Saturday, February 3, 2018

It's mailbag time, unfortunately


The World Perishing Together with Knowledge and Love, by Dirk Volckertsz Coornhert; 1550 
                                                  The Metropolitan Museum of Art



     God, Friday was depressing.
     Just reading the emails in reaction to my column on Trump slurring immigrants in his State of the Union speech.
     All day long. Snide, confident Republicans regurgitating Fox talking points. I could barely read them, never mind react to them. It just gets wearying, and what would be the point?
     Every once in a while, though, I just couldn't resist.
     Such as this email, from Thomas P. Cernek. A single sentence:

     "We enjoy our freedoms, because it was the White Male who won WW II."
     I replied in kind:
     "It was also the White Male who started World War II. Something to think about. If possible."
     It deteriorated from there.  He seemed to think that the Japanese began World War II, and that the Germans were our allies. It's hard to tell, and I'm not sure I want to understand his point. 
     Moving onward, there was this, from David Kozak:
     "I read your article this morning and it contains the same old line that immigrants are vital to America. Never mentioning illegal. No country in this world can let people flood into a country unchecked and undocumented. They have broken a law. I believe any citizen arrested for any crime in this country should sue the U.S. until all laws are upheld. Why have any laws if they are not enforced."
     That too enticed me to respond:
     "Your concern for the law is touching. Shame it doesn't extend to treason with Russia. 'Illegality' is the word people throw around until someone tries to fix the system. Then they switch to 'amnesty.' I wish I had the power to make you understand. Alas, I don't."
      That should suffice. Enough is as good as a feast, as the Irish—also despised as unfit interlopers—like to say. Although I will add this, to those who think that Trump supporters have to be wooed, that their fantasies must be clucked over and their fears massaged: you are living in a dreamworld. Poisonous people loaded for bear. Nothing to be done but defeat them, ignore them, and let time bring her revenges. Stop your ears against their cries of righteous agony as we link arms with the future and march briskly away, leaving them to decay with their hallucinations and hatreds. They never will grasp what they've done to the country. They think all this is great. 

33 comments:

  1. There were segregated platoons in WWII. Mr. Cernan apparently doesn't realize that there were black soldiers, Japanese men from internment camps serving in the military (Sen. Dan Inouye lost his arm fighting for the U.S., his country), and the Tuskeegee Airman (all black fighter pilots) There were also female pilots, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew through enemy territory deliverying supplies to the military and other military duties.

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  2. Cernek and Kozak. Both sound Polish. Of course, the Polish were one of the indigenous peoples of North America. Not immigrants. No. Not at all.

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    1. I like to imagine what life in this little corner of the world would look like if the indigenous people had been able to close their borders to us.

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  3. "Nothing to be done but defeat them"

    Indeed, from your blog to God's ears, Neil! I agree that there's no sense in trying to reason with anybody who is still an avid supporter of this craven regime at this point. What I fear is that the hoped-for midterm revolution is a very iffy proposition. It would have been a helluva lot easier to elect Hillary than to flip either half of the Congress, and "we" couldn't manage that. "We" (voters who realized what an unqualified charlatan Il Duce is) couldn't all manage to vote for her, but were nit-picky enough to split off for freaking Jill Stein or to not vote at all. I surely hope that "we've" learned our lesson, but I'm definitely not confident about it. I remember 2004 too well...

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    1. Your spellcheck missed the error...it's Il Douche.

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  4. I've felt all along that the people who most helped elect Trump are the ones who stayed home. I'd like to believe that a huge turnout for the midterms could change one of the houses of Congress. My concern is there are people who didn't come out in 16 that will be energized by the anti immigrant alt right folks to say : wow ! My people ! and we'll discover even more of our fellow citizens support Trump and his evil ways .

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  5. I literally dreamt last night that I was explaining anti-immigrant hysteria to a group of anguished Hispanic/Latino neighbors gathering around me (such has my own anguish seeped into my unconscious). I said it's historic and cyclical: every generation or two this dark wave breaks. It's always there to some degree. "Gangs of New York" is now at Prime & Netflix. O MY GOD! Daniel Day Lewis' 1860s-era Bill Cutting sounds just like Tucker Carlson! I hope with Neil that we can vote 'em out but also worry along with FME (and Neil) that Trump is a symptom, not a cause, of a much wider affliction affecting many more of our neighbors than we wish to see.

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  6. One argument for Trump's greatness is rapidly evaporating as the stock market continues to plunge. Alas, I wasn't able to withdraw the RMD from my 401k while it was high. "It rains on the just and the unjust alike..."

    john

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  7. Ignorance abounds, & it is exhausting to continue to try a refute it. However, refuting it is crucial to overciming it wherever & whenever possible. Keep writing. It certainly helps me get through each week.

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  8. Not Neil's problem, but why do we have to read all about Hedy Weiss being fired in the Tribune?

    Tom

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    1. Yeah, well, they got rid of Wynne Delcoma, so it fits the pattern. Arts criticism isn't worth paying for.

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    2. Wynne Delacoma retired on her own volition, as far as I know. Though now that I think of it, I can't be sure of that -- I'll have to ask her next time we bump into each other at the opera. As for Hedy, I can't explain it. Remember, I work there, I don't run the place. I found out about Hedy from Robert Feder, just like everybody else.

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  9. He seemed to think that the Japanese began World War II, and that the Germans were our allies.

    He's not alone. Col. McCormick was under the same delusion. Unfortunately, McCormick could spew his delusions in a major big-city newspaper.

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    1. Technically, he may be right about Japan. Many histories of WWII begin with the Japanese conquest of Manchuria in 1931-32.

      As for those Nazis, one need only recall the immortal words that great historian Bluto, who famously said: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!"

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  10. It’s a nice metaphor, the marching away into the future and all. Except that the only way they’re gone as we hit the sunrise is some combination of ugly encounters. We can’t re-educate the chronically ignorant, but we have to get serious about educating or this never gets better.

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    1. Lest we forget, the right is always at the forefront of cleansing school history textbooks of uncomfortable truths.

      john

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    2. It takes generations. The Civil War was 150 years ago. We're still not where we need to be. Not even close. "Teach your children well."

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    3. That was Version 1.0--Version 2.0 may be down the road a piece. Or not. Might be sooner than later. But I'm probably old enough that I'll most likely miss all the fun.

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    4. 2.0 is unimaginable. There's no physical demarcation. Can anarchy be considered civil war? I guess so. Maybe?

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    5. Think two, three, a hundred Northern Irelands...on steroids.
      Partisans, guerrillas, irregulars...call 'em whatchoowanna.

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    6. Two years ago I was warning about Trump followers being anarchists. It's a frightening vision.

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  11. Off-topic, but since Neil is quite the Dante aficionado, I thought I'd post this here. Others in this erudite crowd might enjoy it, as well. Alas, based on this assessment, I find that I deserve a spot in the Third Circle for my earlier comment, made before the day even got underway...

    https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/dantes-nine-circles-of-hell-reimagined-for-linguistic-transgressions

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    1. Thanks for the Dantean delight. I think I may be headed to the 8th circle, which is ok if that allows me to sneer at the apostrophe abusers.

      john

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    2. I love this! I might (of course) have some quibbles with the order, but I "literally" died laughing.

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    3. Thanks for posting this, Jakash. I had read it before, but good to have it here on the blog. So many circles, so hard to avoid them :)

      SandyK

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    4. Thanks for this Jakash -- I actually read most of it out loud to my older son and wife sitting at the airport at Belize City last Sunday. Spot on.

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  12. A couple of very nice, energetic young people just came to my door campaigning for Daniel Biss. I was thrilled to see them! Not just because they're working to elect Biss, but because they're actively involved in the election process. I shook their hands and thanked them. It's going to take an army of dedicated volunteers to take back our country in November. Today I feel a glimmer of hope.

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    1. I've been very encouraged by the energy my millennial daughter and her friends have been putting into actively seeking change (more active than I've ever been, although in fairness to myself, at her age I was juggling work and parenthood). That's been one of the few positive effects I've seen since the change in regime.

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    2. Good parenting.
      You must be very proud of her.

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    3. You're very kind, and I am a proud mom! But my assessment of my parenting is that I was given great material to work with in both my kids, and I'm just glad I don't seem to have messed either of them up.

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    4. Sometimes it's cyclical. Be thankful for the positive spin.

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  13. Just read another tale about the magnificent and just American white man, I recommend this one to all. David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon" or as it might be subtitled, "So You Thought You knew the Depth of the Red Man's Sorrow" Thomas Cernek should learn that white don't make right.

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Thanks for commenting.