Born this day, Saturday May 24 1941.
Not forever young, for sure, but surely forever out there.
from an illustration by: Alex Fine
I can and do condemn the thrown chairs, the flood of personal harassment, and the death threats in Nevada last weekend, just as I condemn the shots fired earlier this year into the Sanders campaign headquarters in Las Vegas and the felony vandalism of Sanders' campaign workers' residences there.
I also can and do condemn the high-handed violations of rules and process by the state leadership at the Nevada Democratic State Convention.
Plenty of condemnation earned all around, plenty to go around. And if you can't agree with that, well, you might as well stop reading right here.
That said, even being a Sanders supporter, I just can't get terribly cranked up over two Nevada delegates. Not now, not in May, not with only three weeks of primary campaign left.
What I can accept and what Senator Sanders seemingly cannot accept is that, yes, of course, the process is rigged. The rules and the Party leadership were all installed to serve the interests of the Democratic Party, which is to say the interests of those who run the Democratic Party, those who have the power in the Democratic Party, those who own the Democratic Party, which in 2016 is to say the Clinton Machine. Following the McCarthy, the Robert Kennedy, and (especially) the McGovern campaigns, the DNC instituted the superdelegate and other deliberate mechanisms to protect itself from just such dangerous insurgencies, to maintain the status quo. That's what Big Corporations and Big Labor and Big Money and Big Politics do in order to survive. The Sanders message is not the status quo.
That the Party apparatus was geared and set from the beginning for a Clinton nomination is not surprising. The inevitability of her being the Democratic nominee was clear from the beginning, with essentially zero opposition fielded (unheard of with no incumbent running) and zero dollars available for anyone other than Secretary Clinton. It was Hillary's turn and everyone knew it, everyone conceded it—everyone except for the renegade, outsider Bernie Sanders.
This year's campaign has exposed the fact that the rules are bad, that the rules need to be fixed and made uniform across the states, that superdelegates are anti-democratic and that closed primaries are neither inclusive nor representative, that every state should implement universal and automatic voter registration. We should be thanking Sanders for forcing us all to see these flaws and acknowledge them.
Again, that being said, primary reform and voting reform are one thing but the 2016 Democratic primaries are another. We can go to Philadelphia and plant our flag and show and affirm that the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party is not to be ignored and still come out of it dedicated to defeating Donald Trump, whoever the Democratic nominee is. Secretary Clinton says she takes Senator Sanders at his word that, after the nomination is decided, he will do everything he can do to defeat Donald Trump, and so do I.
That is the clear road ahead.
Top that, May 16 2016. Boom.
If Hillary Clinton had been caught posing as her own fictional publicist, Fox News and Donald Trump would be crucifying her. And the American people would think she's a lying con artist—and they would be right!
But with Trump, nobody cares. WTF?
I took two writing classes with Harry Crews at the University of Florida back in the 70s. In the undergrad class I wrote a short story that wasn't nearly as short as it should have been. In my memory it clocked in at 76 double-spaced typescript pages but my memories aren't always the most reliable; might have been 76+. I have no recollection whatsoever of what the godforsaken story was about.
Alone with Crews in his office to discuss the story:
Me [first thing out of my mouth]: I'm sorry. I'm really really sorry. I lost control of it. I didn't mean for it to be so long.
Harry: Did you mean for it to be so boring?
Everything else said that morning has been mercifully forgotten/erased/cremated.
I was amazed when he later invited me to take his grad class the following semester. I did OK but wasn't surprised that I was never invited to join him drinking at Lillian's Music Store with his coterie of grad student favorites and assorted acolytes.
The last time I saw Harry Crews was at Black Oak Books in Berkeley, probably in 1998 on a book tour for his last novel, Celebration. We spoke briefly after the reading. He apologized for his instruction and counsel while I was his student, because of his alcoholism and the drugs. Loaded or sober, I'm sure he would have stuck by his stiff and stinging assessment of that boring and not-so-short short story some 30 years earlier.
I'm looking forward to reading this biography, to hearing again so many stories from Harry's life. I'm bound to be disappointed, though, because I will have heard many of them first from Harry himself and nobody could tell a Harry story like Harry.
Blood, Bone and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews
By Ted Geltner, with a foreword by Michael Connelly
Illustrated. 414 pages. University of Georgia Press. $32.95
For me, Cannes is now simply the last landmark in my annual countdown to Roland Garros.