’Rona Isn’t the Only Outbreak We Are Experiencing

The following quote is from Sarah Bakewell’s excellent book At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails. It describes a conversation between a French reporter and the Nazi-leaning philosopher Martin Heidegger:

When, also in 1945, the French writer Frédéric de Towarnicki weakened Heidegger’s defences with a bottle of good wine before asking him ‘why?’, Heidegger responded by leaning forward and saying, in the tone of someone solemnly confiding a secret, ‘Dummheit.’ He repeated the word again, with emphasis, ‘Dummheit.’ Stupidity.

As I with great reluctance view the day’s news, I am appalled by what appears to be the rank stupidity of around half the American population. It has gotten so bad that, when I meet someone new, I become less forthcoming in my responses because there is a 50% chance that the person is an idiot.

It Certainly Seems So

In fact, I am beginning to dislike Americans, barring any specific reason not to. I was born in this country, but it was a very different country at that time. It was not full of tattooed monkeys with scraggly beards who think that living in the streets and taking Oxycontin, Heroin, or Crystal Meth is better than a job. There weren’t quite so many of the “I Got Mine!” types who think that anyone not a member of their country club should be deported.

There is an epidemic of stupidity which looks to be growing. In November, we can vote Trump out of office—and he might even leave the White House. But we can’t do anything to the people who form his “Base.” Those red MAGA hats must have a side-effect of shriveling their brains. (They are, after all, manufactured in China.)

I ask you: Am I being too harsh?



Defiance Is Everything

Wearing It Like a Badge of Honor

They Wear It Like a Badge of Honor

I know I said I would shy away from politics in this grim election season, but I could not avoid writing about what troubles me to the base of my soul. And that is the fact that people persist in backing Donald Trump despite the horrible behaviors that he is admittedly guilty of. At one point, he even said he could shoot some innocent down in the streets of New York without impacting his political base. Now I think that perhaps that is true.

The United States does not matter to these people. All that matters is expressing their defiance of all things relating to Obama, Hillary, liberalism, and political correctness. I keep thinking of Sly in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew:

Y’are a baggage, the Slys are no rogues. Look in the Chronicles—we came in with Richard [sic] Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris: Let the world slide! Sessa!

Yes, but once one wakes up from a drunken stupor, one has to face a world that is irretrievably broken. What then? Another impeachment trial?

This is the first election in the history of this young nation in which a large number of voters just want to scuttle the ship and sink it, even if they themselves drown in the process.

I am so exercised by this state of affairs that I’m going to drive out to the L.A. County Clerk’s office in distant Norwalk to pick up my absentee ballot for fear that, in the normal course of events, I won’t have it until after I leave for Ecuador. I know that Californians will reject Trump, but now, more than ever, I feel that my vote is personally important.

Consider it my own act of defiance.

Serendipity: The More Things Change …

Greek Ruins at Agrigentum in Sicily

Greek Ruins at Agrigentum in Sicily

It was the Sixth Century BC, and Phalaris, the Greek Tyrant of Agrigentum, described a voting public not so different from our own:

The people, as a whole, are undisciplined, senseless, unmanageable, very ready to be turned in any direction whatsoever, faithless, fickle, passionate, treacherous, mistaken, a mere useless noise, and easily swayed toward praise and toward anger.

δῆμος ἄπας ἄτακτος, ἄνους, ἄπρακτος, ἑτοιμότατος ἐφ’ ὅ τι ἂν τύχῃ μεταχθῆναι, ἄπιστος, ἀβέβαιος, ὀξύς, προδοτιχός, ἐψευσμένος, φωνὴ μόνον ἀνωφελής, καὶ πρὸς ἔπαινον καὶ πρός ὀργὴν εὐχερής.

The odd thing was that Phalaris is remembered primarily for his cruelty. He built a hollow brass bull in which he roasted his enemies alive. No less a poet than Pindar described his atrocities a hundred years later.

I owe this quote to my favorite source of the thinkers of past times, especially the Greek and Roman classics, namely: Laudator Temporis Acti.

So Much for Politics!

My Ultimate Political Statement

My Ultimate Political Statement

I’ve had it with politics.

Every time I post something about politics, I feel as if I’m yelling at a bunch of kids to get off my lawn. Particularly with the presidential race for 2016, I really have nothing new to add. I think Trump is a Fuehrer in training; Cruz, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; and Rubio, a marionette dangling on a string. On the Democratic side, I distrust Hillary; and I like Bernie, but don’t think he’ll make it.

The next eight months will be a time of great ugliness and moral peril for this country. Before we get flushed down the commode of history, we will yet become the laughingstock of the world.

We’ve always overestimated ourselves, especially after we won the Second World War. After that magical moment, it was all downhill.

There, now I’ve said it all. I will vote of course, but have no further opinions about the race; and I don’t expect to be surprised. Why? I am deeply pessimistic when it comes to the American voter, who seems to look at the world around him as if it were a reality show on Fox.

My Final Word on the Subject

As Usual, Bill the Cat is Eloquence Personified

As Usual, Bill the Cat is Eloquence Personified

Donald Trump has brought joy to comics—though not to me—and even inspired Berkeley Breathed to start up his Bloom County comic once again after a thirty plus year absence. If, as most of my friends think, Trump will self-destruct long before November 2016, all well and good. But, if not, look for another Reichstag fire, concentration camps for Mexicans and women, and perhaps another land invasion of Russia.

It Kind of Says It All, Doesn’t It?

It Kind of Says It All, Doesn’t It?

You see, I have lost my faith in the American voter. Trump’s rising popularity in the face of the most asinine political behavior imaginable leads to to expect that the mofo might possibly win. And, if that happens, say goodbye to the U. S. of A.