Quote of the Day postsTuesday January 14, 2020
Quote of the Day
“Another baseball writer, Gordon Beard, when referring to how Reggie Jackson was getting a candy bar named for him, wrote: ”‘Brooks never asked anyone to name a candy bar after him. In Baltimore, people name their children after him.’"
Joe Posnanski in his piece on Brooks Robinson as the 73rd greatest baseball player of all time. The beginning of the piece is so evocative of a backyard, a boy and a dad, it could be from a memoir.
Quote of the Day
“We‘re really called not to dispel mystery but to abide it, to engage it. And that doesn’t mean necessarily making sense out of it. It's just understanding that there's a big part of this that is inherently and beautifully and romantically mysterious—has to be and always shall be. I write to discover. And if I'm engaged by what that writing has become, then I try to think about what—might it engage anybody else? It's to just try to put my finger on it and hear it. ...
”Even as you‘re writing, you’re not trying to rearticulate a finished thought that stands fully formed in your mind. I assume that maybe you know the poet Jane Hirshfield. You know her work at all? I'm a great admirer of hers. And we‘ve never met face to face, but we’ve become great pen pals. But she was writing to me recently about that very real notion that ‘the poem has an intelligence that the poet does not have.’“
Joe Henry, on the radio show/podcast, ”On Being,“ with Krista Tippett
I think of several things here: Kundera's theory of the wisdom of the novel—the novel being smarter than the novelist—as well as Rilke's advice (to a young poet) to learn to love the questions themselves; to live the questions themselves, in the hopes that you may live them into an answer. I also flashed back to a moment in the early ‘90s, a party or something, a bunch of white people talking about Spike Lee’s ”Do the Right Thing." I said I'd heard Lee defend the movie before and it always flattened it for me before; the movie, I said, seemed more intelligent than he was. I got slammed for that. I think I got called a racist, and I didn't have the vocabulary, or the presence of mind, to defend myself. Later I remember thinking that they thought I was insulting Lee when I thought I was giving him a compliment.
Flies at the Picnic
“We‘re sort of seduced into thinking: Here’s life, and then there's these bad things that can happen that are obstacles that just fall into your road. As if the obstacle is not the road, you know? We want to think that, all things being equal, we should be content all the time and would be except for these pesky flies that want to ruin every picnic—as if that isn't what the picnic is.”
Joe Henry, on the radio show/podcast, “On Being,” with Krista Tippett
If I wanted to hear morally bankrupt cowards deny reality and praise the dear leader in identical talking points I’d have stayed in Russia. The GOP has sealed its fate as the party of Trump and Trumpism, and nothing else.— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) December 19, 2019
Impeachment vote and “debate” is happening in the House today. All day. I was only able to listen to so much of the GOP talk, which tends to be adjective-laden and short on facts. Not to mention accountability, a one-time GOP watchword.
The Winner of The Year in Stupidity, Of Course
“In honorary first place comes, naturally, Donald J. Trump. The President has provided enough stellar material to populate several lists on his own.
”Last week, during a roundtable with small-business owners, Trump meandered off topic and claimed that the E.P.A. was hard at work on solving the dire problem presented by low-flow toilets, which need to be flushed ‘ten times, fifteen times, as opposed to once.’ (Consumer Reports told CBS News that the least efficient models take four or five flushes max.) In September, he falsely maintained that Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian; during a presentation at the White House, he doubled down by displaying an official National Hurricane Center map in which the state had been clumsily circled for inclusion in the storm's potential zone, apparently with a Sharpie. In October, after he pulled U.S. troops out of Syria, he wrote a thuggish and ineffective letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of Turkey, in which he tried to convince him not to launch a military strike against Kurdish-led forces, and added, ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!' (Erdoğan reportedly threw the letter in the trash before proceeding to invade Syria and attack the Kurds.)
“What united all of these instances was Trump's bullheaded refusal to engage with anyone's reality but his own. This tendency was on full display in what might be the President's stupidest moment this year. In September, in a chyron, CNN apparently cited a tweet from Trump in which he referred to Representative Adam Schiff as ‘Liddle’ ‘—a form that the network transposed, sans apostrophe, as ’Liddle.' Turning once again to Twitter, the President claimed that CNN, as a representative of the ‘LameStream Media,’ ‘purposely took the hyphen out’ of the word he used in ‘discirbing’ Schiff. It is, he lamented, 'A small but never ending situation with CNN!' What makes this tweet the winner for me is its glorious display of the dense layers of mistakes and misapprehensions that the President labors under. ‘Describing’ is ‘discirbing,’ an apostrophe is a hyphen, and ‘li’l' is ‘liddle’,' but never ‘liddle.’ (What doesn't change, however, is Trump's paranoid sense of persecution.) To read this tweet is to become privy—hilariously, frighteningly—to the thinking process of a man whose head seems packed with cement. It's a place that even the thinnest rays of wisdom and discernment no longer reach, if they ever did.”
Naomi Fry, “The Year in Stupidity,” The New Yorker. Amazingly, with all of the above, it doesn't even get to the reason Trump is being impeached (asking/blackmailing a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival), nor to his frequent declarations that he could bypass the 22nd Amendment and remain president for life—an idiotic assertion which several Republicans are now doubling down on. To piss off the left? Maybe. It might even be vaguely funny if Trump didn't love dictators, didn't dream of being a dictator, and hasn't spent most of presidency undercutting the Rule of Law.