[ by Charles Cameron — politics gets literary fast in this one ]
An amazingly candid gesture from Donald Trump‘s back-story:
In a 1997 interview with Howard Stern, he described escaping from his own wedding reception—his second, when he married Marla Maples—as quickly as possible to look at coverage of the wedding.
The only vaguely comparable gesture I can think of for its severity is the one in which an unstable genius by any account, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, chose not to attend his own daughter Ruth‘s wedding because he weighed up “the realization of my inner life” against “the work required to achieve an external life” and decided not to attend lest he miss a poem inbound during the journey or ceremony — or was it Cézanne he praised, “for not losing an afternoon of painting even to attend his only daughter’s wedding”? Surely they can’t both have missed their daughters’ respective weddings!
Or can they, almost?
Here’s a poem by Richard Michelson from More Money than God:
Cézanne Forgets His Wife’s Funeral
The day Rilke missed his daughter’s wedding,
the lesser poets, pens capped, were making love
in the Bavarian countryside, or feeding the chickens
on their fathers’ farms. But Rilke is bent over, chiseling
each syllable, although the chiselers who run the world
pay by the pound. Here, in the cherry orchard of his
patron’s château, he pauses, listens for the nightingales
singing their Keatsian songs, masking the pitiful sound
of his grandmother’s dying. What’s your excuse?
But in truth I am late again, running lights
and thinking of Cézanne, who is smiling
as he folds up his easel. Hortense, come quickly,
look, he calls out; only then, remembering.
Well, that little meander through Rilke and Cézanne was a little more romantically endearing than the Trump matter..
Other oddments I’ve run across recently — I’ll use the comments section here to collect others —
Evidently now writing about Facebook censorship is grounds for being censored on Facebook.
Not terribly democratic, if true..
A note from friend JM Berger:
Trump's Twitter feed is starting to take on the aspect of The Running Man game show. Showcasing our dystopia while also captivating the attention of its citizens. https://t.co/wo70r6ZzY3
— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) January 7, 2018
.. and there was something about whether Steve Bannon was a scapegoat or a lightning rod — a fine distinction for ontologists to ponder.