Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dowd pitches

Inspired by Maureen Dowd:
1. Tragedy
You wouldn't think a spunky gal reporter of Irish ancestry would give two pins about Greek tragedy, but when I was going out with Bobby Kennedy (always a perfect gentleman, by the way, and never laid a finger on me, realizing I was too young), he often quoted his favorite poet, Aeschylus, author of the Agamemnon and countless other great dramas. Euripides, too, was a great Greek tragedian, and in his Medea he portrays a woman destroyed by jealousy of her faithless husband, madly killing her own children in order to get back at him, which immediately brings Hillary Clinton to mind...
Jenö Gyárfás, The Tragedy of Man, ca. 1880. Wikimedia Commons.
2. It's the Uncertainty, Stupid
Last time I interviewed famous mathematician Kurt Gödel, I asked him, "Are you a breast man or an ass man?"
"I don't know," he answered. "I'm uncertain."
But uncertainty is really about cats, too; a cat in a box that could be alive or dead, or both at the same time, depending on a simple twist of fate. The way you might be if you were in a war brought about by Hillary Clinton's irresponsible and cynical votes in the Senate...
Tee design from spreadshirts.
3. Don't Bogart that Joint
When Lauren Bacall died I was in a motel room in Aspen, getting high, as part of my research.
Anybody can get high, the salesman had said. Just put your lips together and inhale. I giggled, but a few hours later I was screaming, tormented by visions of a heavy-breathing Bill Clinton looming over me.
You might think an opinion columnist doesn't need to do research so much as to have an opinion, but how do you suppose she finds out what her opinion is? She can't just stick her finger in the wind and see which direction it's blowing in, the way Hillary Clinton would do.
Nor could Lauren Bacall, a great woman who stuck to her guns and her God, although she was not a Roman Catholic by upbringing, or at all, unlike me, Pat Buchanan, and Pope Francis, whom I haven't interviewed. No one can say for sure if she would have supported Clinton in the 2016 primaries, but Lauren Bacall never gave the time of day to a murderer. That's just not who she was.
Lauren Bacall with Alec Guinness, 1993. Photo by BBC Worldwide, via The Guardian.
 I should stress that I'm kind of increasingly pissed off with Hillary Clinton myself, very sad over the death of Robin Williams, and for that matter full of reverence for the great Lauren Bacall (it would be ridiculous to be sad). This is between Dowd and me.

Other vital discussion from Tengrain, Driftglass, and especially Scott Lemieux and Steve.

Update 2/14/2015: Commenter Matt W at Lawyers, Guns & Money notes quite correctly that the Uncertainty Principle is a concept in quantum physics, not mathematics, developed by Werner Heisenberg, and has nothing whatever to do with Gödel, famed for his Incompleteness Theorems, which are entirely different things in an entirely different field of inquiry. I could claim that I made this mistake on purpose, but I am too proud to lie. Everybody needs an editor! I also misspelled Alec Guinness's name, a much less embarrassing mistake. I fixed that but I am leaving the Gödel passage as is, on stylistic grounds.

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