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McCaining it now McCain is gone..

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — heartbreaking, what this man endured and left us as his legacy ]
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Donald Hall with President Obama, a parable in image form

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The questions before us are:

  • how shall we McCain it now John McCain is gone?
  • and:

  • who shall McCain it now John McCain is gone?
  • **

    How?

    I think the answer to that question can be found in McCain’s reputation as a maverick — and if I may clarify that with a few additional quotes, I’d suggest you can find the same quality deployed in Emily Rales‘ declaration of her strategy for the Rales’ Glenstone Museum:

    We always go against the grain.

    It is likewise implicitly in Jami Miscik‘s celebrated comment on CIA analysts:

    To truly nurture creativity, you have to cherish your contrarians, and you have to give them the opportunities to run free.

    Above all, it seems to me, it is present in that photograph of poet Donald Hall — aptly captioned:

    Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to the poet Donald Hall, who seemed to know something about the solace on the other side of grief, and how to get there.

    But I’ll come back to that.

    **

    Who:

    In politics, in the wake of John McCain, there’s an obvious churn, an uncertainty as to who next will forcible remind us of McCain, and while the question remains open, a couple of recent candidatea can be discerned for the role — one being Mitt Romney — largely, I suspect because he was willing to stand up to Trump with a devastating analogy:

    Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.

    You may or may not agree with the first half of that statement, but the worthlessness of a Trump University diploma is hard to argue with. I don’t believe anyone from Trump on down has been able to come up with a satisfactory “return” to that serve, which to my mind gives game. set and match to Romney.

    and then there’s Beto O’Rourke — I’ll let him speak for himself:

    **

    I don’t know the who of it,

    Saxophonist Bill Clinton is eulogizing Aretha Franklin on my TV the day after pol Joe Biden together with oval officers Barack Obama and George W. Bush eulogized McCain — and given how riveting and solemn McCain’s lying in state and memorial service in Arizona and then his arrival in Washington and lying in state in the US Capitol had been for the last longest time, remembering the exuberance of Aretha Franklin is both a surprise and a bit of a relief:

    Both Bush and Obama’s eulogies for McCain wre worth hearing or reading in full, but here I’ve selected some choice moments.

    Bush:

    A man who seldom rested is laid to rest and his absence is tangible, like the silence after a mighty roar.

    For John and me, it was a personal journey—hard fought political history. Back in the day, he could frustrate me and I know he’d say the same thing about me, but he also made me better. In recent years we sometimes talked of that intense period like football players, remembering a big game. In the process, rivalry melted away. In the end I got to enjoy one of life’s great gifts, the friendship of John McCain and I’ll miss it.

    He saw our country not only as a physical place or power but as the carrier of enduring human aspirations.

    Obama:

    John liked being unpredictable. Even a little contrarian. He had no interest in conforming to some pre-packaged version of what a senator should be, and he didn’t want a memorial that was going to be pre-packaged either.

    But for all our differences, for all of the times we sparred, I never tried to hide — and I think John came to understand — the long-standing admiration that I had for him.

    By his own account, John was a rebellious young man. In his case, that’s understandable, what faster way to distinguish yourself when you’re the son and grandson of admirals than to mutiny.

    Others this week and this morning have spoken to the depths of his torment and the depths of his courage there in the cells of Hanoi when, day after day, year after year, that youthful iron was tempered into steel.

    And we never doubted the other man’s sincerity. Or the other man’s patriotism. Or that when all was said and done, we were on the same team. We never doubted we were on the same team.

    For more, see:

    The most poignant (and political) excerpts from Meghan McCain’s fiery eulogy for her father

    **

    And for the rest, let me just say that while it is desirable for politicians to have the moral fortitude — which corresponds directly to the maverick nature — of a John McCain, it is essential in the artist, ass the photo of poet Donald Hall at the top of this page illuminates:

    **

    It is no mistake that the poet’s countenance so vividly proclaims his fidelity to self. and if we wish to see more McClain influence in our lives, we should look to our oiets, painters, filmmakers — not the shallow but the deep, the profound among us. As the presiding bishop at the funeral noted, the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins has the essential prescription for us:

    Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
    Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
    Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
    Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

    I say móre: the just man justices;
    Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
    Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
    Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
    Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
    To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

    That’s from the poet — the priest’s — poem As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

    **

    And now if you’ll permit, in John McCain’s honor and my father’s, the Navy Hymn — precious to all those whose very lives have cast them against the unfathomable waters:

    and the hymn of the higher patriotism, I vow to thee, my country:

    Both side of both sides, a DoubleTweet

    Thursday, August 24th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — didn’t i post this? okay, it’s a few days old, but i’ll post it ]
    .

    Trump:

    Obama:

    **

    Both forms of both / and:

    What interests me here is that Trump’s tweet and Obama’s both represent “both / and” positions.

    Obama sees our common humanity cutting across whatever borders of skin color or whatever might be thought to separate us.

    Trump shares the blame equally between the alt-right folk and the folk who were protesting them, when at least arguably the protesters came with (largely) peaceable intent, while the alt-right folk were trying for provocation:

    Note, however, that Trump sees things in exactly the reverse manner — another enantiodromia? From Amy Davidson Sorkin in the New Yorker — Donald Trump, from His Tower, Rages at “the Other Side” in Charlottesville:

    You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say that right now.” The bad group was the white nationalists; the “very violent” group was those who had come to object. In case anyone missed his point, he continued, “You had a group on the other side that came charging in—without a permit—and they were very, very violent.” Trump wasn’t putting the two sides on the same level; he was saying that the counter-protesters were worse.

    **

    There’s a very different feel to the two kinds of “both / and” IMO — Trump’s actually favoring one side in a conflict and protecting it by shifting some of the blame away from it, while Obama’s is neutral as to sides (though in the case of racists vs non-racists, he’d presumably favor the non-racists.

    My head buzzes: an interesting little logical knot, I think.

    Anything self-defeating is an ouroboros

    Thursday, June 8th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Tankel’s take on Trump’s CT ]
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    Mostly the self-devouring snakes I track here are a little more subtle about the circular nature of their logic — the phrasing often hides the fact that man bites self, or dog chases own tail. This example, however, is just so blatant, presented in so large and darkna font, with its accompanying image just so dazzlingly colored, that I just has to bring it here.

    Self-defeating, self-eating — it’s the self- part that signals trouble. Stephen Tankel is a fine researcher — his book Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba is recommended readng on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

    He is not a happy chap:

    The emerging Trump counterterrorism strategy appears to be a dysfunctional combination of repurposed elements of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama approaches infused with some of Trump’s worst impulses

    You may wish to read him.

    **

    Meanwhile, as an ad to accompany CNN’s Iran’s Revolutionary Guards blame Saudis for Tehran attacks, I got this:

    Okay ouroboroi!

    Traveling Trump, minor issues

    Sunday, May 21st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — media keeps wildly guessing re matters of protocol ]
    .

    For example..

    **

    Ah, well, no one can say Trump is not sensitive:

    Oops:

    And then again:

    **

    Oops again:

    Nope, he was bending to receive a medal around his neck.

    So far so good — nobody seems to know what’s what, but ni disasters have been spotted. . The first major test is yet to come. As the Washington Post puts it, Trump campaigned against Muslims, but will preach tolerance in Saudi speech.

    That will be quite a trick — but not impossible if his speech writer has been reading Will McCants.

    And I suspect Melania is the President’s trump card in all this..

    **

    Oh, and now this, for good measure:

    I’m reminded of roulette..

    Addendum requested: McCants on Gesture

    Thursday, May 18th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — vexed questions — to bow or not to bow, hold hands, smooch, that funny handshake, dance moves, veil ]
    .

    WIll McCants has lined up his “friendly advice for the poor speechwriter tasked with crafting Trump’s upcoming speech on Islam” in a Politico piece titled Trump Is Giving a Speech About Islam. What Could Go Wrong? The next word, opening McCants’ sub-head? Plenty.

    **

    Thing is, gestures speak loud as words. Here are some of the slippery issues McCants might like to address in terms of gesture.

    Bow:

    There’s the question of bowing. President Obama may or may not have bowed, or leaned over to give a double-handed handshake. It’s a founding principle that America doesn’t feel deferential to monarchy, and Obama reportedly didn’t bow to Queen Elizabeth when he met her..

    Here’s Bill O’Reilly:

    If it were me, I wouldn’t hold his hand, I wouldn’t smooch him, I wouldn’t bow, I’d say “Hey, how ya doin’, King..”

    Holding hands:

    George W Bush holds hands, Chris Matthews and Jon Stweart riff..

    Kiss-kiss, aka smooch:

    Wolf Blitzer has this one:

    Dancing with drawn sword:

    Whoda thunkit? This one is truly remarkable, from my Eurocentric perspective…

    That no less remarkable handshake:

    Veil:

    And then there’s one for the women in Trump’s entourage, Melania and Ivanka to be precise. To veil or not to veil?

    Here’s Michelle Obama:

    If there is humor in much of the above, it is the humor of contrast with expectation..

    **

    Salaam:

    Without getting into the details of who greets whom, who goes first and who responds, and in what words, all of which is proper for a Muslim to discuss, I can at least say that the Quran is deeply invested in courtesy of a kind that diplomats would file under “protocol” — as we see in Sura 4 verse 86:

    When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things.


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