By the Way

Do you see
what isn’t recognised
from good education?

Metaphors that
should beat doing it
‘My Way’:

close the slanted wooden doors
to the cellar of despair

or a conversational aside.

By the way,
I don’t want you,
by the way.

Which is the subordinate clause?
When syntax
is poker’s bad grammatical hand

but still winning.
Do you follow?

Hands down.

Facebook Ignorance

I want to use the phrase ‘it is interesting’ but it’s much more disturbing than this: the way Donald Trump’s campaign in the US election has appropriated the term Brexit.

There are two obvious reasons this has been used: first, it plants the notion of a surprise result, that against many odds, Trump will in fact receive the majority vote in today’s election; second, and with justification but for the wrong rationale, it conjures up the notion that the general public – the ‘silent majority’ – are desperate for a change from the status quo which in this case is voting for a member of what is seen as the political elite, or the professional politician, embodied by Hilary Clinton.

I could analyse that second reason more thoroughly, but again, as with yesterday’s rejected posting and relatively shorter replacement, it is too late for such analysis and I want to keep comment more focused.

So for this last posting here on today’s US election, I am turning to Facebook for my content. The automated Your Memories on Facebook has proved a successful prompt for people to re-post past comments, observations and, generally I think, photos. As someone who is intrinsically nostalgic, I am a prime candidate for its use, but I actually avoid unless I genuinely want to remind others of important ideas, expressions and or photo-captures of the past.

Today’s ‘Memory’ is, however, most apt, and it comes from four years ago on this day. I haven’t re-posted on Facebook, but use it here:

I have tonight listened to Americans from the left and right speaking intelligently on Obama’s victory and what it says about America as a nation. It seems to me that both intellectually and morally there is strength and hope in this reflection of a bipartisan approach to the next four years – which will have to happen – as long as it is informed by what Obama’s victory actually represents in essence [and you know what this is]. That’s as long as the nutcases at Fox News aren’t involved. Watching this is unpalatable, but instructive – tonight, their moronic view is that Romney lost the election because of Hurricane Sandy: if the election had been before this, Romney would have won; because it wasn’t, it allowed Obama to gain the momentum. Worse, key morons on this channel advocate disaster over the next four years [for example, the total collapse of the economy] so that the Republicans can win it next time! How’s that for patriotism and a love of fellow Americans?! Courting destruction and despair as their platform for future Republican success! This is the true schism: a politically intellectual and articulate expression of hope that wipes the floor with most British politicians; and the influential if dumb pundits’ expression of a cynical nihilism.

The sentiment doesn’t require comment as I think I said it well enough then. I don’t believe its cruel irony requires comment either, as recent election events have made that brutally clear enough, and this next comment, found today as well on someone else’s Facebook posting, also demonstrates the bleak continuation of the schism I mentioned:

You are shallow minded and probably low intellect. Our country is in debt thanks to Obama and Hillary giving billions to ISIS, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood. Our jobs are being taken by foreigners with HB1 visas, violence and crime has more than doubled because of their lack of ethical practices. Maybe you are on food stamps, but I work for a living and I do not want my taxes supporting any of their evil purposes.

There are two elements to this, both worrying, but one is daft and the other is symptomatic and endemic. Firstly, the conspiratorial idea that money has been given to terrorist organisations is simply stupid. Secondly, the idea that Democrat supporters are largely unemployed and on benefits [‘food stamps’] apes so much of what seems a significant part of the Brexit vote here: those who work and still struggle find scapegoats for their dissatisfaction and suffering in foreigners and immigration/a scrounging unemployed/the political elite, so they vote for those who actively promote or appear to in any way endorse those scapegoats as realities.

Again, much could be elaborated here, but I won’t as anyone bothering to read this will have their own views already. What I will end on is the observation how the comment immediate above is so clearly an ignorant one, and thus I link this to my posting yesterday about Trump’s ignorance.

The Ignorance Beneath Donald Trump’s Baseball Cap

A few minutes ago I finished writing a very long piece trying to articulate why I cannot comprehend how Donald Trump is supported by so many millions of Americans as the potential next President of the United States.

But it is too long. And too obvious. I have nothing to say that is new or enlightening to add to the debate about his suitability to run for and possibly attain that high office. The one fundamental point I tried to express – but which got framed by an array of other thoughts and feelings – is my incredulity that people can support a person who is so demonstrably ignorant.

Ignorance. That is Trump’s singular main failing, amongst so much else. But it is surely the root of all that other mess he embraces and is.

And I tried to make a comic context for questioning Trump’s suitability to campaign for and possibly win the election to become the President of the United States by asking: can anyone seriously consider voting for a man who delivers campaign speeches whilst wearing a baseball cap?

Of course, that is doomed as an idea. Even arguing that it is a sartorial fraud to represent ordinariness and every-person and joe blogs and the-neighbour-next-door and the working man [I don’t think Trump is concerned about gender representation here] and as an all-Americanism, it still doesn’t make the salient point – the truth is a baseball cap can act as a metaphor for the decency and humanity and commonality that millions of Americans do embrace in a way Trump so clearly does not and cannot.

It is the complete ignorance beneath the baseball cap that matters. The sheer ignorance. The shameless ignorance. The frightening ignorance.

Whilst words and expression do matter – and for me, it is Trump’s consistent inability to express coherent and rationale thought that manifests his disturbing ignorance – there are times where an alternative can better make the point:


‘The Fall’ by Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.


Having been introduced to this fine American poet through her poem Wild Geese, I thought I would share this one of hers this November day.