My Blog Week: August 9 to August 15

Posted by ractrose on 16 Aug 2020 in The Latest

A black cat, nicknamed Nortie, who serves as Torsade's site ambassador.

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Marching Orders:  American citizens, let Monday, August 17, be the day you go to your county’s Board of Elections website, and put in your request for a mail-in ballot, if that’s the way you plan to vote this year. When you get your ballot, make a note of the day it was received. For safety’s sake, allow twice as much time for it to arrive at its destination. Don’t mail it, if you can help it, later than Labor Day. The full transaction might take more than twenty days in some areas. 




Cartoon of robot and man walking together

Cartoon of the Week: The Second Self





A Word on the Week


Pastel drawing of spaghettiPrompt Service





You’re in a restaurant, and you order the Chicken Bolognese. After a twenty minute wait, the server comes back, telling you: “The chef apologizes. We can’t do Chicken Bolognese tonight. Would you like Chicken Parm…?”

You say: “Well…um…sure.”

“Or whatever you want off the menu.”

“No, parm is okay.”

Ten minutes pass, and the server returns. “The chef would like you to know that we have a spaghetti with red sauce, topped with chicken sausage.”

You say: “No…the parm is fine.”

Ten minutes later the server returns. “So, it turns out you can have the Chicken Bolognese, if you like.”

You say goddamn…internally. “No, really. Food on table. Please.”


This week, we got a vice presidential candidate for the Biden ticket. I’ve said it in a tweet, and I’ll say it again on this blog: Biden is already the Women-Can-Wait-Til-Next-Time candidate. The merits of Tammy Duckworth and Gretchen Whitmer deserve respect…more respect than to float them as (probably) unserious options while black women are kept on tenterhooks to see if 2020 remains the year they, in particular, can wait until next time. (And Karen Bass was last-minute enough to have proved not well vetted.)

Certainly, the above tactic can be organic; it can come from indecision or eagerness…to touch every base, cater to every taste. But propagandists study the organic, and where they spot frustration of goals, engendering of bad feelings, confusion, distraction, they learn to mimic.

Since the Democratic party doesn’t (we hope) want to undermine itself, let’s think about what happens here. You’re offered a choice which is not your first choice. You agree to a substitute that allows you to relax and assume progress is underway. You are later offered an alternative choice, implying nothing has yet been accomplished, and so, mildly desperate, you agree. For agreeing, you’ve committed. Maybe you would consider a fourth option? No, the second is fine. The first, after all? No, we’ve settled this!

So the tactic serves to steer the subject past debate and discussion, while forcing acceptance of the preferred choice, but—always crucial to the propagandist—it convinces you this was your choice.

Kamala Harris has been, of course, the first choice of a lot of us. But party strategists might fear controversy, or troglodytism in the slow-evolving electorate. Although not the most progressive of former Biden rivals, Harris is still a modern candidate. She doesn’t play the game. Which means…

Look at it this way. It’s a safe bet that somewhere, everywhere, in America, women have been sidled up to by men this past week, who want to know (heh, heh) if they’ve seen that Cardi B video. When the work you do can become a vehicle for harassment or predation, you’re a woman who plays the game. When the work you do would have made the late Jeffrey Epstein chortle appreciatively, you’re a woman who plays the game. Feminist arguments are mooted for this, but…is there such a thing as “taking charge of sexuality”? Why would that need to mean women sink to a male standard, and attempt to own it, rather than men rise to a woman’s standard…and attempt to live up to it?

We do question what difference the announcement a month ago would have made, other than to give Fox pundit-scripters a longer period to demonstrate their out-of-touchness and racism. Have these boys dared say to any woman’s face they find her ambitious, abrasive, and uncharming?

The bad possibility is that there is enough machine left in the Democratic party, that old antiprogressive notions of manipulating the voters’ minds continue to be cooked up in strategy sessions. Ignorant people have a better chance of learning when their ability to learn is believed in, and moreover, insisted upon. Coddling voters with bones and sloganeering is not wanted in America today. What we want is conduct so aboveboard that nothing need be untransparent, all initiatives are well-explained and evidentially justified, while no interest is allowed to bend the party towards favoritism, cronyism, and the magical putting off of change until it becomes easier, cheaper…or so inevitable no one can complain. You don’t let people (or planets) die so you can shrug and say, “Oh, well! I guess now we’ll have to do something!”

That is the sort of attrition-mindedness the Trump administration—to avoid spending even one unnecessary dime—has been wrong-footing Americans into their graves over.




On Monday, a new Yoharie, Giarma and Trevor setting off to hike. Tuesday, The Mirrors (part thirteen), and another truth learned about St. Hubert. Wednesday, a new Jumping Off poem, “Push”. Thursday, part four of Shine!, by Mathilde Alanic, Annie beginning to make excuses for her boyfriend. Friday and Saturday, excerpts from A Figure from the Common Lot, “The House of Gremot”, and “Élucide”, Honoré getting a sense of place in his relative’s home; and Élucide half-sleeping through recollections.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.





My Blog Week: August 9 to August 15


Yoharie: Because Society (part four)
August 10


The Mirrors (part thirteen)
August 11


Push (poem)
August 12

Poetry Foundation: Philip Nikolayev, “Pushkin”


Mathilde Alanic: Shine! (part four)
August 13


Excerpt: A Figure from the Common Lot (The House of Gremot)
August 14


Excerpt: A Figure from the Common Lot (Élucide)
August 15