Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Hot Mess kicks Trump-ass with fake @realFrederickDouglass


The satirical blog One Hot Mess leapt in to show the nation's First Fool what a ignorant lout he is. Not that the First fool gives a...

I care, however. Here are some of the fake tweets. Okay, I admit. I tried to find an account on Twitter - puzzled by the length -- how did the Tweeter get past the 140 limit (methought). There IS an account for Frederick Douglass @realFredDoug, but @realFrederickDouglass is a fiction, created for purposes of One Hot Mess' post. Thank you, brilliant satirist, brilliant lady-satirist.

@realFrederickDouglass: My autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, is #1 best-seller on Amazon. 4x better sales than Art of the Deal! P.S. I am dead!
@realFrederickDouglass: Hope you like everything I did for women's suffrage! Even the losers, haters, and flat-chested "fives." Enjoy!
@realFrederickDouglass: Appreciate @realDonaldTrump congrats on AMAZING job I did to secretly educate myself and other slaves while still living under slavery in Maryland. My work is finally being recognized!
@realFrederickDouglass: @realDonaldTrump, your FAKE NATIONAL SECURITY immigrant BAN goes against everything I stood for (when I was alive 122 yrs ago). A horrible mess!
@realFrederickDouglass: My abolitionist paper, The North Star, has much better coverage of me than the failing New York Times has of @realDonaldTrump! 


Click on One Hot Mess to read the full posting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Philip Roth vs Daphne du Maurier: The Battle to Epitomize our Times (well, not really a battle except when read back-to-back)


I made a foray into Philip Roth's Plot Against America soon after its publication in 2004. The concept was cool, as in neat-o, that America had gone Nazi. That instead of FDR winning a third term in the White House, Charles Lindberg, nonfictional Nazi sympathizer, had run and won. Given the decades of Nazis in fiction and cinema who made great villains, I was ready for fun. After 50 pages I wandered off, however, insufficiently captivated. In 2004. In 2017 I returned to the novel, along with a slew of readers, because Plot is primo relevant. We have a fascist in in D.C.

I understand my disinterest in 2004 -- while the characters are believable, plucked as they from Roth's Newark, New Jersey childhood, they remain historic in feel, not universal. I didn't see myself or my milieu in any of them. The detailed plot was more workmanlike than fascinating. Now, 2017, the novel's concept overrides all. We have a nonpolitician, a larger than life public figure in the White House, beating out the exquisitely qualified competition. And he's scary as shit.

Plot's national antisemitic campaign, Lindberg-initiated, is believable in the novel's context. Maybe, however, it is too specific.  There's a plot twist that could well  bear out in real life in the U.S., too, but no point in ruining that. Because of Trump, The Plot Against America is a valuable tool, a 'we missed the alarm clock, can we NOW wake up' call. I could have put it down but I knew I dare not do so this time.

Contrast that with Daphne du Maurier's short story, "The Birds." I read it yesterday. It's set in Britain's Cornwall, on the coast (not Marin County). Seen through the eyes of Nat, a thoughtful family-man, the ominous story feels (feels) at least as plausible as Roth's terror. The narrator notices unexplainable and eerie gatherings of birds. As happens with any prophet warning God's children to take care, Nat's cautions to his neighbors are ignored. His precaution serves only his wife and two children. As with Plot, there's much detail--Nat's smart hard work to shore up his house--and the birds' ballistic attacks. Yes, the premise seems a bit more implausible than Roth's, but "The Birds" seems far more real, and is a far more satisfying read. With the Doomsday Clock near midnight, avian disruption--well, who knows.

I was impressed by Roth, enchanted and terrified by du Maurier. Glad I read both.

[Note: These are my two most recently completed reads. Not much of a basis for comparison? Probably not, but I trust a reader with forgive my fancy.]