Some Saturday Potpourri

Starting things off on a lively note, congratulations to my friend and high school bandmate Jim Faris on the arrival of his new son overnight. However, things didn’t exactly go as planned — Jim and Lora’s latest arrived in the car, where Jim had to perform the delivery himself. Everybody’s fine, but Jim cops to being a bit frazzled. So welcome to the world, little Faris dude. And Jim, if the kid keeps coming in early like that, you know he’ll wind up being a singer.



As you know, I bear nothing but scorn and disdain for both major party presidential candidates. At the same time, I know people supporting one or the other of these horror shows, and since none of these people are in my experience either stupid or evil, I assume they mean well, even as I disagree with them. In that spirit, I recommend Matthew Continetti’s brief essay, “The Politics of Dissociation“, reprinted at National Review Online. Continetti explores some of the motivations behind some Trump supporters, and I think those motivations are worth keeping in mind:

This is a moment of dissociation — of unbundling, fracture, disaggregation, dispersal. But the disconnectedness is not merely social. It is also political — a separation of the citizenry from the governments founded in their name. They are meant to have representation, to be heard, to exercise control. What they have found instead is that ostensibly democratic governments sometimes treat their populations not as citizens but as irritants.

The sole election that has had any bearing on the fate of Obamacare, for example, was the one that put Barack Obama in the White House. The special election of Scott Brown to the Senate did not stop Democratic majorities from passing the law over public disapproval. Nor did the 2010, 2012, or 2014 elections prevent or slow down the various agencies of the federal government from reorganizing the health-care sector according to the latest technocratic fashions.

The last big immigration law was passed under President Clinton in an attempt to reduce illegal entry. Since then the bureaucracy has been on autopilot, admitting huge numbers to the United States and unable (and sometimes unwilling) to cope with the surge in illegal immigration at the turn of the century. In 2006, 2007, and 2013, public opinion stopped major liberalizations of immigration law. Then the president used executive power to protect certain types of illegal immigrant from deportation anyway.

Coal miners have no voice in deliberations over their futures. Only the courts stand in the way of the Clean Power Plan that will end the coal industry and devastate the Appalachian economy. Congress is unable to help. The president went over the heads of the Senate by calling his carbon deal with China an “agreement” and not a treaty.

There has been no accountability for an IRS that abused its powers to target conservative nonprofits; for Hillary Clinton, who disregarded national security in the operation of her private e-mail server; for the FBI, which treated Clinton with kid gloves while not following up on individuals who became terrorists.

Readers with some memory may notice echoes of Angelo Codevilla’s discussion of the Ruling and Country classes in Continetti’s thoughts. But why bother? Write these people off as “voting against their own interests”, as “trailer trash”, as “bitter clingers”, as “deplorables”, and move on. Nothing to see here.


Didn’t get to go walking this week, which was a drag. However, two weeks from now, inshallah, I will have completed my first official 5K. So back to the stepping on Monday.


It was also a week off on the musical front, but things should be lively for the Berries this month, as we have an on-campus show during Homecoming week, a show at the Soundbox Tavern on the 14th, and a benefit concert in Real City on the 21st. As always, we’d love to see or hear from you!


And since we’re talking about music, I guess that’s as good a time as any to pass a little of it along. I’ve mentioned the Green Pajamas here in the past. The Seattle-based psych-popsters have just released their 31st(!) album, and here’s a track from that new album, along with an older one. First, here’s their new song, “Ten Million Light Years Away.”

And from their amazing Ghosts of Love album, this is “The Thousand Days.” I hope you love it as much as I do.

See you soon!


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Alternating Feet, Culture, Music, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Some Saturday Potpourri

  1. Andrew Stevens says:

    I could not agree more that elite disdain for “Country classes” is a problem. However, when the Country classes support Trump, they certainly seem to be justifying that disdain. It’s fashionable to always let voters off the hook, but the fact is they did not do their due diligence and/or they completely betrayed their supposed religion/morality. Do I think that’s entirely their fault? Not exactly. They have been failed by their schools, failed by their churches, failed by the media, failed by their political parties. But there’s plenty of blame to go around and we must acknowledge that anyone who supports Trump (or Clinton) has himself failed the basic human obligation to try to act morally. We are not helpless prisoners of our environment, institutions, or culture and we should not infantilize these people the other way, by treating them as if they have no moral agency of their own. The Country classes chose to nominate a scumbag rather than choosing to defeat Hillary Clinton with one of the many honorable (or at least semi-honorable) men who ran for the GOP nomination. Having done so, they deserve to lose. This was a simple case where doing the right thing would have worked out much better for them, but they chose the most unacceptable candidate in order to “stick it to” the elites. The wages of sin is death.

    • profmondo says:

      Yep. They threw a tantrum, and we all have to suffer for it. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve been marginalized and alienated from the dominant culture.

      • Andrew Stevens says:

        Agreed, but some of Trump’s flaws were obvious and didn’t even require research – three wives and four bankruptcies. (One bankruptcy may be accounted a misfortune, two smacks of carelessness, three is more or less proof of fraud. And if a man will defraud his wife and his creditors, what hope is there that he will keep any promises to a bunch of strangers?) That they would support such a man cedes a huge amount of the moral high ground. At one point, it was reasonable to stand with them on the basis of morality, but they’ve now shown that the moral rot in this country goes much deeper than I had previously thought. I had also always defended the group against charges of racism (bar the implicit racism and cultural conditioning that literally every single one of us has). I can no longer defend them on that in good conscience either. This whole year has been horrifyingly depressing.

  2. Andrew Stevens says:

    The saddest thing is that I won’t really suffer much under either Clinton or Trump (barring Trump’s doing something completely insane) and neither will the elites. It’s Trump’s voters who will suffer the most if, for example, trade wars (which both candidates are now in favor of) raise the cost of living.

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