As this year’s election process carries on, I (as an independent who has never voted R or D) am more and more convinced that we are all living in the closest example yet of reality being split into two separate universes. In Universe A there is an insane racist who attacks the families of war heroes and wants to open internment camps for the purpose of religio-ethnic cleansing running against a genius and misunderstood policy wonk with the biggest resumé since the guys who actually penned the founding documents. In universe B there is a flawed but honest candidate who can bring America into a golden age running against a hell-woman who bathes in the blood of young virgins to keep her skin looking fresh for her meetings with the Saudi princes to whom she plans to sell the United States of America. Both of these scenarios are ridiculous and have little basis in reality, but that’s no fun. Reality is boring.
I often find myself in the odd position of siding with the evidence that points toward this boring middle ground. I don’t believe Trump is a crazed neo-fascist racist. I don’t believe Hillary is some demon-spawned war criminal. I also don’t think Trump can fulfill much if any of his promises, and I don’t think Hillary is some kind of hyper-intelligent policy genius. But who would want to live in that world? It lacks the thrills of Universe A or B. But where do universe A or B come from? The quickest answer is: the media. Simply put, the media doesn’t want anything to be boring. They make money off of sensationalism and intrigue, and the facts of reality are often inconvenient for maintaining that profit margin. Another answer is the political cycle. The more dire the alternative, the more of a push to fight for your side.
Donald Trump has bungled his response to Khizr Khan, and I think it is pretty obvious. The biggest reason for this was due to one of his most significant weaknesses: his inability to say nothing. Having watched Khan’s speech at the DNC I can say that it was pretty much a non-factor. As far as speeches go it was not great. The media has been going on and on about how powerful it was, but I don’t really see it. Obviously their son’s sacrifice is something to be respected and not belittled, but that’s not the issue here. Is seems to me that there were two good ways Trump could have dealt with Khan’s claim that he “sacrificed nothing and no one” for America.
Contrary to those who claim to know the arc of history or declare themselves on the right side of history, it is more wise than foolish to acknowledge the ambiguities of the present in these troubled times. If the study of the past teaches us anything, it’s that ideas and movements wax and wane, twist and turn. Predicting the future is as dubious as it is interesting. While certain trends seem set, the future, simply put, is wide-open and progress is as common as regression (leaving aside the lofty standards by which we judge such things).
Two poems highlight this dual reality of trends and surprises.
My new format for posting on The Feral Yawp will take the vague outline of a rambling rant on the recent events in politics and culture. Due to my [mental] inability to write out a concise post related to one topic I have decided to eschew the format of my former posts and just put down my recent observations. This first post will be comparatively short, but later on I’ll likely have more to mull over.
Obviously the media refrain, on the subject of the wikileaks email dump, that Trump is somehow Putin’s lapdog is a weak attempt at turning focus away from the damning implications of said emails. It doesn’t matter how they saw the light of day. What matters is the content. Just because a guy you don’t like turned on the lights does not distract from the myriad of rats and cockroaches running for cover after the switch is flipped.
That being said, if this is a Russian operation, then it is genius. How sad is it that the only thing Russia has to do to weaken American’s trust in their leaders is to simply show us the truth about them? Currently, as far as a battle for transparency goes, the enemy of the average American citizen’s enemy appears to be Vladimir Putin. Of course at this point one is supposed to become incensed at Russia’s meddling in our election process. Not really. As someone who wants all the bums out, I say bring it on Vlad and make them squirm.
I have taught AP English Language and Composition for three years now. I always run a comparison between Malcolm X’s “Ballot and the Bullet” and MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” They are both remarkable pieces and highlight the assimilationist v. separatist approaches to America’s cultural and racial problems.
Malcolm X’s piece is a treat to read. It is full of invective (those damn “crackers!”) and defiance. The anger is palpable. Rhetorically he pulls no punches. The black man has gotten a raw deal for too long. The whites have given him window dressing rights. Fuck the police. The relationship is irreconcilable—probably. The choice (bullets or the ballot?) haunts the speech. There is much that resonates with the current atmosphere especially in light of events in Dallas.
Vice, that paragon of all things moronically millennial, recently published a piece arguing that since older people will have to live less than younger people with the consequences of their voting decisions, their votes should count for less. This is not only anti-democratic, but it is ageist, arrogant, and privileges the youth over the youth-less.
First off, it’s true that the elderly constitute a special interest group with their own concerns (healthcare, etc.) and tend to vote in a certain way to benefit themselves. But this is nothing unique: younger people also vote their interests (education costs etc.). Self-interest is normal in a democracy and is not the basis for disqualification. Further, let us not be hasty and assume that every vote is driven by self-interest in a purely monetary fashion. There are some things more important than cash, and the Brexit vote is a good example of that. The UK will take some sort of a hit financially in the short run, but apparently the majority of voters thought this a reasonable price to pay for wrenching their national sovereignty out of the hands of Brussels and improving their border security. Continue reading
Last night a group of friends and I quite unintentionally stumbled into the Churchill Tavern and proceeded to drink pints of Fuller’s London Pride while watching the Brexit returns. Contrary to the elites’ counsel and predictions, Leave beat Remain. While there were plenty of Americans at the bar having a bloody good time, oblivious to the going-ons across the pond, one could pick out the Brits tensely watching the TV. When BBC called the referendum for Leave there was no cheering.
Stepping outside, I bummed a cigarette from an unhappy looking fellow. Mid-twenties, well-dressed, he was imperious, defiant, and British. I asked him what he thought, and while we both stole glances through the window at the TV, he declared: “Farage is a twat. This entire campaign is based on a bigoted, xenophobic lie.” Gesturing to his friend, a Frenchman, he declared, “There will be consequences with the EU and especially the French.” I held my tongue. It isn’t my country or my election and if there is one thing that annoys me it is when Europeans pontificate on American politics (John Oliver, go home). I told the man as much so there was no fisticuffs. Plus, there was no need to rub in the victory. Despite what I just said, I am for Brexit.
David Brooks has once again proven to be entirely out of touch with the general political conversation in America. By general I mean the conversations happening during lunch breaks, the conversations through cigarette smoke or over beers, the conversations that accompany barbeque or a bar’s neon lights, the settings of political conversation all over middle America, a place even he admits he has ignored for far too long. In a recent article titled “If Not Trump, What?”, Brooks reveals, without due shame, his realization that he has been entirely disconnected from whatever circumstances have attracted republicans, and much of blue-collar America, to Donald Trump. Elitists be not afraid, however, since he avoids learning any enduring lessons in the process or tackling any real ideas, aside from their shallowest definitions.
There’s so much dirt!
We at the feralyawp don’t much care for Papa Frank. His toothy grin, saccharine pronouncements, economic ignorance, and obliviousness to actual (as opposed to airy and hypothetical) solutions to the world’s ugliness, which cannot be wiped away with a charitable foot-washing, has us rolling our eyes fairly often. He may dust off the feet of the downtrodden, but his moral pronouncements conveniently float in the ether where he criticizes specific policies but offers none himself to solve earthy problems.
From the start, Frank has used his pulpit to lecture the world on a whole range of political matters. Recently he continued his campaign to encourage Europeans to find a bold and compassionate plan for immigration by orchestrating one of his little do-gooder photo-ops with Muslim immigrants he rescued from Greece. Frank’s conservative defenders highlight Papa’s Christian charity. The good Samaritan certainly comes to mind and no one can fault his excellency on this point. Further, the Pope is not totally naive and has shown some awareness of the cultural problems brought on by mass immigration. But he and his liberal supporters want to have their cake and eat it too. Continue reading
Say what you will about Clinton, at least she has the sense to pay heed to the demon Kissinger. I may like Bernie’s non-interventionist ways (and that’s about the only thing I like other than the fact that he channels the crazy uncle), but his hating on Nixon’s right hand man is sophomoric at best (Bernie: “Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”). It is rather amusing: a socialist Jew hating on a socialist-killing Jew. Blood doesn’t run thicker than water, apparently. Continue reading