Skip to main content

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria



The cover story of the November 2015 issue of HARPER'S bears the title "Bombast Bursting in Air." It is editor emeritus Lewis Lapham's take on the Presidential election cycle thus far.

I'll quote only one brief bit, in which he is discussing Trump, in the period immediately after the first candidates' debate (in early August) on the Republican side.

The protectors of the Republican Party's virtue hoped that one of the other nine candidates would topple Trump from his catbird seat, if not the slow and steady Jeb Bush (self-style "joyful tortoise," mature and loving friend of the common man) then maybe Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, or Chris Christie, all of them rated by their touts as quick-witted, sharp-tongues, good at pretending that they care about something other than themselves, able to find Aleppo on a map. During the summer of 2015, the collective attempt at Trump removal failed because the mogul didn't take the proffered bait, declined to do so with a sense of humor than his fellow candidates lack both the nerve and the permission to engage. 

It is odd to see Rand Paul's name listed alongside Rubio, Christie, and Bush in this context. The latter three are all what Lapham presumes they are, fronts for the enduring Republican establishment. But Rand Paul (though neither as consistent as his father nor as flamboyant as Trump) is in his own way as much a disruptive force within the party as Trump is.

Still, I understand Lapham's point here, and it is well expressed. And I especially like the bit about finding Aleppo on a map. The meme of "finding such-and-such a place on a map" has seldom see as sharp an employment.

That's Lapham whose photo I've pasted in above, by the way.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…