I beg your pardon.

I don’t like Melania’s new Rose Garden. On the other hand, I’m not sure it is her Rose Garden. I know, I know: The press releases said the “restoration” of the R.G. would be overseen by her, but I’m not buying it.

We’ve all heard the stories. She spends most of her time in her parents’ house in Maryland, and who can blame her. I’m sure the terms of her prenup require her to show up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from time to time, and maybe even to smile and wave, but we’ve all seen the photos, too. Even when she leaves the stilettos in her closet, she looks as comfortable in a garden as she very likely looks in her husband’s bed, assuming she’s occupied it even once since Barron was born.

(A White House Pilates studio, design and construction overseen by Melania? That I could believe.)

So my guess is, overseeing the Rose Garden overhaul consisted of attending some meetings, nodding over the plans and saying, “Mek it so” before running back to Maryland. Still. Her name is on the project, so she has to take the credit/blame for it.

I noted on Twitter that the comparison photos circulating aren’t entirely fair. The Befores feature tulips and flowering crabapple trees, which means they were taken in spring, and the Afters have the slightly burnt look of a garden in late summer. Still, we can notice some things. I approve of what looks to be lavender planted here and there among the roses, but I can’t approve of the roses, which are all white, from what I can tell. I hate one-color flower beds. A garden should be about contrasts and comparisons and for the love of God, seasons. Roses flower in June, but spring in D.C. really begins in March/April; what are we to look at until then? Did the First Lady take reporters or photographers on a tour, explaining why this in this bed, what that there, etc?

Don’t be silly. She doesn’t do that sort of thing. She walks, she poses, she demonstrates why she was never much of a model and lets Twitter do what it will.

The new garden looks very French, i.e. boring. Symmetrical, same-same-same, more symmetry, and a hard-surface walkway so the stilettos don’t sink. I prefer the English model — riots of color, a surprise around every corner, a hidden nook for sitting and enjoying the bees and the breeze. Of course, a garden designed for holding public events can’t be like that, but it can be more interesting than showing the same thing in every sightline.

Here’s something I read once: Tulips are profoundly middle-class flowers. I’m sure Melania, a sex worker who rose higher in the world than she probably ever dreamed, wants nothing to do with anything middle-class.

OK, enough about the goddamn Rose Garden.

Census-taking continues to improve; I’m getting better and faster at it. Last night I encountered a group of four young men making a movie. The film is called “Rent Due” and, they said, is about four young men trying to hustle up the rent. I told them they had everything they needed to be real filmmakers — plenty of bottled water and a bong. They laughed, and I left. Karen out.

And now Wednesday gets underway. Karen out again. Have a good one.

Posted at 10:09 am in Current events |

57 responses to “I beg your pardon.”

  1. Bitter Scribe said on August 26, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Did Melania speak last night, or is it going to be tonight? Gotta parcel out those Trumps.

    I’m as indifferent to her as I am to flowers and gardens in general. This “sex worker” stuff seems slightly harsh (sorry, Nancy), but it does amuse me when she’s called “classy” and “elegant” by people who spent eight years calling Michelle Obama an ape.

    348 chars

    • nancy said on August 26, 2020 at 11:31 am

      Not every sex workers stands on a corner and names her price. Some come as over-the-hill “models” and get very transactional about landing a rich husband. It’s a difference only in degree.

      188 chars

  2. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    If tulips are middle class, hand me the trowel, please. In front of our little 10 foot fence no grass grew, so I planted pots of zinnias and marigolds, then dug then into the ground. They’re colorful and exuberant and fill me with joy, all for the cost of some potting soil and two seed packets. They’ll bloom until it frosts, too.

    With everything the same height and an almost total lack of color, there’s nothing to interest my middle class eye. What, they couldn’t find some petunias? No thrillers, fillers, and spillers? Meh.

    532 chars

  3. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Funny how there are no stormtroopers, no tear gas, no batons being used on these protestors despite their breaking things and shoving LEOs. I’ve seen BLM protestors pepper sprayed and beaten for just not being on the sidewalk, or touching a police officer, or just yelling at them.


    351 chars

  4. jcburns said on August 26, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    “…Well if sweet-talkin’ you could make it come true
    I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
    But what would it matter
    So smile for a while and let’s be jolly
    Love shouldn’t be so melancholy
    Come along and share the good times while we can…”

    One of my regular dawn newspaper-delivering songs on 610 WTVN.
    Thanks, Lynn Anderson.

    355 chars

  5. Deborah said on August 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    I looked up who the landscape architects are who designed the rose garden, “The Rose Garden restoration, designed by the landscape architecture firms, Perry Guillot, Inc and Oehme, van Sweden & Associates/OvS, was a joint effort to improve upon and enhance the iconic garden“. I had not heard of them before. I’m on my iPhone right now but will look up their websites when I can use my iPad.

    The walkways were added for disabled access so that’s a good thing and as Nancy said it is the end of August. Taking out some of the trees probably made it brighter inside. It’s the historical significance of the former First Ladies that got razed that bugs me.

    671 chars

  6. Scout said on August 26, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    “Melania’s gardening pose suggests something between a head cheerleader half-assing her way through choreography she doesn’t feel like performing full-out and a spooked house pet who has never been in a garden before and is unsure how to comport herself in these environs. She apparently went with trying to get low to the ground, but she doesn’t actually want any part of her to touch dirt, so she settles on a stance something like yoga’s Utkatasana, or chair pose: knees bent, hips back, core activated. This keeps her on alert, ready to strike should something she does not want to encounter, such as a child separated from his parents, or her husband, appear suddenly out of the bushes. She doesn’t bother to put up her hair or exchange her designer sunglasses for a more practical wide-brimmed hat. In one hand, she holds a pair of pruning shears uneasily, as if ready not to trim an overgrowth but to snip off the ponytail of an invisible rival or a Barbie doll she is jealous of. Her other hand poses beatifically over an empty basket, providing gestural encouragement to the basket without actually deigning to make physical contact with it. She really doesn’t prune, do u?”

    Thanks for the smile. I needed that after reading all the glowing accolades because the retired sex worker managed to read a performative sympathy speech off a teleprompter without sounding like she was taking the Guilfoyle Challenge. It must be nice to have the bar set so low that even showing up in a military dictator costume doesn’t rate a comment from a media so desperate to keep this click bait admin in power.

    1617 chars

  7. Marianne19 said on August 26, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    I’m an old (call-myself-retired) gardener and rose lover. Rose gardens need structure and while the remodel still has it, it’s lost the vertical element that the crab apple trees added. They gave color in spring, shade in late summer when most roses were past anyway, and architectural interest in winter, when pretty much everything else is gone. So that’s my main objection. The other is that I agree with Nancy that French gardens are a bit too structured, and therefore boring, for my taste.

    496 chars

  8. Scout said on August 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Since we’re on the subject of FLOTUS…

    149 chars

  9. Jakash said on August 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Scout refers to “showing up in a military dictator costume.” Really, I’m no fashion guy, by any means, but what a … striking choice. OhNoSheTwitnt on Twitter likes to compare Melanie to Eva Braun — when that flannel shirt in the garden photo came out, she went with Eva Brawny, because she looked like the pitchman for Brawny paper towels — but the look for her speech last night was as if she’s playing along with the comparison.

    “It must be nice to have the bar set so low…” Well, if J. C. is gonna put in a verse from “Rose Garden” from the 610 TVN glory days, I’ll just point out that anytime I see, hear or think “It must be nice” I’m off to the races with this going through my head:


    748 chars

  10. Deborah said on August 26, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    I’m back home and I looked up the websites on my iPad of both of the Rose Garden landscape designers, the first one Guillot is out of the Hamptons in NY, does a lot of rich people’s homes etc, lots of lawns, minimal, classic, they’re OK. The second one OvS is out of DC, more varied work, more imaginative but neither of them are world class if you ask me.

    356 chars

  11. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm



    72 chars

  12. Mark P said on August 26, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    “What is that icky black stuff all over the floor?”

    “Um, that’s dirt, Ma’am”

    “Why do they leave it all over the floor? Get someone to clean it immediately!”

    “Um, that’s dirt. That’s what the ground is made of, Ma’am.”

    “Well, whoever decided to make the floor out of ground should be fired!”

    332 chars

  13. Brandon said on August 26, 2020 at 4:09 pm


    147 chars

  14. JodiP said on August 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Melania is wearing flannel in August. Way too hot. I will also say, while I appreciate Michelle O. getting in the dirt, the clothes she wore were way too nice!

    Not suprised by Idaho. After all, when gun-toting patriots stormed the MI statehouse, nothing was done there, because they were all very fine people.

    This f’ing country.

    336 chars

  15. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Last year, when my friend was running for mayor and I had a campaign sticker on my water bottle, I was reminded that the sticker couldn’t show up on camera during Planning Commission meetings.

    Last night, the Republicans basically held their national convention in the White House, complete with Marines in uniform. IOKIYAR.

    330 chars

  16. Jakash said on August 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I just wish that so many folks’ hair-triggers weren’t ready to be pulled at the slightest opportunity. Before I saw your tweet and this post about it, Nancy, I was disappointed in Michael Beschloss for tweeting out those misleading photos of the garden. I had the same reaction that you did — uh, the tulips and blossoms against the bland August stuff are not a crabapple to crabapple comparison. If even a distinguished historian like him is getting carried away with such nonsense, it’s disappointing, indeed.

    Thus, Brandon’s link makes a lot of otherwise reasonable people look bad. It’s hard enough trying to ride herd on the stampede of bullshit being constantly spread across the land by Fox News and the likes of Kayleigh, Tuck the Schmuck, and Dolt 45 himself. I wish that those on our “side” could refrain from unloading grade A fertilizer, themselves.

    870 chars

  17. Ann said on August 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    I care not a whit one way or the other about the garden, but I’m all ears for the census stories. Keep them coming.

    116 chars

  18. beb said on August 26, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I did not know that Melania spends most of her time with her parents in Maryland. Obviously she would have her own separate Secret Service guards, at additional expense to the taxpayers. I can believe it. She have stayed in the WH in a separate room from her husband but apparently that’s not enough distance for her.

    Thanks for the thoughtful and enlightening essay about the Rose Garden and gardens in general. Marianne19’s comment about the trees especially so. You learn something every (if you’re not carefully)

    I’m very discouraged about Kenosha. Shootings, deaths. This will not end well. But the same day Jacob Blake was shot in the back 7 times, a black man in Louisiana was shot 10 times in the back while walking away. And no explanation why they victims were walking away or why the police then opened fire. I think when the police shoot people in the back that their “qualified immunity” should be tossed out the window.

    940 chars

  19. Jakash said on August 26, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    “I can’t recall any pairing of events as closely-comparable-yet-starkly-different:

    -Black man is shot in the back 7 times, while getting in car w his kids;
    -White youth carrying AR-15 walks away, after killing people.

    By the same police force, in the same town, in the same week.”


    352 chars

  20. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their NBA game today, and the rest of the league soon joined them. The WNBA followed suit. At least three MLB games have been postponed now because of the Jacob Blake shooting.

    A 17 year old, not old enough to vote, buy liquor or cigarettes, or do any number of things reserved for adults, can drive to another town and walk around with an assault rifle and be cheered on by local cops. Only if he is white, of course. America.

    It was inevitable that one of these vigilantes would kill people.

    536 chars

  21. alex said on August 26, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Today saw in my facebook feed, from an in-law I unfriended, a ridiculous post about a black-on-white murder that’s being ignored by national media because fake news, anti-white and pro-black bias and other such bullshit. I don’t know how he managed to place it there, but there it was.

    As for the rose garden, for me it calls to mind this music video:


    401 chars

  22. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    I’m not sure how White Christianity survives our current moment.


    129 chars

  23. LAMary said on August 26, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Brandon, I read she had torn out the crabapple trees, planted by Jacqueline Kennedy, and indeed she did.
    I don’t know about Trump’s first wife, but wives number 2 and 3 were “escorts.” Years ago there was a stupid Lifetime channel biography of Marla Maples. It mentioned her “modeling” career which consisted of posing with some power tool, and then skipped to her exciting days in NYC, going to parties at the finest places, staying in then most elegant hotels, and meeting famous men. That’s when she met trump. The Lifetime biography skipped the part about her meeting Ivana, wife number 1, at the top of a ski slope at the resort where the whole family was vacationing and the donald was not doing a very good job of hiding Marla from the wife. Then Marla got a part in the broadway show Ziegfield, where she sort of danced and did some gymnastic type moves. She stopped when she found out she was pregnant. Before announcing the pregnancy, trump, portraying himself as a publicist named John Barron, called in a story to the NY Post saying that Marla said she had the best sex ever with trump. Murdoch put it on the front page in giant font. She had the kid, named Tiffany, and she and trump got married a couple of months later at the Plaza Hotel, a hotel trump had purchased for Ivana to run, but she left and he ran the hotel deeply into debt. NY Magazine’s comment on the wedding was,” there was not a damp eye in the house.”

    1438 chars

  24. Suzanne said on August 26, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Sherri, I am not sure White Christianity should survive. And I say this as a Christian.

    87 chars

  25. Sherri said on August 26, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Watching a presentation on an analysis of housing need in Redmond, and struck by, among other things, that in 2000, Redmond was 79% white. In 2018, Redmond is 56% white.

    169 chars

  26. LAMary said on August 26, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Watched Pence speech. Stopped counting the lies at 22. Oh good, now the pres and Melanoma are showing up.

    105 chars

  27. Deborah said on August 27, 2020 at 2:59 am

    Isn’t Melania under 50? I guess I could google that. I wonder what she does for a satisfying sex life? It seems like she doesn’t sleep with her husband, does she have a pool boy on the side?

    I googled it, she’s 50.

    223 chars

  28. Dexter Friend said on August 27, 2020 at 4:10 am

    Doc Rivers stole the show today. Jeezuss Kreist, I have not seen that level of emotion in years from anyone. He’s been around forever, playing days long gone, now Clippers coach in the NBA. As soon as his video went viral, the dominoes fell. Adam Silver (da commish) cancelled all NBA games for Wednesday, the WNBA followed suit, and then MLB teams shut down too. Kenosha has streets so burned up it could pass for 1967 summer, Detroit, Michigan, 12th Street. Ben Crump said it will take a miracle to have the 29 year old victim walk again. It’s already a miracle a man can take 7 police caliber bullets to the back and survive. I have an old friend (lost in time now ) who survived a burst of 6 from an AK-47 in Vietnam, but damn…seven?

    745 chars

  29. Suzanne said on August 27, 2020 at 8:38 am

    The latest far right, Fox take on the 17 yr old who killed 2 protesters and wounded a 3rd is that he shouldn’t be charged with murder because it was self defense. Never mind that he drove from another state, armed to the teeth, looking for a fight.
    So utterly disgusting.

    275 chars

  30. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2020 at 11:15 am

    As usual, Heather Cox Richardson has summed it all up. Hard not to feel hopeless. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-26-2020

    140 chars

  31. Peter said on August 27, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Jakash @ #19, I would completely agree with you, until I heard someone on CNN yesterday who said that the cops driving past the 17 year old gunman was actually evidence of changes in police training – that even if the gunman has got a sign on him saying “I DID IT” you keep on going and check on the victims – clear a path for ambulances, do CPR as required. It’s counterintuitive to me, but the concept is that you don’t know how many people are injured until you get to the scene, and backup forces can catch the assailant before he shoots more people. He also said that even if the assailant escapes, he’ll be caught, usually in short order, which is what happened.

    670 chars

  32. Sherri said on August 27, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Peter, the gunman wasn’t captured in short order. He turned himself in the next day in his home town in Illinois.

    And as for the bullshit about ignoring assailants and checking on victims, when the victims are from police shootings, we constantly hear about the need to “secure the scene” before they can do CPR or bring in ambulances.

    344 chars

  33. LAMary said on August 27, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    I’m recruiting people for covid 19 related jobs. Most of the jobs require very specific experience and education
    We accept experience as a volunteer as well as job experience for many of the jobs. I am getting applications that not only lack a resume. They have nothing but a name, email address and phone number. To be an epidemiologist? A microbiologist? I politely send an email letting them know the must have forgot to attach a resume, but I never get a reply. What the hell?

    483 chars

  34. Deborah said on August 27, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    We got an email from our Chicago building management that they’re expecting protests on Michigan Ave again this weekend related to the Kenosha incident. My husband is there now but will be leaving Friday morning.

    Our garden shed project is working out. It is taking longer than expected but will be cool when it’s done. We’ve learned a lot along the way.

    363 chars

  35. Scout said on August 27, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Our third great grandchild was born today. Welcome to the world, Jaxon! Who knows when I will finally get to meet him and see my other grandies. I’m both happy and sad in this moment.

    183 chars

  36. beb said on August 27, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    I keep seeing on Google News and Yahoo News that Fox News claims that the Kenosha police claim that Jacob Blake had a knife in his car. This really angers me because it’s straight up blaming the victim. He wasn’t in the car when he was shoot so whether a knife was there wasn’t matter. And even if he had a knife in his hand he was walking away from them, he wasn’t a threat to them only to their authority.

    Both Google and Yahoo has controls that let you see more or less news from a particular site. I’ve already set them to “Less.” I would love to be able to set the control to “never” because Fox News lies! All-The-Time.

    628 chars

  37. Scout said on August 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    The Kenosha PD is out of control. This really pisses me off.

    123 chars

  38. Sherri said on August 27, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    After Jacob Blake’s shooting, conservative media hunted for evidence that might exonerate the officer, fixating on the presence of a knife in Blake’s car. After Rittenhouse shot three protesters, the right hunted for evidence that might exonerate the shooter, settling on the fantasy that those protesters were the real vigilantes who got what was coming to them. The lesson here is simple: A white man with a gun is innocent until proved guilty; his victims are guilty until proved innocent.


    610 chars

  39. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Congratulations Scout! All the blessings to Jaxon and family.

    The Kenosha shooter is 17. Reportedly his mother gave him the gun and drove him to Wisconsin. Can we please arrest her too?

    188 chars

  40. Deborah said on August 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Whoa, Julie I hadn’t heard that about the mother of the 17 year old. That’s outrageous.

    And that Jacob Blake is handcuffed to his hospital bed without being charged with any crime is unconscionable.

    I’ve been listening to a few podcasts today in which Kurt Andersen has been the guest. The former co-founder of Spy magazine has written a book called Evil Geniuses, which I want to read next. I loved Spy magazine back in the day. Also Stuart Stevens, a former Republican campaign campaign operative has written a book called, It Was All a Lie, which also sounds interesting. He’s now part of The Lincoln Project.

    618 chars

  41. susan said on August 27, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Kurt Anderson coined the term of endearment for Trump that Trump loves so much, “Short-fingered vulgarian.” And that was decades ago (1988). It really stuck. And sticks. Ha ha ha ha! Hooo boy.

    192 chars

  42. Suzanne said on August 27, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Kurt Andersen also wrote FantasyLand: How America Went Haywire which is excellent. I highly recommend it.
    Americans have been drawn to made up crap for years.

    160 chars

  43. Deborah said on August 27, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    On one of the podcasts I listened to Kurt Andersen described how they came up with the term “short fingered vulgarian”, it was hilarious. His co-founder Graydon Carter went to interview Trump, after never having met him before and was struck by how small his fingers were for such a relatively tall man, this was either in the late 80s or early 90s. Of course we know that Trump also wears lifts in his shoes so he’s not as tall as he’d like to be.

    Mina Harris, said this on Twitter “How about the networks don’t air any speeches that brazenly violate the Hatch Act? We have to stop normalizing this.” yeah, why do the networks participate in breaking laws?

    660 chars

  44. basset said on August 27, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Nance, is Ruby the bunny still around? Saw him/her on a previous Today in History & just wondered.

    Also, I’ve brought this up before but will mention it again… Donald Trump really is Nehemiah Scudder but with less preaching, so far at least.

    249 chars

  45. Brandon said on August 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    Another article about the Rose Garden makeover.

    Garden Secrets of Bunny Mellon will be out next month.

    319 chars

  46. Dexter Friend said on August 28, 2020 at 3:24 am

    I reposted the story about the sex worker ripping up the roses and Facebook warned me that it was a lie and told me to fact check that shit out before posting it. Was that really Facebook or a Russian bot-spy?

    210 chars

  47. alex said on August 28, 2020 at 6:13 am

    And you thought the pool boy was the Fallwells’ only indiscretion. I’m beginning to see that Coozledad’s colorful descriptions of southern evangelical sex weren’t over the top at all.


    294 chars

  48. Deborah said on August 28, 2020 at 6:35 am

    I came across this quote by Bonhoeffer during my bout of insomnia tonight:

    “Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

    1159 chars

  49. alex said on August 28, 2020 at 7:24 am

    I think Bonhoeffer’s right about that. Racists deflect criticism by pretending that Klansmen and Nazis are the standard on which racism should be judged when in fact it’s rare to find racists so openly malicious. Much more common are racists who are stupid and whose hackles go up when polite society tells them to zip it and Trump is exploiting the resentments of exactly those people.

    I’m kind of caught between a rock and a hard place because my partner has some family members who are very stupid.

    505 chars

  50. ROGirl said on August 28, 2020 at 8:02 am

    When’s the Falwell redemption tour going to start? Oh wait. First, all the sleazy revelations have to come steadily trickling out, until the rushing torrent reaches critical mass. Then the believers will speak of their faith not wavering in the face of the sleazy sinners who have fleeced the flock. There will be a public chastening and punishment, exile, and the second act will be ready to launch before you know it. Cue eye rolls.

    Re: stupidity and evil. I think evil is pretty rare, unlike stupidity, which is common and inescapable. Stupid people who are also malicious (and powerful) are particularly dangerous.

    621 chars

  51. David C said on August 28, 2020 at 8:04 am

    What a chickenshit Scott Walker is. They’ll never notice he turned off his own camera, no never. It’s like when my niece and nephew were younger and would be texting under the table at family dinners thinking nobody could tell. But they were only teenagers being teenagers. He’s a grown-assed man. Sort of.


    416 chars

  52. basset said on August 28, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Just forwarded that Bonhoeffer quote to everyone I know who would appreciate it.

    80 chars

  53. Suzanne said on August 28, 2020 at 8:23 am

    This from The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/the-education-of-peter-drucker/304484/
    sadly sums up what we see happening today, not due to war but greed.

    “Writing at a time of economic collapse, Drucker asserted in the book that Economic Man’s promise—that a society built around the market (the major social institution of the nineteenth century) could achieve “freedom and justice through economic development”—had failed, and that this had “destroyed the belief in capitalism as a social system.” The Great War and the Depression made this crisis of belief a reality for millions. “These catastrophes broke through the everyday routine which makes men accept existing forms, institutions and tenets as unalterable laws. They suddenly exposed the vacuum behind the façade of society.” Fascism filled that void with magic. Robbed of their belief in the justice and rationality of society, he wrote, the masses,

    …must turn their hopes toward a miracle. In the depths of their despair reason cannot be believed, truth must be false and lies must be truth. ‘Higher bread prices,’ ‘lower bread prices,’ ‘unchanged bread prices’ have all failed. The only hope lies in a kind of bread price which is none of these, which nobody has seen before, and which believes the evidence of one’s reason.
    In place of a market society, fascism sought to offer a “non-economic society,” with non-economic incentives and satisfactions. For example, as a distraction from from the collapse of German agriculture and a shrinking diet, the Nazis provided the lower classes with “some of the non-economic paraphernalia of economic privilege”— theatre tickets, winter cruises, stays at health spas, and the like. In place of atomistic individualism these offered the feeling of belonging to a powerful group. Economic Man pursued self-interest. Fascist Man identified with a cause greater than himself.”

    Trump Man identifies with the power of Trump. The Republican platform is whatever Trump says it is. Trump looks down on his followers with disdain but they can’t see it because they choose not to. Nothing for them has to make sense to be true.

    2179 chars

  54. Deborah said on August 28, 2020 at 9:03 am

    As P.T. Barnum said (or at least it’s attributed to him), “there’s a sucker born every minute”. I ask myself all the time why that is. What makes humans so susceptible to grift and snake oil? I’ve been trying to do research about how one escapes from a cult, and how people come to realize they’re being taken advantage of, or duped. Everyone has a shelf in the back of their heads where they store their doubts, I know I did in my LCMS (Lutheran) days. Eventually that shelf collapsed because the doubts kept adding up and I couldn’t sustain it anymore. That’s one of the reason I read so many former Republicans Twitter. What was it that made them call it quits, how did they come to their senses? What made them change their minds about the nonsense of “trickle down”, the tyranny of systematic racism, or what opened their eyes about the cruelty of caging children? Etc etc.

    878 chars

  55. Deborah said on August 28, 2020 at 9:07 am

    I must have misspelled my name again, or messed up my email address, as I see I’m in moderation.

    96 chars

  56. Jim said on August 28, 2020 at 9:17 am

    This is the best blog site ever! Becki Falwell, Bonhoeffer and Robert Heinlein referenced in one conversation!

    110 chars