The Crown is catching up.The Times reported yesterday that dead persons convicted of crimes invented by British sodomy statutes are to be pardoned. Not sure what this means for Maurice or the greatest operas in the English language, but here's hoping their discretion keeps a seat for Oscar Wilde.
Now one can anticipate enormous animation in post mortems of last night's debate in Las Vegas, as further revealing that unbridled unfitness of Donald Trump for gov- ernment in a free society. And no denial of this need be considered. But I think historians will turn to Hillary Clinton's presentation of herself, on that stage, as the turning point, indeed the bridal turning point, in her acceptance of political responsibility. The departure from her veiled past may have been occasioned by the imminence of her selection, and it may have been enabled by the staggering haplessness of her nemesis. But it was a shift of momentous revelation, not forti- fying so much as introducing a credibility in relation to that office, which is incontestable.
I have never heard so untram- meled, uncribbed, uncrabbed a defense of unconditional free- dom of reproductive choice in the many years since I read the words, Roe v. Wade in the newspaper on the day of its publication. Splendid it was. Unexpected, unimagined clari- ty, yielding no ground to the prospect of working together with extraneous authorities, government only first among them, to trifle with a right. No professions of its rar- ity, no confessions of its temerity, no concession to its disparity with dogma. This was a right embodied.
Here was the unveiling, what the Greeks call the anakalyp- teria, of the female being as human policy, and who could not exult to see it done be- fore that gender's foulest de- tractor ever to be exposed to light, his intimidations quar- tering him on prime time TV.
And we have come too far
to have that turned back
now. And, indeed, he said
women should be punished,
that there should be some
form of punishment for wo-
men who obtain abortions.
And I could just not be
more opposed to that kind
This is the diction of a
person prepared to assume
office, not of someone ask-
ing to be given it. Possib-
ly, it is structured by im-
minence, but what lasts is
its resolution. Even deeper,
however, is the genius in
this argument, to turn the intolerably widely tolerated
Trumpian complaint of dir-
tiness in womanhood, of mat-
ter out of place, as the po-
et and classicist Anne Car-
son has it, against the in-
vasions of retrograde con-
tempt for which he stands, in public and in private. Nasty woman, his soliloquy meant for the camera, is engraved now on the escut- cheon of Republicanism.
Progressives, with whom we all fashionably identify, are lick- ing their unsavory chops at the prospect of a humiliation of a large number of American people. They, in turn, appear ecstatic in exposure at last, as derelict of hope, ever of becoming free. Or was I describing one people, all over again?
Is it the unendurably Verdun- like monotony of the present campaign that surpasses even our awe at the inadequacy of its generals, or is the land simply exhibiting its fissures again as intractably unbridge- able? Neither one, I think. We note a failure of referral to our abiding resources. In these last weeks of our con- finement, resort to the land as the compass that it is, is likely to be the path of pop- ular thinking; again, with gratitude to a heterodox lan- guage, for its versatile eye.
Back in January, it was dawning on us that we were being given a can- didate for office who was having trouble ex- pressing any interest in it, apart from add- ing it to a collection. To this day we ponder: is it for her head she wants to be known, or for being at the center of our gaze? At long last her cam- paign has settled upon the mission of furnish- ing a conclusion, to a career in favor of fair- ness to families and children - exceedingly commendable objectives if ever there were any. Yet not page-turning, as regards the office being sought, which is expected to rise to o- ther demands. How lit- tle this mission can capture the initiative in the contest under weigh, we see in the dilettante late-night antics of a mountebank, free to dabble in the principal challenges of our time with flippant idiocy, yes, but undeni- able intrusiveness.
They say, a frozen time- piece is accurate twice a day; but they forget, the globe is made up of many time zones. Even a staggering nitwit, offer- ing any sort of motive, enjoys dozens of chances a day, to re-set the nar- rative of leadership. It could be said, hers was the disadvantage of Hubert Humphrey, justify- ing an incumbent, which led to that acrid polar- isation and descent in- to caustic casuistry for which we honor the mem- ory of Richard Nixon. We are sitting through the interminable rotation of the globe, pleading for the ball to land on the red, for all the direc- tion it is given by the most qualified apprentice of a fitful energy system.
I'm as willing as the next guy to tease Donald Trump for self-absorp- tion. But you can't up-end a democracy without a willing demos, and an agora where they gather by conditioning. The glossy screen is ostensibly the stage of a social medium. I wonder. At best.
A gathering irony of the locker room discovered by Donald Trump is that a misadventure in sexual conduct seems scheduled to restore the Clintons to the White House. The infamous phrase, only in America, returns to that hu- mid sphere of furtive power plays we nurture as the abbatoire of this de- mocracy, with a fundamentalist pruri- ence and capitalist concupiscence un- like that of any other Western socie- ty. The smear of 2016 is a precipit- ate from the hold of our slave ships, our counting houses and our choirs - every spring we repudiate, draws us. Now this is good news. You don't get condensation without air.