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Best Trump Ouroboros ever — and other phrasings of interest

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — politics gets literary fast in this one ]
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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.

How “Fox & Friends” Rewrites Trump’s Reality

**

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 —

A Freedom Outpost ouroboros:

Evidently now writing about Facebook censorship is grounds for being censored on Facebook.

Not terribly democratic, if true..

A note from friend JM Berger:

.. and there was something about whether Steve Bannon was a scapegoat or a lightning rod — a fine distinction for ontologists to ponder.

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Discuss, eh?

Catchall post for comments with form

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — ouroboric and boustrophedonic news aggregated for yr edification ]
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this is certainly tne essential Ouroboros, no?

**

Okay, first, several examples of serpent-bites-own-tail comments:

How a Liberal Scholar of Conspiracy Theories Became the Subject of a Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory

That’s pretty straightforward — and this:

A sample headline in the Netherlands: “The new Trump Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, lies about his own lies.”

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Then there are Mueller-specific ouroboroi:

One of Trump’s lawyers said the president’s legal team wants a second special counsel — one to investigate the investigators..

And:

Trump’s lawyers want a special counsel to investigate special counsel Robert Mueller:

Donald Trump’s legal team has suggested appointing another special counsel to investigate the existing special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is probing the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

One commenter went a level farther, opining:

there should be a Special Counsel to investigate the Special Counsel which is investigating the Special Counsel. When concluded, the Special Counsel investigating the Special Counsel, which is investigating the Special Counsel should deliver their report to a newly formed unbiased Special Counsel, which in turn should be investigated to ensure that all the investigative legalities have been adhered to.

??!!

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Okay, enough ouroboroi — let’s approach zen from the side, with this:

President Trump is quoted in a clip in Ari Melber‘s The Beat (MSNBC) at 2.34, “I don’t want to talk about pardon for Michael Flynn yet, we’ll see what happens.” This is followed by a Rachel Maddow clip, in which RM says, “I have a Tree Falls in the Forest question for you: “If the President issues a pardon, do we have to know about it?”

That’s about as close to an overt koan as we are liable to find on mainstream political TV.

Go, Rachel! But what exactly do you mean?

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And ah! — we are so fotunate that Rachel is not alone in thinking thoughts of this kind.. Kaveh Akbar has a New Yorker poem, What Use Is Knowing Anything If No One Is Around:

What use is knowing anything if no one is around
to watch you know it? Plants reinvent sugar daily
and hardly anyone applauds. Once as a boy I sat
in a corner covering my ears, singing Quranic verse

after Quranic verse. Each syllable was perfect, but only
the lonely rumble in my head gave praise. This is why
we put mirrors in birdcages, why we turn on lamps

to double our shadows.

and so forth. Thank you, Kaveh Akbar, I hear you, I hear your silent, recited Quranic verses.

**

I’ll add further instances of posts and comments with the formal properties I’m so fond of in the comments section as they catch my eye..

Model the emotions

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — if you don’t like most poetry, try this ]

While I’ve been confined to bed, my poetry has been moving towards the topics I write about here on Zenpundit — and here I want to present one such poem, clarifying my view of the importance of emotion:

Model the emotions, and aha!

Model the emotions, map them against a globe,
color here rage, here despair, here
indifference. Color the subtleties,
the overlaps, undercurrents.
Note the sectarian passions,
pilgrims sweeping towards Karbala
for Arba’een, for whom
every day is ‘Ashura and every land is Karbala.

Color their thirst for martyrdom,
the sparks of attacking Sunnis,
get down to the gritty level where you model
explosions and bullets themselves,
the broken limbs of children:
model the emotions, you have the world.

Pinging Madhu?

Mourning the lost Ka’aba

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

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As sea levels rise, so also..

*

I am truly sorry to say this, but as
the globe warms, so warms the cube..

A heatwave emanating from a black stone
sweeps the desert:
will hit and kill pilgrims, is
already hitting and killing handfulls
among the millions of pilgrims
as they approach the stone,
but there will be –
I am truly sorry to say this,
may God forfend it —
there will be disasters at the stone,
hundreds, thousands dead of sheer heat exhaustion,
and the government will order
stricter controls on pilgrims,
that they be in best health,
physician verified,
that they carry much water
against dehydration,
wishing the sun itself were other
than it is, under the mercy,
where no legislation can forestall it,
attempting traffic control
against a myridad photons, light
in the niche for lights.

Pilgrimage is compulsory, thus
after the city has been shut down,
the last strays and hiders
pried from their places by special police,
some few from around the gasping
globe still will strive
with devotion
to make their way toward Mecca
and the cube on the globe,
the black stone,
some, after the last police have withdrawn,
still arriving, circling the stone,
holding tight to the thought that Ali
was born within the cube,
athirst with devotion, with dehydration
ablaze, pressing in to die
where Ali was born,
and one, one shall be the last to die there.

I grieve for that last, now,
some few decades ahead of the obvious,
to which we are oblivious —
the oncoming, blasphemous, wave.

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.


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