Skip to main content

Idiot America


What can an observer from abroad say, except, wha' happen?  Two years ago, America briefly appeared sane, visionary, and remarkable, electing a bright, liberal African-American with a multicultural name as leader-in-chief.  Flashforward, and pick yourself up from the floor - despite bringing in health care for 30 million poor people, winning the Nobel prize for Peace for arguing for nuclear disarmament, ending the Iraq war, and helping to avert a Second Depression - he is mocked by TV comedians for not doing "enough".  Enough?

Isn't it enough to wake up every morning and Not Be Palin?  Isn't believing in Global Warming, and trying to find justice in the middle east, and trying to contain violence enough?  Despised by Tea Party nincompoops and nutjobs for doing too much, and derided by the "Left" for failing to turn America into Vermont overnight, Barack Obama has in fact been a very good, centre-left leader, in overwhelmingly tough times.  Americans should have given him a hand, instead of making him walk the plank.

When they hand the Republicans a House Majority today, they will set back the cause of reform in the States by a generation.  That'd be tragic, if it wasn't stupid first.  The truth is, the tempest in the Tea Party was boiled up by the media, which increasingly generates hype and crisis daily, to fuel their own sense of vitality.  Language is perhaps a virus, but Murdoch definitely is - can the boffins at Cambridge find a cure for him?

Comments

Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

It's not all bad news. Mama Grizzlies Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Meg Whitman all failed to get elected despite combined campaigns costing around two hundred million dollars. Think how many schools and hospitals they could have built with that budget. Nice looking women too! It's a real shame that they're so right-wing.

Best wishes from Simon
Philip Norton said…
Too right, Todd. US has gone too right. It makes me physically ill to think about it or listen to the Tea Party poopers...

Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…

THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand

JOHN ASHBERY HAS DIED

With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.