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Showing posts from March 5, 2017

A poem

Reading the review of Elizabeth Bishop's latest biography made me pretty ... sad for her, if that is the emotion. Indignant. The cruelties that can fill out a life are astonishing. And here's a poem about it, which I'll call the Abusers, even though 'abuse' strikes me as an abstract, euphemizing term for something as material as chewing. We know them now – some knew them then – Their hands so smooth, their zippers open Bishop’s Uncle George, Woolf’s step brother Gerald,  In the dirty labyrinth of home, biography traces these Stravrogins, hangmen of the kid Whose limp body dangles under a lifetime’s lid Better, you say, that a rock were tied around their necks? But it never was. Wrecks produce wrecks While they smiled, serving dinner, above heaped plates Like some impenetrable masculine fate They stuck their knives into the shepherd pie Thinking themselves the boys that made the little girl cry.

a voter strategy that worked until it didnt

I've long had a theory that the GOP and the neolib Dems benefit from the fact that GOP voters, for the most part, can get their moral rocks off voting against the gov. in the confidence that what they will receive is a bit of a tax break - and continued service from the Gov, since the opposition Dems will see to that. Thus, Social Security and Medicare are safe. That was not a bad strategy for GOP voters - and Trump seemed to reaffirm it when he promised the continued service  from the Gov. Now the shit is coming down, and the Dems are finally weak enough that the GOP can do what it wants without any check or balance. In consequence, you can superimpose, over those maps showing the Red counties - which were in rural or exurban areas of the country - another map, showing where the burden of cuts are going to fall. Guess what? The bleeding will start with them. The strategy doesn't work if there is too much GOP-ery - then the moral stance agin the Guvmint becomes a practical sin

the voice stage

From the beginning of the human race until around 1880, no human being ever heard his or her voice. Socrates didn’t, Sappho didn’t, Jesus Christ didn’t, and Abraham Lincoln didn’t. Jenny Lind, it is said, made a wax cylinder for Edison, so she might have gotten a scratching inkling of what she sounded like in the 1880s, long after her singing prime.  In a strong sense, what this means is that the voice had no mirror. One of the great wonders of modern life is that one was invented. It is hard to imagine ourself back to the millenia of being, essentially, like actors in a silent movie, at least to ourselves. Yet long before there were phonographs, there were sayings about hearing one’s own voice. We do have a strong sense of our voice, we seem to hear it. But when we record it, it seems a wilder thing, not the thing we recognize. There is, it turns out, a delicate interface between inhabiting a thing heard and having the sound itself confront us in its full materiality, uninhabited