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Happy Burns Night: Here’s a documentary on the People’s Poet Rabbie Burns
01.25.2013
06:18 pm

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Today is Robert Burns’ birthday, and across the world traditional suppers are held to celebrate the life and poetry of Scotland’s national Bard.

I have never been one for those couthy ritualistic gatherings, where toasts are given to the lads and lassies, and where some elder with a tartan to match his face, gives an address to the haggis. For me these suppers have little to do with Burns the man and poet, who could write such beauty as:

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom
is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white - then melts
for ever;

Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;

Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. -

Nae man can tether time or tide;

No, I prefer to see Robert Burns as great poet, a revolutionary, a socialist, an egalitarian, who believed ‘a man’s a man for a’ that’ and wrote to inspire a better world:

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

That man to man, the world o’er,

Shall brithers be for a’ that.

Burns’ idealism was often compromised by the financial demands of his everyday life - and what a life. A poet, a ploughman, a lover, a drinker, a revolutionary, a government lackey, a hero, a destitute. As Andrew O’Hagan points out in this excellent documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet, Burns was the equivalent of a rock star in his day, a writer of songs (“Auld Lang Syne”, “Ae Fond Kiss”, “My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose”, “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye”) and poems (“Tam O’Shanter”, “Holy Wuillie’s Prayer”, “To A Mouse”, “Cock Up Your Beaver”) that enchanted a nation and the world.

It was his ability to touch the heart and mind of his readers and to make them empathize with his subject matter, whether this was love, revolution in France or simply a mouse:

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,

Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

He was idolized by the public, and was a hero and inspiration to the likes of Beethoven and Byron. At a time of great oppression he spoke out against slavery, inequality, and poverty. Burns wanted liberty and fairness for all. Yet he died in poverty, hounded by creditors, and near-broken as a man.

That Rabbie Burns is still read, performed and celebrated 200 years after his death, says all about his importance as a poet and the relevance of his belief for a better world, where all are equal and share the common wealth.

O’Hagan’s documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet is no hagiography, but controversially questions many of the assumptions made about this radical poet, and examines the incredible dramatic and often tragic circumstances of his life.

A selection of Burns poems read by the likes of Brian Cox, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming.

Portrait of Burns by Calum Colvin.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Charles Bukowski tells his worst hangover story: ‘The strangest thing just happened…’
01.18.2013
12:26 pm

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It involves a lot of cheap wine, puking and… well, I don’t want to spoil it, I’ll just let him tell it.
 

 
Via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Future Now’: A brilliant portrait of novelist J. G. Ballard, from 1986
12.20.2012
06:39 pm

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Writers need stability to nurture their talent and unfetter their imagination. Too much chaos dilutes the talent and diminishes the productivity. Writers like Norman Mailer squandered too much time and effort on making his life the story - when in fact he should have been writing it. J. G. Ballard was well aware of this, and he had the quiet certainty of a 3-bed, des res, with shaded garden and off-street parking at front. Yet, Ballard’s seeming conformity to a middle class idyll appeared to astound so many critics, commentators, journalists, whatevers, who all failed to appreciate a true writer’s life is one of lonely, unrelenting sedentary toil, working at a desk 9-5, or however long - otherwise the imagination can not fly.

That’s why I have always found suburbs far more interesting places than those anonymous urban centers. Cities are about mass events - demonstrations, revolution, massacre, war, shared public experience. Suburbia is about the repressed forces of individual action. It’s where the murders are planned, the orgies enjoyed, the drugs devoured, the imagination inspired. Suburbia is where dysfunction is normalized.

And J. G. Ballard was very aware of this.

Future Now is a documentary interview with J G Ballard, made in 1986 not long after he had achieved international success with his faux-biographical novel Empire of the Sun. Opening with a brief tour of his Shepperton home, Ballard gives an excellent and incisive interview, which only reminds what we have lost.

Simon Sellars and Dan O’Hara have edited together a brilliant collection of interviews and conversations with J G Ballard 1967-2008, in one volume called Extreme Metaphors, which is a must-have for anyone with an interest in Ballard.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Postcards from J. G. Ballard


 
With thanks to Richard!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Riffing on Bob Dylan’s ‘Blonde on Blonde’: Rainy day women, Leonard Cohen and the Old Testament?
12.03.2012
08:46 am

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I recently found myself wondering–as you do–what, exactly, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” was all about. Precluding, that is, getting high (Dylan: “I never have and never will write a drug song”). My curiosity led me to the following observation by Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin, who observed that the title seems to allude to the following beauty from the Book of Proverbs (chapter 27, verse 15): “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” (Well if that ain’t the Old Testament’s lightest moment!?) Heylin suggests the title was meant to throw off the censors. Better yet, though: a continual dropping: stoning! “Everybody must get stoned”: Every man (the ones that shack up with women anyhow) must get nagged. The “They” being none other than (Rainy Day) “women.”

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
and they’ll stone when you’re playing your guitar

It all comes into focus when you picture a henpecked hubby– even, I fancy, “sent down in your grave,” which suggests the dirt dropped on hubby’s coffin lid by the surviving widow.

While Heylin’s sourcing of the title in Proverbs arguably seals the deal, it turns out plenty of sharper-eared listeners have long held this interpretation of the song (fair enough: it’s hidden in plain sight), and I found it suggested online that the “#12 & 35” element coincides with a woman’s peak fertility. “A continual dropping in a rainy day…” The song’s about PMT!

Having finally sussed “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (it’ll do me!), I moved on to the similarly enigmatic Blonde on Blonde classic “Just Like Woman.” Immediately, of course, we find ourselves assailed by a further “continual dropping” (Bob’s standing “inside the rain,” no less), but – as I chewed again on the song’s famous words – light was shed in an unexpected and entirely different direction…

Does the following verse of “Just Like a Woman” remind you of another famous song at all?

Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls.

How about Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”?

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

And if you’re still not convinced that Cohen is here (Dylan’s “new clothes” suggesting “no clothes,” after all) paying subtle tribute to the source of his song’s indelible refrain, remind yourself of the following verse also…

And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

Which is a stunningly imaginative way to recycle Dylan’s rhyme. Those guys eh!

Finally, here’s Al “right place/time/riff” Kooper specifically reminiscing about recording Blonde on Blonde in Nashville, describing his role as a “human tape recorder” who would go learn Bob’s emerging songs and then go prepare the musicians (sketching the odd arrangement too, by the sound of it).
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Pioneering underground comic artist Spain Rodriguez has died
12.03.2012
03:03 am

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Very sad news: Underground comic pioneer Spain Rodriguez has died at the age of 72. Cause of death was cancer.

Along with R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez was among the handful of comic artists that I gave a shit about. I didn’t read comics as a child, but in my teens I couldn’t get enough of Zap Comix and virtually anything published by the Print Mint in Berkeley. I remember discovering Rodriguez’s work in the East Village Other when I first visited NYC in 1968. His anti-fascist, Marxist super hero Trashman was the first counter-culture comic strip I recall reading. My 17-year-old brain was scrambled by the idea that comic books could be so overtly subversive and dangerous. This was pop culture for a new consciousness. The images and messages were as indelible as the ink they were printed with.

It’s close to impossible for me to find the words to express how important Crumb, Wilson, Rodriquez and Bill Griffith were in helping to alter the ways in which teenyboppers like myself viewed the world. To say they were “mind-opening” is an understatement. Zap, Snatch, Despair, Big Ass were an assault on every wall built up around every taboo that any young hipster might be grappling with. Honeybunch Kaminski, The Checkered Demon, The Furry Freak Brothers, Zippy and Trashman shattered the status quo and the societal hangups that oppressed us. One of the most disreputable art forms was actually pretty fucking profound.

Yeah, some of us were actually liberated by comic books and mad geniuses like Spain Rodriguez. Devouring a new issue of Zap while sitting on a bench in Golden Gate Park was like receiving an affirmation from the comic book Gods that all my twisted little thoughts weren’t so unnatural and uncommon. I was not alone. There were others out there like me who thought the unthinkable and wrote about it and drew pictures of it and sent it out into the world for no other reason than to declare that it was all okay. And by making it okay, we could all move on to the real shit of changing the fucking world.

Here’s Spain discussing his book Che: A Graphic Biography, which was published in 2008. 
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘The Street of Crocodiles’: Bruno Schulz was murdered 70 years ago this week
11.21.2012
07:52 pm

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That he was a genius was undeniable. Even from the little of his work that has survived it can be seen that artist and writer, Bruno Schulz was a genius. He was born in the small town of Drohobycz in 1892, which was then part of Galicia, a province of Austro-Hungary. Schulz lived a quiet, seemingy ordinary life - he taught art classes during the day, and by night dedicated himself to his writing and art.

His first exhibition was held in Warsaw in 1922. By the end of the decade he was writing the stories which would bring him fame, and would lead to the publication of his book The Street of Crocodiles in 1933. By 1938, Schulz was well on his way to becoming an internationally respected author.

This all changed with the Second World War, when Germany invaded Drohobycz in 1941. Recognizing that his life was in severe danger, Schulz began to send as much of his writing and art to his gentile friends across Europe. This included a hand-written copy his unpublished magnum opus The Messiah (allegedly sent to Thomas Mann), the manuscript for which has never been found.

Being Jewish, Schulz was placed under arrest, and was to be sentenced to a work camp or executed. Because of his artistic talents, Schulz was favored by the brutal Gestapo officer, Felix Landau, who was in charge of the extermination of Galician Jews. Landau admired Schulz’s talents, and as he was also in charge of the Jewish labor programs, had Schulz decorate his apartment, painting murals on his son’s nursery room. This position allowed Schultz certain privileges and some protection. It also gave him time to think and plan his escape.

On November 19th 1942, Schulz was walking through the Aryan District to his home in the Jewish ghetto. He walked past the labor exchange at 44 Mickiewicz Street, where the previous year Landau had rounded up 350 Jews and executed them in cold blood. As Schulz reached the corner of Czacki street, leading to the entrance of the ghetto, he was stopped by Gestapo officer, Karl Günther. Günther smiled, placed his Luger against Schulz’s temple, and shot him twice in the head, killing himself instantly.

Günther later told Landau he did it as an act of retaliation, ‘You killed my Jew - I killed yours.’

Today, all we have left of Schulz’ work are his drawings, letters, a handful of short stories, and the novels (or connected stories) The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. Schulz’s work is beautiful, poetic, dream-like and mythic, and has been described as producing ‘the metaphysical feeling of the strangeness of existence.’ In 1986, the Brothers Quay made their classic stop-motion animation interpretation of The Street of Crocodiles, which compliments Schulz’s tales, rather than gives a literal interpretation.
 

 
Bonus documentary on Bruno Schulz, aftter the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Poetry performance at its… *best*
11.19.2012
04:08 pm

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British funnyman Robert Popper tweeted this clip a moment ago and watching it, I collapsed into a puddle of helpless laughter.

I’m not sure that’s exactly the response that the over-earnest performer, Mário Attab, wanted to stir in his audience, but at least I did feel something deeply, right? Right!
 

 
Here’s Mário’s take on Wordsworth’s “Character of the Happy Warrior,” which is even better, as if that’s even possible:
 

 
Follow Robert Popper on Twitter

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Whaur Extremes Meet’: A Portrait of the poet Hugh MacDiarmid
11.14.2012
07:48 pm

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When Hugh MacDiarmid died in 1978, his fellow poet Norman MacCaig suggested Scotland commemorate the great man’s passing by holding 3 minute’s pandemonium. It was typical of MacCaig’s caustic wit, but his suggestion did capture something of the unquantifiable enormity of MacDiarmid’s importance on Scottish culture, politics, literature and life during the twentieth century.

Hugh MacDiarmid is perhaps best described by a line from his greatest poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926), in which he wrote:

‘I’ll ha’e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur
Extremes meet - it’s the only way I ken
To dodge the curst conceit o’ bein’ richt
That damns the vast majority o’ men.

It explains the contradictory elements that merged to make him a poet.

Born Christopher Murray Grieve, on August 11, 1892, he changed his name to the more Scottish sounding Hugh MacDiarmid to publish his poetry. He was a Modernist poet who wrote in Scots vernacular. One might expect this choice of language to make his poetry parochial, but MacDiarmid was a poet of international ambition and standing, who was recognized as an equal with T. S. Eliot, Boris Pasternak and W. H. Auden.

In politics, MacDiarmid had been one of the co-founder’s of the National Party for Scotland in 1928, but was ejected when he moved towards Communism. He was then ejected from the Communist Party for his “nationalist deviation.” He maintained a Nationalist - in favor of an independent Scotland - and a Communist throughout his life.

As literature scholar and writer Kenneth Butlay notes, MacDiarmid was:

..as incensed by his countrymen’s neglect of their native traditions as by their abrogation of responsibility for their own affairs, and he took it upon himself to “keep up perpetually a sort of Berseker rage” of protest, and to act as “the catfish that vitalizes the other torpid of the aquarium.”

 
In 1964, the experimental film-maker Margaret Tait made short documentary portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid, which captured the poet at home in Langholme, his sense of childish fun, his socializing his the bars and public houses of Edinburgh (the Abbotsford on Rose Street).
 

 
More on Hugh MacDiarmid, plus poetry and reading, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Rockaby’: Billie Whitelaw stars in Samuel Beckett’s play
11.09.2012
07:44 pm

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Billie Whitelaw stars in Samuel Beckett’s one-woman play Rockaby, which was written in 1980 at the request of Daniel Labeille, to tie-in with a festival and symposium celebrating Beckett’s 75th birthday.

The play focuses on a woman (W),who contemplates her life, and the loss of the things she had been unable to do, leaving her gently, slowly, to her own lonely demise.

““went and sat/at her window/facing other windows/so in the end/close of a long day/in the end went and sat/went back in and sat/at her window”

The play uses repetition, in a similar way a lullaby uses it to comfort a child, but here its purpose is to underscore Beckett’s view of the terrible loneliness and emptiness of the human condition. W searches for some positive affirmation of her life - “a little like.” The chair rocks in time with the words, as if its movement comforts and maintains her life. A dark, and many layered play, that rewards with a second viewing.

As for Whitelaw, she is, as always in Beckett’s plays, perfect.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Why I’m Voting to Re-Elect President Obama’
11.05.2012
03:58 pm

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There is no doubt in my mind that the single best writer covering the 2012 election, numero uno, is Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce. I admire Pierce’s insight, his craft and the fact that he actually has a deep knowledge of 20th century history and politics.

He’s also hilarious. Real bust-a-gut, laugh out loud funny with tears running down your face stuff. There was really no competition this year, I don’t think, for the best writing on politics, although I rate The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and Salon’s Alex Pareene very highly, also. But when it comes to the writing, Charles P. Pierce is, I think by far, the finest political prose stylist in American life, in a rarefied class with Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce, Gore Vidal before he became a crank and Hunter S. Thompson before his brain got soft.

I don’t hesitate to make that claim for Charles Pierce’s writing, read him for just a week and I’m sure you’ll agree. I find myself in awe of his talents on pretty much a daily basis. No one has him beat for creative ways of calling idiots idiots and I love him for it. I only wish I could write as well as he can. For his coverage of the 2012 election, the guy deserves not only a Pulitzer prize and a lucrative new book contract, but his own TV show. He’s my dream guest to see on Moyers & Company.

Reading Charles P. Pierce is a privilege. Pierce wrote the best piece, bar none, on the reason to vote for Barack Obama tomorrow. Reposting it here in its entirety, since it doesn’t lend itself to an easy exceprt. I hope he won’t mind.

To sum it up, the most compelling reason to vote for Obama has got less to do with Obama himself or his record and everything to do with making sure Mitt Romney and his fellow passengers in the Republican clown car don’t get the keys to the White House

Because I am going to be in Florida on Election Day, I am voting this morning here in the Commonwealth (God save it!). There is only one vote that I am casting with any measurable amount of enthusiasm. That is the vote I am casting for Elizabeth Warren to be my next United States senator. This enthusiasm is based not solely in my personal affection for her, nor solely in my admiration for the things she’s already accomplished, nor solely as a reaction against the unnecessarily crude and boorish campaign waged against her by incumbent Senator Scott Brown, nor solely even in the fact that I think this race is still agonizingly close and that I think Warren has it in her to be a great United States senator on behalf of many of the issues that I think are important to the country. The enthusiasm derives from the fact that, when she was asked in a debate what her policy would be toward our groaning (and increasingly futile) military adventure in Afghanistan, she answered quickly and simply. Out. Now.

I am also going to vote for Barack Obama. Without enthusiasm. And without a sliver of a doubt in my mind.

To be fair, this won’t be the most unenthusiastic presidential vote I ever have cast. The prize for that one remains Jimmy Carter in 1976. I spent a year chasing that grinning peanut-farmer around the country on behalf of Mo Udall’s campaign, organizing in the field in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, until the money ran out. All we did was finish second, over and over again. Hell, we finished second to him by an eyelash in Michigan after Mo had dropped out. Voting for Carter that fall was like draining my own blood with a turkey baster. I wasn’t particularly ginned-up over Mondale in 1984, either. Neither did Bill Clinton make my lights shine either time he ran. And, to be perfectly honest, the only real enthusiasm I felt for this year’s incumbent in 2008 came largely from being around people who were so transported by the idea of him. That and the fact that George W. Bush no longer would have anything to screw up.

However, I am casting my vote for him (again) because of something that Dr. Jill Stein said the other night on TV, when she was being interviewed in the wake of that third-party candidates debate that Larry King hosted. I’ve known Jill socially for some time, and I admire her, and I agree with her on a marginally greater percentage of the issues than I do with the president. I think a lot of the snark aimed her way is unjustified. She’s not responsible for the wankerific fantasies of renegade “progressives.” I do not, however, think she is any more likely to become president — or any more qualified to be president — than I am. For example, I take a back seat to nobody in my scorn for the president’s apparent naïvete concerning the virulent nature of his political opposition. But, listening to Stein talk about the glories of the “Green New Deal” she’s going to pass through a Congress that is unlikely to differ much one way or the other from the one we have now, well, that makes Barack Obama sound like Huey Long. Still, I thought long and hard about tossing her my vote, because I live in the bluest of blue states, and I felt that, in casting my vote that way, I would absolve myself of complicity in the drone strikes, and in the inexcusable pass given to the Wall Street pirates, and in what I am sure is going to be an altogether dreadful Grand Bargain while not materially damaging the most important cause of all: making sure that Willard Romney is not president. And I might have done it, had Jill not gone on TV and talked about how those people who are voting for the incumbent president simply to make sure that Willard Romney is not president are doing so out of “fear.”

Horse hockey.

It is not fear. It is simple, compelling logic. We have two major political parties. Until that great gettin’-up morning, when purists on both sides of the ideological ditch manage to create workable third parties that look like something more substantial than organized unicorn hunts — which won’t happen until we have proportional voting, and I wish you as much luck with that as Lani Guinier had — we always will have two major political parties. One of them is inexcusably timid and tied in inexcusably tight with the big corporate money. The other one is demented.

This is not “fear” talking. I watched the Republican primaries. I went to the debates. I saw long-settled assumptions about the nature of representative democracy thrown down and danced upon. I heard long-established axioms of the nature of a political commonwealth torn to shreds and thrown into the perfumed air. I saw people seriously arguing for an end to the social safety net, to any and all federal environmental regulations, to the concept of the progressive income tax, and to American participation in the United Nations, the latter on the grounds that a one-world government threatens our “liberty” with its insurance-friendly national health-care reform bill. I saw Rick Santorum base his entire foreign policy on the legend of the 12th Imam, and I saw Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann actually be front-runners for a while. I saw all of this and I knew that each one of them had a substantial constituency behind them within the party for everything they said, no matter how loopy. When you see a lunatic wandering down the sidewalk, howling at the moon and waving a machete, it is not fear that makes you step inside your house and lock the door. It is the simple logic of survival. Fear is what keeps you from trying to tackle the guy and wrestle the machete away from him. And, as much as it may pain some people to admit it, the president is the only one stepping up to do that at the moment.

It is vitally important that the Republican party be kept away from as much power as possible until the party regains its senses again. It is not just important to the advance of progressive goals, thought it is. It is not just important to maintain the modicum of social justice that it has taken eighty years to build into the institutions of our government, though it is. It is important, too, that that you vote for one of these men based on whom else, exactly, he owes. Who is it that’s going to come with the fiddler to collect when you get what you’ve bargained for?

Barack Obama owes more than I’d like him to owe to the Wall Street crowd. He probably at this point owes a little more than I’d like him to owe to the military. The rest he owes to the millions of people who elected him in 2008 — especially to those people whose enthusiasm I neither shared nor really understood — and he will owe them even more if they come out and pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him this time around. He may sell them out — and, yes, I understand if you wanted to add “again” to that statement — but they are not likely to revenge themselves against the country if he does and, even if they decided to, they don’t have the power to do much but yell at the right buildings.

On the other hand, Willard Romney owes even more to the Wall Street crowd, and he owes even more to the military, but he also owes everything he is politically to the snake-handlers and the Bible-bangers, to the Creationist morons and to the people who stalk doctors and glue their heads to the clinic doors, to the reckless plutocrats and to the vote-suppressors, to the Randian fantasts and libertarian fakers, to the closeted and not-so-closeted racists who have been so empowered by the party that has given them a home, to the enemies of science and to the enemies of reason, to the devil’s bargain of obvious tactical deceit and to the devil’s honoraria of dark, anonymous money, and, ultimately, to those shadowy places in himself wherein Romney sold out who he might actually be to his overweening ambition. It is a fearsome bill to come due for any man, let alone one as mendaciously malleable as the Republican nominee. Obama owes the disgruntled. Romney owes the crazy. And that makes all the difference.

In his time in office, Barack Obama has done some undeniable good for people. There are auto workers in Ohio with jobs, and women making equal pay, and young people freed from the burdens of health care because of some of the president’s policies. And he is running on that record, making the case for his second term based on the good he has done for people in his first. In his only time in elective office, Romney also did some good for people. He reformed the health-care system in Massachusetts in a way that made him far more popular up here than he ever will be again. And he has spent seven years now running against the good he did for people. What kind of a politician does that? What kind of a man does that? A politician who has counted the debts he owes to the people to whom he owes them, and a man who is willing to hock everything about himself just to get even.

This is not “fear” talking. This is simply the way things are. It is important to stand against the people and the forces to which Willard Romney owes his political career. It is more important to do that than it is to do anything else. It is more important to do that than to salve my conscience, or make a statement, or dream my wistful dreams of a better and more noble politics. And that is why, today, I will vote for Barack Obama, not because of the man he is not, but because of the man his opponent clearly has become. I will do so without enthusiasm, and without a sliver of doubt in my mind.

Plus one, brother!

Read Charles P. Pierce daily at the Esquire Politics blog. Bookmark it!

You can follow Charles P. Pierce on Twitter. He is the author of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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