What is dignity worth?
In our Trump times, Americans have steadily devalued that attribute. Continue reading Cheapened and Coarsened
What is dignity worth?
In our Trump times, Americans have steadily devalued that attribute. Continue reading Cheapened and Coarsened
These days, when I hear some dope (if an American) supporting or a provocateur (if a paid agent of an adversarial country) praising Donald Trump, anyone aware of history can only imagine the level of Joseph Goebbels’ envy.
Were the Nazi Reichsminister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda among us bodily today, the distinct lack of resolve which now cores out the United States would warm his cold soul. It would do so because the credulous people we’ve become didn’t bother with much suspicion before swallowing whole the most puerile falsehoods ever conceived. Continue reading Skewed Views and News
Larry Flynt made a Las Vegas appearance recently. The Hustler publisher visited Southern Nevada for the grand opening of another of his adult novelties emporia.
Although I seldom bother glancing at Hustler – the magazine’s content is too artless for my taste – I nonetheless trekked over to Flynt’s new smut hut. Not because I’ve become more prurient, but in our encroaching Donald Trump times it just seemed proper to pay homage to Flynt, a man who rose to the forefront of defending and strengthening our First Amendment.
While he doesn’t suit any image Americans prefer of their heroes, the Hustler publisher has done much to preserve and expand our ability to opine without censure or censoring. Had Flynt lost his fight, the public’s room to dissent, to ridicule, to deflate, would’ve been circumscribed today.
Too many Americans misunderstand the First Amendment. A great many of us mistakenly believe it only pertains to them, what they believe is “good” and “decent.” The amendment doesn’t only provide protections for views we favor. It also secures much of what we may find objectionable. That is the measure’s greatest strength. Continue reading It Can Be Said
Although with the 2016 general election the fate of the free world hangs in the balance, really, who doesn’t hope Donald Trump is a Russian injection into our political system? It would explain a lot. Continue reading The Siberian Candidate
Return us to the old days of reportage. Before Fox News obliterated the line between reporting and commentary, a boundary separated them. Something about adhering to genuine ethics. Another worthwhile bit of character we’ve misplaced during our digital age.
Aware that other cultures seldom bothered with such clear-cut distinctions, Americans were once assured, perhaps smugly and righteously so, that dislike the news presented, disagree with whatever and however the editorial page disturbed, the latter never colored the former. While opinions could waver between highly principled and batshit crazy, who, what, where, when, and how weren’t massaged to inflect some political, social, ideological, or theocratic point of view.
News Corp publications skewed the old emphasis. Fox News eradicated it. Continue reading News Beast
Is the just concluded 2014 election a mid-term referendum on President Barack Obama’s policies? Or can it be seen as a misdiagnosed post-mortem which resulted in skewed totals from an aging, last-gasp, old and misinformed yet motivated right-leaning electorate further abetted by an otherwise apathetic populace?
Hearing and reading the unsupported scorn against the president, a casual observer might believe he’s led the nation into dire straits rather than from them. By all tangible measures the United States sits in a far superior position than upon his ascension at 12:01 p.m., on January 21st, 2009. Period. Continue reading Clearer Accounting
An observer writes: Here’s another instance of Second Amendment lunacy. In Brunswick Stew, one of America’s less dynamic states, a high court approved bearing weapons in establishments least likely to require their use. Rationally arrived at as the decision seems upon laymen’s ears, it simply further burdens law enforcement by heaping more unnecessary risk on the public.
In case any violence threatened, citizens of Brunswick Stew may now flash arms and quell incipient menaces in churches, children’s nursery schools, and of course libraries.
Churches, nursery schools and libraries. Man, that is one tough neighborhood. Continue reading Buford
With no apologies to the Moz.
Anonymous denunciation inspires this post. On one of the social sites to which I contribute, a correspondent objected to a topic dissected by the Slow Boat Media surgeon.
Which post, what aspect, who knows? Only the person skulking in the shadows can inform, and he or she won’t. Can’t confess without a backbone.
On one hand, these social media boards are terrific because exchanges run the gamut between thoughtful erudition and freewheeling irreverence. Doesn’t matter whether God’s a dog or American intelligence services are financing Cuban Twitter. On the other, more pernicious hand, distance and cloaking permit espousals that likely would’ve remained unstated. These convictions are the sort that ought to have continued seething behind sour breasts.
Marie Anne Erize Tisseau and Marina Ginestà had a connection. Each now would’ve been tagged an insurgent. Or militant. No. Probably terrorist. Language has undergone so much massaging why call a spade a spade when it can be labeled an entrenching tool? Though the conflicts enveloping both and devouring one were dissimilar, they eventually shared the same depth in their respective causes.
Separated by eras, the Atlantic Ocean and clashes, similar impulses must’ve pushed them. Each believed she could be part of a beneficial movement. And each understood the prices victory required might’ve demanded their lives.
Today that height of commitment solely belongs in the province of religious extremists. What cause will encourage modern men and women to sacrifice their lives if necessary for an idea?
An idea, not duty. A!–more–>
Do absolute good and evil (the intellectual versions, not spiritual) even exist today? Unquestioningly so in Ginestà’s time. Many years later when Tisseau strode among us, the old polarities were well on the way to becoming our present-day every shade of gray murk.
By coincidence, Tisseau and Ginestà each recently returned to awareness. A newspaper article conjured the long vanished Tisseau the next to last day of 2013. Column inches lent Ginestà an appreciation the first week of 2014. At 94, she recently reached the end of her life.
Reportage by (Spain) El Pais’ Diego Manrique and Jacinto Antón drew these women from the fog. Or in Ginestà’s case revived her through light and shadow, while Tisseau may have been commemorated in song.
Ginestà is clearly portrayed. Unless she alerts us from the beyond, Tisseau will stay a good twisty mystery. Mist veils her. She is elusive and maybe all that remains of her is allusive. Conjecture shrouds the tasks which led to her vanishing. Did she also serve as muse for an admirer who became even more ardent as his reticence increased across the decades?
If Tisseau’s presence tricked one of those heartfelt love requiems from him, he’s not confessing. Neither are those behind her disappearance.
Tisseau was an Argentine model, Ginestà politically acute and French. Both combated the leading repressive regimes of their times and places. The first woman joined intrigues opposed to her nation’s militarist regime; the second defended Spain against the reactionary Falange.
The women’s respective causes failed. The rebel victory over the duly elected Republican government not only retarded Spain’s progress by decades, but also emboldened the Axis powers intending world plunder. That much talked about line had been trampled. Could there have been a starker example of put up or shut up than The Spanish Civil War? If the high-minded democracies couldn’t and wouldn’t aid one of their own, weren’t black shirts convinced they too could pick off other weak and disjointed republics?
Munich didn’t green light the Second World War. Letting Spain become a live-fire laboratory for total war did.
After withdrawing from Spain, Ginestà bracketed Mexican exile between escaping and returning to France. Postwar she eventually settled in Paris. Indeed, mamie had worn combat boots.
Again, who can say, or who will ever confess, how Tisseau expired? Since 1976 her physical presence has been completely expunged. The 24-year-old was that figure who walks into the jungle and leaves no tracks behind. But rather than being digested by savannah, the Argentine urban jungle consumed her.
Thanks to the world’s myriad ideological or religious discords, Westerners are familiar with the shadowy villains slinking among us looking to foment this cause or indoctrinate that creed by whatever method of imposition necessary. Their blood-drizzled objectives make no distinction between bystanders and the particular pillars they insist need razing. To ideologues, there are no innocents. People living as unobtrusively as possible merely bolster their contention. If you aren’t with them …
Marie Tisseau became an Argentine dissatisfied with her nation’s narrow direction. Now she’s nearly a caricature of a limousine revolutionary. She was that bourgeois baby who agitated for bread and justice, but whose upbringing had delivered her material goods and comfort aplenty. Her concept of “without” was just that. Theory. Elevated roundtable chatter made romantic through the chaotic energy of youth, cigarette smoke, though ultimately condescendingly delivered regarding “the people.”
Fighter, militant, insurgent, “terrorist” even, Marina Ginestà is best seen as a recruiting pitch. More pointed than posters featuring Uncle Sam or Lord Kitchener, Ginestà’s pose atop a Barcelona roof in 1936 made an appeal stronger than ¡Sangre y Patria! The Catalan capital as her backdrop, the 17-year-old’s glance summoned without hectoring. Uncle Sam and Kitchener beseeched ambivalent patriots into serving. Ginestà’s easy on the eyes coaxing flatly stated “Boys, this is what you’re fighting for!”
Marina Ginestà, Barcelona, Spain, June 1936.
One must wonder whether Ernest Hemingway ever glimpsed her portrait. With all occurring around him, had her image imprinted itself in Hemingway’s mind? Could Ginestà’s inviting steel have been the basis behind the fictional Maria in his For Whom the Bell Tolls?
Here’s a backstory: the militiawoman’s come-hither defiance was a setup. Hers seems a contrivance Joseph Goebbels should’ve staged. Hans Gutman, a German pro-Republican photographer had his Edward Bernays’ moment. One he hoped advanced Republican sympathies. In Ginestà, Gutman found the requisite pretty girl. He and his subject climbed to the roof.
Mediterranean sunlight emphasized Ginestà’s peasant loveliness. A mild breeze ruffled the short black crop atop her head. Barcelonan cityscape provided effective contrast. Yet the scene was incomplete. She lacked an accessory. Clever Gutman appropriated a nearby militiaman’s rifle and slung it over Ginestà’s shoulder. Perhaps the weapon enhanced her allure, and with it the Republican cause. Wouldn’t be the first time an armed woman has been regarded deferentially.
Nothing so martially clear for Tisseau. She and her Montoneros, the leftist assemblage opposing the right-wing junta then ruling Argentina, engaged in asymmetrical shadow warfare. No great battles. No stirring proclamations. No sterling literature. No bombastic sloganeering or music. Given the conflict’s nature, also little valor. Nothing romantic about it at all.
Unlike the Spanish insurrection, Argentina’s aptly named Dirty War lacked fixed lines and readily admirable leading personages. It was an ideological struggle that dissolved into state sanctioned torture and murder. In reflection, the Argentine government assumed the worst vestiges of what we widely recognize as an organized criminal structure. Due process for a lost number of political captives ran along that dictated by Alice’s Queen of Hearts: “Punishment first, then the trial!”
Is anyone still alive who can attest what deeds Tisseau performed on behalf ogf the Montoneros? Was she a go-between? Active in a cadre? Or just a peripheral traveler whose prominent profile fit into Argentine domestic intelligence’s crosshairs?
Unlike Ginestà’s unwavering fealty to Spanish Republicanism, Tisseau drifted into the Montonero movement. Casually politicized at best, she’d led an idealized youthquake life. Lovely, languorous, and fearless, the cover girl gadded-about throughout early 1970’s Europe.
Marie Anne Erize Tisseau, unknown.
Glamorous, say, an Uschi Obermaier who didn’t reach the next shore, Tisseau exemplified that era’s free-spirited vibe. On occasions – oh, the usual no cash ones – she dipped into larceny. But exquisite larceny! No grubby bank heists for her. More than a flighty personality behind a pretty face, the mannequin nurtured an interest in anthropology. A concentration the least-likeliest thief turned into lucre by smuggling art.
Doubtlessly the sort of daring-do which further aroused an already besotted tunesmith. Verses, well known ones in specific circles, resound about a thoroughly captivating woman. Do these refer to Tisseau?
Throughout decades the lyricist has preferred obscuring his muse’s identity. Doesn’t lovelorn cloaking attract our curiosity all the more? On the surface his reticence may appear selfish. Is his one of those manufactured mysteries meant to keep embers alive, the artist’s name in speculation? Or does the songwriter’s silence derive from an instance of a draw so powerful, a loss so raw, that revelation would wrench soul debilitating pain?
There are some nuggets our human hearts never wish to yield.
National media actually titled the squall the Obama administration brushed off in mid-May “Scandal Week.” Wonderful. Brain cramps even infected the nation’s reputable information arbiters. What else could’ve sunk the country’s “scandal” threshold below curb height? Continue reading The Name of This Band Is Barking Heads