Which middle of which night

The effort to be rational, logical, and consistent, to communicate “normally,” spits out rants, ravings, fragments, unstable thought elements with fleeting half-lives or no lives at all, on its other side.

It’s impossible to write one thing without at the same time writing another thing, whether that other thing is written down and collected or not.  The other thing or non-thing consists of everything that the first thing causes but can’t contain, whose exclusion defines the first thing – what wanted to be part of the first thing, but wasn’t on the list.  In the middle of the night, whether alone or in the middle of the late night party itself, we see that all of the clean, pretty, sexy, fashionable, rich subjects on the inside are less interesting, due to their predictable perfection, than the insulted and injured whom our bouncers sent on their way.  At around that point the criteria we confidently employ for including some and excluding the rest seem like the real subject and the real problem, and we come to believe that if we ourselves were better somehow, we would know how to make better choices, and put on a more interesting, unpredictable, varied, and inclusive “event,” and this question parallels the same “societal question” about why Always Taught gets to study in the East with the real dudes, and sexy young well-to-do Yoga students way out of my league will just get sexier and further out of my league through their attendance at Scott’s classes, even as RepubliCorp takes back the House, and the world goes to Hell.

The very fact that the insulted and injured are not included or collected in our thing raises them above us, just as their exclusion gives the lie to our notion that we are so much more inclusive than anyone else.  Yet the effort to expand the guest list, to set up a new event that includes the wrong whom we wronged, still sooner or later relies on a new rule whose working is more likely to disappoint to the very same extent it was merely imagined to be better.  The frustration can lead us back, sooner or later, to the earlier rule, with renewed concentration and determination.  Next time, the bouncers won’t just tell the losers to go away, they’ll give an extra shove, and someone may end up getting hurt.

Maybe our sensitivity in this matter is a main reason we’re not on the lists that in the middle of other nights we wish held our names.  Determining whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing may depend completely on which night you’re asking.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

3 comments on “Which middle of which night

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  1. This becomes a description of yoga with a few changes:
    “It’s impossible to (do) one thing without at the same time (doing) another thing, whether that other thing is (recognized and consciously experienced) or not. The other thing or non-thing consists of everything that the first thing causes but can’t contain, whose exclusion defines the first thing – what wanted to be part of the first thing, but wasn’t able to (join the party).

  2. Haven’t really known how to respond to this – kind of like listening to sombody talk on a cell phone on a bus – simulataneously on the verge of cognitive shock just being on the bus, listening, not listening and trying to pay attention to how close my stop is. Maybe part of it, is for me, a crowd is 2 other people in the room.

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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