Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Caton
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brandon Collins
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Carson M. Lamb
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Parker
  • David Roberts
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana
  • Diane Rooks
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Donnie Register
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Dorothy Ann Boyd-Bragg
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • Dr. Ravi Batra
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Carroll
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Henry Foresman
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • J.J. Hayden
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jaz Brisack
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jeffry Scott
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Allen
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • JL Strickland
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John Hickman with Sarah Bartlett
  • John Huie
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Jonathan Odell
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julian Riggs Smith
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Katherine A. Edmonds
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Ken Hawkins
  • Ken Peacock
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Leon Galis
  • Leonce Gaiter
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Crew Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Blakely
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Bailey
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Pat Norman
  • Patrick Andendall
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Buchheit
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philecta Clarke Staton
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • Polly
  • R S
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Ric Latarski
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Allen
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert E Hunt Jr
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Sean Manion
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Stephen Wingeier
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr




  • Writer Login


    power of truth

    The Cure for Trump

    by | 2 | Nov 4, 2016

    Crowd of people

    How did we get here? How did we end up with a lunatic Republican presidential nominee, an eminently unlikeable Democratic nominee and a middle class apparently unwilling to impose its political will on this American Republic as we stagger toward an election like honey bees in a dying hive?

    Low Dishonest Decades by George ScialabbaOur version of colony collapse disorder has been perfectly diagnosed in Low Dishonest Decades, the new book by George Scialabba. A Harvard graduate who worked 35 years as a building manager at his alma mater, Scialabba has written some 400 essays and book reviews previously published in The Village Voice, The Nation and The Boston Globe, among others. And in this latest collection of his work, he does not stop with a mere diagnosis. He offers at least a hope for a cure.

    Scialabba’s fourth collection of essays, just released by Pressed Wafer in Brooklyn, NY, reminds us of the power and beauty of an artist working at the highest level. And of the importance of the critic-essayist in the battle for the idea of America. The essays collected here wind through one’s consciousness like a river — still, deep, at times dangerous.

    The book takes its name from a W.H. Auden poem, September 1, 1939 – “As the clever hopes expire/Of a low dishonest decade:” — written on the day Nazi Germany invaded Poland, setting off World War II.

    This most recent collection of Scialabba’s essays cover almost four “low dishonest” decades, providing insight into American politics and culture from 1980-2015. He plumbs the depths of American thought from the likes of Robert Dahl, Morris Berman, Walter Karp, Thomas Frank, Charles Krauthammer, Noam Chomsky and Steve Fraser, among others. And while these essays were written as book reviews, Scialabba brings to them a power all his own, beyond the reviewed work.

    He believes that our experimental republic was conceived to release the force of humanity by means of liberty and cooperation, not to serve a market manipulated for the benefit of the few. Historian and author Rick Perlstein writes in the foreword:

    “(Scialabba) believes that achieving freedom, whatever the generals on CNN and the editorialists of The Wall Street Journal say, is a function neither of American arms nor of the sacred workings of the laws of supply and demand but is achieved by human beings exercising their reason, autonomously, from the ground up.”

    Exercising that reason may be more difficult than one would imagine. In “Decline and Fall,” Scialabba recounts these facts:

    “Fifty percent (of Americans) believe the earth has been visited by UFOs; in another poll, seventy percent believed that the US government is covering up the presence of space aliens on earth. Forty percent did not know whom the US fought in World War II. Forty percent could not locate Japan on a world map. Sixty percent of Americans have not read a book since leaving school…the average American’s day includes six minutes playing sports, five minutes reading books, one minute making music, thirty seconds attending a play or concert, twenty-five seconds making or viewing art and four hours watching television…(in the late 1990s) Sixty percent (of high school students) could name each of the Three Stooges but not the three branches of the US government.”

    So it should not come as a surprise that,

    “The central electoral phenomenon of the last thirty-five years has been the movement of working-class and lower-middle-class voters from the Democratic to the Republican Party…“To none of them, however, does it ever seem to occur that untrammeled capitalism may not ultimately be conducive to Godliness, tradition, and community.” That deregulation and corporate behemoths are “laying waste the small-town culture that conservatives claim to cherish.”

    Scialabba writes in “Where Has Our Virtue Gone?” of

    “the long-term undermining of popular sovereignty of organized money over an atomized, impotent populace. Like the market, the American political system (though not those who actually staff it) commands considerable public legitimacy, even while generating inequality, cynicism and apathy.”

    It is easy enough for one to understand how the rich explain away the plight of the politically powerless poor. If one assumes that “The Market” is the country’s guiding principle, then the poor may be written off as simply an unsound investment, unable to repay the “debt.” But the middle class, with its vast potential economic and political power, is another matter. How is it that in large pockets of America the middle class is so easy to control. The middle class pays the lion’s share of taxes, comprises the great majority of the population, and should set the political agenda. The only answer available is that the “One Percenters” expend tremendous capital – financial and intellectual – planning and funding a program designed to retain power to limit use of the country’s resources exclusively for their benefit.

    All this brings to mind Hunter S. Thompson’s stated desire to claw out Norman Luboff’s private parts with a plastic fork. Perhaps the Koch brothers and their ilk should receive the same treatment … figuratively, of course. Or maybe they should be shipped to the Middle East instead of our young, lower-income citizens, to fight for their own damn oil money.

    Scialabba believes something must be done as well, but he appears much too civilized to employ such methods. Consider this from “After the Market”:

    “The responsibility of intellectuals includes not only ‘a ruthless criticism of all things existing’ (Marx), which is what most people on the left are usually occupied with, but also the imagination of alternatives. For if certain institutions or social relations, however apparently undesirable, are necessities of nature, then there is not much point in criticizing them, whether ruthlessly or ruefully. If no plausible alternative can be imagined, then all criticism can do is to show that some practice is incompatible with traditions worth conserving or values worth realizing. This is an important thing to show, but it can lead only to reasoned acquiescence or unreasoning hope, not to action.”

    And here we come to the lone disappointment in Low Dishonest Decades. Scialabba, while spending time with the utopian ideas of authors Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, does not stick with the subject long enough. Albert and Hahnel’s work is outlined – more creative work for citizens and more efficient use of resources — pointing out that their vision of an egalitarian society would not require a massive overhaul of human nature. But one is left wanting more about the development and implementation of such ideas. More substance might make the cure a bit easier to swallow, a fact about which Scialabba seems cognizant:

    “By now these two have become like theoretical mosquitoes in the darkened room of the American left. Only the most slumberous or strong-willed can ignore their buzzing and get to sleep; the rest of us will have to turn on the light and chase them around for a while.”

    Low Dishonest Decades is a beautiful and important work, built during 35 years of caring and diligence. The collection as a whole and the essays individually convey complex ideas in a straightforward way. And through the difficult work of education, openness and the writer’s craft, Scialabba has succeeded in, as the late Alabama Gov. and presidential candidate George C. Wallace was quoted as saying, putting the “hay down where the goats can get it.” Sadly, 44 years later the only difference between a Southern segregationist fringe candidate and a New York City huckster presidential nominee appears to be folksy terminology. This 2016 presidential election, at the least, serves as a call to vigilance for the sake of our republic, emphasizing the importance of the work Scialabba has done.

    My favorite lines from September 1, 1939 are:

    “There is no such thing as the
    State/And no one exists alone;
    Hunger allows no choice
    To the citizens or the police;
    We must love one another or die.”

    There, as one critic has written, the poem becomes an inspiration, “a call to speak out in hope for justice and brotherhood.” And, of course, Low Dishonest Decades in its honesty and elegance does the same.

    Make no mistake, possession of a gift such as Scialabba’s, and the willingness to throw everything into its execution, is a lonely pursuit. It requires near-boundless optimism. At his core, Scialabba believes in people. One is reminded of Henry George, author of Progress and Poverty, and of this quotation from late in his life:

    “The truth that I have tried to make clear will not find an easy acceptance. If that could be, it would have been accepted long ago. If that could be, it would never have been obscured. But it will find friends — those who will toil for it; suffer for it; if need be, die for it. This is the power of truth.”

    Save

    ###
    • Editor's note: this story first appeared at AL.com.   Image: the feature image is by SergeyIT and was licensed by LikeTheDew.com at iStockPhoto.com using contributions from people just like you only a skosh more generous; the illustration of George Scialabba is by Joesph Ciardiello via The Baffler (promo/fair use).

     

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

     

    Creative Commons License

    This work by LikeTheDew.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
    • David B. Evans

      Thank you, Mr Caton, for this great essay. You wrote a first-class commentary.

    • Since you mentioned polling, perhaps you will enjoy the Polling Errors discussion I posted today.

  • Worthy of Comment






  • Bruce Springsteen Sings "Robert Mueller's Comin' to Town"



  • Come Back, Barack - SNL



  • Indivisible at One

    Green Day - Back In The USA



  • The Most Honest Three Minutes
    In Television History


  •  
     
     
  • %d bloggers like this: