Strangest Use of Tragedy/Farce Cliche.

Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Fittingly, the titans of the fruit industry did not do anything progressive that would have made the Cavendish [banana] more resistant to disease — aside from dumping more pesticides on it.

“These deaths occur not just because guards are poorly trained and jails understaffed, nor because often the procedures in place to protect suicidal inmates are woefully outdated and inadequate. The biggest problem is one of attitude. Inmates are able to commit suicide because their guards have dehumanized them to the point where they don’t care enough whether they live or die.”

Some interesting commentary on the death of Epstein.

Nina Burleigh, Rolling Stone

The dam might have held, I suggest, had Trump not been elected president — but his win after more than a dozen women’s sexual-abuse allegations and his own confession on the Entertainment Tonight outtake, provoked a wave of anger and solidarity among abused women… Trump’s election turned out to be the catalyst for women speaking publicly about other men, starting with the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history the day after his inauguration. In the Epstein case, the legal system could no longer bear the weight of all the public shame. Unlike his old friend, the Abuser-in-Chief can dismiss women’s allegations, and fear no investigation, thanks to the power of the office. That won’t last forever. The clock ticks on the dirty old man.

Not Humbert Humbert himself, but rather John Ray, Jr., Ph.D., is the voice we’re going to have to steel ourselves to hear in our nation’s latest installment of Lolita. For we are about to be instructed, over and over again, that Jeffrey Epstein is sick, sick, sick.

Ray, you remember, is the dolt who prefaces Humbert’s confession.

[A]t at least 12% of American adult males—a “conservative” estimate according to Dr. Blanche Schwarzmann (verbal communication)—enjoy yearly, in one way or another, the special experience “H.H.” describes with such despair… [H]ad our demented diarist gone, in the fatal summer of 1947, to a competent psychopathologist, there would have been no disaster… He is abnormal. He is not a gentleman. …

As a case history, [this] will become, no doubt, a classic in psychiatric circles. Above all, there is the ethical impact [this should have; it warns] us of dangerous trends; [it points] out potent evils. [It] should make all of us—parents, social workers, educators—apply ourselves with still greater vigilance and vision to the task of bringing up a better generation in a safer world.

Getting to Know Mr Epstein.

The good old days:

[Jeffrey] Epstein’s appointment to the board of New York’s Rockefeller University in 2000 brought him into greater social prominence. .. [At the] Epstein Program for Mathematical Biology and Evolutionary Dynamics [at Harvard], … Epstein will have an office at the university. .. He says he was reluctant to have his name attached to the program, but [Larry] Summers persuaded him.

More recently:

Feds Allege That Ersatz Financier Jeffrey Epstein Is Indeed A Genuine Sex Criminal

Why does everyone on the Upper East Side look so nervous? … Epstein is something of a pervy Zelig in New York City high society and financial crime. … [He’s always been engaged in] a laughably inscrutable web of schemes, lawsuits and really shady shit. What makes it even more amazing though are the people who seem to have been involved with Epstein on all these batshit little deals, the kind of people who would really prefer if Epstein did not roll over on literally everyone he’s ever done dirty shit with in order to get out of life in prison for being the world’s most openly insidious sex criminal.

So while everyone else is watching out to see if Jeffrey Epstein flips on Donald Trump and/or Bill Clinton, we here at Dealbreaker will be waiting with bated breath to see if he flips on, well… you.

****************************

Anybody who helped Epstein in any way needs to get a lawyer and get scared.

‘That corpse you planted last year in your garden, / Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?’

TS Eliot on human composting.

Hideki Tito: Tear Down this Wall!

On Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, Ainsley Earhardt proudly recalled the United States defeating “communist Japan.”







The Vector of Sadness

From an essay about Buddhism by Adam Gopnik:

Secularized or traditional, the central Buddhist epiphany remains essential: the fact of mortality makes loss certain. For all the ways in which science and its blessed godchild scientific medicine have reduced the overt suffering that a human life entails, the vector to sadness remains in place, as much as it did in the Buddha’s time. Gotama’s death, from what one doctor describes as mesenteric infarction, seems needlessly painful and gruesome by modern standards; this is the kind of suffering we can substantially alleviate. But the universal mortality of all beings—the fact that, if we’re lucky, we will die after seventy years or so—is not reformable. The larger problem we face is not suffering but sadness, and the sadness is caused by the fact of loss. To love less in order to lose less seems like no solution at all, but to see loss squarely sounds like wisdom. We may or may not be able to Americanize our Buddhism, but we can certainly ecumenicize our analgesics. Lots of different stuff from lots of different places which we drink and think and do can help us manage. Every faith practice has a different form of comfort to offer in the face of loss, and each is useful. Sometimes it helps to dwell on the immensity of the universe. Sometimes it helps to feel the presence of ongoing family and community. Sometimes it helps to light a candle and say a prayer. Sometimes it helps to sit and breathe.







Just a spoonful of fentanyl helps the medicine go down!

One Louisville defendant, Dr. Peter Steiner, a psychiatrist who ran a Suboxone clinic, faces the most serious charge: drug trafficking. In a federal indictment, investigators accuse the doctor of doling out opioids that weren’t needed — and even prescribing fentanyl, a man-made drug about 100 times more potent than heroin.







More on Bourdain.

[T]he biggest problem with suicide is that it is genuinely a good solution. And to get outside of it, to live with it, and to effectively take all that pain and find a way to give back and help the world is something most could never imagine. In that sense, what Anthony Bourdain did was Herculean.







New TV Show

Succession, early on, is more interested in mocking the ridiculous excesses of the monstrously privileged than probing the monsters they’ve become. In the first episode, a family dinner turns into a makeshift softball game outside, as many do — only this one involves multiple helicopters ferrying the [family] to a field on Long Island. Later, [a family member] offers a Latino employee’s son a million dollars if he can score a home run, only to tear the check up in front of him when the kid just gets to third base. In one outrageous (and Veep-like) scene, [a daughter’s] fiancé … encourages [a young family member] to eat a whole roasted songbird. “This is like a rare privilege, and it’s also kind of illegal,” [he] crows.







Philip Roth on ‘Me Too.’

Men responsive to the insistent call of sexual pleasure, beset by shameful desires and the undauntedness of obsessive lusts, beguiled even by the lure of the taboo — over the decades, I have imagined a small coterie of unsettled men possessed by just such inflammatory forces they must negotiate and contend with. I’ve tried to be uncompromising in depicting these men each as he is, each as he behaves, aroused, stimulated, hungry in the grip of carnal fervor and facing the array of psychological and ethical quandaries the exigencies of desire present. I haven’t shunned the hard facts in these fictions of why and how and when tumescent men do what they do, even when these have not been in harmony with the portrayal that a masculine public-relations campaign — if there were such a thing — might prefer. I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.







Uday and Qusay

“His sons, Don Jr. and Eric — behind their backs known to Trump insiders as Uday and Qusay, after the sons of Saddam Hussein.”







‘Fifty years after the Summer of Love, we’ve entered the Winter of Ulcerative Colitis.’

The poetry of rock death.







Postmodern Gatsby

“Let’s say you’re a super-wealthy single dude who just sold your company,” [says the real estate agent for a $500 million Los Angeles house]. “You’ve just moved to L.A. and you don’t know anybody, so you hire someone to fill your house with partyers. You want everyone to know who you are, but you don’t want to talk to anybody. So you go sit in your V.I.P. room.”

… [One] buyer, from Malaysia, paid [the agent] $40 million for [another LA] home and then promptly gutted it. “That house looked like this,” he said, stretching his arms out wide for emphasis. “Furniture! Beautiful! Everything!” Eventually, he said, the Department of Justice took possession of the home after the owner ran into legal trouble. It’s been empty ever since.







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