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Pardon me, hint hint

Friday, April 13th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — in which an unforgivable lapse may nonetheless be forgiven? ]
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Scooter scot free?

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I believe this is called reading between the paragraphs. The piece begins:

President Trump is expected to pardon Lewis “Scooter” Libby, according to a senior administration official, giving an olive branch to a George W. Bush administration staffer that the former president declined to grant.

It is unclear why Trump is making the move, but the pardon has been under consideration for several months, two people familiar with the president’s thinking said.

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Twelve paragraphs later, we read the closing para:

John Dowd, a former Trump lawyer, floated pardons to former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, The Washington Post has reported. Manafort has since been charged with more than a dozen offenses, while Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

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Is that, perhaps, a hint of a reason — and an analogical one at that?

Whether, weather or not you believe in climate change

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — in thunder, lightning; in darkness, light; in the eye of the hurricane.. ]
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Weather or weather:

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Sources:

  • CNBC, Powerful nor’easter ‘bomb cyclone’
  • WaPo, D.C. lawmaker says recent snowfall caused
  • **

    We don’t need the details of the two articles, or of other coverage such as the New Yorker’s Bomb Cyclones, Nor’easters, and the Messy Relationship Between Weather and Climate — the top panel headline deals with the weather-weather, the regular day to day no need to look further weather, but the lower panel headline lets in alternate, nay Biblical, spiritual explanations — and with that freedom I’ll fly to a consideration of atmosphere and atmosphere — the one measured by the barometer, the other an intangible presence in a room —

    For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    **

    That’s Bibical, too — but it may apply, probably does indeed, to those of other and various flocks.. the joyful givers of any denomination, belief or disbelief.

    YMMV, of course. But read this:

    In his correspondence with Suzuki (the two finally met in New York in 1964), Merton refers to the doctrine of analogy in Aquinas by which it was just as legitimate , in one sense, to say of God that he is non-being as to affirm God is being, since God so transcends being as we know it that any attribution of being as we know it would mislead. Merton was quite taken by the mystical tradition of a kind of un-knowing in our contemplation of God. He said to Suzuki: “I have my own way to walk and for some reason Zen is right in the middle of wherever I go. If I could not breathe Zen, I would probably die of asphyxiation.” He also told Suzuki: “Speaking as a monk and not a writer, I am much happier with ’emptiness’ when I do not have to talk about it.” Merton and Suzuki exchanged manuscripts and books and eventually engaged in a written dialogue which appears in Merton’s posthumously published book, Zen and the Birds of Appetite.

    I cannot believe that between Merton the Trappist monk and Suzuki the man most responsible for introducing zen to the west, the I am was not resonant in the air between them.

    Heartless? What’s heart? Since when did that have anything to do with anything?

    Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — and to think I thought that little red heart was just an emoticon! ]
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    The Washington Post, supposedly a paper which takes political matters seriously, featured this caption in its email to me today:

    Is this heart thing something to be taken seriously? Just on occasion, as with the impact of cancelling DACA on people who were, at least recently, children? Or in matters of economics, too? And the deployment, threat and use of nuclear weapons? In diplomacy?

    I mean, the number of situations in which this somewhat vague “heart” entity might be invoked and prioritized is hard to estimate. What was it Pascal said?

    The heart has reasons reason knows not of..

    That in itself is a somewhat confusing statement. Is it a paradox?

    Ah well, I’ll retire to poetry: poets, after all, think themselves the “unacknowledged legislators of the world” — and as one of them legislated not so very long ago:

    My heart rouses
              thinking to bring you news
                        of something
    that concerns you
              and concerns many men. Look at
                        what passes for the new.
    You will not find it there but in
              despised poems.
                        It is difficult
    to get the news from poems
              yet men die miserably every day
                        for lack
    of what is found there.

    What is found there? This heart thing, perhaps? Heart’s the second word in that poetry bit — it could be worth a try.

    What the tweet proclaims..

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — c’mon, WaPo ]
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    What the tweet proclaims at time of posting [upper panel].. and what you get when you go there [below]:

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    Sources:

  • WaPo, tweet
  • WaPo, article
  • Unified is not duelling: please make up your mind, WaPo.

    Trump in Arizona, Rosalind in Arden

    Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — think of the universe as a handkerchief — folding it into one by its opposite corners ]
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    Consider these two phrasings — the first, from a WaPo report of Donald Trump‘s speech in Arizona, in which Jenna Johnson or her editor thought he “ranted and rambled” —

    — the second from fair Rosalind, in Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 3 scene 5.

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    I donm’t think in the long haul that Trump is very Shakespeare the playwright, though as a character he may be Shakespearean. But I’m very taken with the genius of Shakespeare’s Rosalind, “insult, exult, and all at once..” and Trump’s “never left, right? All of us..”

    Audrey Stanley, who directed a superlative Greek-tragedy-influenced As You Like It at Ashland while I was an adjunct anthro professor there, instructed her actors to make of each word its own universe, before running them together with the natural rhythms of speech, focusing in on “insult, exult” — both of which are two syllable words of which the second syllable is “sult” — yet having diametrically opposed meanings, and thus “universes”.

    The actor who can move his or her breath and rib-cage from the fullness of “insult” to the fullness of “exult” — spitting defiance to joyous exaltation, at opposite extremes of the verbal spectrum — has performed a “coniunction oppositorum” as Jung would say, a folding of the universe as I would put it, from two (opposites) into one — “and all at once”.

    It’s a brilliant and potentially transformative utterance, given to the brilliant and potentially transformative character, Rosalind.

    Is Trump “brilliant and potentially transformative” — eh?

    **

    Under Audrey’s inspiration, I have long admired that brief line of Rosalind’s, and have only found one line — in Dylan Thomas — to match it:

    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray

    — that’s from his scandalously fine villanelle, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night:

    **

    Oy. Only one comparable usage. Until Trump.

    Well, I’ll leave you there. I don’t think Trump, as I’ve said, is Shakespeare, quite — but in Arizona he stumbled into a speech pattern that attracts my notice.

    Shakespeare Trumped, perhaps? I don’t know, but it comes close..

    Until next time..


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