I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND the mysterious mechanics of the universe—not like an Albert Einstein, or a Richard Feynman, or a Steven Hawking, or a Neils Bohr. I cannot see the world through the eyes of Leonardo or Michelangelo or Pollock or O’Keefe. I lack the business acumen of Jobs; the global vision of Musk; the profound mysticism of Gurdjieff. I am an ordinary man, possessed of ordinary attributes, and in the failure to reach the high places, I am, like most of us, entirely innocent.
DONALD TRUMP DESTROYS everything he touches; directly, indirectly, by fiat, by implication. It is the supreme irony of a man who claims to build things. The latest victim of his carcinogenic malaise is the Covington Catholic High School, who saw fit to enable a nascent mob of young men with the express purpose of disrupting the Indigenous People’s March with ostensibly pro-life sentiments (and school chants!) Now, what abortion rights have to do with indigenous people on the political spectrum is an utter mystery, but clearly it’s a learning opportunity for a privileged all white-male school three states distant—far more important, it seems, than three days of ordinary classroom instruction that a nation full of less privileged students undertook. I’m all for field trips, of course, and it is certain that the students and the school itself learned a great deal, but I do not think this is what was intended, and the blame for the ugliness that ensued lies squarely at the feet of the “educators” who are responsible for this mess. It was a stupid idea, poorly executed, poorly supervised, and a recipe for trouble on its face.
IT IS A TRUISM that everyone believes themselves to be a good person. About this, with apologies to Abraham Lincoln, it can be said that all of the people are wrong some of the time, and some of the people are wrong all of the time.
TEMPERAMENT IS A HUMAN ATTRIBUTE that we each possess, and that we continuously assess in one-another. It informs our character, which in turn informs other higher human attributes such as integrity, compassion, and self-awareness. Appropriate temperament is vital to success in almost any human endeavor, and is so important that we instinctively regard it as indispensable in assessing someone’s suitability for almost anything: a relationship, a job, a responsibility—an elective office. This is perfectly ordinary, and people will naturally gravitate toward an enterprise that suits them temperamentally. As a society, however, “appropriate” temperament is not intrinsic, and it is not accidental; it is a choice about what we want to see in ourselves, in our communities, and in our leadership.
I WILL BEGIN by stating the obvious. When Fascists decide to support something, there is already good reason to oppose it. A national conversation about the most statuesque among us is now thick with reason and its opposite, historical fact and histrionic fiction, prayerful prostration and Sieg Heil! salutation. One supposes that the nattering nabobs of Nazi nationalism (tip ‘o the hat to William Safire) did not think the matter through when they descended upon Charlottesville like a swarm of loathsome insects. All over the southland, Marble Monuments To Malevolent Men are suddenly sliding into a bear market downslope that is nothing if not supremely slippery. Say what you will about the neo-Nazis; above everything else, they’re just as dumb as a rock.
I am an alumnus of Grove City College. This is not something that I ordinarily advertise, but recent events there compel my engagement, and in this particular matter, I speak from extensive personal experience.
“It’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things.”
Well then. Methinks this business of locker room talk, as Mr. Trump dismisses it, bears some additional scrutiny.
MICHAEL JACKSON HAS GONE VIRAL. He’s everywhere now, from repeated appearances on the front page of the New York Times to the cover of Newsweek to unprecedented sales spikes on Apple’s iTunes Store. He managed to dethrone a political sex scandal from news cycle dominance - no mean feat these days - and the story has legs of the sort that will surely carry us with rapt attention through through the legal wrangling over his estate, the custody of his children, and the salacious details of abuses and trysts and surgeries heretofore unknown, but somehow inevitable.