Our Leaders’ Junk
So, it is done. Hillary has accepted her party’s nomination for President of the United States of America.
It’s about damned time, too, considering the fact that for the last few years the number of female heads of state on this weird planet has hovered around 20. As far as I can determine, more than 130 females have headed governments in positions ranging from president and prime minister to governor-general. This does not include female monarchs, which I never count anyway.
Today’s female leaders include:
- Angela Merkel of Germany
- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia
- Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh
- Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania
- Dilma Rouseff of Brazil
- Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (South Korea)
- Erna Solberg of Norway
- Michelle Bachelet of Chile
- Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca of Malta
- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia
There are more but if you expect me to research the leaders of all the countries on the Earth, you’d better pay me.
Now, here’s a weirdity: A lot of Trumpistas are pooh-poohing the significance of the Democrats putting Hillary forward as their standard-bearer. I heard one guy complain that the Dems are way too concerned with “anatomy.”
Well, consider me an political anatomist. Human beings born with vaginas have been relegated to an inferior status since our earliest ancestors put down their flint tools and decided to start governing themselves. Only in the 20th Century did Homo Sapiens sapiens begin to allow women to be their bosses in any appreciable numbers.
And it’s taken this “beacon of hope” nation 240 years to even allow a woman a shot at the presidency. I get the feeling that people being overly concerned with anatomy is nothing at all new.
Naturally, when any group finally throws off the chains of repression, the gang that had kept them in the iron bracelets has apoplexy. It’s no different now that Hillary is knocking at the door of the White House.
Some of Hillary’s greatest detractors have conjured some decidedly non-affectionate nicknames for her of late, including “Shillery,” “Killery,” and, one I just learned last night, “Hitlery.”
Personal to all those moniker-bestowers: The woman’s name is Hillary. Got it? Hillary. Not Hillery. It’s an A, not an E.
Of course, few Trump followers can accurately portray themselves as experts in spelling or any of the other complicated and challenging sciences.
The New York Daily News reports that D. Trump has said this about some of his detractors who spoke at the Dem Convention this week:
I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I would have hit them. I was going to hit them so hard, I was all set, and then I got a call from a highly respected governor:
“How’s it going, Donald?”
I said, “Oh, it’s going good but they’re really saying bad things about me. I’m going to hit them so hard!”
I was going to hit this one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin. He wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”
His audience for these remarks was a bunch of Trumpistas in Davenport, Iowa. They interrupted his rant several times with cheering.
Trump Mugging In Davenport
Saner folk are tut-tutting this latest Trumpian outburst of pre-adolescent gibberish. Some are saying, Hey, let’s make sure everybody who digs Trump hears about this! It’ll surely change their minds about him.
Me? I say let’s keep this under out hats. See, Trumpistas are gaga for this kind of verbal spewing. This tough guy talk makes them worship him even more.
If you think the emergence of Trump as a leader is the worst thing ever to happen in this holy land, you are wrong. It’s the existence since our inception of the type of people who swoon over his ignorant, petty, hateful, violent bullshit.
(BTW: How much do you want to bet the “highly respected governor” he refers to is either his organ grinder’s monkey, Chris Christie, or his house whitey, Mike Pence. Either way, “highly respected” might be the most outlandish verbiage he employed in a superlatively outlandish speech.)
When The Mustache Fits
It occurs to me that our promiscuous use of Hitler’s name to denigrate leaders we disagree with has made it nearly impossible for anyone to do so and be taken seriously when such a comparison is actually called for. Like, y’know, now.
Great Names; Big Show
I was exchanging pleasantries with the lovely and talented Constance Furey — isn’t that a great name? — Religious Studies prof at Indiana University and the wife of guitarist extraordinaire Jason Fickel — another great name; how fortuitous the two got together! — yesterday afternoon at this communications colossus’s back office, Hopscotch Coffee. Furey pressed a palm card into my hand as she bade me goodbye. I figured, this being election season, it was of a political nature but no.
It was a postcard flogging Jason and Ginger Curry‘s big CD release show at the Waldron Arts Center, Saturday, August 6, at 8pm. (And what about her name? Two indispensable spices in many of the world’s cuisines.)
Ginger And Jason
Anyway, get yourself over to the Waldron for their celebration. Their special guest will be our town’s own singer/storyteller Tom Roznowski so the $5 ducat price will be a steal.
Since meeting Furey several years ago at the Book Corner, the roster of women I’ve met whose names are based on higher human characteristics now includes:
- Constance Furey
- Temperance (Tempi) Touhy
- Providence (Penny) Farella
- Honor Finnegan
In addition, I know:
- Zaineb (Arabic for “the lord has remembered”) Istrabadi
- Chase (a Chicago side street and my niece) Finkelstein
- Atefeh (Arabic for “affection” or “emotion”) Rahimpour, known by her friends as Ati.
Kiddies, y’gotta grab for your fun anywhere you can.
July 29th Birthdays
Alexis de Tocqueville — Author of the definitive two-volume observation of culture in the newly-formed United States entitled Democracy in America, he was a French-born political scientist and diplomat. The American ideal of equality (albeit for white men) would lead to a mediocrity wherein citizens would reject any intellectual “elite.” Americans’ refusal to accept those whose intellects were superior must stifle independent, rational thought, he wrote. Apparently, he also was a great seer into the future.
Max Nordau — Born Simcha Südfeld in what is now known as Budapest, Hungary, he was an extreme moralist, physician, and co-founder with Theodor Herzl of the World Zionist Organization. An orthodox Jew, he forcefully decried the modern world of the end of the 19th Century, aiming barbs famously at the homosexual Oscar Wilde of whom he wrote, “Wilde loves immorality, sin, and crime.” The Dreyfus Affair convinced Nordau that Europe’s anti-semitism was a growing danger — he had personally witnessed crowds outside the École Militaire shouting “Death to the Jews.”
Booth Tarkington — The Indianapolis-born author of The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams, for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes. He was a proud Midwesterner whose novels were set in Indiana. He also served a term in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Maria Ouspenskaya — Russian-born actor and acting teacher, she came to the United States at the age of 48 when the Moscow Art Theater travelled to New York City, where she elected to live. She gained fame in American movies playing an aging and then elderly woman and was referred to by Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “Not that I give a hoot about jewelry. Diamonds, yes. But it’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re forty; and even that’s risky. They only look right on the really old girls. Maria Ouspenskaya. Wrinkles and bones, white hair and diamonds.”
Benito Mussolini — Role model for D. Trump.
I.I. Rabi — Born Israel Isaac Rabi (he later changed his name to Isador) in the Galacia territory of Austria-Hungary. A Nobel Prize-winning physicist, he served as a consultant to the Manhattan Project. He was present at the Trinity test. The physicists there had a betting pool to determine how big the world’s first nuclear explosion would be. Rabi was the last to enter the pool, selecting the only remaining box — 18 kilotons. The Trinity test resulted in an explosion of 22k magnitude; Rabi’s box was the closest to that figure.
Dag Hammarskjöld — The Second secretary-general of the United Nations, Hammarskjöld was born in Jönköping, Sweden, and had served as a key implementer of the Marshall Plan, revitalization Europe after World War II, before his election to the UN top post. It’s claimed by the LGBTQ community that he was gay, although no definitive proof exists. In 1961, Hammarskjöld was flying aboard a DC-6 airliner that crashed in what is now Zambia in a peace-keeping mission. He and 15 others died in the crash. Many observers believe the plane had been shot down by unspecified combatants in the Katanga secession battle against the republic of Congo-Leopoldville. Others suggest the plane was bombed in an assassination attempt sanctioned by the CIA, Britain’s M15, and the South African intelligence service at the behest of Union Minière and other mining corporations that had vested interests in the Katanga secession.
Elizabeth Short — Known as “The Black Dahlia,” the discovery of her surgically mutilated corpse in a vacant lot in Los Angeles in 1947, inspired numerous novels, short stories, and films noir.
Ken Burns — Historical documentarian whose works as a director include The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Prohibition, The Central Park Five, and The Roosevelts. He produced the documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. He has recently spoken out forcefully against the election of Donald Trump as president.
On this date in 1897, Vincent Van Gogh died. The 2100 or so works of art he produced in his lifetime were largely ignored until after his death. Van Gogh suffered from mental illnesses including severe depression, delusions, and hallucinations. After one particular stretch of psychosis, he shot himself in the chest with a pistol in a wheat field he’d recently painted. The bullet had been deflected by a rib and caused no appreciable damage to his vital organs. He walked back home and seemed to have survived the injury in surprisingly good health. The wound became infected, though, and he died 29 hours after shooting himself. His last words, acc’d’g to his brother Theo, were, “The sadness will last forever.”
Oh great, now I have an excuse to post a vid of one of the prettiest songs I can think of: