Be more Jonathan Swiftian, or not

I was surprised that some folks did not know what covfefe was.

When my bud Amy Biancolli called out Kathy Griffin for the severed head thing, she noted:

“I know my Jonathan Swift well enough to understand the creative and moral imperatives of political satire: To call out the horrors of a failed system with blackened, ridiculous overstatement. Swift challenged heartless British policies toward the starving with a ‘modest proposal’ to sell and cook Irish babies ‘in a fricassee, or a ragout’ — a ghastly piece of irony that he knew enough to publish anonymously.

“But the ghastliness was born of compassion. It didn’t target ACTUAL BABIES; it took aim instead at the ruthlessness of the system. Had Griffin taken a more Swiftian tack on Trump, his head would have stuck to his body and polished off a large plate of authentic-Mexican food.”

Interestingly, when David Larson, like Amy, working for a Hearst newspaper, proposed, with a nod to the great 18th century Irish satirist, “that San Francisco’s housing crisis be solved by dumping the elderly on the streets and letting nature take its course,” it received more than its fair share of backlash.

For the record, I found Griffin’s artistic statement, among other things, too unsubtle and strategically problematic. “See what kind of people you have on the left?!” Though it’s true that I’ve long ceased to think of Orangeism as a left-right, or even Republican-Democratic schism. It’s a whole different animal.

Swiftian satire is often difficult to pull off. Still, we do NEED some sort of humor. If someone “discovers” the meaning of the word ‘Covfefe’ in the Samoan language, this is not a “distraction” from the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement -my, that address was incredibly deceptive – or the bogus health care bill or the Russian involvement in our government. It is, rather, a coping mechanism.

(I was surprised that some folks did not know what covfefe was; Chuck Miller explains it.)

These continue to be a difficult time for some of us. I find joking with the folks at the CVS or to a nodding acquaintance on the street makes all of it just a little mote tolerable.

Maybe I should go to Paris

I had a pencil sharpener in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

For a long time, well before I took high school French, I thought the first European city I’d like to visit would be Paris. Two of my cousins were born there; one had been living there again until recently, and the other is working there presently.

I pictured sitting in some cafe watching the people and absorbing the culture, the art, the music. I love this description: “Paris’ grandeur is inspiring but what I love most about the city is its intimacy. Its quartiers are like a patchwork of villages, and while it’s one of the world’s major metropolises – with all of the culture and facilities that go with it – there’s a real sense of community at the local shops, markets and cafes that hasn’t changed since my childhood. Yet because every little ‘village’ has its own evolving character, I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering hidden corners of the city.”

In the past couple years, the director of our library went there with his family; one of my sisters was taken there by her daughter on the way to the south of France; and there have been several others I know who have made the trip.

Maybe it’s that France saved the bacon the of the American colonists during our Revolutionary War.

When I think of the city, it’s the Eiffel Tower, of course. I had a pencil sharpener in the shape of the structure when I was a child. La tour Eiffel shows up in no fewer than five dozen films, including Midnight in Paris, which I saw.

Paris is also the Moulin Rouge, and of course, I saw that film as well. One of the best lines in one of the best films EVER is “We’ll always have Paris.” That comes from the 1942 classic Casablanca, spoken by Rick to his former lover Ilsa.

Oddly, the various attacks against Paris, including the Jewish cemeteries being defaced, Charlie Hebdo, and, most notably, the events of November 13, 2015 makes me MORE likely to want to visit.

LISTEN to some of my favorite music about Paris:

Sous le ciel de Paris – Edith Piaf
My Father – Judy Collins
April In Paris – Count Basie (the “pop goes the weasel” version)

Free Man In Paris – Joni Mitchell
George Gershwin’s An American in Paris – André Previn/London Symphony Orchestra
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – Emma Stone from the movie La La Land

***
ABC Wednesday – Round 20

30 Day Challenge – Day 29: Somewhere You Want To Visit

Now the Girlfriend said, if I’m not going to New Orleans, which I had pitched and was rejected, why not try to go to Hawai’i with her?

I always wanted to go to Paris, and after seeing these pictures from Luxembourg daily, I’m practically packed. Ah, but what am I to make of the travel alert to Europe over terrorism? At least it’s not a travel warning, such as what exists in Mexico.

Domestically, the place I most want to go is Hawai’i. There’s a story about that. Back in 1995, when I was going out with The Girlfriend, who eventually became The Wife, she was working for an insurance company. She had achieved some significant designation in the industry and had won a free trip for two to the 50th state. Did I want to go? Well, of course, I did, except…

At the very same time, there was a work trip to New Orleans. Now my job in the organization at the time was to do liaison work with other SBDCs and going to the ASBDC conference fit in with that. I SHOULD be going on this trip. Unfortunately, we had gotten a new boss about a year earlier, and she was prone to pick her favorites to travel. I was not one of her favorites; none of the three men were, and only about half the women she liked. So she decided that only she and her most favorite would go to New Orleans because the office would otherwise be short-staffed.

Now the Girlfriend said, if I’m not going to New Orleans, which I had pitched and was rejected, why not try to go to Hawai’i with her? Because I knew she’d reject that too since the office would still be shorthanded.

Then, at the last minute, the boss decided that I COULD go to New Orleans. This was not her being magnanimous. It was her realizing that they had heavy equipment to schlep on and off the plane and that they needed someone strong to do that, and I was elected.

Knowing that boss as I did, I firmly believed that if I had pitched going to Hawai’i, I would have likely have gone neither there OR to New Orleans.

I don’t think The Girlfriend truly understood this as not a rejection of her, but a realization of what was possible. I believe this incident played into us breaking up about six months later. Obviously, we’ve overcome it, but going to Hawai’i with her now would be splendid.

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