Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day: January 2017

President Donald Trump (Rolling Stone: 20/1/17)

Trump said

... and the Republic summons Ike,
the mausoleum in her heart.

– Robert Lowell, "Inauguration Day: January 1953"

that he could stand
in the middle of Fifth Avenue
and shoot someone
and not lose any voters

it’s, like, incredible!
what he was touching on
was the phenomenon
of fandom

and it was no mirage
there really were
sufficient boneheads
dumb enough to vote

for that buffoon
no matter how outrageously
he talked
how stupid his ideas

we used to laugh
at countries where soap opera stars
could win a seat in parliament
because they loved them so

who’s laughing now?

Or, for a rather different take on the event, you could try "Pibroch of the Domhnall", composed by "celebrated" American poet Joseph Charles McKenzie of the (self-styled) "rhyming, rhythmic, and rapturous" Society of Classical Poets ...


Richard said...

I've been 'out of action' playing chess. Yes. It is a strange phenomenom. Where I eat often in a very good place run by a man (been here for years) from Iran, he is keen on Trump. I have no idea why. Perhaps the propaganda on YouTube is swinging him My son hates feminists and believes in a kinds of things (he thinks, for example, that Global warming is a plot by the Rothschilds to tax governments, and gun control is also a plot by the Illuminati and others, as well as that 9/11 was defintelty a plot by them)*...and he looks at such propaganda. For some people, for example, the science is too difficult, or they want easy solutions, or in fact they simply want to believe something else...In fact this is why there will never be the kind of "progress" that Marxists and other do-gooders imagine is going to happen. "Progress" is, I believe (I haven't seen any real such in the last 60 years of my life, 60 years ago they were going on about poverty and third world problems etc etc and Ike was indeed in power. I recall the time when Kennedy was shot and so on, as well as the Cuban Missile crisis which was the most scary event. The US via the Kennedys nearly pushed the world to a nuclear war.

I'm not keen on Trump. However he has a Hitlerian power of persuasion. Such men toook advantage even of the Greek democracy which was close to a perfect system, yet failed...It avoided elites and money etc to a large extent and the "rulers" were indeed the people....BUT it failed because the Spartans were overall more ruthless and perhaps also lucky and won the war. There is, as well as no progress, no Justice....that comes under The Justice Trap...

But all the same, Trump, a great man for the Volk, is in power despite all the liberal views and ideas, the enlightened thoughts, the poems, the music etc

I recall that statement about shooting someone. Only Trump could get away with it...Is he the man to antagonize the Chinese (or someone else) and launch the final war or is he a wind bag who will fail as almost all (or is that all) the other Presidents have? Is Trump the harbinger of the much deeply yearned for (if perhaps subconsciously) nuclear winter!?

There is not much we can do I suppose...but these are certainly interesting times...we also need an Auden also to write some poems about The Ogre etc

I, somehow, expected Trump to win. I wasn't surprised. People are, in general, hopeless. That is they + the system, so called democracy, has failed again. Another mad capitalist who is virtually amoral has been elected...

Still some people are mounting protests which is good. But Trump I think has it in the bag.

Good poem Jack but I think he has captured the working class vote...the vote of those who Marx was fond of...

*As it happens I am not sure that 9/11 wasn't a jack up but that doesn't mean I think it was a certainty I think myself that we cant know who did it for sure.

Dr Jack Ross said...

Dear Richard,

Yes, I actually drafted this poem last year at almost exactly this time, which shows that I must have sensed the writing on the wall even then (the verbs were in the present tense then). Various of my colleagues tried hard to explain to me why it was all a chimera and Trump couldn't possibly win, but, then, of course, he did, as I'd feared all along.

Your phrase "a Hitlerian power of persuasion" hits it perfectly, I think. I also share your fears about the "deeply yearned for (if perhaps subconsciously) nuclear winter" ... We'll have to wait and see about that, though.

best, jack

Richard said...

On the other side I can see how the conspiracy people arise. It is anger at many things. The history of US Imperialism and their endless 'dirty tricks' (some of the terrible things in WWII were possibly avoidable but similarly terrible things were happening in Germany...I mean the bombing by the Alies, although that was protested against by the media...but from WWII the US began to assume enormous power. They assisted a lot of dictators and a lot of murders throughout the world. Vietnam was an atrocity almost on level with the USSR's expansion and internal repression as well as the Nazi or German attempt to rebuild. Nationalism was now at a maximum and many new places were born as the British retreated (and they were carrying on wars as were the French): but the US were always open, (and they still are) about almost everything they do (although we can ignore various secret service and covert activities), but it was so bad that when Calley was arrested for war crimes (rape, murder of women and children and more) there were public outcries at his incarceration and it wasn't long before he was let out...but the atrocities there were constant. This was documented by Joanna Burke. But it was not limited to the US, it has been a constant throughout possibly thousands of years.

But the kind of Gung Ho (and paradoxical) openness (esp. in the US) and the feelings of fear and envy and sometimes "righteous" or at least understandable sense of things not being right or "unfair" has intensified. Now the targets start to get more and more complex (the Iraq war and the Syrian and the Israeli-Palestinian issues are part of the complex). So as viable socialism or enlightenment dreams of some kind of communism ( with the demos as in say Ancient Greece when a lottery system was employed among other things...the women in one of Aristophane's plays were arguing in fact a historian said for a kind of communism ) but as that all has seemed to have failed, we now have those who (for many reasons) resent things...many of these could have moved left in fact, but (in some cases) they perceive liberals as undermining their rights and this feeds their resentment, they might then join to those who are misogynist and those who are actually of a kind of monied elite who feel they are being overtaxed or their right to defend themselves is being taken away...So those who might have gone to socialist revolutionary politics turn to either some bizarre joining to Moslem or other (anarchist) terrorist groups or they swing to some kind of paranoid racist or they feel that there has to be some way and Trump with his rhetoric, who knows, it is not impossible, he might even believe his own palaver: but some just WANT to some ways I have been there myself. But I think I would stop at Trump. His kind of nationalism and aggressive way is not something for me. But he has charisma, that is for sure: that is what tipped the balance, and other more mundane factors....Electoral Colleges, low voter turn out etc

The crowning irony of all this is that, where once Communism was the bogey, and then Totalitarianism, and then Communism, that Terrorism has enabled a man who is a multi millionaire to rave how he is giving the US to "You, the people." He is a billionaire Communist!! (Or is he the reincarne of of The Mad One..."Ein..., ein...., ein Volk!" !! Die Volks!! Trump is rallying the folk. He is going to make it all so beautiful, so new, so great....For folks.

Richard said...

Well, all this aside, and I don't think we could predict it, but we had to concede it was possible. That was important. Some US commentators were warning the public who supported Clinton not to assume that Trump was not sufficiently popular.

As a chess player I see it as like a situation where one side is not doing well and throws everything in in a do or die effort, using ingenuity and courage or effrontery etc, to win or save a game from a lost or difficult position. Trump was like that. That polls were against him meant nothing. He was unstoppable in psychological sense. He just kept on.

He is Attila the Hun in a suit, an old Attila though! It is like a novel or strange story (who by?) as they say, you wouldn't read about it! It is Caesar crossing the now disappeared Rubicon at risk of death by Roman Law but winning against all odds for psychological reasons...

But it is clear that the systems we think of as enlightened etc are far from it and capable of still allowing madmen* to gain power.

*Mad women?

But it is hard to write good political poems per se. Auden managed it as you showed very well...I still recall your comment on the Poetry makes nothing happen (usu. misquote as you noted) which goes on '...but it survives in the valley of its saying...' Auden with that and other poems and Spain etc wrote some hauntingly great poems. (I think by the way, that he learnt from many sources, but Gertrude Stein and Emily Dickinson were important as well as his interests in Freud et al and his flirtation with Christianity and his great knowledge of such as Horace and the many verse forms: very pliant