Midshipmen meet the Moscovian candidate!


Moscow back on the Hudson:
On the front pages of major newspapers, this is a startling day.

Among the various remarkable items, the most remarkable might be this statement from the Trump transition team, as cited by the Washington Post:

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”

(Our italics; their statement.)

Absolutely nothing stops the apparent ridiculous lying. We say "apparent" because it isn't clear that people who are mentally ill can commit a lie. Their moral agency may be gone, and with it the logic of lying.

However we want to assess moral agency, absolutely nothing stops the barrage of crazy misstatements from the Trump campaign. On the other hand, we had the pleasure of encountering five midshipmen, as they are called, at a local coffee joint this morning.

The first two midshipmen were impressive young women, with whom we briefly chatted. Yes, they were in town for today's Army-Navy game.

"It's going to be cold," one of these young women said.

Not long after these upbeat young women arrived, three young men appeared on the scene, also in full Annapolis dress. For the record: Under the taxonomies which result from our nation's tragic and deranged history, four of these young people would be listed as "black." One would be listed as "white."

As we chatted with those young women, we marveled at the way the world just keeps producing such cheerful, impressive young people.

We might have compared them, in our minds, to our apparently crazy incoming president—or even to James B. Comey, who's cast in an ironic role in that Washington Post report.

(Even as he kept intruding on the White House campaign, Comey was apparently warning legislators about Moscow's unwanted intrusions. This pattern has obtained in the past.)

We could have made those comparisons. Instead, we couldn't help it! We found ourselves comparing those impressive young women to some of the work which emerged this week from the New York Times.

How does it happen? How does a world which produces such impressive young people end up with its greatest newspaper publishing cult-like accounts of international public school testing programs—even publishing this?

If you click that revealing link, you'll see the famous newspaper's selections for the ten best books of the year. The selections were made by the editors of the Times' weekly Book Review section.

Good lord! Live and direct from the puzzling Times, here's one of their (ten best) picks:
At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
By Sarah Bakewell

The author of the Montaigne biography “How to Live” has written another impressively lucid book, one that offers a joint portrait of the giants of existentialism and phenomenology: Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Jaspers, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and a half-dozen other European writers and philosophers. Around the early 1930s, the story divides between the characters who eventually come out more or less right, like Beauvoir, and the ones who come out wrong, like Heidegger. Some of Bakewell’s most exciting pages present engaged accounts of complex philosophies, even ones that finally repel her. And the biographical nuggets are irresistible; we learn, for example, that for months after trying mescaline, Sartre thought he was being followed by “lobster-like beings.”
Good lord! Even from the foppish Times, that's an amazing selection. Even more amazing is the claim that this book is "impressively lucid."

Impressively lucid? We're not sure we've ever read a book so comically incoherent. We spent perhaps six weeks this summer savoring this book's incoherence on a daily basis, right in that same coffee joint. A person could easily build a college course around its comically failed attempts to elucidate the "complex philosophies" with which it heroically struggles.

Briefly, let's be fair. As we noted in August, major newspapers around the world agreed to praise this book for its great lucidity.

We regard that as a remarkable fact. Presumably, only the Times would take the next step—would judge the lucidity to be so great that it had produced one of the five (5) best non-fiction books of the year.

Those young women today were impressive; the New York Times is not. That said, let's offer some words of praise for an earlier effort by the Times—for Dwight Garner's recent review of a different book.

We loved Garner's review; he had us at paragraph 6. He was reviewing a memoir by Marina Abramovic, who turns out to be one of our greatest performance artists. In paragraphs 6 and 7, this is what Garner said:
GARNER (11/2/16): I knew I was going to dislike Ms. Abramovic's memoir on Page 10. That's where she declares that, as a child growing up in postwar Yugoslavia, she didn't play with dolls or toys. Instead, she writes, in a passage that sets this book's tone of sleek, international, Bono-level pretentiousness, ''I preferred to play with the shadows of passing cars on the wall.''

A tolerance for a certain amount of pomposity is a prerequisite for keeping up with serious art; otherwise, you're always sitting at the short table and using the plastic cutlery. In ''Walk Through Walls,'' Ms. Abramovic pushes this tolerance to its limits.
Garner pens almost a thousand words about the pomposity he says he found in this book. Not having read the book, we can't exactly assess his assessment, despite his potent examples.

We'll suggest that Garner's review is worth reading if only for its entertainment value. Along the way—actually, in paragraph 5—we were struck by these revelations:
GARNER: Her career built to an intensely popular 2010 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. More than 750,000 people stood in line for a chance to perch across from Ms. Abramovic (James Franco came, as did Björk) and silently communicate with her as she sat unmoving for, all told, more than 700 hours. In her memoir, we learn there was a trapdoor into which she could surreptitiously urinate. She says she never used it.
Just this morning, we decided to check the way the New York Times covered that intensely popular 2010 retrospective.

Let's just say that the Times showered the retrospective with coverage, up to and including a full-length Home & Garden/On Location tour of the artist's star-shaped New Jersey home. As the retrospective neared its end, art critic Holland Carter looked back in gladness:
COTTER (5/31/10): At 5 p.m. Monday one of the longest pieces of performance art on record, and certainly the one with the largest audience, comes to an end. Since her retrospective opened at the Museum of Modern Art on March 14, the artist Marina Abramovic has been sitting, six days a week, seven hours a day in a plain chair, under bright klieg lights, in MoMA's towering atrium. When she leaves that chair Monday for the last time, she will have clocked 700 hours of sitting.

During that time her routine seldom varied. Every day she took her place just before the museum doors opened and left it after they closed. Her wardrobe was consistent: a sort of concert gown with a long train, in one of three colors (red, blue and white).

Always her hair, in a braided plait, was pulled forward over her left shoulder. Always her skin was an odd pasty white, as if the blood had drained away. Her pose rarely changed: her body slightly bent forward, she stared silently and intently straight ahead.

There was one variable, a big one: her audience.

Visitors to the museum were invited, first come first served, to sit in a chair facing her and silently return her gaze. The chair has rarely, if ever, been empty. Close to 1,400 people have occupied it, some for only a minute or two, a few for an entire day.

Sitting with Ms. Abramovic has been the hot event of the spring art season. Celebrities—Bjork, Marisa Tomei, Isabella Rossellini, Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright—did a stint. Young performance artists seized a moment in the limelight. One appeared in his own version of an Abramovic gown to propose marriage. Certain repeat sitters became mini-celebrities, though long-time waiters on line stared daggers at those who sat too long.
Those young performance artists today! Eventually, Cotter mentioned the nudity which had formed a large part of the months-long hubbub. (This included the nudity in Abramovic's restaging of "Imponderabilia," her nudity-driven 1976 hit.)

This time around, the nudity proved exciting. In this piece from April 2010, the Times had reported all the inappropriate touching which marked, or perhaps even marred, this otherwise fine retrospective. This taxonomy included "the gropers" and "the stalkerish types," but also the many felt erections, along with "a leader of a tour group unaffiliated with the museum [who] pointed to a female performer's abdomen and loudly (and incorrectly) identified a scar as 'from a Cesarean.' "

Apparently, high art can be like that. Who let that tour bus in?

When we read Garner's review, we saw it as a window into the foppish world of the New York Times, as a window on the intellectual horizons which helped enable Donald J. Trump. We also saw it as a window into the world of our own easily tea-bagged, ineffectually anti-Trump tribe.

Garner said good-bye to all that high art in his unpleasant review. On the other hand, the Times is now publishing Amanda Ripley's cultish, data-disappearing work—she and the Times now seem to be official Timss deniers—and it's picking Bakewell's "impressively lucid," comical book as one of the year's ten best.

It's a hard thing for us the people to see, but the Times is a very dumb newspaper. Its frameworks are generated within a deeply dumb, foppish subculture.

As recently as July 4, as part of a lengthy front-page report, this ridiculous newspaper couldn't bring itself to ask if Donald J. Trump had simply lied about sending investigators to Hawaii to probe Barack Obama's birth. The wages of this conduct are plain. Even last night, in the face of chastening news, the transition team couldn't be bothered to drop its absurd misstatements.

This morning, we spoke with two upbeat, bright, impressive young women. How do you get from them to the Times, we incomparably asked.

College football update: Inevitably, Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings say that Pacific-12 power and might have prevailed again this year.

Ignore what Tony and Michael say; you can check the numbers yourself. Warning! You'll have to average two pairs of numbers.

To do so, just click here.


  1. It is easy to be impressive while doing nothing more than ordering coffee and chatting. Unless one of those young women did the Heimlich maneuver, it is hard to see how Somerby knew they were impressive. Maybe he cannot resist a young woman in a uniform.

    Then he castigates the stupidity of elite culture, after telling us we are not permitted to castigate the stupidity of the working classes, even though it brought us Trump. Those performance artists and non-fiction authors did nothing worse than write in a non-lucid manner, while the stupid working classes gave us an incompetent, crazy President, but mustn't criticize or they may never become Democrats!

    Football is the biggest stupidity. Young men deliberately incur injuries that will give them brain damage, knee and back problems that they will complain about for the rest of their shortened lives, for a score that is important mostly to professional gamblers and those who think a sports victory enhances their own identity. Testosterone rises among those supporting the victorious team, but there are easier ways to get the same effect, guys.

    1. Perhaps a viewing of "It's a Wonderful Life" will brighten your spirits.

    2. Dwight Eisenhower was an outstanding football player at West Point, until he injured his knee. It was weak for the rest of his life.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. America has usually preferred the images of marketing over substance. Your "impressive" young military people are probably rubes, not that there is anything wrong with that!

    1. In the past, being geographically distant from centers of culture and knowledge was a reasonable excuse for being a rube. With the internet and other media, there is no longer any excuse for remaining ignorant. It is now fair to assume that if a person is ignorant, it is because they have chosen to be, have not put in the effort to educate themselves. There is something wrong with failure to keep up with what is going on in the world, beyond Facebook and TMZ. The word "impressive" and "rube" do not belong in the same sentence. If a young person did not perform well in the classroom at West Point or Annapolis, he or she would be kicked out of school. Even the military wants its members to be educated and not remain rubbish once they have put on the uniform.

    2. autocorrect made rube-ish into rubbish.

    3. Nothing more fun than watching people beclown themselves pretending to be educated on a subject they actually know nothing about. None of you have the faintest clue what is demanded of those chosen to attend a military academy.

      As for Trump's tweets; he is just repeatedly showing America just how totally lacking in self awareness and sense of humor liberals are. He is yanking your chain and you dutifully respond with over the top faux outrage and big heapings of self righteous smugness.

  3. This article is dedicated to the Doctor Osemu Okpamen. I have been married with my wife for 5 years and recently she broke up with me and it hurt me deeply when she told me to leave her alone and that she does not love me anymore when i was always faithful and honest to her. I tried all the ways to get her back buying her what she wants like i always did and she still left me heart broken and she even has a new boyfriend which destroyed me even more until a friend of mine from high school directed me to this genuine spell Doctor called Osemu Okpamen. This man changed my life completely. I followed everything he told me to do and my wife came back begging for me back. I had faith in everything he told me. Also he was there every moment until i got my happiness back and he also provides spells that cures impotence, bareness, diseases such as HIV/AID E.T.C. You can contact him via email at { Doctorokpamenspelltemple@yahoo.com } or call me for more info +1 (914)-517-3229.

  4. Tillerman and Trump want to go ahead with an Exxon deal with Russian worth $500 billion that has been blocked by US sanctions over Ukraine. That's what is in this for Putin and Russia.

    The Electoral College needs to block Trump's election. It is the last chance to prevent the mess that will occur if he actually takes office. Either that, or Congress must authorize another election. SNL joking aside, we cannot be governed by this guy.

    1. If only he had just sold 2/3 of the US reserves of Uranium to the Russians, that they are now using to upgrade and expand their nuclear arsenal. Then he would be highly qualified to be President.

    2. If only he had just sold 2/3 of the US reserves of Uranium to the Russians, that they are now using to upgrade and expand their nuclear arsenal. Then he would be highly qualified to be President.

  5. One thing I hated about myself was I easily accept defeats so as to make peace and please people even when there are wrong. I had no idea that being people pleaser can affect my marriage in a negative way.
    When I caught my Husband cheating with a familiar lady, I made a face of defeat and ignored his actions hoping he will change.
    But I was shocked as he keep expanding his coast, using my weakness against me because I could easily forgive.
    It was already unbearable and too late to restore my marriage when I met Dr.Wakina for help a month after my husband brought a lady to our home and ordered me to leave if I can’t cope. Isn’t that crazy?
    The lady did everything possible to make me feel uncomfortable and later succeeded when I left home with our 19month old daughter but she never knew I went to seek for a permanent solution to our marital mishap and to my people pleaser problem even dough I pretty much can’t stop thinking of my Husband while Dr. Wakina was casting the spell on us.
    The result was actualized when he came crying to take us back, promising and proving at the same time he has changed, not only that, I realized I’ve gain total confidence on my decisions and stopped pleasing people when not necessary.
    “Dr. Wakina is indeed awesome and genuine” according to my Husband who pleaded to people undergoing relationship or marital problems to email Dr. Wakina for total restoration without any negative repercussions via dr.wakinalovetemple@gmail.com

  6. , I was diagnosed of herpes virus, I have tried all possible means to get cure but all my effort proved abortive, until a friend of mine introduced me to a herbal doctor called Dr Agaba, who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including herpes virus (Herpes), when i contacted this herbal doctor via email, he sent me herpes virus herbal medicine via courier service, when i received the herbal medicine he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed i was totally cured from the virus within 3 weeks of usage. Contact this great herbal doctor today to get your cure. 
    Via Email: Dragabasolutionhome@gmail.com or WhatApp: +2349074536486