with words:

    Attorney General Barr writes letters like Agatha Christie novels, there are more and more mysteries built into each one ..

    [Impeachment] it’s the people’s defense against a president who’s acting like a king ..

    Katy Tur:

    **

    The Beat, Ari Melber:

    First, a stream of chyrons..

    Aisha:

    I’m dropping this four-page letter and enclosing it with a kiss..

    Aside: the things we learn!!

    Howard Fineman:

    I think he’s part of the team..

    Let me use a basketball analogy if you don’t mind.. You know how, at the end of a game when one team thinks it’s ahead and they spread the floor and start tossing the ball around to keep from getting fouled to stop the clock, that’s my interpretation [of Barr’s actions] here..

    .. dozens of years of Yale Law School education, and we end at the freak-show tent ..

    A pair:

    Then there’s a quote from Obama’s Selma Bridge speech:

    We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.” We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

    That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history, or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American than others.

    Fallback, which I generally don’t like too much, but here —

    — hunting and shooting a sleeping lion —

    If you’re hunting to eat, that’s one thing ..

    You want to impress me — go fight that lion with your bare hands, knuckles, teeth — and then come back and talk to me..

    [cf past Maasai hunting traditions.. ]

    — and which, further into the Fallback episode, brings us more music — Stay in ur lane:

    **

    So here I’ll take a break..

    Chyrons, metaphors, headlines, graphics 22

    Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — inter alia, a micro-essay on the Passions of Christ and Hussain, and AOC feeling “physically ripped apart” by the effects of her recent fame ]
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    How can I resist a title like Passsion Plays?

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    Okay, that sent me on my way..

    I was at Oberammergau, age seven, in 1950:

    And besides, in 1971 I witnessed a troupe of flagellant youths, very disciplined, inside the circular road that surrounds the shrine of the Imam Reza in Mashhad, Iran. They may well have been celebrating Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein and his offspring at Karbala — a celebration often accompanied, though I did not see one myself, by one or more Ta’zieh or Passion Plays.

    **

    Memorializing the massacre of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet and a highly venerated figure in Shi’ite tradition along with his three hundred or so companions, is indeed a grievous matter, comparable — for comparative religious, cultural anthropological and depth psychological purposes, my purposes — to the Passion of Christ as memorialized in the Catholic Stations of the Cross — it is said that one tear shed for Hussein washes away a hundred sins.

    The devotional mind-and-heart — may we call it soul, to give that word a less diffuse meaning? — the devotional soul finds in grief plumbed to its depths an antechamber to the heights of joy. This we find in Oberammergau‘s celebration of Christ‘s final week in Jerusalem, his Last Supper, his agony in the garden, his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension… and likewise in the spirituality of the passion of Hussain. Let me quote from an earlier post of mine, Ashura: the Passion of Husayn:

    Annemarie Schimmel, the great Harvard scholar of Islamic mysticism, has a fine essay on the poetry of Ashura, encompassing both Sunni and (strongly Shia-influenced) Sufi traditions, Karbala and the Imam Husayn in Persian and Indo-Muslim literature. The mindset is very different from contemporary secular westernism, seeing death itself — and the grief that accompanies it — as a prelude to resurrection, and thus part of the timeless love-play of God with those who love him:

    In having his beloved suffer, the divine Beloved seems to show his coquetry, trying and examining their faith and love, and thus even the most cruel manifestations of the battle in which the ‘youthful heroes’, as Shah Latif calls them, are enmeshed, are signs of divine love.

    The earth trembles, shakes; the skies are in uproar;
    This is not a war, this is the manifestation of Love.

    The poet knows that affliction is a special gift for the friends of God, Those who are afflicted most are the prophets, then the saints, then the others in degrees’, and so he continues:

    The Friend kills the darlings, the lovers are slain,
    For the elect friends He prepares difficulties.
    God, the Eternal, without need what He wants, He

    That is not by any means the spirit of Larissa MacFarquhar‘s New Yorker piece, Passion Plays: The making of Edward Albee — but it’s the spirit of passion plays as best I can understand it, drawing on my first and fourth decades of life, and on both Catholic Christianity and Shi’ite Islam.

    If we are to understand grief — both passionate and compassionate — we might care to ponder such matters.

    How’s that for a mini-essay, as promised?

    **

    Nicolle Wallace 3/12/2019:

    Guy needs a new stump speech. Democrats effectively check-mating Republicans in Congress by saying, We will only move toward impeachment if there’s evidence of criminal conduct, and practically daring the GOP to say they’s let crimes committed by the President slide…

    Glenn Kirschner:

    We’re spending so much time trying to decide whether what we have seen publicly reported that may be 5% of what Bob Mueller has, is enough to impeach, is enough to charge somebody with obstruction, with a cover-up, I mean, that’s like sitting here and talking about whether after the first inning of the baseball game, we can predict with 100% confidence which team will win [..]

    So for us to debate whether we have enough to begin impeachment proceedings, whether we might have enough to bring a criminal charge against the President or his family members is really folly, it’s folly that we enjoy, and it’s important … but you know, this is still the first inning, with respect to this game, and it may go into extra innings before we know who wins and who loses ..

    Peter Baker:

    I think he’s done a remarkable job of holding his cards tight to the vest, his office doesn’t leak, much to our frustration, we do not know things until he’s ready for us to know them, and it’s very possible that just when he finally shows those cards, he has a lot of things there that we don’t know anything about.

    Rachel Maddow:

    And on top of all of that, the, heh, out of control, spinning carousel of scandal around this President is about to enter one of its most kinetic and dramatic periods yet ..


    .
    And on top of all of that, authorities in New York State, interestingly, in both the legislature and in law enforcement, in the Attorney General’s office, they have started, today, to turn their own state-level law enforcement resources on this President and his business, and they’re starting to do it like they’ve got him in a tractor beam.

    **

    Language, language:

    Alec MacGillis, The Tragedy of Baltimore
    Since Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, violent crime has spiked to levels unseen for a quarter century. How order collapsed in an American city.

    In Baltimore, you can tell a lot about the politics of the person you’re talking with by the word he or she uses to describe the events of April 27, 2015. Some people, and most media outlets, call them the “riots”; some the “unrest.” Guy was among those who always referred to them as the “uprising,” a word that connoted something justifiable and positive: the first step, however tumultuous, toward a freer and fairer city.

    This is why choice of metaphors matters.

    So:


    “I FELT LIKE I WAS BEING PHYSICALLY RIPPED APART”

    Ocasio-Cortez admits that the sudden fame has been disorienting. “At first, it was really, really, really hard. I felt like I was being physically ripped apart in those first two to three months,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

    **

    And that’s a wrap.

    Can you believe it? We’re at Chyrons & metaphors 19

    Friday, March 8th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameronnuke is about as fierce a military metaphor as you can use, though bringing on Armageddon may surpass it, while being grilled can’t be nice, eh, Kirstjen Nielsen? — but for unabashed cliché wizardry in the dark arts is hard to beat. And much more ]
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    All in With Chris Hayes 3/6/2019:

    Harry Littman:

    It’s very kind of clock and dagger and ham handed, but just ham handed enough to be potentially a Rudi Giuliani signature move..

    **

    Rachel Maddow:

    possession of brains ..

    **

    The Atlantic:

    Will John Bolton Bring on Armageddon—Or Stave It Off?

    Bolton is a sovereigntist,” John Yoo told me. “He thinks the U.S. should not be bound by international organizations, and we should not be ceding our authority to the United Nations or NAFTA.” After the Cold War, “the U.S. tied itself down with multilateral institutions, primarily run by Europeans, to constrain our freedom of action—to tie down Gulliver.” Every time the United States joins an alliance, or consents to arbitration on equal terms with, say, Latvia or Guinea, one more rope is lashed over Gulliver’s limbs.

    **

    New Yorker:

    Morning Joe 3/7/2019

    /

    grilled

    **

    The Atlantic:

    California Is at War With the Trump White House
    Governor Gavin Newsom called President Trump’s border wall and immigrant bashing “a national disgrace.”

    From the moment Donald Trump took office, California has been ground zero for the resistance against him and his administration, in terms of both grassroots citizen activism and legal and administrative action by its Democratic-dominated state government. But since the inauguration of Governor Gavin Newsom in January, the Golden State has often seemed to be in a state of total war with the White House.

    At the same time, California’s once-mighty Republican Party—which gave the nation Earl Warren, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan—is at war with itself, and weaker than it’s been in decades. The GOP’s new state-Senate leader was once quoted as suggesting that California’s epic drought was divine punishment for abortion, and last weekend the party elected its first female and first Latina state chair, only after a bitter internecine fight that left its conservative wing enraged.

    ground zero, the resistance, a state of total war, at war with itself, divine punishment for abortion, a bitter internecine fight..

    **

    The Atlantic:

    A hideous DoubleQuote from Eliot Cohen, Socially Acceptable Anti-Semitism
    It is the religion of people too lazy to accept the complexity of reality.

    **

    The Atlantic:

    nuke, wizardry in the dark arts

    **

    How to Cheat at Xi Jinping Thought
    A newly mandatory app is eating up Chinese workers’ time—so they’re finding ways around it.

    The origin of the app has some obvious parallels to Cultural Revolution-era drives to study Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book. For example, the first two characters of the app’s logo are written in Mao’s calligraphic style. Mao once encouraged youths to study hard and make progress every day, while Xi has highlighted several times the importance of study in a digital era of media.

    **

    And this one’s for the liminal, borders and walls collection:

    When the Frontier Becomes the Wall
    What the border fight means for one of the nation’s most potent, and most violent, myths.

    n Election Day, 2018, residents of Nogales, Arizona, began to notice a single row of coiled razor wire growing across the top of the city’s border wall. The barrier has been a stark feature of the town’s urban landscape for more than twenty years, rolling up and over hilltops as it cleaves the American town from its larger, Mexican counterpart. But, in the weeks and months that followed, additional coils were gradually installed along the length of the fence by active-duty troops sent to the border by President Trump, giving residents the sense that they were living inside an occupied city. By February, concertina wire covered the wall from top to bottom, and the Nogales City Council passed a unanimous resolution calling for its removal. Such wire has only one purpose, the resolution declared—to harm or to kill. It is something “only found in a war, prison, or battle setting.”

    **

    Some final notes:

    Ali Velshi 3/7/2019:

    Jennifer Rubin:

    We’re going to see sort of what he does when he’s finally looking at years and years in prison, is he then kind of sober up, and decide well maybe I should be cooperating with these people after all, or does he just at this point go down for the count, and take whatever secrets he has with him..

    Hardball:

    Malcolm Nance:

    I would make it clear there are more chips in the bag of the Special Prosecutor

    All In:

    Eric Swalwell:

    As a former prosecutor, I think you’re seeing a white collar, white-washing sentence here [ .. ]

    We learned a lot about the Trump code, that people like Paul Manafort and others know the code, that Donald Trump speaks to them in the code that they’re supposed to talk to him. And when the lawyers saying words that mimic or parrot what Donald Trump is saying, it’s as if the fix is in, and Paul Manafort knows if he just keeps quiet, a pardon is coming his way [ .. ]

    I saw someone [DJT] who games the system ..

    Rachel Maddow:

    That was supposed to be the start of a whole new Paul Manafort, right? Coming clean, pleading guilty, admitting guilt on the charges on which they didn’t retry him, right? At that moment, when he decided to plead and become a cooperator, that was him joining Team USA .. joining Team USA, joining the prosecutors, admitting his guilt .. the cooperation aspect of Paul Manafort’s case is another fascinating curve-ball..

    team USA, curve-ball

    **

    And here’s another border and liminality header:

    Belfast Shows the Price of Brexit

    I took a guided tour of some of the scenes of the Troubles. The tour was led by a former IRA paramilitary, now working with an association of former prisoners partially subsidized by EU funds. A few hundred meters to the north, former Loyalist paramilitaries lead tours on their side of the defensive barrier that still separates predominantly Catholic from predominantly Protestant neighborhoods. The EU helps underwrite those tours, too.


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