Friday, July 07, 2017

37 Years Ago ... Vrbov, Vienna, Sydney. Small Villages. ... With Big Secrets

Nothing ever gets anywhere. The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere. The moment is the only thing that counts.  
— Jean Cocteau, born around You Only Live Twice Day in 1889

Mother Of Sarcasm: "Feminist until you get married. Communist until you get rich - like media dragon. Atheist until the airplane starts falling. -THE HYPOCRITE DIARIES"

 What can we learn from memoirs of the terminally ill? Universal truths, if they exist at all, are elusive. We die the way we live: IDIOsyncratically 

Hope Against Hope:
“Without pain you cannot distinguish the creative element that builds and sustains life from its opposite—the forces of death and destruction which are for some reason very seductive, seeming at first sight to be logically plausible, and perhaps even irresistible. I feel my pain keenly now, and am going to write about myself alone, though in fact there is much more to it than that. I am really concerned less with myself than with the scraps of experience I have stored up during my life. In going over them all now I feel I may come to a better understanding of certain things. If this life was given to us, it must have a meaning, although the very idea was dismissed out of hand by everybody, young and old, who I have ever known in my lifetime.”

Media Dragons with ....
 Angela Merkel (nee Kasner) at Leipzig's Disco during the hot Summer of 1975 ...

7 - 7 - 2017
7 - - 7 - - 1980

7 - - 7 - - 1971 - The story tellers are born
One of the most remarkable protests, almost without precedence in the whole Eastern Bloc, was organised in October 1980 in the seminary of Bratislava where 120 out of 147 seminarians united in a two-day hunger strike (20–21 October 1980) against the influence of the regime-dependent Association of Catholic Clergy “Pacem in Terris” (in the seminary). In a letter to Cardinal Tomášek and Slovak ordinaries theology students protested against the interference of the Association in the seminary’s issues. In addition, they called on all of the clergymen in the country to boycott the organisation.42 As eleven students were suspended for one year at the beginning of the summer semester 1981, 100 students decided to leave the seminary as well, sympathizing with their colleagues who had been punished. Although all but seven seminarists withdrew their claims upon the seminary management’s request and continued their studies, they kept protesting against the actions taken by the authorities. The wave of solidarity coming from abroad, for instance, from the seminaries of all Austrian dioceses, from 600 students and professors of the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Munich and from the Jesuit University of Philosophy, with the famous theologian Karl Rahner, not only undermined the position of the Pacem in Terris Association, but also submitted various requests to the Czechoslovak president, Gustáv Husák, to cancel the suspension of the eleven students.  
Normalisation of abnormal communism

The Writer Lidia Yuknavitch, Who Reinvented The Memoir, Says She’ll Never Tire Of ‘Swimming Within Language’

Her book The Chronology of Water ends with an interview with her editor Rhonda Hughes, and here’s why: “What you want is an editor who is dying to go with you into your material, to ride the waves, to dive down or kick up, to swim the waters of your imagination. The interview was a chance to show readers that no book happens without collaboration. All books take many mammals and I count my lucky stars I crossed stardust paths with Rhonda.”

 9 Murderous Tyrants Who Were Also Failed Writers (and One OK Poet) | Literary Hub

Learning to be a librarian – TheTLS via Dr Cope 

Jonathan on - 7777 - Twitter, and here is the LRB piece by James Meek - (Jonathan Shainin calls this the best piece of 2017), “Somerdale to Skarbimierz, James Meek follows Cadbury to Poland.” 

The article covers the economic and sociological effects of outsourcing and wage arbitrage, and how it affects communities and politics on both sides of the investment shift.  It is hard to excerpt, but here is one good bit: 

Anna Pasternak, who worked at the new chocolate factory in Skarbimierz, noticed the age of the equipment on the production lines. The wear on the metal caused by decades of Somerdale workers’ hands was the only message the British employees sent to their Polish successors. I met Pasternak in her flat in Brzeg, the nearest sizeable town to Skarbimierz. I asked her how she felt about what had happened to the British factory. ‘I never really thought about it,’ she said. ‘We lost so many jobs here in Brzeg … We didn’t feel sorry that others lost theirs … It’s somewhere else in the world. We don’t physically know these people.’


Barbara Kaśnikowska, the shrewd former head of Wałbrzych zone, suggests, persuasively, that Law and Justice benefited from resentment not of the have-nots towards the haves, but between haves; that as Poland boomed, ordinary people didn’t resent those who’d become super-rich so much as people just like them who, for no good reason, earned twice or three times as much as they did. In her view, Poland’s non-voters didn’t despise Civic Platform: they took its achievements for granted. A Pole, on this analysis, is much more likely to vote to say ‘screw you’ when they are angry than ‘thanks!’ when all’s going well. You can see her point. Andrzej Buła, the marshal of Opole and Civic Platform leader in the province, told me that the EU was funding 40 per cent of the provincial budget, while unemployment had dropped from 14 to 8 per cent. In some counties it’s as low as 5 per cent – essentially full employment. Without the Ukrainians, he said, they’d be short-handed. Yet in the 2015 parliamentary elections Civic Platform lost Opole on a swing of 40 per cent to Law and Justice.

The Book Clubs Of Resistance (Or, Why Women Are Barred From Reading In ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’)

Book clubs are turning their focus to nonfiction and political fiction. “Reading groups have long served as spaces for kindred spirits to gather and talk their way through weighty issues; they also skew female, older, and educated — a prime ‘resistance’ cohort. It is hard to overstate how thoroughly the anti-Trump movement is driven by the energy of women in general.”


Indeed, this is all downstream of the century-old effort to turn Herbert Spencer into some kind of monster because he opposed governmental social engineering. The idea seems to be that because the statists are good, anyone who opposes them must be evil.
The contemporary liberal obsession with claiming that their ideological opponents must be somehow in league with, or modern-day reincarnations of, Klansmen and slavers is just another manifestation of this old, self-indulgent smear. It’s a bit like MacLean set out to reach that destination. When she realized she couldn’t get there by conventional navigation, she put a magnet marked “Calhoun!” or “Slavery!” next to her compass, and that did the trick.
Conservatives are bit more accustomed to this sort of thing. Ramesh and I beat back a similar attempt to claim that modern conservatism is a Calhoun cult a few years ago.
But I think the assumption behind both efforts is very much the same: Anyone who disagrees with us must not simply be wrong, they must be evil. And taking short cuts to expose evil is no vice.

Read the whole thing, which has echoes of the early days of InstaPundit, when Glenn was frequently debunking Michael Bellesiles’ bogus Arming America book.

All the President's Men: When historians finally weigh in on Trump, they will wonder why so many powerful people continued to support his presidency.

“What about those of us who knew better, we who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we take part? Because we loved our country. What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase.”
These words, spoken by Ernst Janning in Judgment at Nuremberg, Abby Mann’s drama about the war-crimes tribunals that took place in Germany in the late 1940s, reflect horrors far greater than those we face today. Nevertheless, coming from Janning, a distinguished jurist and patriot and a man who knew better but who turned a blind eye to what was going on around him, they have a certain relevance. And they must surely echo the private thoughts of Republican mandarins who stand by while their leader ravages the institutions and tenets that keep American democracy in place.
When the historians finally weigh in on the Trump presidency (and it’s never too early to start), they will have a troubling question to answer. It’s not why many good Americans, angered and disgusted by the dysfunction of Washington, were misled by Trump’s mendacious rhetoric. The real question is why powerful people who (like Janning) knew better—and who now know exactly what kind of man Trump is—continue to support him and make his presidency possible. These are the same men who have in the past publicly called Trump a racist, a xenophobe, a jackass, a man of sickening sexual crudeness, and unfit to serve as commander in chief. Trump in his characteristic way has called them things you wouldn’t say about your worst enemy.
In “The Enablers,” Sarah Ellison takes on six of these men—Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Reince Priebus—all of whom have the political acumen, knowledge of government, and sufficient grip on reality to know firsthand that our president is not just in over his head but perhaps out of his mind. It would be one thing if they were surrounding him in order to stop him. But in fact they surround him in order to enable him for their own various ends. The myriad acts of malignant legislation committed while the nation is distracted by the president’s woes are evidence of their own agendas.

Video: Meet the People Enabling Donald Trump

Perhaps one day Trump will cross some line that will sufficiently offend their corroded sense of propriety—go too far even for them. You’d have thought we had passed that point a dozen times or more already. If that point is ever reached, and one or more of them peels off and lets his conscience overpower his ambition, the nation will owe them scant thanks. The damage may already be done. Profiles in Cowardice will be the title of their collective biography. Sarah Ellison has given us a first draft.
Marie Brenner has been writing superb profiles for Vanity Fair since the mid-1980s—a period of time that happened to mark the confluence of two of New York’s more public mountebanks. One of them was attorney Roy Cohn. For you younger readers, he was a reptilian power broker with an oil slick of charm who had made his name as Senator Joe McCarthy’s top henchman during the anti-Communist purges of the 1950s. The other was Donald Trump, at the time a fleshy real-estate developer who was already polishing a reputation as a bully and a blowhard. He unabashedly embraced Cohn as a mentor, absorbing all he could at the knee of the great man.
Ultimately, Cohn would be disbarred by a New York State court in 1986 for what amounted to decades of corrupt practices. The legal community had been woefully slow to act. Years before, I had gone to a birthday party for Cohn that was held at a baroque East Side mansion owned by pornographer Bob Guccione. I was not an invited guest—I was covering the party for Time magazine. Inside, the house was a Caligula-like riot of marble, pillars, and slightly off-the-mark statuary. It was the first time I had ever seen a swimming pool inside a New York residence. As I left, I noticed a row of black limousines double-parked along the block. Almost all of them had license-plate emblems indicating that they were the cars of New York State judges.
In 1980, Brenner braved the fragrant company of Cohn and his pal, Trump, while reporting a story for New York magazine. Then, in 1990, she wrote a follow-up article on Trump for Vanity Fair, revealing, among other things, that he kept a copy of Hitler’s collected speeches in a bedroom cabinet. (The book had been a gift from Marty Davis, the notoriously difficult C.E.O. of Paramount.) In “Deal with the Devil,” Brenner returns to those early New York days as she probes the close relationship between Trump and Cohn—who died of AIDS in 1986 and was memorably depicted in Tony Kushner’s epic play, Angels in America. She talks with antagonists, associates, and confidants of both men, including political dirty-trickster Roger Stone, who tells Brenner that he sees a direct line from Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy to Donald Trump. (And Stone, remember, is a friend of Trump’s.)
As Brenner sees it, Trump long ago began ripping pages from the Cohn playbook: mercilessly attacking opponents; demanding ironclad loyalty from underlings; stiffing clients; threatening lawsuits; trading and demanding favors; alternately courting and lacerating reporters and columnists; befriending unsavory associates; never apologizing; and weaving ornate fictions to justify his worldview—or to cover up wrongdoing and deceit. Over the years, Trump, as he has done with other journalists, would denigrate Brenner—this was in the days before Twitter. He also boasted about his retaliation against her, saying he had poured an entire bottle of red wine down the back of her dress at a charity event. Trump may be a classy guy, but he is also a legendary manipulator of the truth. In reality, it was a glass of white wine down the back of a black jacket. Considering his aggression toward other women, she got off lucky.

Inauguration Crowd-Size Debacle

It took less than two days after his inauguration for Trump to hit his first speed bump. After photos revealed a drastically smaller crowd at Trump’s inauguration than at Obama’s first, Trump griped about the coverage during a speech at the C.I.A., and claimed that “a million and a half people” showed up. He later backed down from the remarks, but not before two things happened. First, the world was introduced to Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, whose first, apoplectic, rumpled press briefing became a flashpoint of its own. And second, Trump aide Kellyanne Conway introduced “alternative facts” into the lexicon

The Communist Did not like the Following Curses in Samizdat Publications:

A Selection of Curses Then and Now:
from Yiddish -- Nahum Stutchkoff's Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language - smoking gun Christ McGee

Yiddish curses should not be confused with the Hebraic curses of the Bible. Hebrew curses were deadly serious, whereas there is a humourous thrust to almost all Yiddish curses. Although most people associate curses with malevolence, Yiddish ones can be downright jocular. This is because the Yiddish curser usually does not believe in the power of her or his execration. Yiddish cursing developed into a choreographed activity where satisfaction was gained by ejaculating an imaginative imprecation. Many of the ditties were improvised and designed to exhibit the verbal nimbleness of the execrator. Yiddish curses lull you with their seeming innocence, then flatten you with the punch line. An example of this verbal feinting: “May you lose all your teeth except one – so you can have a toothache.”

  1. Ale tsores vos ikh hob oyf mayn hartsn, zoln oysgeyn tsu zayn kop.
    All problems I have in my heart, should go to his head.
  2. Zol es im onkumn vos ikh vintsh im (khotsh a helft, khotsh halb, khotsh a tsent kheylik).
    Let what I wish on him come true (most, even half, even just 10%).
  3. Eyn imglik iz far im veynik.
    One misfortune is too few for him.
  4. Finstere leyd zol nor di mama oyf im zen.
    Black sorrow is all that his mother should see of him.
  5. Khasene hobn zol er mit di malekh hamoves tokhter.
    He should marry the daughter of the Angel of Death.
  6. Shteyner zol zi hobn, nit kayn kinder.
    She should have stones and not children.
  7. Azoy fil ritzinoyl zol er oystrinkn.
    He should drink too much castor oil.
  8. Oyskrenkn zol er dus mame’s milakh.
    He should get so sick as to cough up his mother’s milk.
  9. Oyf doktoyrim zol er dos avekgebn.
    He should give it all away to doctors.
  10. Zol er krenken un gedenken.
    Let him suffer and remember.
  11. Zalts im in di oygen, feffer im in di noz.
    Throw salt in his eyes, pepper in his nose.
  12. Shteyner af zayne beyner.
    Stones on his bones.
  13. A kramp (a kram, a kortsh) im in layb (in boyakh, in di kishkes, in di gederem, in di finger).
    A cramp in his body (in his stomach, in his guts, in his bowels, in his fingers and toes).
  14. Trinkn zoln im piavkes.
    Leeches should drink him dry.
  15. Lakhn zol er mit yashtherkes.
    He should laugh with lizards.
  16. Meshuga zol er vern un arumloyfn (iber di gasn).
    He should go nuts and run around (through the streets).
  17. A meshugener zol men oyshraybn, un im araynshraybn.
    They should free a madman, and lock him up.
  18. A hiltsener tsung zol er bakumn.
    He should grow a wooden tongue.
  19. Krugn zol er di (town name here) brokh.
    He should get the (town name here) hernia.
  20. Gut zol oyf im onshikn fin di tsen makes di beste.
    God should visit upon him the best of the Ten Plagues.
  21. Fransn zol esn zayn layb.
    Venereal disease should consume his body.
  22. Farshporn zol er oyf(tsu)shteyn?
    Why bother getting up alive?
  23. A kleyn kind zol nokh im heysn.
    A young child should be named after him.
  24. Vi tsu derleb ikh im shoyn tsu bagrobn.
    I should outlive him long enough to bury him.
  25. Er zol altsting zen, un nit hobn farvos (mit vos) tsu koyfn.
    He should see everything, but have no reason (with what) to buy it.
  26. Got zol im bentshn mit dray mentshn: eyner zol im haltn, der tsveyter zol im shpaltn un der driter zol im ba’haltn.
    God should bless him with three people: one should grab him, the second should stab him and the third should hide him.
  27. Vifil yor er iz gegangn oyf di fis zol er geyn af di hent un di iberike zol er zikh sharn oyf di hintn.
    As many years as he’s walked on his feet, let him walk on his hands, and for the rest of the time he should crawl along on his ass.
  28. Tsen shifn mit gold zol er farmorgn, un dos gantse gelt zol er farkrenkn.
    Ten ships of gold should be his and the money should only make him sick.
  29. A groys gesheft zol er hobn mit shroyre: vus er hot, zol men bay im nit fregn, un vos men fregt zol er nisht hobn.
    He should have a large store, and whatever people ask for he shouldn’t have, and what he does have shouldn’t be requested.
  30. Hindert hayzer zol er hobn, in yeder hoyz a hindert tsimern, in yeder tsimer tsvonsik betn un kadukhes zol im varfn fin eyn bet in der tsveyter.
    A hundred houses shall he have, in every house a hundred rooms and in every room twenty beds, and a delirious fever should drive him from bed to bed.
  31. Ale tseyn zoln bay im aroysfaln, not eyner zol im blaybn oyf tsonveytung.
    All his teeth should fall out except one to make him suffer.
  32. In di zumerdike teg zol er zitsn shive, un in di vinterdike nekht zikh raysn af di tseyn.
    On summer days he should mourn, and on wintry nights, he should torture himself.
  33. Got zol gebn, er zol hobn altsding vos zayn harts glist, nor er zol zayn geleymt oyf ale ayvers un nit kenen rirn mit der tsung.
    God should bestow him with everything his heart desires, but he should be a quadriplegic and not be able to use his tongue.
  34. Migulgl zol er vern in a henglayhter, by tog zol er hengen, un bay nakht zol er brenen.
    He should be transformed into a chandelier, to hang by day and to burn by night.
  35. Zayn mazl zol im layhtn vi di levone in sof khoydesh.
    His luck should be as bright as a new moon.
  36. Er zol hobn paroys makes bashotn mit oybes krets.
    He should have Pharaoh’s plagues sprinkled with Job’s scabies.
  37. Er zol kakn mit blit un mit ayter.
    He should crap blood and pus.
  38. Heng dikh oyf a tsikershtrikl vestu hobn a zisn toyt.
    Hang yourself with a sugar rope and you’ll have a sweet death.
  39. Es zol dir dunern in boykh, vestu meyen az s’iz a homon klaper.
    Your stomach will rumble so badly, you'll think it was Purim noisemaker.