What’s the word for early nostalgia?
Every time I read the paper or turn on the tube, I am reminded just how much I am going to miss Barack Obama.
Separation anxiety sets in.
I see him comporting himself with dignity and wisdom, in Europe at the moment or wherever he goes - the thoughtful pauses, the complicated sentences, the deference to fact and reality.
Every time the U.S. locates a nest of crazies in the Middle East, or the jobless rate stays down or the stock market moves up, I say, “Yeah, he’s not doing anything.”
Real pundits have been saying the same thing recently. Brooks. Alter.
And I just discovered a wonderful piece by Jim Nelson in GQ. I like every word.
Pretty soon, even Mitch McConnell and that posse (Mitch and the Dull Normals) that stands behind him are going to miss Barack Obama, even though they have spent the last seven years resenting that a President of mixed heritage is the smartest man in the room.
Après lui, le déluge.
The other day I heard Trump making fun of John Kasich’s last name. Get this: a family that claimed it was Swedish, not German, making fun of a Croatian name, in front of angry whites who think they’ve gotten a bad deal. He's mocking them, and they don't get it.
Now I hear Cruz and Kasich are working in cahoots to divide the remaining states. Those two mugs couldn’t figure out how to split the check after lunch.
Recently I had the pleasure of voting for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary.
The other day our grandson sat up close to Sanders at a rally in Pennsylvania and sent a photo and terse note:
“Yeah, it was a little cookie cutter, but it was still really cool to see him.”
He’s voting for the first time this fall. It’s been wonderful to see young people drawn to a political race. I hope they stick around for November, when I will do my duty and vote for Hillary Clinton. For whom else?
I turned on the tube Sunday night and MSNBC was dredging up a canned Clinton retrospect. Yikes. For the next half year we are going to be hearing names like Linda Tripp and Paula Jones and Whitewater, emerging from the swamp, historical zombies.
Meantime, my wife gets Elizabeth Warren newsletters, explaining the economy, the state of the union. Sometimes we fantasize about Warren running for President, this time, right now.
John Nichols put it perfectly in The Nation:
I doubt Sen. Warren can do Al Green. The Prez did him at the Apollo -- even made a reference to Sandman Sims, the legendary comic who gave the hook to bad acts.
Where is the Sandman when we really need him?
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)