Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5, 2017

Bitter cold night. My furnace struggled to blow its breath into the far corners of the house.

Downtown last night with Sam. Virginal drinks at the XYZ (he’s still but twenty), which was brimming with beautiful reddish dogs, as well as people. Then to the Wortham, where I was greeted by two dozen people from my more public past. I felt myself hoping he was impressed. Aquila’s Much Ado was a disappointment–even an offense–the cause of which was evident in the first five minutes. They had decided to do the play with three players. Turns out this cannot be done. It was a mere stunt. Claudio was played by two different actors in the same scene. Hero was a ship figurehead plopped down in the middle of a bar whose back wall was the Union Jack, or a blond wig on Beatrice, whichever. The bating scenes were ludicrous, one actor trying to do the lines of three. “I am the only love god.” Even I who can practically recite the play by heart had a hard time knowing who was saying what to whom. Any semblance of character or meaning or nuance was sacrificed to the stunt. School children are meant to see the work on Monday. What they will make of it I can’t imagine. It’s been years since I went to see the Aquila, and the reason was a horrendous Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which also suffered from criminal casting. People did laugh. All was sacrificed for those laughs.

Heroic Judge Robart in Washington has stopped, for the moment, Trump’s executive order banning travel from the Middle East, some of it. The irony is this: Nobody in his right mind would deny a president (some president other than this one) the power to stop entry into this country by some people or peoples in a time of emergency. But in his arrogance and wilfulness, Trump chooses the wrong people, too many people, and in the wrong way, which means that somewhere down the line, when this power is really needed by a president, it will be hobbled and muddled up by messy precedent and the legalities trailing along from this sad moment. This is the way in which Trump is going to weaken the presidency for the foreseeable future. He will require Congress and the Judiciary to install checks and barriers that would not have been necessary, would not have been thought of, had he taken a one day course in how to govern in a constitutional democracy.

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