This is one of those Saturdays. I spent a few moments this morning trying to figure out what entity at the national level was/is responsible for election integrity, only to discover there is no national entity. No wonder Dominion et.al. was able to swoop in and seize control, There is the Federal Election Commission, but it is only responsible for federal campaign contributions and laws governing them. There are secretaries of state in each state and the District of Columbia and several states also have state-wide election commissions with state responsibilities, eighty-five (85) such entities in total. But they are not interconnected or cross-connected as such. And at the national level, nothing is guarding the hen house, so to speak. It is virtually like stealing candy from a baby. My friend Sharyl Attkisson posted a list of election fraud stories and links which is helpful as we steer through the morass. And I previously posted a link to this collection of evidence sources, today up to 616 sources and cites. That list has grown by over 50 links since yesterday.
Changing the subject ever so slightly, I am astonished at how much my extracurricular reading habits have been enriched by the various Star Trek episodes of late. A bit of personal history is in order here. I was as much a Star Trek fan as anybody else until a part time work responsibility at the Greensboro Coliseum required I served as an usher for a Gene Roddenberry lecture. This would have been back in the 70’s when he was still alive and when I was a struggling undergraduate. I watched and listened, infected by his vision and the early development of the Star Trek idea. Then, in the late 70’s, while attending Navy Nuclear Power School, then in Orlando, Florida, we would gather in the barracks common room each afternoon after class and before dinner to watch two TV programs, almost religiously: Star Trek and Kung Fu. I swear it was part of Rickover’s curriculum, but that is an entirely different issue as Rickover’s curriculum had many elements.
But back to the subject. The recent series, Star Trek: Picard grabbed my attention early in the lockdown. I confess between deployments, higher education studies, and overseas assignments I missed a great deal of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and all the other ones since the 80’s, including the block-busting movies. But with Picard, an old love was reborn. Well, in two episodes, the spacecraft pilot Cristobal Rios, was reading a book on the bridge, Tragic Sense of Life. I rewound, froze the frame, and wrote down the title. And directly to Amazon I went. It is a Spanish classic, available in translation in its entirety online. And it is definitely worth reading, but I won’t spoil it or you for you. Here is a brief sampling
“There is something which, for lack of a better name, we will call the tragic sense of life, which carries with it a whole conception of life itself and of the universe, a whole philosophy more or less formulated, more or less conscious. And this sense may be possessed, and is possessed, not only by individual men but by whole peoples. and thus sense does not so much flow from ideas as determine them, even though afterwards, as is manifest, these ideas react upon it and confirm it. Sometimes it may originate in a chance illness . . . . And further, man, by the very fact of being man, of possessing consciousness, is, in comparison with the ass or the crab, a diseased animal. Consciousness is a disease.”
Just two more thoughts so hold on!
In season 2 of Star Trek Discovery, Episode 6, “The Sound of Thunder” ends with a charming dialog between Commander Burnham, the half-Vulcan, and the Kelpian, Captain Saru, straight from Aeschylus. Burnham is reminded of Aeschylus, the Greek tragedian, who wrote that “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop from the heart.” Luckily I had Aeschylus at home in the Great Books of the Western World. The complete quote is from Agamemnon, lines 202-210:
He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
The final entry for tonight may go a bit long. In season 3 (the present season) Episode 5, “Die Trying,” Captain Saru explains to Admiral Vance and Commander Burnham, very poetically, the role of the proto-Renaissance painter, Giotto, who, through his development of three-point perspective in painting, in effect changed the way people looked at art through the imposition of two-dimensional depth, ushering in the Renaissance. In fact, some writers refer to Giotto as the Father of the Renaissance. “After an inspiring monologue from Saru in which he suggests that, as Italian painter Giotto helped usher in the Renaissance by developing the idea of three-point perspective, so Discovery might be able to help Starfleet “look up” in its own Dark Ages.“
It caused me to wonder about the short-lived American Renaissance, 1876-1917, and who might have been its Giotto parallel, adding depth the lift American letters out of its dark ages. I am voting for Herman Melville for his vast body of work but mainly for my own selfish reasons but it is something to think about. And who might have been the Giotto parallel, the Father of the New Negro Renaissance, 1920-1950, aka the Harlem Renaissance, as former slaves emerged from Reconstruction armed with new found literacy skills. Howard’s Alain Locke takes the credit as its Dean, but in my estimation, his essays and correspondence fall short materially. I am going to go with Paul Laurence Dunbar, who wrote plays, poems, short stories, novels, and literary criticism during the prelude period, 1890-1906. Yep, Dunbar. And who might a more recent Giotto parallel be? The world is different now, but I am leaning towards a combo of the multi-media artist Romare Bearden and the poet/playwright August Wilson. There is a lot in this paragraph to flesh out, and we will do that later.