Sunday, June 24, 2018


As usual, I have been scrounging around for something to read. I started Calypso, by David Sedaris, but don't think I'll finish it. Several years ago I read his Me Talk Pretty One Day and liked it, but I later started another of his books and didn't finish that either. Sedaris did not come up through the regular channels to literary fame, hence showed some promise initially. He is a fairly good writer, but his books have developed into a genre that depends on anecdotes from his life and family, which aren't that interesting, or at least there is insufficient material to be mined for a full career. Perhaps to gain new material, he tried moving to France, and then England, but that hasn't helped. Furthermore, he does little soul searching or deep analysis and obviously is attuned to what will sell. I can understand why he doesn't want to delve too far into private matters concerning himself and his intimates, as that would put him in an awkward position, but in this situation, if he had any integrity, he would simply stop writing for publication during his lifetime. His target audience seems to be middle-aged people who are beginning to think about their deaths. Much of his subject matter now pertains to new houses that he's purchased recently. When I veer off into bestselling books, I usually find that the enthusiasm of the masses is misguided, and this book is no exception. I've ordered Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont, by Yvonne Daley, which is more up my alley, as it covers local history and also caters to my utopian fantasies. I have liked Vermont since I first visited it in 1974, and I think that if I had been more prescient I would have dropped out of society and moved here sooner. Of course, this is no utopia, but I can't say that the thirty-nine years I spent between graduating from college in 1972 and moving to Vermont in 2011 were particularly worthwhile, as they involved activities such as finding out that I didn't like graduate school and working in jobs and places that I'd just as soon forget. I was a good candidate for dropping out of society by my late teens, and when I was twenty-two I considered moving to New Zealand. If this book fails, I've also ordered a three-volume scholarly biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau by Maurice Cranston. Rousseau was one of the few intellectuals who led an interesting life, and although I think many of his ideas were stupid, he was profoundly influential in political theory, and his obsolete thoughts on freedom are still quite popular.

I have been avoiding discussing Donald Trump, both because he is a depressing topic and because anyone who bothers to read this blog is likely to agree with me already. From time to time there are rumblings about what might lead to his departure, but so far Republicans have been loyal to him out of political self-interest. While it is readily apparent that Trump is dishonest and uninformed and operates at an intellectual level that precludes the possibility of understanding the issues at hand, I have to keep reminding myself that George W. Bush, who wasn't that much better, was reelected. In Trump's case, however, there seems to be a good chance that either the Mueller investigation or the midterm elections in November will result in his removal or weakening. There are other things to worry about, but Trump himself seems like a dark cloud enveloping the whole planet. If it were possible to make legal contributions toward a Trump assassination, I would be an enthusiastic donor. Unfortunately, the best assassins are probably Trump supporters. In any case, even if Trump manages to leave office intact, I don't see him coming out of this with a reputation that anyone in his right mind would want.

Finally, though you've probably seen it and I don't find the lyrics intelligible, I think that this video is well-executed and effective.

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