facts v narrative

how must it feel to be him? The left leaning main-stream media say he is “clearly” frantic now. They catalog his personal swipes, his grimy tweets — like “never Trumpers” are “human scum.” Then they stand back and point out that these are the public utterances of the President of the United States. Next they point out the void that should be his burgeoning shelf of countervailing evidence. They quote and re-quote the prosecutor’s maxim – “if you can’t argue the facts, argue the law — and if you can’t argue the law then bang your shoe on the table.”

having no facts is no impediment to Trump’s campaign for the hearts and minds of an inattentive public whose antennae are keen for narrative but only dimly attuned to facts.

read on…

amazeballs, mr. president

oh don’t i wish i could draw! The cartoon I would draw shows Nancy Pelosi at a podium, grave-faced and flanked by a thin line of equally somber House colleagues, plus Chuck Schumer from across the hall, who all look like she’s about to announce a death. And she does, sorta, talking about the “sad day” when the House moves into a formal impeachment investigation for real. Didn’t wanna hafta… But given this Ukraine thing…Trump and Ukraine…

Hand this man a writing Emmy! Yeah, we know it’s not the Nobel you wanted, but hey, please accept it anyway as a small token of our gobsmackedness.

read on…

dialect

every July, a single tier of orange leaves shows up in the skirts of the maples along the road by my barn. Only tourists take these turned leaves for evidence of Fall. Actually, they are but a harbinger, arriving when the air is warm, the greens of the land are the greens of deep Summer, the birds are myriad and the butterflies are just emerging.

There is much to be said for living long in the same place, so that you become fluent in its commentary upon the passing scene, so that when you hear it speak in orange leaves in mid-July you understand that its remark is a reminder and not an announcement.

on avoiding completion, ever

I should not be so afraid of imperfect work — even work I myself think of as imperfect. I should only be “afraid” of leaving NO work. Perfect/imperfect — this is up to the gods — or whatever it is that arranges the constellation of times and sympathies in which judgments are forged. Times and sympathies change. So sometimes do judgments. The only thing I control is whether or not my work gets made. My only charge is to be sure the work is there at all, to witness.

Like the pyroclastic flow that rushed down from Vesuvius to engulf the citizens of Pompeii, the pencil lead sifts relentlessly down through analytic thought, and settles in every crease of the Story idea, immobilizing its sense for careful inspection.

Read ON…

campfires of the insistence

last night on a late-night TV show (Colbert), the evening’s musical guest (the barenaked ladies) played the theme song of another TV show (the big bang theory) — as its scheduled performance number. Big Bang Theory — a series much beloved — is ending and its audience mourns its passing. This musical performance was part of that communal mourning ritual. Broadcast of this performance summoned the tribe. The convening continues indefinitely on YouTube where a video recording of the occasion was posted soon after the event itself.

algorithms which can so precisely target us with messages tailored to our prejudices and fears could conceivably channel challenges to those prejudices and fears with the same precision.

Read on…

times make the woman

elizabeth Warren is ready to wade right in and impeach the mofo. It’s the first thing I’ve warmed to, about her. Isn’t it generally so — that, given the right circumstances, the right issue, the right moment, any of us shines absolutely? All flash and fire and brilliant resolve. Don’t we all show better under certain conditions, and …less well under others? Maybe the problem is that her ideal conditions are less regularly met.

These events demand a response rooted in principle, and she’s the only one calling us all back to the home fire, demanding that we acknowledge with action crucial First Principles: that ALL are created equal, and NONE is above the law.

Read on…

my society

I ask the cats, do you love me? They just regard me and purr. Do you love me? I ask the dog. His ears go up a little. His tail swings a little.

Certainly, feeding is one of our modes of discourse. But it would be a sign of my own limitations to think it was the sole (or even the primary) axis around which our relationships turn.

Read on…

captain’s log

the fiction fairy is off my shoulder these days. I am feeling spent and unmotivated by all current projects. It will come back to me. I just need to keep showing up. I don’t often experience a complete lull like this in the ficting impulse. But when I do it’s like a glimpse into a wasteland — nothing but Nothing as far as the I can see. What could explain it? Has the circus left town? Now what? My battered little cardboard ticket goes limp in my hand. I would turn for home, but: which way is that? I thought home was here.

<rant>mitch mcconnell, media, our times…</rant>

mitch McConnell holds the ball. Nobody likes playing with him because he is like a black hole on the field. Anything that comes his way — he just grabs it and holds it. He never lets anything past. Which would be a good quality in a GOALIE, but McConnell is NOT a goalie! He is supposed to manage play that involves everybody on the field. Instead he checks your uniform before he decides what to do with your play.

…grown men get the faux vapors over opposition behavior that looks fine to them in their own bathroom mirrors. The sniping is personal, and blunt as a bludgeon.

Read on…