Sunday, July 31, 2016

Correspondence: Tricker tweeter

Edited by Moristotle

A significant number of your staff seem to fear the possibility that Trumpet Mouth might be elected [“Do you have a fear for the future? What is it?”]. I really don’t think that’s a realistic fear, given the stark choice between a competent, accomplished, dedicated, tested public servant and the egomaniacal disaster that is Donald Trump, of whom a prominent New Yorker last week said he knows a con when he sees one.
    But if Trump were elected, then we all might truly fear.

As someone has observed, “The Democratic convention was made for TV, but Trump’s was made for Twitter.” Trump does seem to be a tricker tweeter.

Did you watch Leslie Stahl’s interview with Donald Trump and Mike Pence on 60 Minutes? [It is] one pathetic moment after another. But there’s one moment in astonishing, flabbergasting exchange....

Sounds like a must-see documentary film if you can stand any new film about the Nazis: “Goebbels’s Secretary Struggles With Her Responsibility” [Charly Wilder, NY Times, July 5]. Excerpt:
MUNICH – The inner workings of the Nazi power structure have remained an object of fascination and speculation. Now, one of the last surviving witnesses has described her experiences in detail, in a documentary that had its German premiere last month at the Munich Film Festival here.
    The film, “A German Life,” tells the story of Brunhilde Pomsel, who was a secretary to the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. In it, Ms. Pomsel, who is 105 years old, offers an unflinching glimpse into the mentality of a “normal German” during the Nazi era, someone who worked within the system for personal advancement and now wrestles with her complicity.
    “Is it bad, is it egoistic when people who have been placed in certain positions try to do something that is beneficial for them, even when they know that by doing so they end up harming someone else?” Ms. Pomsel asks in the opening of the film. Elsewhere, she describes herself as “one of the cowards,” someone who was too “dumb” and “superficial” to grasp what was going on around her. [read more]
Did you know that the bear that mauled Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2015 movie The Revenant was an animation? Here’s how Alejandro Iñárritu’s crew created the scene: “So how did they shoot that bear attack scene in ‘The Revenant,’ anyway?” [Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune, March 2]. Read it for yourself.

A historical elephant safe haven, Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park finds itself plagued by the poaching crisis sweeping across the continent. In 2015 Lower Zambezi began to see a rapid rise in poaching rates across the park. “The poaching has become more professional and sophisticated, with organized criminal syndicates at play, rather than subsistence poaching,” says CEO of Conservation Lower Zambezi Ian Stevenson. That’s when AWF stepped in to partner with the conservation group to protect Lower Zambezi’s critical elephant population through a combination of anti-poaching efforts and human-elephant conflict mitigation techniques. We’re already making a difference. With AWF’s help 11 poachers’ camps have already been dismantled and three suspected poachers were arrested — turning the tide in the fight against wildlife crime.
    Read more: “Zambia’s Elephant Refuge Under Attack” [African Wildlife Foundation].

Meryl Streep who spoke at the DNC on Tuesday night, also made a video about Hillary Clinton, in which she said: “Thank you to all the women who would not take no for an answer, you dreamers and schemers, you rabble rousers and hell raisers, you petticoat abolitionists, you chain-smoking pants wearing exhibitionists, you educators, agitators and aviators, you risk-takers, you rule breakers, you unlikely heroes.”
    The video was to have been shown Wednesday night, after Bill Clinton’s speech. But because his speech went longer than expected, Ms. Streep’s video wasn’t shown. Never fear, here it is:

NY Times photographs from the Democratic convention

I responded to a Facebook friend with this memory from the Harry Truman that we are entering the Dog Days. I’m Sirius!
Legend has it that when Truman complained to Ambassador Bernie Baruch about his poor popularity ratings, he was told, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” FDR had one. And most presidents since then have had the obligatory “First Dog.”
    Not long after Truman got Baruch’s advice, a supporter in Missouri did send him a cocker spaniel puppy named “Feller,” which Truman promptly gave away, causing his approval ratings with pet owners to plummet.
    One of the few things I suppose that have endeared me to the old guy was that he, most of the time, didn't give a shit who liked him or not. “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Ha ha.
[Editor’s Note: My correspondent in the preceding case was Bob Boldt, who thought I should attribute the quote, “since the Bernard Baruch part is apocryphal.”]

I recently watched The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in addition to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Trevor and his supporting cast say bleep-words with abandon; Stephen sometimes has to remind his guests that “Uh, you can’t say that – this is CBS.” I can imagine the following opening interchange between Stephen & Trevor the next time Trevor comes on “The Late Show”:
Stephen: Trevor, before you open your mouth, I have to remind you this isn’t Comedy Central – it’s CBS.
    Trevor: CBS? Oh, right, this is the network that has that fabulous “CBS Cares” advertisement for prostate exams!

Grateful for correspondence, Moristotle


  1. Thanks especially for sharing Meryl Streep's video. Her appearance at the convention following Bill didn't seem to have the impact it could have had. Seeing the video helped me understand what had been intended, and that even this brilliantly orchestrated convention didn't always play out exactly as planned!

    1. Geoff, your phrase "this brilliantly orchestrated convention" dovetails well with the second item of correspondence!
          Trump's campaign isn't playing out quite as the Republican Party might have hoped either (the Khan fisasco). Do you think the party will gather its balls and disavow their candidate? That would raise a very interesting question as to whose names should appear on the presidential ballot on November 8....

  2. Like it or not Trump's name will be on the ballot.The Republican's bed is made and most of them on election day will vote for the Republican ticket. Trump said some time back he could shot a person in the middle of the street and not lose a vote and time after time he has proved that to be true.

    1. Ed, I hope that your "faith in Trump" proves unfounded. I continue to feel confident that the man is going to crash and burn.