Sunday, December 11, 2016

Correspondence: Existential threats

Edited by Moristotle

Doctor’s dementia test. Can you meet this challenge?
    We’ve seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the first time we’ve seen it with numbers. Good example of a brain study: If you can read this out loud, you have a strong mind. And, better than that, Alzheimer’s is a long long, way down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you.

7H15 M3554G3

53RV35 7O PR0V3


D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!

1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!

1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG

17 WA5 H4RD BU7

N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3


R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY

W17H0U7 3V3N

7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,


C3R741N P30PL3 C4N

R3AD 7H15!

PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F

U C4N R34D 7H15.
    To my “selected” strange-minded friends: If you can read the following paragraph, you have a sgtrane mnid, too.
Can you raed this? Olny 55 people out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd

what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the

hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at

Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what

oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt

tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the

rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you

can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae

the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by

istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you can raed this forwrad it.

Donald Trump has been judged by many to be an “existential threat.” Sounds serious. What is that? The Learner’s Dictionary states: “An existential threat is a threat to a people’s existence or survival.” Here are some headlines featuring the term, or similar:
    If responsible people are really serious about Trump’s being an existential threat, may we not expect there to be an attempt to forcibly remove him from the scene before the Electoral College convenes on December 19, so that Electors pledged to Donald Trump will have to vote for someone else?...Maybe an attempt to commit him to an insane asylum, or shoot or poison him….

Grateful for correspondence, Moristotle


  1. (Maybe an attempt to commit him to an insane asylum, or to shoot or poison him….) The only people that would be likely to do something like that are the ones that voted for him and they still think he is God Trump.

    1. Something truly as serious as "existential threat" could turn "not likely" into "mandatory," don't you think?

  2. Those people don't hear anything but Trump's band playing Happy days are here again.

  3. Well, "those people" are oblivious, which is why we're in the mess we're in. The men in white coats, or the snipers, or the chemists, will come - if they come - from a different quarter.

  4. Or maybe not a man in a white coat, or a sniper or a chemist, but a heroic, terminally ill babe (one month to live) enlisted by a patriotic Secret Service agent to put on a suicide bra and station herself in Trump's path...He notices her, waves his handlers and followers away, and approaches her for the score, realizing for a split second that she's wired and the detonator was in her crotch. She dies a hero, the loss of one last month of life a small price to pay for her achievement for her country.

  5. In his NYTimes op-ed piece "Patriotic Opposition to Donald Trump" this morning, Charles M. Blow writes: 
        In a 1780 letter written to a fellow revolutionary considering “retiring into private life,” staunch abolitionist Samuel Adams...wrote:
        “If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin....”
        There is no other time to which this could apply more perfectly than now. This is not the time for the “retiring” of “experiencd patriots.” A “vain and aspiring” man now possesses the highest seat in government and the administration of the government is on the verge of becoming a farce.
        America needs you…now....

  6. A correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous for reasons of dissociating himself from the rough undertones of this commentary reminds me privately that, contrary to Trump's disavowals, he implicitly endorses the use of violence against individuals. And my correspondent also reminds me that Trump is himself an individual, and far worse than disgusting.

  7. A question of law arises with respect to the current discussion:
        Would the act of removing a political figure from the scene be subject to different jurisdictions & indictments depending on the following distinctions of timing:
        1. Before the election (say, before November 8, 2016).
        2. Between November 8 and when the Electoral College formally votes.
        3. Between the Electoral College's vote and when the House of Representatives ratifies the vote.
        4. Between the House's ratification and the swearing in of the President.
        5. After the President is sworn in.

    I consulted an attorney, who provided the following information:
        1. A state in which a homicide occurs always has jurisdiction over the homicide. Most state courts are organized on a county by county basis so the court having jurisdiction would be the county court in the county in which the homicide occurs.
        2. The federal judicial district in which a federal crime is committed has jurisdiction over crimes that occur within its boundaries. However, federal court criminal jurisdiction is limited to violations of the federal - not state - criminal code.
        3. 18 U.S.C. 245, which deals with deprivation of civil rights, would probably apply to all five situations.
        4. 18 U.S.C. 351, which deals with candidates for the Presidency, would cover situation 1.
        5. 18 U.S.C. 175, which deals with the President or the President-elect, would cover situations 2 through 5.

  8. Apropos my mentioning Ian McEwan's novel Nutshell in a comment on Eric Meub's poem "Grades," the very next paragraph after the one I quoted from goes into fetal Hamlet's fantasy about avenging his cuckolded father:

    I begin to suspect that my helplessness is not transient. Grant me all the agency the human frame can bear, retrieve my young panther-self of sculpted muscle and long cold stare, direct him to the most extreme measure – killing his uncle to save his father. Put a weapon in his hand, a tyre wrench, a frozen leg of lamb, have him stand behind his uncle's chair, where he can see the antifreeze and be hotly incited. Ask yourself, could he – could I – do it, smash that hairy knob of bone and spill its grey contents across the squalor of the table? Then murder his mother as sole witness, dispose of two bodies in the basement kitchen, a task only achieved in dreams?

  9. For an hour this morning I seemed to be locked out of Facebook, and I began to imagine that my commenting on a Robert Reich telecast last evening (about the Electoral College's possibly rejecting Trump) that "The Electors might be let off the hook by Trump's compassionate assassination before Monday" had triggered my being black-balled as subversive. And I thought, wouldn't that be ironic - an individual nobody like me shut out for literary allusions to Trump's being removed from the scene because he's an existential threat, while Trump the billionaire incited violence in front of millions and became the anointed one?
        ...But I decided to reboot my iPhone, and after I did that I was able to access Facebook again....No irony, just paranoia.

  10. Some intriguing plot lines here, but does anyone like the idea of Mike Pence as president? Remember when we thought it couldn't be worse than having George W. Bush as president, well...what if it had been Dick Cheney? Maybe the real purpose of a vice president is to serve as a life insurance policy for the president?