Best Headline So Far on the Mary Trump Book:



An Orthodox Israeli, desperate to find evidence that the haredim are something other than catastrophic for the state of Israel, quotes an article that, far as I can tell, has been taken down, in which a haredi person claims big improvements are in store for that cult. Yeah, turns out the haredim are even angrier than we are about their having spread covid all over that country because they’re too ignorant to credit the germ theory of disease. Dump our wretched rabbis and replace them with benevolent enlightened leaders!

On March 23, well-known haredi activist Avigayil Heilbron wrote a piece on the liberal news site Ynet entitled “The Criminals Among Us: We Are Angrier At Them Than [You] Secular Jews Are.” “Something historic is happening now,” wrote Heilbron. “Rabbis of perhaps a lesser status [than those who called for schools and synagogues to stay open] are openly expressing [their objection] to blind obedience to a leadership that has for years been a sad joke. There has been an unbelievable fear to voice criticism, but now, little by little, it’s happening…The majority of us are law-abiding citizens, and we are also angry.” These are strong words, of a kind rarely heard.

Right. Rarely. As in never. Babe, you don’t know what godly submission is, do you? (See this post for details.) Remember what haredi means. It means tremble. These are the people who above all, as their basic identifier, tremble before the word of God as expressed by that pale little coot in the corner over there. They don’t rebel, babe. They tremble.

Her other piece of evidence for exciting changes among the haredim? Mr One-Man Fraud Unit himself allows as how all those haredim killing themselves and everyone around them because they’re too ignorant to credit the germ theory of disease maybe should do a little reflecting on the carnage their community has caused.

Ooh la la!

“I heard [Obama] was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said in [2011] interview with The Associated Press. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”

“I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard,” Trump said. “We don’t know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.”

Well at least – thanks to Mary Trump’s forthcoming book – we now know how Donald Trump got into an Ivy League school.

As a high school student in Queens, Ms. Trump writes, Donald Trump paid someone to take a precollegiate test, the SAT, on his behalf. The high score the proxy earned for him, Ms. Trump adds, helped the young Mr. Trump to later gain admittance as an undergraduate to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school.

A couple of things will follow from this Least Surprising Revelation of the Decade:

Uncle Don will tweet that Mary is a fucking piece of shit cunt whore piece of shit. He will then have Kayleigh McEnany announce that “the president was unable to take the SAT due to a disabling bone spur.”

U Penn will take a good hard look at the accolades it has bestowed upon its highest profile grad (“[Trump was] appointed to Wharton’s Board of Overseers in 1987, and the following year appeared in a video promoting the business school. Trump received an award from Wharton in the fall of 2014, just eight months before announcing his candidacy, and the most favorable recent mention of him as an alum comes in Wharton’s list of “125 Influential People and Ideas” from 2012.”). It will cross itself with relief and self-congratulation that it never gave him an honorary degree (Lehigh University however…), and it will announce that it’s opening an investigation into Trump’s degree. With an eye toward rescinding it. I mean, Varsity Blues is one thing…

Oh, and Jared… You’re up…

Oh! And in about a half hour, the Lincoln Project will release a new thigh-slapper.

A sliver of hope for faithful Jews.

The utterly corrupt chief rabbinate of Israel (put the words in Google and go to town) may halt all rabbinical ordinations — rather than let us cows become rabbis, of course – which would give Israel a chance to do some serious thinking about that institution.

Let these wise elders shut down their shakedown, and see if Israel can’t come up with something at least a little cleaner.

Haitham al Haddad, meet America’s Catholic Integralists.

It’s always fun to watch dueling religious fanatics. In this corner, impressively featured in a new University of Manchester book, HaH and his followers preach death to apostates, the removal of female genitalia, the right of husbands to beat their wives, and of course the necessity of replacing godless states with caliphates. In this corner, Edmund Waldstein and his followers also preach death to the godless liberal state and the necessity of replacing it with a … cathophate and if people don’t like that idea there’s always burning at the stake. “Rather than enter the fray to persuade citizens, they instead wish to put their citizens under the control of a Catholic administrative state that degrades free association of citizens into the solemn submission of subjects to their spiritual and temporal superiors.”

Because the Church is not a “human power” but a supernatural one, it is permitted to use coercion. And Catholic doctrine on the duty of societies toward Catholicism, as formulated by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and others, is that they must recognize it as the one true religion.


[The dominant theologian of integralism] is a monarchist who argues that the Church has the right to punish baptized heretics (Protestants), including by burning them at the stake... “[We must] recognize the truth of the revealed religion not only as individuals but also corporately, as societies.


It is an internet aesthetic of mostly young men alienated from the public life and consumed with the libido dominandi.


Er let’s see which was that last one? Right, the integralists… And they may be young, but they have a Big Daddy – Harvard’s Adrian Vermeule.



So… you go, girls! Put on your Sunday or Friday best and (pant pant) submit…

For the Fourth, a beautiful American poem by a poet who is “is actually the reason loyalty oaths are illegal in the United States. When the State University of New York-Buffalo fired him in 1963 for refusing to sign one, he fought the university all the way to the Supreme Court and prevailed.”

UD never takes her freedom of speech and conscience for granted.

She has people like George Starbuck to thank for them.

A brave and principled man, he wrote some of America’s most impressive poems. Here’s one, published in 1965.


For An American Burial

Slowly out of the dusk-bedeviled air,

and off the passing blades of the gang plow,

and suddenly in state, as here and now,

the earth gathers the earth. The earth is fair;

all that the earth demands is the earth’s share;

all we pervade, and revel in, and vow

never to lose, always to hold somehow,

we hold of earth, in temporary care.

Baby the sun goes up the sun goes down,

the roads turn into rivers under your wheels,

houses go spinning by, the lights of town

scatter and close, a galaxy unreels,

this endlessness, this readiness to drown,

this is the death he stood off, how it feels.


Baby, this is the way an American poem, of our time, takes on the big D – modestly, marking death’s descent upon the oblivious fully grounded farmer who suddenly shifts from in deep harness to in state. So you know big deal it’s like that what goes up must go down but now Starbuck surprisingly steps on the cosmic gas, describes an American apocalypse – roads turn into rivers under your wheels… and, best of all after all this earthbound domesticity, a galaxy unreels! Unreal. Our automatically spooling life, our daily round and round, suddenly goes off the rails and we’re hurled galactically head over heels, and we’re not going to be able to invoke spiritually or romantically or classically how this vortex feels – we’re going to have our modest sublunary idiom for this insane thing happening to us: endlessless; readiness to drown; rivers under your wheels – that beloved familiar hardscrabble earth suddenly liquifying… All your life deliberately tending the earth and not a thought beyond the earth and bam. Turns out you too are earth and the earth demands its share. Who knew? This American poem marks an American burial simply by imagining hard and empathically what it maybe feels like to die.

Keep it simple, stupid.

In the post before this one, we noted how often thoughtful people single out Mozart’s Soave sia il vento (this YouTube is just the score without the singers; look at the post below this one for the piece in performance) as among the most beautiful pieces of music in the world. Can we say why?

Here are some ideas about that. First, whether you read music or not, look at the score on YouTube as it drifts by. In this song, the singers wave goodbye to lovers who are sailing away on an uncertain voyage; they calmly and lovingly wish them well.

May the wind be gentle,
may the waves be calm,
and may every one of the elements
respond warmly
to your desire

And again, whether or not you read music, you can just see – quite graphically – that under the placid confident well-wishing singing line are constant, rhythmic “waves” (those groups of notes repeating and repeating with a gently insistent forward energy) which both lull and hint at the always-latent possibility of turbulence in life. It is, in short, bittersweet; or, as Bernard Haitink put its down there, full of beauty, tenderness, and longing.

On one level, this Andante gentle rhythmic piece is beloved because it is, if you will, infantile — its persistent soft rhythm perhaps arouses memories of being held and rocked in loving parental arms. And it is beloved because it is simple – simple, and I’d say musically generous. Its slow clarified line, taken up vividly by each of the singers in turn, lets you see the music, hear the harmonies. Albert Schweitzer once wrote that when he was young the very simple two-part harmony in the song In the Mill By the Stream “thrilled me all over to my very marrow, and similarly the first time I heard brass instruments playing together I almost fainted from excess of pleasure.” The concision, the intuitively graspable emotion, the slow and clarified singers’ line that allows you somehow to rest in the music and really relish the harmonies and dynamics (“It pauses all the [frenetic] action” of Così fan tutte, as one performer puts it.) — all of these and more I think account for the exceptionally beautiful and moving effect of Mozart’s song.


Although sung, I think this piece is an example of pure music, rather in the way another, much sillier and much better known piece, is pure though sung. What I mean is that these songs (I have in mind for the silly example You’re Not Sick, You’re Just in Love — as with the young Schweitzer, I’ll never forget my delight and amazement on hearing it for the first time and seeing how the two singers could take their long separate lines and merge them harmonically – how the composer made this complex melding work…) are music itself, the immediate and intense ignition of aesthetic ecstasy in us merely by the subtle and playful mechanism of organized sound.

The higher you go, the less subjective is taste.

The New York Times asked fifteen important musicians and music critics to name the five minutes of Mozart they would play for a friend to make her fall in love with him. Who can be surprised that even though Mozart wrote a trillion tunes, two of the fifteen agreed those few minutes would be Soave sia il vento?

Extra credit: Listen to the end – starting at around 2:00 – of Met cellist Kari Docter’s interview.

UD discovered Soave in her restless quest to listen to everything Julia Lezhneva has performed, cuz longtime readers know UD is a Lezhneva fanatic. On first hearing it, UD concentrated on the unbelievable sweet piping clarity of JL’s voice (UD feels similarly about Kathleen Battle, another otherworldly singer), but UD quickly shifted to the threesome singing the song, and the way their voices wove this particular brief transcendence…

Bernard Haitink: [T]he trio “Soave sia il vento” is one of the most sublime things I know. The text is “May the winds be gentle, and the sea calm,” and you can almost feel the breezes gently blowing and the waves lapping in the violins as it starts. Such beauty, tenderness and longing, all in the space of just over two and a half minutes.

Mitsuko Uchida: The trio “Soave sia il vento” … brings tears to my eyes every time the strings start playing.

Okay, so we have the powerful testimony of quite a few people – throw in the writer Alexander McCall Smith (“Not only is this one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed, but the words are extraordinarily peaceful, generous and resolved. ‘On your voyage, may the winds be gentle; may the waves be calm; may all the elements respond to your desires…’ What more can we wish anyone setting off on life’s journey? I listen to this several times a day; I never tire of it. It is music suffused with the greatest possible sympathy and humanity. It expresses what I want to feel about the world. It is the deepest truth.”), and I’m sure there are many others. Can we suggest why this piece is so emotionally powerful and so surpassingly beautiful?

Well, UD will give it a go.

First, though, she will mow her back lawn. (She did the front an hour ago.) Ne quittez pas.


Trump in ‘fragile’ mood and may drop out of 2020 race if poll numbers don’t improve, GOP insiders tell Fox News


No doubt wags up and down this land are sharpening their pencils as they sketch out Trump Finds Out He Can’t Win versions of this much-parodied bit of film.

Early Morning Web Hunting

The bright blotch to the right is the web-weaver.

More on the social significance of country club golf.

A recent post considers why the following sentence –

This matter is already well known in the golfing world, domestically and internationally, and our Club has become a laughingstock.

– is itself something of a laughingstock. The sentence comes from a super-serious protest letter, whose writer announces his intention to resign from his country club because the club retains as members two soon to be incarcerated felons.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm suggested in that post that since the public mind identifies country club golf as the ultimate trivial pastime of the idle rich, attaching heavy geopolitical language to it just sounds funny, jarring – it’s the sort of juxtapositional (mixing the serious with the superficial) humor we associate with Oscar Wilde (divorces are made in heaven, etc,. etc., etc.). The more trivial the activity, in other words, the more susceptible it is to the rather easy comic operation involving its assimilation into the world of weighty things. (“Algernon: Well, one must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life. I happen to be serious about Bunburying. What on earth you are serious about I haven’t got the remotest idea. About everything, I should fancy. You have such an absolutely trivial nature.” “Algernon: Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. … When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink.”)

Of course, it goes the other way too. When a person powerfully identified as the idle golf-playing rich assumes a very serious job indeed, he makes himself vulnerable to a special sort of critique. Among the responses to a New York Times article about Trump’s apparent indifference to information he received about the Russian government giving money to Taliban soldiers for killing American fighters is this one, from the father of a combatant:

Perhaps if Trump is not too busy playing golf … he could find time to attend [an intelligence] briefing?

My kid is in a combat zone and I’d like to see him again. My kid is important to me.

Nothing against playing golf. But if you’re lining up a putt while Rome burns…

Donate to Amy McGrath’s Senate Campaign.

She just won her primary.

If Trump won’t leave the WH after he loses, she can bomb him the hell out of there.

France’s Lori and Mossimo…

… head off to jail (er, I mean to appeal their sentences). Same fakery, but this being Europe they stole public funds (a million euros!) rather being decent enough (yay, USA!) to use their own resources.

Firing Up the Grill

With the latest Supreme Court decision, it’s time for Pater Edmund and his integralist acolytes at Harvard etc. to start torturing defenders of Roe to death in the public square.

“The ones with lines of patients in the parking lot, or sitting on the [office] floor drinking Mountain Dew – pretty tell-tale sign that that’s gonna be the doctor you’re gonna wanna engage with.”

From a documentary about the pride of SUNY Buffalo, Mr Fentanyl himself, John Kapoor.

Next Page »

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Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
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