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I’m working on a new piece. It’s based on an article I found in an old (November 12, 1998) issue of Rolling Stone.
Strangely enough, I found the old magazine at the bottom of a dumpster. (Like the one seen at right.) And that – you may come to agree – will turn out strangely appropriate.
I decided to keep the old Rolling Stone as a souvenir. (Based on the cover photo.) It featured a photo of Bill Clinton, looking rather befuddled, with the headline: Sex, Power & The Presidency: The Clinton Conversation. (See also Monica Lewinsky.) But inside – starting on page 92 – I found an article that seemed much more relevant to today’s political scene.
The article noted a presidential candidate who showed “a malignant understanding of how angry words, more than real ideas, can be deployed as weapons of power:”
He knows that repetition – invoking the same foul claims over and over – can transform outrageous lies into popular understandings. He blithely changes his facts, positions and personae because he is making it up as he goes along and assumes no one will catch up with the contradictions. Beneath the mask of conservative idealogue is an amoral pragmatist.
Sound familiar? Or is this instead a matter of: “Can you say prescient?”
And here’s another hint: It wasn’t Donald Trump!
One thing some politicians bring up a lot today is “how great things used to be.” I agree. That was pretty much my point in Whatever happened to … Cassidy? But I made the same point much earlier in “Johnny YUMA was a rebel.”
The title of that post was a take-off from an old Seinfeld bit: “A rebel? No. Johnny Yuma was a rebel. Eckman is a nut…”
Which also seems strangely appropriate to politics today.
But take a closer look at that blast from the past:
[Johnny] Yuma faced down intolerance, distrust, greed, confusion and revenge. Despite his rebellious nature, Yuma respected law and order and despised abuse of power. He stood up for the weak and downtrodden. He traveled alone and was often forced to work alone because he was the only one willing to stand up to the bad guys. (E.A.)
Which – I suppose – brings up the subject of mavericks in general.
Originally the term referred to “Texas lawyer Samuel Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle. The surname Maverick is of Welsh origin, from Welsh mawr-rwyce, meaning ‘valiant hero.”
As an adjective the term applies to someone who shows “independence in thoughts or actions.” As a noun the term means someone “who does not abide by rules.” Either that, or someone who “creates or uses unconventional and/or controversial ideas or practices.”
So: Is there indeed a “new Maverick in town?” Or are today’s politics just another example of nothing new under the sun? (For the original thought, see Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”)
I’ll have the answer in the next post. That post in turn will review more fully the Rolling Stone magazine I found at the bottom of a dumpster. (Which I expect to turn out as a great metaphor.) In the meantime enjoy this other blast from the past:
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“Reserved … well spoken, with a sense of fair play,” and:
“His drink of choice being sarsaparilla.”
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The upper image is courtesy of Maverick (TV series) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Re: “Dumpster.” Here the proper term would be “roll-off,” a specific type of dumpster. “Roll-offs” – as I know them – are used in recycling. (Converting “waste materials into reusable objects.”) See also Dumpster diving … Dictionary.com. Note that when I found the “last century” copy of Rolling Stone, I wasn’t “foraging in garbage.” I was “stomping down” paper products in the paper-recycling roll-off. Such stomping-down insures that the roll-off will contain more material to be recycled. (In this case paper products, which in turn will Save More Trees.
The lower image is courtesy of The HOPALONG CASSIDY Poster Page, WILLIAM BOYD.