July 3, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on July 2, 2018

Now W. and I have both come down with this bug with which A. was – still is – sick. He probably got it in Berlin from R., who picked it up in China. International travel, globalization – you can’t beat it. W. was really grumpy yesterday, coming down with it hard by late afternoon. He has the week off – which is both good and too bad, since he won’t enjoy himself, preferring as he does to wallow in his discomfort (and making sure I know all about it). Now I’m really feeling it get started in my body, too. Began last night.

At midday yesterday we drove to the MFA to revisit the Botticelli exhibit which W. and I had both loved so much when we saw it some weeks ago. It’s closing soon, and I thought, let’s go, it was barely haunted by the public when we saw it earlier, it’ll be a treat. Instead, it was mobbed. Totally unenjoyable. Crowded enough to warrant timed entry tickets, in my opinion, but the museum hadn’t set up for that.

Eventually we fled to the Japanese exhibits, which were nearly empty of visitors. The New Woman print show was still on; it’s really good. Also, noticed for the first time a large cotton painting from 1883, I believe on permanent display, Sugawara Michizane Praying on Mt. Tenpai, by Kobayashi Eitaku. I took a photo. It’s remarkable, almost Expressionistic. The wall plaque notes that it may have been a banner – an ad – for a new theater piece about Michizane, a 9th-century courtier and poet who was deified on a mountain top (…or maybe just eaten by bears…). The theater piece used magnesium flash powder to heighten that moment of deification, and the “poster” seems to reflect this. It’s actually quite El Greco-ish, or Spanish, or even Manet-as-inspired-by-Spanish-painting. Except with a touch of the grotesque – this is no meek Catholic deification (more like a Catholic martyrdom, say, an evisceration…). This deification is a yanked-by-the-ponytail-and-kicked-up-the-backside “ecstasy,” adorned with lightning (just to make sure it zings). It’s quite weird. Wonderfully weird.

It’s too bad we’re all a bit under the weather now because the actual weather itself is not too bad. Hot yesterday, promising to be hot again today, but hardly humid. I haven’t run the A/C after all – low humidity means I can avoid it.

So, in political news, which I sort of want to stay away from, yesterday’s big event was Trump tweeting a mock/ doctored video of himself body-slamming a figure with a CNN logo for a head. The video or GIF is based on a real World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event or occurrence (I think?). Trump is in a suit, there’s a match in the ring, but he’s not in the ring as he’s on the floor. And then, attack on the other guy in a suit with the CNN logo-head. It’s all staged, of course: this is professional wrestling entertainment, but the addition of making the guy who gets body-slammed to the ground a personified “CNN” …well. The shock waves from this tweet are atomic grade. Half the country seems to think it’s hilariously funny; the rest are SCANDALIZED.

I think it’s not funny, but then I would think that, being still too stuck-up German (and Canadian) to consider WWE – or The Three Stooges – even remotely entertaining. I never understood the appeal of The Three Stooges, why so many people like them. But what Trump tweeted is straight-up Three Stooges material. But just because I never liked them doesn’t mean I’ll let myself be scandalized now, because that’s just what “the establishment” wants. They think it would be good to be a humorless sourpuss like me, but, being me, I can testify that, actually, it isn’t. A sense of humor is infinitely better, and if it means being able to laugh at something like The Three Stooges, so be it. The establishment critics are calling this clip / GIF “proof” of Trump’s derangement, grounds enough to impeach him. Which is pretty odd, since most of them probably themselves cheered Three Stooges comedy – not least because it proved itself at the box office and is now considered iconically American.

Trump is just out-Americanizing stuck up Americans (like me), and probably winning with all the people who get it.

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