CSotD: Interesting Times

There is apparently no such “Chinese curse” as “May you live in interesting times,” but Ed Hall does a nice job of illustrating the times in which we do live, a time in which a madman genuinely appears to believe that he can create truth simply by following his own self-centered, unexamined whims.

“Truth” being agreement with his assumptions, while any criticism of him or opposition to his impulses is a “hoax.”

On the other hand, that linked Quote Investigator article does cite an 1836 book on Chinese culture in which the author wrote

The Chinese have lived so much in peace, that they have acquired by habit and education a more than common horror of political disorder. “Better be a dog in peace than a man in anarchy,” is a common maxim. “It is a general rule,” they say, “that the worst of men are fondest of change and commotion, hoping that they may thereby benefit themselves; but by adherence to a steady, quiet system, affairs proceed without confusion, and bad men have nothing to gain.”


And now here we are, in a situation where bad men have something to gain and, as Clay Bennett points out, are absolutely determined to do so.


Juxtaposition of the Day, or nearly so

(Lalo Alcaraz)


(Rob Rogers)

At first glance, these two cartoons appear to be all but identical, but there is a very large difference between them.

In Rogers’ version, the Easter Bunny is hopping down the Bunny Trail in his ignorance, strewing toxic eggs.

Alcaraz offers a critically different view, because his Easter Bunny is deliberately sowing the virus.

This goes back to the classic question asked in commedia del arte, “Is the man a knave or a fool?”

The kindest answer is that Trump is too foolish to understand the dangers of the coronavirus.

After all, there is ample evidence that he doesn’t process information effectively and is only protected from the 25th Amendment by a compliant GOP Congress that refused to even consider evidence against him in the impeachment and is willing to have an incompetent, perhaps even a mad man, in the White House, if it appears to be to their advantage.

The alternative is to assume he knows the risks and doesn’t give a damn.


It’s not a new story, as Marty Two Bulls Sr. points out.

Two Bulls poses a fascinating parallel, because there are two elements to the situation on reservations.

From the start, Indian agents charged with providing food to those who had agreed to abandon traditional hunting were guilty of cheating them by purchasing and distributing stunningly substandard, all-but-inedible meat, flour and other supplies, in quantities less than required by treaty obligations.

These were cases of individual theft and embezzlement on the part of specific agents and their accomplices in the supply chain, but when various honest agents tried to stop the theft and exploitation, they were fired or pressured into resignation by those who profited from the corrupt system.


Meanwhile, as reported in the Seattle Times — with, by the way, a nice ad placement — a 17-year veteran of the emergency department was terminated by his hospital, at a time when every other hospital in the nation is scrambling to find personnel and soliciting retirees to return to work.

Well, nobody is being solicited to criticize the lack of safety equipment or protective policies in place. For that you get fired.

And for those familiar with life on the Rez, it’s the same old song.

However, the corruption goes beyond individual con artists, and higher up the ladder, as a class action suit finally settled the massive theft of billions of dollars in funds held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a dereliction of federal obligations that has been a major contributor to the conditions on reservations that Two Bulls cites.


And at least a potential mirror of the way that, as Clay Jones suggests, the feds now put the nation’s health out to bid.


I know the president ordered General Motors to begin producing ventilators, though he suggested they do it at a factory they sold last year.

But, as RJ Matson points out, there have also been suggestions that we handle the problem with a type of triage that would shock the collective conscience of a decent people with a responsible health system.

And however you spin and deflect and explain, there remains Dear Leader’s declaration that he will apportion aid not based on need or, god knows, on humanitarian considerations, but on how well he is treated by the governors of the various states.

Because, first of all, it’s all about him, and, again, that is a psychiatric condition, not a deliberate choice.

Accordingly, he assumes that it’s also all about the governors, and the states, not about the people who live in those states.

To suggest a parallel from his past, if you told him an apartment needs a sprinkler system, he’d see it as a legal requirement and therefore an infringement on profitability. It would honestly never occur to him to see it in terms of the safety of the people who live in the building.

You might as well try to inspire a tortoise to fly as try to kindle empathy in a sociopathic narcissist.


Again, don’t look to the 25th Amendment for relief, because, first of all, it was passed to deal with things like Wilson’s stroke and Ike’s heart attack and what might have been if JFK had survived the shooting.

There is absolutely no evidence that Trump is any more mad today than he was on the day the American people chose him for president.

Moreover, invoking the Amendment requires the assent of people who cannot see, as Mike Smith sees, that people whose normal income has been frozen in the lockdown will find that the combination of relief offered leaves them, like the Red Queen, running as fast as they can simply to stay in one place.

And what an interesting place it has become.


One thought on “CSotD: Interesting Times

  1. Just this morning I read a quote of FDR :”Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth.”

    Re:Matson’s cartoon – Dear Leader seems to have forgotten that he is over the age of 70.

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