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An unwieldy mix of the sacred and the profane, uneasily co-existing in an ever more fragile shell. Celebrating no-shave Nov since Sept 1989.

Aaron Sorkins curiously blunted drama is an autopsy of frustration.

Near the beginning of The Trial of the Chicago 7, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman walk the gauntlet of court steps, surrounded by an extravagance of anger and mutual hostility: Culture and counter-culture in two seething blobs of mutual loathing amidst the ricochet of crossfire invective.

Once inside the courthouse Hoffman turns to the apparently stunned Rubin. “Ah you aaright?” He asks.

“I was until I saw that,” Rubin replies. (Rubin, in fact, stalks the entire movie with that stunned look.)

The pair continue walking through the grand lobby of the Chicago courthouse until they approach another, smaller gauntlet. It…


Racism and slavery were the training wheel lies for todays schizo-frenetic Right wing

It is not just that Donald Trump lies. It is not just that any particular member of the GOP lies.

It is, also, that the lies are so readily accepted by some voters.

The lies are either believed, wholesale, in an immoral credulity, or wielded in an amoral ruthlessness — Narrative as blunt force trauma. It is this particular and malignant symbiosis between the liars and those willing to accept the lie in service to their goals, that is the damage. …


A subtle moral bait and switch occurs in un-necessary additions to August Wilson’s play…

The blues ain’t nothin but a good man doing wrong. — Anonymous

The Netflix adaptation of August Wilsons’ theater play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is extravagent in portrayal yet diffident in direction. There are magnificent performances: The actors — every last one of them — gives every last bit of their all. The camera lens, however, vacillates between too-interested closeups and wide screen, too-blunt, grandstanding. The director George C. Wolfe is too-invested in particular anguish to fully capture the relations and interactions, limning the scope of the play. …


Habits, duplicity and orthodoxy oppose identity politics.

It could be argued that “Identity politics” — a term much in vogue now — really has no actual adherents or proponents. It is, in fact, the opponents of a certain form of ’Identity politics’ who are the ones fueling the use of the term. Others, more sympathetic to the underlying issues, shy away from the term due, perhaps, to the vehemence with which it is condemned.

Whether it is Patrick Deneen railing against a “pathology” of liberalism that results in a “cultureless multiculturalism,” or now and again Frances Fukuyama, in his recent book about Identity Politics chiding liberals attempt…


The insanity of embracing inequality, in the argument against a living wage

We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. John Kenneth Galbraith, 1991.

A theory of economics, as told by a conservative, is that if you put more money in the pockets of some people, those people will create jobs.

On the entire other hand, that same conservative will tell you that, if you put more money in the pockets of some people, those people will lose jobs.

What the what?

In the first instance, the money is about tax…


Sometimes, the power the Representative holds is the power to push back on the electorate

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.Edmund Burke.

Representation versus delegation

The Republican Party is caught in a trap: Senators and Congressmen/women, representatives of people, in great fear of the Trump voters, are completely in thrall to Donald Trump. The Trump voters, then, as they see devotion to Donald Trump rewarded with the obsequious behavior of their elected representatives, double down on their devotion to Trump.

It is a trap because this is not democratic representation, this is merely delegation: a willingness, upon the…


But it is unsure of which direction it wants to go and what kind of film it wants to be.

Netflix’s new prestige drama, The Dig is based on a true story. On the eve of World War II, a wealthy Englishwoman, Edith Pretty, (Carey Mulligan) hires the unlettered Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate some earthen mounds on her property. The title of the movie is simultaneously straightforward and also metaphor and also metacognizant: where characters deliberately dig into the geography, searching for something meaningful and tangible, their emotions, prejudices, and fears lying beneath the placid surface of life in the east English countryside mutely push against the contours of that life, begging for excavation and exegesis.

What we…


Searching for logic behind the illogical

Senator Rand Paul isn’t happy. Fact is, he’s spitting mad. After Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address in January he ran to Fox News with claims to have been treated most unjustly:

“If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said during an interview on Fox News, “calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book.”

This is from the Senator who deliberately held up a federal anti-lynching law the week after George Floyd was murdered… (… and, not for nothing, did you know…


At least, that’s the purported take-away after reading a lot of… well… malarky

One week into the Biden Administration and I’m seeing headlines above excoriations decrying the imminent failure of the administration. I won’t link to the actual pieces, as they are legion, but I will single out Lauren Elizabeth, Shannon Ashley and umair haque as particularly egregious.

What the what?

If the great sin on the American Right is a casually cruel melange of immoral credulity and amoral truthiness the corresponding and opposite sin on the Left is an admixture of seething impatience wedded to a blind hubris. We…


The first question is ‘what to call it?’ The second question is ‘why is the first question so difficult?’

As the 117th Congress met to tally and certify the Presidential vote in the 2020 election on January 6, 2021, they were interrupted by a violent mob. The intruders had forced their way into the Capital building and had spent several hours searching for Senators and Representative. In addition to makeshift weapons like sticks and fire extinguishers, some of the intruders had holstered sidearms and were carrying zip-tie restraints, like the kind police use in crowd control. The Congress had fled the chambers, some evacuating the building, others bunkered in their offices, barricading doors with furniture. The intruders, American citizens…

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