Monday, November 07, 2016

The Indiana Sage and The Donald

Didja ever hear of George Ade? I thought not.

I'd first heard of him late one night with my crystal radio that was clipped to the bedframe and operated without batteries. I was listening to Shep on WOR, which had a transmitter of such god awful power you could get it through the fillings in your teeth.

George Ade was a loyal son of Kentland, Indiana and a Purdue Boilermaker who wrote for the Chicago papers and many of his stories are couched as  "fables" wherein he poked gentle fun at a lot of issues of the day.

One of his Fables in Slang is remarkable for its prescience today on this election eve, and it is called

The Fable Of The Caddy Who Hurt His Head While Thinking.

Herewith is the entire document complete in all its parts.

ONE day a Caddy sat in the Long Grass near  the Ninth Hole and wondered if he had a Soul. His number was 27 and he had almost forgotten his Real Name.

As he sat and Meditated two Players passed him. They were going the Long Round, and the Frenzy was upon them.

They followed the Gutta-Percha Balls with the intent swiftness of trained Bird-Dogs and eachtalked feverishly of Brassy Lies, and getting past the Bunker, and Lofting to the Green, and Slicing into the Bramble-each telling hos own Game to the Ambient Air, and ignoring what the other Fellow had to say.

As they did the St. Andrews Full Swing for eighty Yards apiece and then Followed Through with the usual Explanations of how it Happened, the Caddy looked t\at them and Reflected that they were much inferior to his Father.

His Father was too Serious a Man to get out in Mardi Gras Clothes and hammer a bBall from one Red flag to another.

His Father worked in a Lumber Yard.

He was an Earnest Citizen who seldom Smiled, and he knew all about the Silver Question and how J. Pierpont Morgan done up a Free People on the Bond Issue.

The Caddy wondered why it was that his Father, a really Great Man, had to shove lumber all day and could seldom get one Dollar to rub against another  while these superficial Johnnies who played Golf all the time had Money to Throw at the Birds. The more he Thought, the more his Head ached.

MORAL: Don't try to account for anything.





Friday, November 04, 2016

The Donald and John Frum: Ruminations on the Modern Cargo Cult.

Didja ever hear about cargo cults? It's an interesting story that has implications for the present political campaigns in general and the candidacy of Herr Drumpf, the Gauleiter of Atlantic City.
The phenomenon was first observed in fairly primitive societies in New Guinea, when American and Anzac troops arrived during world war 2. The Americans had great silver birds that dropped from the sky, disgorging all sorts of goodies unlike folks had ever seen before.

One of the most remarkable things they saw was white boxes, that when opened produced bottles of ice cold beer. Of course these were kerosene powered refrigerators like Maw had down on the farm but nevermind. It was magic.

Well. The Japanese war machine got smashed into very tiny bits of rubble along with a few cities, and they (the Japanese) decided that this whole project of world domination and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as they called it was a big mistake.

The Americans and Anzacs left as well, and all of a sudden there were no more silver birds disgorging goodies and white painted boxes dispensing bottles of cold beer. What were the people of Vanuatu to do?
Why, they hand cut airstrips in the jungle and made boxes and painted them white in the belief that the great silver birds and free beer would reappear and make Vanuatu great again.

Of course it didn't happen and a lot of people thought that was a failure of faith and a matter of sin so they'd have to pray harder and run the heretics off. Finger pointing was the order of the day.

Of such material are the true believers in Trumpism. He's told them, "elect me, and I will make those horrible brown people go somewhere, you'll all be getting your $30 an hour jobs back in the coal mines that will appear like magic, women will be admitted to the party based only on tits and ass, no homos need apply, and you can take your AR15 to church if you like. Don't forget to drive your monster truck over some negroes on the way."

It's a cargo cult.

None of Trump's promised things will happen. There will be no great silver birds, refrigerators full of cold beer, or wall paid for by Mexicans. Hilary Clinton will not get so much as a $25 fine for her emails.

The Donald has already preloaded the scenario that will perpetuate his cargo cult by saying that the election is pre-rigged against him and his followers, before it is even held.

They already believe it, just as the residents of Vanuatu are convinced that one day the Americans will arrive once again in their great silver birds disgorging cases of ice cold beer, and they will believe it long after the Clinton administration is a vague memory of something unpleasant that happened long ago that they can't remember, and that John Frum will return most any time now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Donald, the Guv'ner, and the Cottolene Salesman

Every so often the American political 'system' bloops out a monumentally idiotic and corrupt demagogue of a candidate for high office who nonetheless catches the public fancy.

As near as I can figure they seem to be a product of the times we live in.

Bear in mind we are not using the term "demagogue" as some sort of home made verb. We don't "demagogue" someone.

We shout them down, maybe.

Or ignore them. Or humiliate them. Or sometimes someone administers a course of treatment recommended by Doctor Colt.

They always come unglued, though.

While I was nosing around in my Black's Law Dictionary (4th ed. 1968) which wore out two or three lawyers before I got my mitts on it at a yard sale for a dollar I found this:

systematized delusion: One based on a false premise, pursued by a logical process of reasoning to an insane conclusion, there being one central delusion around which other aberrations of the mind converge.

Of course there is the closely associated folie a deux, which is a delusion shared by any number of associated individuals. It closely resembles a joint enterprise where the inventory is delusion.

Under the heading of 'delusion' generally there is the argument that Charles Guiteau did not assassinate President President Garfield, in fact the death of the president being contrary to Guiteau's intent.*

This age is no different and it has produced its wacko avatar-although one uses the term "system" with a large grain of salt like of the type put out for cattle.

The unifying  theme exploited by the candidates seems to be a broad based dissatisfaction with things as they are, coupled with a sneaking suspicion that it's all the fault of others in some vast conspiracy. No matter if it is the railroads, grain pit speculators, the Jews, the Masons, the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, the 'big banks' or the Negroes. Of such raw stock were 'segregation now, segregation tomorruh' George Corley Wallace, the Cottolene salesman Huey P. 'every man a king' Long, and this generation's deadbeat Donald "Make America great again" Trump.

Cottolene is an interesting insight into the minds of such folks, because Cottolene combined two waste products-tallow and cottonseed oil-and turned it into an allegedly edible shortening similar to Crisco. No doubt Cottolene gave people the trots, which adds body to the comparison between Cottolene and today's reincarnation of the Kingfish.

I've never been more ready to see a candidate sent back to the ignominy from whence he sprung than this one. It'll be over this time next week.

*note. this fellow insists that Charles Guiteau did not assassinate President Garfield, in fact the death of the president being contrary to Guiteau's intent. Of course this was the exact argument that Guiteau, a failed lawyer and frustrated office seeker, made. Contrary to this assertion is the fact that Guiteau spent six weeks obtaining a pistol and practicing with it, stalking the President, and making plans for a getaway which is prima facie evidence of conscious criminal intent. That's contrary to the general understanding in law that he who essays a criminal act owns the necessary and probable consequences of that act.

The case also posed an interesting jurisdictional question in that President Garfield was shot in Washington, D.C. but died three months later in Monmouth County, New Jersey.It was ruled that the murder occurred where the felonious blow was struck.

You can read about it here.