empathy

Butchery and Botchery

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

Chauncey DeVega inquires after a point close to the heart of the #trumpswindle:

What happens when Trump and the Republican Party are done feasting on the “white working class” and their other supporters? When the bones are picked clean, to whom will they turn for a meal? People of conscience know the answer even if it terrifies them.

If a budget is a kind of moral document and a statement of priorities, Trump has shown that he is an enemy of the American people and the common good—including his most stalwart supporters. If Trump is willing to betray them, all others should quake in fear at what he plans for his enemies in the process of “making America great again.”

The question echoes: To call for Main Street over Wall Street, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To call for empathy with the working classes, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To drain the swamp of entrenched interests, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump?

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A Reflection on Confidence as Danger

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a roundtable discussion with students and educators at the Kirkwood Community College Jones County Regional Center on 14 April 2015, in Monticello, Iowa. (Detail of photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It is true that chatter such as Paul Waldman’s title―”The first debate was a defeat for Trump. Here’s why the second could be an outright massacre.”―and setup generally makes me uneasy for overconfidence in a volatile marketplace I instinctively distrust―

If the first step to fixing your problem is acknowledging you have a problem, Donald Trump is in some serious trouble. We’re ten days from his second debate with Hillary Clinton, and while most voters and virtually every sane observer agree that Trump did poorly in the first debate, a spate of reporting suggests that his campaign, and especially Trump himself, are in a state of deep denial about what happened and what he needs to do in order to have a different outcome next time.

But that’s not all. Because of the format of the second debate, Trump stands to do even worse than he did in the first debate, and Clinton could do even better.

―but the WaPo analysis is worth a read insofar as it offers a striking, freeze-frame glimpse into the existential condition of the campaign, including how the candidate’s “short attention span and staff chaos” left it to Rudy Giuliani and Roger Ailes to prepare the Republican nominee to face Hillary Clinton, Trump’s failure to grasp the significance of the fact that his base alone is inadequate to carry the vote, and an apparent detachment from or rejection of reality that includes pretending he won the debate with a performance so strong Mr. Giuliani could be heard asking, aloud, “Why would would we change if we won the debate?”

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Musical Existentialism (Box of Noise)

Detail of frame from music video for "Box of Noise" by Lilly Wood and the Prick. (2016, Choke Industry Records; dir. Benjamin Cotto)

Ladies and gentlemen, Lilly Wood and The Prick.

No, really, I’m not certain what else goes here.

If I am ever stuck in silence, please kill me; for I would rather die than hear nothing. When I attempt to sleep, I get scared of the emptiness; I am so afraid of disappearing. If so, kill me. And if I feel like I am losing it―if so, kill me, kill me. If there is no reason to be, then kill me. Please put my body in a box, in a box of noise. Please don’t write anything on my box, on my box of noise. If they ever find a way to happiness, please wake me from this sleep. I can’t stand this: Is it bad to say that I am okay with numbing through this all? I won’t stand this: Could we please admit that nothing will fix this? I can’t stand this; I won’t stand this. Please put my body in a box, in a box of noise. Please don’t write anything on my box, on my box of noise.

Lilly Wood and the Prick, “Box of Noise” (2016)

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Nothing That Requires Your Attention

Le Bataclan in Paris, France.  The concert hall was the site of a mass-murder terror operation on 13 November 2015.

This is just a reminder, a marker laid for myself. An idea flickers, dances, swirls. It is still a blur, but as with any such idea one feels more than comprehends it.

Says me: It’s too soon to pick this fight.

Says the other: Bullshit. It was past due long before this chapter opened.

And as I watch and hear the people in my society who tell us it is of a certain nature betray that condition, the reasons to wait melt away.

So I remind myself. Do not forget.

#ParisLives.

The Price of Freedom

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 2, 'Firestarter'.

Live free and die? Oh, wrong state.

A Calais man was killed Saturday night after placing a fireworks mortar tube atop his head and setting it off, according to Maine State Police. It was the first fireworks-related death in Maine since fireworks were legalized in 2012.

Police said the bizarre incident occurred at roughly 10 p.m. in a residential backyard on South Street. Devon Staples, 22, was setting off fireworks with some friends when he “placed the fireworks mortar tube on top of his head and set it off,” the investigation found.

Investigators said the explosion caused a fatal head injury, and Staples died instantly.

(Anderson)

This is why people stick with the simple act of offering condolences. Because, you know, what is anyone supposed to do with that sad tale?

And it is true there is certain dark and morbid humor; many of us appreciate at least the idea of the Darwin Awards, but in the end we are laughing at human tragedy. Or, rather, that we are laughing at some particular absurdity within that tragic context does not erase the fact of human tragedy.

To the one, for instance, we have a dead man, and it is a safe bet that someone, somewhere in the world, misses him.

To the other, we have this dude who tried to launch a mortar off his head and died. What the hell is anyone supposed to do with that?

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Anderson, J. Craig. “Calais man dies after setting off fireworks from atop his head”. Portland Press Herald. 5 July 2015.