Monday, June 1, 2020

Trump* the dom(inator)

In light of Donald Trump*’s words today to governors — “You have to dominate”this observation from Tony Schwartz seems even more to the point:

Like many other Trump critics, I believed that he was driven by an insatiable narcissistic hunger to be loved, accepted, admired, and praised. That remains prima facie true, but it deflects attention from what drives Trump more deeply: the need to dominate. His primary goal is to win at any cost and the end always justifies the means.
If one thinks, only for a moment, about the language of sexual dominance and submission, Trump*’s already weird anecdotes in which men address him as “sir” get even weirder.

Did I just think about that? Yes, for the briefest instant. Pass the bleach.

[Weird and weirder: those are characterizations of Trump*’s anecdotes. I make no judgment on anyone’s sexual practices.]

Rant? Tirade? Harangue?

You decide. It’s Donald Trump*’s conference call with governors.

The scariest thing to me about this call: Trump*’s idea of what’s happening in American cities comes from cable news. He saw something throw a brick. He saw someone stealing from a store. And so on.

A president speaks

No, not him. Another one: “How to Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change” (Medium). An excerpt:

If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away.
Related reading
All OCA Barack Obama posts (Pinboard)

“A headache and the universe”

Fernando Pessoa, from text 331, The Book of Disquiet, trans. from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith (New York: Penguin, 2003).

Related reading
All OCA Pessoa posts (Pinboard)

“Art is Cinderalla”

Fernando Pessoa, from text 303, The Book of Disquiet, trans. from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith (New York: Penguin, 2003).

Related reading
All OCA Pessoa posts (Pinboard)

Sunday, May 31, 2020

“People pushed to the edge”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, writing in the Los Angeles Times:

What you should see when you see black protesters in the age of Trump and coronavirus is people pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.

Not this time, lady

[She does look a bit like George Wallace.]

Elaine and I went to a march against police violence and racism today. I thought there might be twenty or thirty people attending. There were at least a couple of hundred. Several younger people spoke, expressing gratitude (see previous sentence), anger, and resolve. As the crowd moved down the avenue, we brought up the rear in an appropriate, socially distanced manner.

Not so appropriate: the driver of this car. She yelled at me, or at no one: “I will run over you!” But I think she was yelling at me. That’s my arm. I had already stopped to give this driver the right of way (which wasn’t hers to begin with). Elaine was filming to get a sense of the crowd size, though you can’t see it from this shot. The crowd stretched out far in front of us.

This poor old woman must have been suffering from the delusion that she’s George Wallace. I remember a fellow middle-schooler who spoke in civics class about how much he respected George Wallace. If a protester lay down in front of George Wallace, why, George Wallace would run right over that protester. Yes, Wallace really said words to that effect. My fellow student later joined the military and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

John Loengard (1934–2020)

A photographer, prominent in the pages of Life. The New York Times has an obituary.

I’ve posted a number of Loengard photographs from the Life Photo Archive, mostly of Louis Armstrong. Someone needs to tell the Times: in one of Loengard’s photographs, Armstrong is applying salve to his lips because they endured considerable damage from his trumpet playing. It was not a matter of “chapped lips.”

I guess that someone will be me.

Some Mutts

[Mutts, May 31, 2020.]

In today’s Mutts, “some rocks.” “Some rocks” are an abiding preoccupation of these pages.

André Watts on musical mistakes

I read a short version in a New York Times article. That made me want to go to the source, a clip of André Watts talking with Fred Rogers:

“Every time you make a mistake, naturally you think about it, because you think, Oh, that’s too bad, and you think about Why did I do that, and you try not to let it happen again. And while you figure out why you made that mistake, you actually learn more about that piece of music or that place in the piece of music. So it is always a learning experience, even when you’re unhappy about the fact that you made a mistake. It has a positive side.”
Useful for anyone learning anything.

See also one of Rachel’s tips for success in college: “Do not fear failing; instead, embrace each mistake as a learning experience.”