Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Statues of Limitations





The controversy connected with Confederate statues and memorials recently erupted in violence at Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman died and a number of others at a rally were injured after being hit by an automobile driven by a twenty-something reportedly white racist male who is being held without bail. We have had for many years what is known as "road rage," but the Charlottesville fatality resulted more from what could be called "race rage."

Located on the northern side of the Ohio River, which unofficially marks the boundary between the vaguely defined northern and southern United States, Portsmouth, Ohio,  has one prominent statue, erected in 1879, which commemorates the first Union soldier from Scioto County to be killed in the Civil War. The Portsmouth statue, on a pillar worthy of Caesar Augustus, stands high over Tracy Park, near downtown Portsmouth, facing the Ohio River and Kentucky, which may be just a coincidence.

As a so-called border town, Portsmouth had southern sympathizers and the Ku Klux Klan, as I pointed out before in River Vices, was active in the town well into the twentieth century. Hell, the KKK was thriving in northern Ohio for a time. KKK membership was not limited, to use another racial stereotype, to rednecks. It seems very unlikely that the Tracy Park Union statue is in any danger of being pulled down. But we live in an increasingly rapidly changing, some would argue, alarmingly deteriorating times. Some towns in the South and possibly elsewhere, according the New York Times, have already passed ordinances and provisos that prohibit the removal of statues and memorials from public places, offering some legal protection for sacred carved cows.

Who could have imagined just five years ago a Donald Trump, a psychopathic narcissist, as he has been analyzed,  perhaps in part because of his flamboyant blond wig, being elected president of the United States? I still wake up some mornings thinking it's just a bad dream. The possibility, as hard as it now is to believe,  is that there might someday be a statue of President Donald Trump in Tracy Park, and in hundreds of other American parks and  plazas. It's within the realm of possibility, particularly if, like President Lincoln, he becomes a victim of "race rage."





Sunday, August 06, 2017

Lili St. Cyr






















The crush he had on Lili as a kid
he kept secretly to himself.
He kept her photo hid
up on his closet shelf,

where it was long forgotten,
until now, an old man,
by time downtrodden,
he dreams of her behind her big fan.




For the Wikipedia entry for St. Cry, click here.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Truculent Trump




      I recently perused A Book About Words, published in England in 1865. The curious latter-day Calvinistic thesis of the book is that words, reflecting the evil proclivities of human nature, tend to become negative and consequently “degenerate.” It occurred to me that at least one fairly common word, trump, may be undergoing an accelerated degeneration because of the the controversial career of Donald J. Trump, the truculent, dysfunctional 45th president of the United States.  
        The noun trump has as one of its meanings, according to the Third Edition of the International Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1968), “a dependable and exemplary person.” “He’s a trump,” are words of praise. But that sounds like the antithesis of what Donald J. Trump has unfortunately proved to be. It is trump as a verb that seems more appropriate for our president. Trump. As a transitive verb, to trump means to get the better of, or to override, as a trump card can in cards. To trump also means, more specifically, to get the better of someone, which might be described as Donald Trump’s modus operandi.
        Trump tried to get the better of the reading public by claiming to be
the co-author of The Art of the Deal (1987). Trump’s putative “co-author” Tony Schwartz claimed—and he was backed up by the publisher—that Trump had nothing to do with the writing of The Art of Deal. Trump continues to claim he did. Since lying is an integral part of “the art of the deal,” Trump naturally would lie about his part in the writing of the best selling book. One does not have to have a Ph.D. in psychology to see that the Donald is as incapable of writing a book as he is of thinking straight. If “the Donald” exemplifies anything, it is mindlessness. Trump acquired that nickname earlier in his loopy career. The word donald is not listed in Merriam-Webster, so I’m not sure why the nickname “the Donald” has stuck, though it might in part be because of Trump’s resemblance to Donald Duck, particularly in that cartoon character’s temper tantrums.

"Who sez I colluded with the Russkies?"