David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

10 January 2019

Re. Painting One's Elf Into A Corner

Yesterday, we were sorting through some of our cartoons from previous years. One of these was headlined Re. Painting One's Elf Into A Corner.

This morning, we read Boo, hiss, border wall in 
the New York Times by Op-Ed columnist David Leonhardt regarding President Trump's televised Address To The Nation yesterday:
Televised prime-time speeches are performances. No matter how serious the subject, they are an opportunity for politicians to use the tools of entertainment — lighting, setting, writing, delivery — in the service of persuasion.

Neither President Trump nor the Democratic congressional leaders did a particularly effective job last night, in their dueling speeches about the government shutdown. Trump is almost comically stiff while reading a pre-written speech. He spent much of his Oval Office address squinting in the camera, as if he couldn’t read his teleprompter, and — as social media noted — he audibly sniffed after many of his lines.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, for their part, crowded next to each other at a single podium — an awkward set-up that, as Clare Malone of FiveThirtyEight pointed out, is likely to be parodied on Saturday Night Live this coming weekend.

It's unlikely that either performance was effective enough to move public opinion. “Literally no one will remember the Trump speech one week from now. (Same goes, obviously, for the Democratic response),” wrote MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

If last night helped either side, it was probably the Democrats, mostly because they remain in the better position on the fight over the border wall. "Schumer’s doing a nice job painting Trump into the shutdown corner here. Democrats are happy to reopen the government and keep negotiating on the border. Trump isn’t. That’s the winning position,” wrote Vox’s Ezra Klein

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