Saturday, January 25, 2020

Remedy for Situation : Utterly

Trial by Senate brings to mind a few dire images. First is one of those boxing matches in old movies where the fix is on. No matter how many blows are landed the referee turns a blind eye. The outcome is foretold. Big bucks have been laid down by the mob. It’s curtains Lefty.

I’m also hearing echoes of Gilbert & Sullivan’s first collaboration, the one-act operetta, Trial By Jury.

Hear me, hear me if you please / These are very strange proceedings / For permit me to remark on the merit of my pleadings / You’re at present in the dark.

Indeed Mitch and his kangaroo jury have shuttered and snoozed through four days of evidentiary pleadings having reached a verdict months ago without benefit of witness or document. They have shamed their institution. The word subversive seems fitting.

No minds will have been changed because no words have been listened to. The conclusion will follow script having been ordained by the Little Foxes of Rupert Murdoch, The Federalist Society and an army of Deniers and dunces.

All of which brings me to an antidote for this poison. To reclaim my sanity I recommend a book which sings with humanity. One such is Niall Williams’ latest, luminous novel, This is Happiness set in a small Irish town in the 1950s. I’m savoring it with a slow read pausing on almost every page, every paragraph, at the marvel of his language perfectly pitched.

There is an embrace of life in all its contingencies. One woman is described as having received two bits of bad news and waiting for the third. Another looked like he was in mid-sum realizing he had forgotten to carry the one. Just being alive is all the happiness we need and that includes the sorrows of it all.

In the wreckage of what Trump has wrought we hunger for writing like this. To be enchanted. To be restored. The rapture of being alive resonates in the fullness of each person’s ordinariness, their malarkey, their lore, piety and quirks.The cast is simple and sumptuous at once. I won’t say more.

The curtain will soon go down on the impeachment theater followed then by nine months of political utterance. The air will be foul. We need our oxygen and the Niall Williams book offers a deep inhalation.


  1. I can't wait to read This Is Happiness. I definitely need oxygen!!

  2. I'm sure you'll resonate with his writing.

  3. I am going to order it on line. Alas Our library has fewer and fewer books.