Thursday, July 25, 2013

*They* Were the Players, and We Who Had Struggled at the Game Were Merely Spectators, though Subject to Its Vicissitudes and Moving with It Out of the Tearful Stadium, Borne on Shoulders, at Last

I made that in 2009. The clown is quoting the ghoul Max Boot praising Obama for his warmongering in Afghanistan, the hipster quoting K-Punk (remember K-Punk?) ripping Sonic Youth. Thurston Moore is 55 today. Speaking of old gags, Serendipity yet again presents me with one of this blog's longest running gags (the ridiculously enforced connectivity between my politics and soccer): On the same day Obama pretends to turn economic populist and calls Republicans obstructionist assclowns the DC Government and DC United announce tentative agreement on a new soccer stadium. Finally, however, some separation: while I will still (assuming I'm still a season ticket holder - something never in doubt until this summer) dance a Fuck-Me-Jig in front of my seat in a new stadium, record it, post it here, so little faith do I have that a stadium will be built in DC, I guarantee I will do a Fuck-Me-Jig in Southwest Washington before Obama and the motherfucking Democrats ever earn a kernel of faith and respect out of me again.


John Ashbery

Barely tolerated, living on the margin
In our technological society, we were always having to be rescued   
On the brink of destruction, like heroines in Orlando Furioso
Before it was time to start all over again.
There would be thunder in the bushes, a rustling of coils,   
And Angelica, in the Ingres painting, was considering
The colorful but small monster near her toe, as though wondering whether forgetting
The whole thing might not, in the end, be the only solution.   
And then there always came a time when
Happy Hooligan in his rusted green automobile
Came plowing down the course, just to make sure everything was O.K.,   
Only by that time we were in another chapter and confused   
About how to receive this latest piece of information.   
Was it information? Weren’t we rather acting this out   
For someone else’s benefit, thoughts in a mind
With room enough and to spare for our little problems (so they began to seem),
Our daily quandary about food and the rent and bills to be paid?   
To reduce all this to a small variant,
To step free at last, minuscule on the gigantic plateau—
This was our ambition: to be small and clear and free.   
Alas, the summer’s energy wanes quickly,
A moment and it is gone. And no longer
May we make the necessary arrangements, simple as they are.   
Our star was brighter perhaps when it had water in it.   
Now there is no question even of that, but only
Of holding on to the hard earth so as not to get thrown off,   
With an occasional dream, a vision: a robin flies across   
The upper corner of the window, you brush your hair away
And cannot quite see, or a wound will flash
Against the sweet faces of the others, something like:   
This is what you wanted to hear, so why
Did you think of listening to something else? We are all talkers   
It is true, but underneath the talk lies
The moving and not wanting to be moved, the loose
Meaning, untidy and simple like a threshing floor.

These then were some hazards of the course,
Yet though we knew the course was hazards and nothing else   
It was still a shock when, almost a quarter of a century later,   
The clarity of the rules dawned on you for the first time.   
They were the players, and we who had struggled at the game   
Were merely spectators, though subject to its vicissitudes
And moving with it out of the tearful stadium, borne on shoulders, at last.
Night after night this message returns, repeated
In the flickering bulbs of the sky, raised past us, taken away from us,   
Yet ours over and over until the end that is past truth,   
The being of our sentences, in the climate that fostered them,   
Not ours to own, like a book, but to be with, and sometimes   
To be without, alone and desperate.
But the fantasy makes it ours, a kind of fence-sitting
Raised to the level of an esthetic ideal. These were moments, years,   
Solid with reality, faces, namable events, kisses, heroic acts,   
But like the friendly beginning of a geometrical progression
Not too reassuring, as though meaning could be cast aside some day   
When it had been outgrown. Better, you said, to stay cowering   
Like this in the early lessons, since the promise of learning   
Is a delusion, and I agreed, adding that
Tomorrow would alter the sense of what had already been learned,   
That the learning process is extended in this way, so that from this standpoint
None of us ever graduates from college,
For time is an emulsion, and probably thinking not to grow up   
Is the brightest kind of maturity for us, right now at any rate.
And you see, both of us were right, though nothing
Has somehow come to nothing; the avatars
Of our conforming to the rules and living
Around the home have made—well, in a sense, “good citizens” of us,   
Brushing the teeth and all that, and learning to accept
The charity of the hard moments as they are doled out,
For this is action, this not being sure, this careless
Preparing, sowing the seeds crooked in the furrow,
Making ready to forget, and always coming back
To the mooring of starting out, that day so long ago.


  1. What? A soccer cum politics blog post and no mention of USMT kicking ass in the CONCACAF Gold Cup against all those fierce Caribbeans? Whooo! We control the the northern part of the Western Hemisphere! Whoooo!

    And what about a fuck-me-jig about Landycakes's domination over the regional B-squads? I'm sure you've promised such at some point in your past. Your Donovapastasy will always be ready?

  2. Honduras is an up-and-coming power, and so is Panama, so I fully expect our Puskasian outburst to net two, possibly three total goals in next year's Blatter Cup.

  3. that "george eliot, ethicist" piece is good stuff

    and speaking of belief in eternal damnation, and/or the absence thereof, i was browsing on some blogs yesterday and today* and came across something written by peter morales, the current president of the unitarian universalist association that i thought might interest you, BDR, as you deal with life's persistent questions:

    The problem with asking what someone believes is that it is the wrong question. True religion is about what we love, not about what we think. True religion is about what you and I hold sacred. The practice of true religion is faithfulness to what we love. The key religious questions you and I must answer are these:

    What do we love so much that we are moved to tears? What gives us unspeakable joy? What brings us peace beyond understanding? What do we love so much that it calls us to action? What do we care about so deeply that we willingly, joyfully, devote our lives to it?
    How shall I live?”

    video (19 minutes)

    *the crisis of conscience i am currently wrestling with in my own personal life is the issue of whether i continue to follow the proverb of "when in the roman church, do as the romans do" when attending mass with missus charley, up to and including accepting the ministry of the table, despite not being a baptized catholic

    i have been rationalizing that "it's against the pope's rules for me to drink the wine and eat the wafer, but jesus wouldn't mind" - now it becomes a bit more clear to me that covertly passing as catholic is a form of lying, and my own cost/benefit analysis is tipping towards accepting the exclusion from communion that obedience to the magisterium (in their own house) would require

  4. J - I didn't see this one but I did watch over the weekend and while impressed with some new faces I reminded myself these are mostly B-squad teams. I am curious to watch the WCQ return match v Costa Rica. And once I could work up an entertaining loathing for Cakes when both United and Galaxy were good and game was at RFK, but meh. And the goal v Algeria in 2010, after all.

    R - love the Honduras kit, Panama's not so much, remember those wonderful rumors of merging CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Fun the hour it lasted.

    C - thanks as always. I'd like to think I'm spending more time on mwah than gah than before - here, there, everywhere - though my faith in old things tells my faith in new things that old things are going to fight for their lives.

  5. His dirty secret, his self-apostasy to which even he can't admit: Obama flew a black helicopter over his love of USMNT. You read it here first.