From last November 13: “Are you telling me Donald Trump just got elected president?”
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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)
That’s now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”
For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.
In the meantime:
It’s mid-November, and so it’s time to start taking stock of the year just past. (And what a year it’s been!) Which brings up “last year at this time.” Specifically, two posts from this time last year: Trump made me a Contrarian,* and “Trump is like a box of chocolates.” (Published November 8 and 13, 2016, respectively.) The “Chocolates” post noted a prediction that – having been elected – Trump would be impeached. But not by Democrats, by Republicans:
They [Republicans] don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have Pence – an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican… “Mike Pence in the White House would put a more trusted establishment Republican in the job.” (E.A.)
That post also asked if Donald Trump would be “the new Simon Legree” – as noted in the Classic Comics image above left – but that’s a whole ‘nother story altogether.
The “box of chocolates” post further discussed my being turned into a Contrarian – defined in part as a “moderate with a ‘tude” – both by the election itself and the uncertainty as to what kind of president Trump would turn out to be. And that brings up what Tom Hanks meant when he said “Life is like a box of chocolates:”
When you open a box of chocolates, there is a variety of flavors available. Problem is, since they are covered in chocolate, you can’t really tell what any given piece of chocolate is going to taste like… The real lesson: you take what life gives you and you learn to deal with it, because – as they say – that’s life.
I wondered if Trump might “evolve into something neither his ardent supporters nor his rabid opponents expect.” I also wondered if “Showman Donald Trump” had actually played his “far-right conservative” supporters “like a piano.” And finally, I wondered if – given “Donald Trump’s chameleon-like shifting political positions” – he would “eventually be seen as an ‘effective elected official,’ or a funhouse showman?”
It seems the jury is still out on those questions. (At least to some people.)
But no matter: I resolved in the “box of chocolates” post that I would “be a cheerful Contrarian.” Which brings up the Trump made me a Contrarian post. I published that on the night of last year’s election – and before the final results came in.
I started off by noting that I used to be all “moderate and nicey-nicey.” I used to say – or at least think – things like, “Let’s not rush to judgment!” Or, “Let’s wait until we get all the facts before we say anything that might be taken the wrong way!”
However, when dealing with people like Trump supporters, that “moderate, reasoned, common-sense approach will get you nothing but bowled over.” (In the sense of hearing something so “whacked” that you are rendered temporarily speechless with disbelief.)
And that’s because they “use the 8-track tape mode of political discourse:”
The thing about 8-tracks was that they never stopped. You never got to the end. They used a “continuous loop” system, which is why they didn’t have a rewind option. As long as you played the tape, you got the same thing over and over again. The same “data,” the same songs played in the same order over and over again.
Which I thought was much like “trying to have a meaningful conversation” with a Trumpster. That led to one definition of Contrarian as a former moderate who has to “take a position directly opposite the person we’re talking to just to get a &^%$ word in edge-wise!”
You could also refer to it as having to “out-wacko the wackos.” And that’s turning out to be a skill that we former “moderates” are definitely going to need in the years ahead.
The good news is that having to “out-wacko the wackos” isn’t all that difficult, and can be fun. (In a weird, other-worldly sense.) Which is another way of saying that being a Contrarian means learning how to make a snappy comeback. But because Trumpsters tend to make the same arguments over and over again, your “moderate” or “Contrarian” snappy comebacks don’t have to be all that snappy. “You can plan your snappy comebacks way ahead of time.”
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“Factory optional 8-track stereo player … between the center console and dash…”
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The upper image is courtesy of Forrest Gump (1994) – IMDb. See also Forrest Gump – Wikipedia, and Life is like a box of chocolates – Wiktionary. The latter indicated that the book “Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, first published in Japanese in 1987, and in English in 1989, has the following: ‘Just remember, life is like a box of chocolates.’” (Some seven years before the movie.)
“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section. Thus, as to the “Contrarian” post, the full title of the post for November 8, 2016, was ‘Mi Dulce’ – and Donald Trump – made me a Contrarian.” “Mi Dulce” was my pet name for the woman I was dating at the time. However, that relationship is now defunct, for reasons possibly including her status as a Trumpster, then and since.
The “Legree” image is courtesy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Wikipedia. The full caption: “Simon Legree on the cover of the comic book adaptation of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ (Classic Comics No. 15, November 1943 issue).” The article added: “It is unclear if Legree is based on any actual individuals. Reports surfaced after the 1870s that [Harriet Beecher] Stowe had in mind a wealthy cotton and sugar plantation owner named Meredith Calhoun, who settled on the Red River north of Alexandria, Louisiana. Generally, however, the personal characteristics of Calhoun (‘highly educated and refined’) do not match the uncouthness and brutality of Legree.”
The “Gump-in-uniform” image is courtesy of Forrest Gump – Wikipedia.
The lower image is courtesy of 8-track tape – Wikipedia. The full caption: “Factory optional 8-track stereo player in a 1967 American Motors (AMC) vehicle mounted between the center console and dash.” The article added: “The format is regarded as an obsolete technology, and was relatively unknown outside the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Japan.”
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Re: The Israelite. Harry Golden wrote and published it from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.” (Another way of saying he told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.” But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life. As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like so many do today. He still got a kick out of life. And for more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.