Monday, January 9, 2017

Above the Ground

“I cannot register that Trump is to be sworn into office. I just cannot.” A friend remarked. “I hope he becomes somehow incapacitated before he gets into office.”

Aside a passing eye over the headlines, I cannot bother to read “articles” about the President-Elect's tweets, those barking missiles aimed at avoiding responses and discussion as much as possible. And yet, back in the states it was time to read something about the situation. With a multitude of hours on my hands, flying across country the long way round west to east, I selected Vanity Fair and the New Yorker at the no, let’s not call it a book store, let’s call that kind of shop a granola bar and tee-shirt shop. T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kroger were also in my tote bag.

Cramped in my United seat, I sat next to a woman playing with her phone. I read half of Tonio Kroger in German, and then Vanity Fair’s special reportage on the Trump game.  Suffice it to say that Vanity Fair’s claim to fame is fancy photos and muck racking articles dishing the dirt on people we recognize from photos.  In the past, I have from time to time appreciated their inquisition antics. 

During this last trip I read VF's article on the lost Apprentice Tapes, the most interesting angle was the discussion of the media manipulation of Trump’s campaign.  Moving on to an editorial type article about the personal experience of the aftermath of Trump’s election, a moaning and searching piece looking for weight to register for a green card in a foreign country, it appeared to me as an article without much merit or interest. Then came the piece on the Trump sister act followed by the Trump bro-romance, and then finally the triumph of the Largo del Mar presidential vacation spot, intended as a presidential retreat and now, by default, a presidential retreat complete with a gaggle of Trumpettes, aged groupies, on the intro page to the story.

Vanity Fair had lost its left hook. It had also lost its right punch. You see, the mass of inappropriate statements, obscene business practices, name calling, and other offences unleashed by Trump’s communication platform practices had rendered a magazine like Vanity Fair powerless. It had nothing new to report; Trump had basically prepackaged and trademarked any scandal and sold it for profit before a journalist could pounce.

During the next leg of my journey I read more Tonio Kroger, and then decided to read the Trump article in the New Yorker. The woman next to me played with her telephone.  The New Yorker article brought forth the argument that Trump was the answer to moving the American Republican Party along to a new era or moving the bipartisan theme towards outer space exploration. Never mind the man, the article prompted, and his tweets, Trump was an instrument that would slay and lay dinosaurs to rest.

Where, I thought opening up TS Eliot’s The Wasteland for the final mileage of my journey, is the person behind the President-Elect?  It’s like we have all ended up “playing the gramophone.”

Saturday, January 7, 2017

That Little Encounter in Black

I don’t know about you but maybe you’ve had the same experience. It was like landing in Absolutely Fabulous.  I suppose I had gate crashed but maybe you can’t gate crash if the gate hasn’t been set up.

“You’re early.”

I looked at the immaculate buffet spread, and the two young women in black.  I remember their eyes appeared clad in black as well. It was as if they were saying, “We are black like crows. We can’t make the runway because we don’t have the right junk anywhere on the vehicle so we are black as crows and that’s our excuse to cross the room.” I ignored the statement and asked them about their mission in the shop. That was why I was there anyways, sent on an errand for an organization to see if we could provide volunteers for a good cause. 

An elegant woman rushed from the back of the store towards me and exclaimed, “I didn’t even get my make-up on.”  She was the type of person you like immediately even though she started in burbling her media statements about the ethical fashion line she’d started, instantaneously confiding her age to me. “I am forty-six.” She looked a lovely forty-six without make-up. I suspected she was younger and this was a little game.  She indicated to a woman loitering nearby, another being in black. “She’ll do my make-up.”

“Is she any good?” I asked, having glanced over the example.

The entrepreneur didn’t answer. She rolled her eyes ever so slightly.

You'd never guess it, but she was wearing all black. “Do you know who made your clothes?”  She was persisting in her spiel. I didn’t need to hear the spiel. I was standing in a recycled coat, not much black to be seen.  The entrepreneur looked me over.  That’s right I followed her eyes.  Let alone who made the garments I had no idea who had worn my clothes earlier in time and I didn’t really care. My lifestyle is based on the grand theory of recycling.

I inspected the near invisible retail items in the shop. We ate some popcorn out of an extremely attractive cone together waiting for other guests.  The calories accepted by her nimble fingers. “You can maybe help out with the upcoming events for our line of bags. They are made by the women in prison down in Naples.”  She meant Italy and not Florida. I didn’t mention any association about Bush and the American industry run out of prisons all over the USA, because this was different, this was for a cause in support of women who have experienced domestic violence. Still the word exploitation hovered near my lips.

Guests arrived. Her assistant talked to me. “I am thirty-one.” She stated looking too young to wear so much severe black, “But everyone thinks I am younger.” I concentrated on examining the photo shoot in Vogue Magazine using the shop’s fashion accessories.

The entrepreneur rushed from the back store room into the miniscule shop towards her more acceptable guests, her faced mummified in pancake.

That was my cue to go out into the night and catch a train elsewhere.