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“The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his "ideas" almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store.
Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.”
― Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here


Begin Again


Michael Ondaatje once wrote that if Van Gogh was “our 19th-century artist-saint” then James Baldwin was “our 20th-century one”. For many, Baldwin’s writing has long been a touchstone of anti-racist humanism, but the sense of that particular epithet has never landed more emphatically for me than while reading Eddie S Glaude Jr’s Begin Again, his potent meditation on the enduring legacy of Baldwin’s life and thought, a New York Times bestseller and one of a number of titles that have spoken to the soul of public outrage at George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis last May.

Glaude, who is distinguished professor and chair of the African American studies department at Princeton University (where he has been teaching a seminar on Baldwin for several years), is also a native of Jackson County, Mississippi, the US state that suffered the highest number of lynchings – 581 between 1882 and 1968. The trauma of that inheritance – “our bodies carry the traumas forward,” Glaude writes – is never far from the page. Nor is the trauma felt across black America in his parents’ generation when in 1968 Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, crushing hopes for “fundamental change” that had been gathering around the US civil rights movement for the best part of a decade.

It was out of despair, Glaude writes, that in 2018, two years after what he calls “the disastrous election of Donald Trump”, he started to write this book, “saying to myself, they have done it again. Millions of white Americans had chosen Trump, and we would have to deal with the consequences of that choice.” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jan/11/begin-again-by-eddie-s-gla...

“Nonsense! Nonsense!” snorted Tasbrough. “That couldn’t happen here in America, not possibly! We’re a country of freemen.” “The answer to that,” suggested Doremus Jessup, “if Mr. Falck will forgive me, is ‘the hell it can’t!’ Why, there’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical—yes, or more obsequious!—than America. Look how Huey Long became absolute monarch over Louisiana, and how the Right Honorable Mr. Senator Berzelius Windrip owns his State. Listen to Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin on the radio—divine oracles, to millions. Remember how casually most Americans have accepted Tammany grafting and Chicago gangs and the crookedness of so many of President Harding’s appointees? Could Hitler’s bunch, or Windrip’s, be worse? Remember the Kuklux Klan? Remember our war hysteria, when we called sauerkraut ‘Liberty cabbage’ and somebody actually proposed calling German measles ‘Liberty measles’? And wartime censorship of honest papers? Bad as Russia! Remember our kissing the—well, the feet of Billy Sunday, the million-dollar evangelist, and of Aimée McPherson, who swam from the Pacific Ocean clear into the Arizona desert and got away with it? Remember Voliva and Mother Eddy?. . .Remember our Red scares and our Catholic scares, when all well-informed people knew that the O.G.P.U. were hiding out in Oskaloosa, and the Republicans campaigning against Al Smith told the Carolina mountaineers that if Al won the Pope would illegitimatize their children? Remember Tom Heflin and Tom Dixon? Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution?. . .Remember the Kentucky night-riders? Remember how trainloads of people have gone to enjoy lynchings? Not happen here? Prohibition—shooting down people just because they might be transporting liquor—no, that couldn’t happen in America! Why, where in all history has there ever been a people so ripe for a dictatorship as ours! We’re ready to start on a Children’s Crusade—only of adults—right now, and the Right Reverend Abbots Windrip and Prang are all ready to lead it!” “Well, what if they are?”
― Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

~

I thought I’d awaken to a world in mourning.
Heavy clouds crowding, a society storming.
But there’s something different on this golden morning.
Something magical in the sunlight, wide and warming.

I see a dad with a stroller taking a jog.
Across the street, a bright-eyed girl chases her dog.
A grandma on a porch fingers her rosaries.
She grins as her young neighbor brings her groceries.

While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.

So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.
Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.

As one, we will defeat both despair and disease.
We stand with healthcare heroes and all employees;
With families, libraries, schools, waiters, artists;
Businesses, restaurants, and hospitals hit hardest.

We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.

For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;
Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer;
Heeding the light before the fight is over.
When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing
In testing times, we became the best of beings.

The Miracle of Morning ~ Amanda Gorman

~~

~~~

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smiley7's picture

Happy new-old day today, though i feel the usual so far; i did sleep late.

Sun shines over a green ocean, tides almost in, not a cloud in the sky; what's it all about Alfie?

The civil storm wages, has done so for ages, over and over like easy eggs. Thankfully, and early along this path, a teacher or someone introduced the Muckrakers giving insight to questions which still live in this journey, a helping-meat of clarity.

Well, nothing to it but to begin again on this miracle of morning.

Today's artist: Wassily Kandinsky
Василий Кандинский

Born: December 16, 1866; Moscow, Russian Federation
Died: December 13, 1944; Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Active Years: 1896 - 1944
Nationality: Russian
Art Movement: Expressionism, Abstract Art
Painting School: Blue Rose, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), Bauhaus, Degenerate art, Der Sturm, Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Artist’s Association) NKVM
Genre: abstract
Field: painting, engraving, art theory
Influenced by: Edvard Munch, Aristarkh Lentulov, Robert Delaunay, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet
Influenced on: Josef Albers, Egon Schiele, Georgia O'Keeffe, Karl Otto Gotz, Nasreen Mohamedi, William Baziotes, Arshile Gorky, Hans Hofmann, Yuri Zlotnikov, Alfio Giuffrida
Pupils: Milița Petrașcu
Art institution: Akademie der Bildenden Künste München (Munich Academy), Munich, Germany
Friends and Co-workers: Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Alexej von Jawlensky, Vadym Meller
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandin

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I slept late too! Sheesh. So now I'm dashing about but will stop by later to better absorb everything you presented. Love the Kandinsky.

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QMS's picture

Good stuff smiley. Thanks for the Amanda Gorman.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;

Hopeful sentiments.

Bien Suerte

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smiley7's picture

@QMS

Always a pleasure to see your sig.

Love Gorman, looking forward to her remarks at inauguration. She's brilliant and her backstory well worth a read. She and i do share something in common, youth delegates to the UN; alas that's about the only comparison. Selfish of me to share this, boastful, but in truth, the experiences of 1968 in the city ring vividly through the stanzas of my mind even on this old birthday.

As i'm not in a decision making mood, don't know how i'll spend the day. Out to purchase champange and fancy foods to bring back to solitude, make do with booze and goddies on hand, or forget about it. Having written this, leaning towards the champange option, as i love the bubbles and the mood they bring. Besides, been a little down lately.

Enough of me; hope you've a marvelous day full of good fortune, too.

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QMS's picture

@smiley7

Happy Birthday Smiley!
Hope the bubbles buoy your spirits.

celebration-background-with-golden-champagne-bottle-royalty-free-image-1584971319.jpg
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smiley7's picture

@QMS

freezer; having an afternoon blood-mary to ease into the party.

A virtual celebration, c99er's invited.

Please enjoy fresh blackberries, cheeses, olives, very large fresh shrimp, artichokes, homemade breads for starters, proceeding later to a freshly caught Red Snapper prepared in a to be determined way; maybe with bubbly; yum.

Piano music in background, the sea providing eye candy. Cone hats and whistles for those who wish; costumes available, make-up too.

Theme of party: 'What a wild strange trip it's been.' A salute to friendships.

Smile
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@smiley7 , sending Birthday Greetings!

As el indicated below, it is a great day to do nothing except celebrate and soak in the sun.
I'm thinking I'll bring a caesar salad to the party, some cauliflower roasted in chile butter, and roasted asparagus with almonds, capers, and dill.

We can all eat and drink, take a walk on the beach, and then eat and drink some more.

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smiley7's picture

@randtntx

Sun's dancing in and out of cumulus clouds, wind's howling in spurts, warm and toasty with one window open on the beach letting in the pounding waves, bass to the party music.

Three cheers!

PS: saving the vid for later.

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@smiley7 , even the wind and the waves pounding on the beach. (As long as it is windy within reason.)

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Lookout's picture

Thanks for the art, poetry and stories.

Have you heard of project X, the launching of a new social media platform for the people?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, January 14, 2021 Revealing Project X Next generation technology addressing the ‘social dilemma’ to be revealed in livestream on Saturday January 16 - supported by prominent independent media figures and technical experts

While we are all seemingly wedded to our social media, discontent with its dark side is at an all-time high - many users distrust the platforms and feel betrayed and disempowered as their data is sold and content manipulated. Trust can only be restored when users regain control, their privacy is respected and there is confidence and transparency in communications.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and project advocate Chris Hedges said “The digital platforms that disseminate our information and communications have imposed a slew of algorithms to shut us out. We must build our own social media platforms or prepare to be censored and silenced.” It is time for a change.

Talk Liberation is excited to announce the launch event of a cutting edge, next generation product “Project X.” The launch event and product reveal will be live-streamed on Saturday January 16th at 5pm EST US on YouTube, BitChute and Facebook Live.

Project co-founder Suzie Dawson said “I'm thrilled to be able to reveal a half year's work undertaken with the best and brightest minds I know to bring an end to our communal reliance on corporations who act as a filter between us and our friends and followers. At this event we will unveil our plan to take our digital future back and talk liberation.” The launch event will feature a renowned panel of guests including Dawson, journalist Chris Hedges, ex NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, comedians Graham Elwood, Jimmy Dore and Lee Camp and a special message from Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, among others.

https://talkliberation.com/press-release.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHluEprJuPA (live in a few hours)

...could be interesting. I'm glad to see people exploring alternatives.

Been spitting snow this AM but it in the mid 30's so no accumulation expected. Sure is raw outside though. Better weather next week with even some 60's.

Hope all is well on the coast. The winter woods in the holler are as clear as ever. Fun to see up to a half mile through them. That's one reason I like this time of year.

Winter Trees
William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

and one more just for fun...

Winter Song
Katherine Mansfield

Rain and wind, and wind and rain.
Will the Summer come again?
Rain on houses, on the street,
Wetting all the people’s feet,
Though they run with might and main.
Rain and wind, and wind and rain.

Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.
Will the Winter never go?
What do beggar children do
With no fire to cuddle to,
P’rhaps with nowhere warm to go?
Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.

Hail and ice, and ice and hail,
Water frozen in the pail.
See the robins, brown and red,
They are waiting to be fed.
Poor dears, battling in the gale!
Hail and ice, and ice and hail.

Have a good day every one!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mimi's picture

@Lookout

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smiley7's picture

@Lookout

is nippy here and it's very cold on the mountain, i see. May travel there next week, see Mabel and ski a little. We'll see.

Cheers for the project heads-up.

Stay warm and safe on the Mountain.

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for this buffet of the gorgeous and the ominous and prescient.

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NYCVG

smiley7's picture

@NYCVG

Thanks for reading and being here. Give my regards to Broadway and The Village.

Please be safe out there.

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of Berger's that I thought you may find interesting:

Malevich, Lissitsky, Kandinsky, Tatlin, Pevsner, Rodchenko... all believed in the social role of art... Their works were like hinged doors, connecting activity with activity. Art with engineering; music with painting; poetry with design; fine art with propaganda; photographs with typography; diagrams with action; the studio with the street.

Art is so much more than art. It is like walking through one experience to another. There are so many interconnections. That is one reason I enjoy your essays so much.

Is it your birthday? Then you should (if convenient) get yourself a bottle of bubbly. Someone gave us a bottle of the stuff for Christmas...I think, at times, it is very much worth the expense.
I hope you celebrate your day, I think we must celebrate the good things when we can.
Cheers to you smiley.

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smiley7's picture

@randtntx

Universality, art that live forever touches the very fabric of our existence, agreed. Looking back, like to think most of my work was socially driven; it was, playwrights made it so.

Wonderful music playing on the pandora piano station, cultivated for many years, as if the computer knows my mood. Smile

May the visions planted on our brains carry us through the darker canvases.

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@smiley7 .

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janis b's picture

@randtntx

It's so descriptive of something simple, yet complex at the same time. It's all connected, isn't it.

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@janis b . Connected that is.

Nice to 'see' you Janis.
Thanks for the tunes below. I will have to come back and listen tomorrow. It's time for me to turn in.
Hope you are doing well, take good care.

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countryman of Kandinsky, here is Mussorgsky on painting and music.

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enhydra lutris's picture

poetry. I've seen Kandinsky pieces and reproductions before, but the name didn't ever imprint itself enough to come to mind upon seeing these. They are wonderful, thanks tons.

Thanks also for the ever appropriate Sinclair Lewis, one of the US' true greats.

I have an important announcement, but I will make it separately

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

smiley7's picture

@enhydra lutris

enjoyed. Thanks for being here and be safe out there.

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enhydra lutris's picture

National Nothing Day
Saturday, January 16
Annually on January 16

please celebrate appropriately. Thank you

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

QMS's picture

@enhydra lutris

of nothing on its
special day!

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magiamma's picture

@QMS

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@enhydra lutris

drop in virtually for libations and goodies.

A most special do nothing mood.

Three cheers!

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QMS's picture

@smiley7

love the fresh caught red snapper idea
used to bring them up down in the Gulf of Mexico
under the rigs while 'doing nothing'

'What a wild strange trip it's been.'

and how!

funny-happy-birthday-image-13.jpg
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smiley7's picture

@QMS

as many wrinkles as i.

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magiamma's picture

@QMS
y'all youngsters

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@magiamma

a few years ago.

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magiamma's picture

chair up, dear sir, chair up
It's just a smile away
happy fucking birthday
joining in the virtuality of your virtual party
drink a sip for me
good thoughts coming your way all day
have the best day evah

Chair up sm.jpg

stay safe out there...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@magiamma

fun on Magazine street in New Orleans of Portobello road in London.

Cheers for the App present. Opened and listening, now.

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QMS's picture

with a side of collards

funny-happy-birthday-image16-500x500.jpg greens

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smiley7's picture

@QMS

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janis b's picture

It sounds like you’re having a wonderful celebration on a beautiful Carolina day. Cool that you prepared a nice day for yourself. Even the artwork looks like a celebration. I hope this year brings you good health and lots of love and beauty.

I figure you’re either in a quiet place or partying hard ; ). Here’s one song for each.

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smiley7's picture

@janis b

and lyrics.

Having arrived; as an Indian said, smoke pipe, make peace, not war.

Glad you made the party.

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janis b's picture

@smiley7

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smiley7's picture

a quiet place and partying hard. Damn the covid.

Were it i could talk to people live. Share the balloons.

Thanks for loving life, art and us.

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janis b's picture

@smiley7

It's a wonderful place there, on the ocean, that you've chosen to live out some of covid time. Many of the friends you've cultivated here enjoy it with you.

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smiley7's picture

good feelings: as "confusion has its costs"

Cheers good people.

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