July 21, 2017

At the Late Night Cafe...

... you can talk all night.

"The low-quality, 2.5-minute cellphone video... shows a man flailing in the middle of a body of water as the teenagers describe his struggle and laugh at him from the shore."

The NYT reports:
One of the teenagers, using an expletive, calls Mr. Dunn a junkie. Someone tells him not to expect any assistance: “Ain’t nobody going to help you, you dumb bitch. You shouldn’t have got in there,” he says.

About a minute into the video, the man appears to let out a whimper before submerging, fully, underwater. “He just died!” a voice can be heard saying, as the others begin to laugh.
The police have identified the 5 cruel teenagers, but...
"In the state of Florida, there is no law in place that requires a person to render aid or call to render aid to a victim in distress..."...
Did the boys even have the ability to rescue the man? You could die trying to rescue a person. It's not surprising that the law doesn't require rescue. Such a law could cause more people to die. Imagine standing on the bank of a raging river thinking I'd better jump in there and give it a go or I'll be sent to prison.

As for the laughing and what the boys said, the law can't and shouldn't do anything. I haven't heard the recording, and I assume it's very disturbing, but I don't know that the boys are monsters. They happen to witness a person struggling and they decide that they cannot or will not help and they must deal with their predicament. They talk to the man. What they say is crude, but it communicates a truth to the man. They will not help him. And they struggle to explain why: He shouldn't have gone in there. They laugh in the end when he goes under. I haven't heard the laughing. But it could be anxiety, shock, and denial.

The boys may nevertheless be charged with a crime. The authorities are threatening to charge them under this statute, which imposes, in some circumstances, a duty to report that a death has occurred. I think they're grasping for a way to punish these boys for their speech and their laughter.

I intentionally wrote 2 posts about Salvador Dali today, and — surrealistically — he made a random appearance in a third post.

The 2 posts that are intentionally about him are "What could be more surrealistic than exhuming the surrealist?" and "His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

Those 2 posts happened today as a result of a real-world event: The corpse of Salvador Dali was exhumed to cut out some body parts to test to determine whether he was the father of a woman who's seeking a chunk of his estate.

In between those 2 posts, there was a post that came into being solely because the word "instigator" popped up in conversation. (And it wasn't a conversation about Salvador Dali.) The word makes me want to hear the old song "Something in the Air," which begins with the line "Call out the instigators," which is the name of the post where I embedded the video. I had not watched the video all the way through, so I hadn't noticed what a commenter — Kassaar — pointed out: "Dali is in the Thunderclap Newman video... Coincidence?"

Let me clip out the precise point:



Either that's a coincidence or the awakened spirit of Salvador Dali is haunting me.

(Interesting lorgnette, by the way, with the handle in the center like a slingshot.)

"Look, I think that [Trump] has an amazing belief in his own ability to will what he thinks into reality."

"And I think that he thinks of reality as something that is subjective. So I think that what people characterize as 'he’s out of touch' or 'he’s not understating this' or 'he seems off,' or whatever—I think he has an amazing capacity to try to draw the world as he wants it. And I think that’s a lot of it."

Says the NYT reporter Maggie Haberman (who's had a lot of contact with Trump over the years), in an interview in The New Yorker with David Remnick, who asked her about Trump's "mental state" — "his grasp of life, of fact."

"The anti-Trumpers need a Pope. And apparently they want it to be me. I didn’t see this coming."

"I will consider the job over the weekend and let them know my decision. If you see white smoke coming from the man-cave in my garage, it means I have accepted the position."

Said Scott Adams, responding to the response to the podcast he did with Sam Harris. Adams likes to talk about Trump as a "master persuader," to explain the methods, and he purports to be leaving questions of morality and ethics to other people.

By the way, I listened to the whole podcast yesterday...


... and I thought it was fantastic how — no matter how hot and desperate Harris got — Adams slipped in laterally and calmly and gave a Trump-supporting explanation — without ever really saying that he personally supports Trump. Adams is like Trump's lawyer within a dimension where law is the actual structure of the human mind.

I don't know if Trump is a master persuader, but I'm leaning toward thinking Adams is a master persuader persuading us that Trump is a master persuader. 

"His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

"His face was covered with a silk handkerchief – a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his moustache was intact … I was quite moved. You could also see his hair."

The exhumation of Salvador Dalí — already discussed in an earlier post today, here — does not respect the dead artist's privacy. Instead, an embalmer named Narcís Bardalet — who also handled the body at the time of the entombment in 1989 — gives the press his eyewitness account. He also said that the body "was like wood," and an electric saw had to be used to desecrate the body (that is, to collect the court-ordered bone samples).

These quotes appear in The Guardian, where there is a photograph of the woman who brought the lawsuit. She does look very much like Dali. Under Spanish law, she would be entitled to a quarter of the estate (though Dali willed everything to the Spanish state). The woman, Maria Pilar Abel, did not learn who her father was from her mother, but from her mother's husband's mother, who told her: "I know you aren’t my son’s daughter and that you are the daughter of a great painter, but I love you all the same."

Via Metafilter, where they are making jokes: "I will now enjoy imagining Dalí's mustache surviving the destruction of the earth, the guttering out of the sun, and even the heat death of the universe. In the end, there will only be the mustache, floating serenely in the void. An unguessable number of eons later, CREATION!"... "His moustache was in excellent shape, but his pocket watch apparently had melted."...

Speaking of Salvador Dali's mustache, here he is on "What's My Line?" in 1959, puzzling the blindfolded panel and cracking up the audience. It's a question about the mustache that identifies him:

"But if you can stand the ear-splitting music that renders 90 percent of the heavily accented dialogue incomprehensible..."

"... or follow what there is of the convoluted plot—or if you’re a fan of war and carnage in general—you won’t be bored."

Rex Reed, letting me off the hook on seeing "Dunkirk."

"Call out the instigators..."



Just a song on my mind after Meade used the word "instigator."

According to the OED — which, have I ever told you?, is unlinkable — the word goes back to 1598:
1598 J. Florio Worlde of Wordes Instigatore, an egger on, a prouoker, a pricker forward, an instigater.
A pricker forward. I love that!

I feel as though I've blogged about that song before, but I can't find where.

Here's an alternative video, showing the band playing. Here are the lyrics. It's one of the great "revolution" songs of a half century ago. Like the more famous Beatles song "Revolution," it wears its confusion about revolution openly:
Hand out the holy spirits
We got to remake all our life
Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
Because the moment will arrive, and you know its right
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
The band, Thunderclap Newman had something to do with The Who:
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out. Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman (a friend from art college),  and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977 and died of a heroin overdose in 1979 aged just 26. Keen played the drums and sang the lead [and wrote the song].
"Something in the Air" would have been called "Revolution" if The Beatles hadn't made its use confusing. But there is another song called "Something in the Air," one of David Bowie's lesser known efforts (but 2 movies, "American Psycho" and "Memento").

Now, I'm guessing that what you're wondering is what was "Armenia City in the Sky." So here you are: 



"If you're troubled and you can't relax... If the rumors floating in your head all turn to facts...."

"I'm not elitist. I'm elite. There's a difference."

Overheard on the street in University Heights (Madison, Wisconsin).

Sean Spicer resigns.

"Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director," the NYT reports.

ADDED: Earlier this morning, from Politico:
Scaramucci, who is a frequent TV surrogate for Trump, is liked by the president. Trump "thinks he is really good at making the case for him," one of these people said. "He loves him on TV."
Here's how he looks on TV (from a month ago), in case you want to check out what Trump loves:



UPDATE: Scaramucci is the new communications director. The new press secretary is Sarah Huckabee Sanders (WaPo).

Man hands.

A Drudge theme right now:



A topic that came up in the Dali thread, where I'd said "What path did your eye take and how many points of interest did you take in before you saw... the snake around her wrist?" and holdfast said: "before you saw...the creepy man-hands?" Closeup:



Classic "Seinfeld" bit:

"Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer. In order to maintain order in the Chinese market and purify the Chinese performance environment..."

"... it is not suitable to bring in badly behaved entertainers. We hope that as Justin Bieber matures, he can continue to improve his own words and actions, and truly become a singer beloved by the public."

Said the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture (responding to an inquiry from a Chinese Bieber fan).

What could be more surrealistic than exhuming the surrealist?

You might say, no, it's not surrealistic. There's nothing more down to earth than digging a decayed corpse out of the ground. But Salvador Dali — the surrealist in question — was extracted not from some graveyard, but from a crypt within his own museum.

Here's the NYT article about the exhumation, done according to a court order in a case about whether Pilar Abel, "a 61-year-old Tarot card reader," has a claim to "the worth hundreds of millions of dollars that Dali left to the Spanish state." So it's not as though Dali avoided writing a will. He tried to give all his money to the government. (Am I wrong?)
The tombstone was lifted with a pulley to allow access to the painter’s coffin below. Forensic experts then collected hair, teeth and nail samples, as well as a couple of bones...
Are they making a collage?!
... which will be replaced once the DNA testing is completed.

Ms. Abel wants to be recognized as Dalí’s daughter, born as a result of what she has called a “clandestine love affair” that her mother had with the painter in the late 1950s in Port Lligat, the fishing village where Dalí and his Russian-born wife, Gala, built a waterfront house.

Dalí died at 84 in 1989, seven years after Gala, with whom he had had an unusual and childless relationship: Gala moved to a castle overlooking Púbol, another Catalan village, and Dalí could only visit her there if she extended a written invitation....
Gala was 10 years older than Dali. From her Wikipedia page:
Due to his purported phobia of female genitalia,* Dalí was said to have been a virgin when they met on the Costa Brava in 1929. Around that time she was found to have uterine fibroids, for which she underwent a hysterectomy in 1936. She was Dalí's muse, directly inspiring and appearing in many of his works.
Here's the most prominent image, "Portrait of Galarina":



What path did your eye take and how many points of interest did you take in before you saw...

"When something is threatened to be taken away, people start to rally around it."

Even the people who didn't want it in the first place.

"These Americans Hated the Health Law. Until the Idea of Repeal Sank In" (NYT).

This can't be a surprise to anyone, and it's also not a surprise the Republicans have no idea what to do next. That's why Obamacare had to be stopped before it started, so people didn't become reliant on whatever it was, even though it was never good enough. But it wasn't stopped. So what are Republicans going to do? The only hope, it seems, is for them to fall short of having enough power to do anything.

"It’s very, very scary to think about not having health insurance. If the condition doesn’t kill you, the stress of having it does, in this country. The fact that people do without health insurance is a sin, in my opinion," says one woman, quoted in the NYT article.

But think what it's like for the Republicans. The stress of having political power is killing them. One way back to health is to fracture into parts that can get back to playing from the comfortable minority position.

Remember the old affirmation: I’m so glad I’m a Beta... I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta...

O.J. Simpson and his lawyer caught on a hot microphone talking about how O.J. is like Trump.



They're talking about the author of the book "Guarding the Juice: How O.J. Simpson Became My Prison BFF," who's said things like "O.J. Simpson is not suffering in prison. He's eating well. He's exercising well. He's got a flat screen TV." O.J.'s lawyer compares that to news reports about Trump that say things like "he gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, instead of the single scoop for everyone else."

O.J.: "That guy [the author of the book, (Jeffrey Felix)], he's shameless."

O.J.'s lawyer (Malcolm Lavergne): "Kind of like President Trump. Trump gets two scoops. Everyone else gets one."

O.J.: "Oh, I heard that. I heard that."

July 20, 2017

At the Succulent Café...

P1140097

... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And please help support this blog by doing you Amazon shopping through The Althouse Portal.)

"Are you humbled by this incarceration?"/"Oh, yes, sure. I wish this would have never happened."

Said O.J. Simpson, winning parole.

He also said: "I’m in no danger to pull a gun on anybody. I’ve never been accused of it. Nobody has ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them."

Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson never accused him. They were dead. But O.J. — chattering away and seemingly under the impression that he is well-loved — didn't seem to see any need to avoid statements that would make us think of those old murders.

Still, he was acquitted of those murders, and they had no role in the parole board's decision (or so they said). He'd served 9 years for armed robbery, and he met the standard and deserved parole. But why didn't he act humbled and remorseful and keep his statements short?

That would have worked better in the effort to obtain parole. It must be that he believes he can be popular. That might seem delusional, as I heard Jeffrey Toobin on CNN call him. But it might not be wrong. From Page 6: “Everyone in town is shopping him a reality show.”

"Suprihmbé is a proheaux womanist thot scholar who wants to promote freedom, is Morrison political, and likes cats."

Okay, I just learned a new word: "proheaux."

The quote in the post title is the blurb about the author of something I was reading (at Wear Your Voice), "Being Naked With My Son/My nudity does not offend my son, because he has not been exposed to trivial conversations about modesty. My nudity means nothing to him." Excerpt:
Why is my nakedness around my child an issue? Why is him seeing my genitalia in a non-sexual manner an issue? Is he worried my child is going to develop some sort of Oedipus complex? According to Freudian lore, my son being just about around 5-years-old, is in the phallic stage. Freudian psychology is heterocentric and cissexist–it deals in binaries and doesn’t take into account a spectrum of identities. For its time it was revolutionary–but science is permeated with sexist and racist men, polluted with biases.

... At this age my son is supposed to have formed some sort of erotic attachment to me. Yet here he is, playing pretend in our living room, oblivious to the projected sexual nature of our being naked and sweating in our little house.
Ah! Freud came up. I brought up Freud this morning, in the context of the hard, pointing prong of Callista Gingrich's hair, and as I did that, I was thinking, life was so much more interesting when adult conversation flowed easily into Freudian speculation. Then prissy demands for science spoiled the fluid fun. Suprihmbé seems to be saying that Freud's work was patriarchal, but the rejection of Freud's ideas for their failure to fit the rigors of science is also patriarchal, so there is perhaps something of the counter-patriarchial in restoring Freudianism, sparingly and strategically, such as in the discussion of Callista's pointy prong.

But that word! Proheaux. I looked it up and got another article by Suprihmbé: "proheauxism: a working definition." Key to understanding the coinage: Heaux is a way to spell the plural of ho. (Do you have a better idea? I wrote "the plural of ho" because I didn't.) The definition has 4 parts. I'll just quote #3:
Sex positivity for black and brown women and femmes. Specifically sex worker & trans inclusive. Might be: a professional heaux, a refined heaux, an elegant, sensual woman of divine sex. One who owns oneself, regardless if she is attached to a man or masculine person or not. One who understands and reveres the power of healthy femininity (and masculinity) and understands that this power is beyond the physical. It is political, it is economic, it is survival, it is personal. Fuck classism. Fuck respectability. Fuck the norm. Fuck free emotional labor.

Trump has a script?

"Trump goes off-script and fumes about Sessions and Russia probe." (Politico.)

“The style and fashion of Mod will always be my favourite. It’s a timeless look that everyone from all over the world recognises."

"Mod is something that stretches across generations; there are no age, class or race boundaries, which is so rare."