Introduction to Misfit 19
As I write this piece we are engaged in the midst of the most important presidential election, perhaps, in the history of our country. When historians look back upon it, assuming there are historians in the future and that we have a future, which we may not have, they may well label this the “lesser of two evils” election. A detailed explanation of the obvious facts, an unpopular, though qualified, Democratic contender who happens to be the first woman running for the highest office in the land versus A Man Without Qualities. I refer you to Robert Musil for a more in depth explanation of what that means beyond the obvious ones.
Ed Sanders has often spoken about how historians for each generation get to write their own interpretation of history. Following the lead of his friend and mentor, Allen Ginsberg, Sanders asks, “So why don’t the poets write our history?” From this came Sanders’ epic three-part series of books, America: A History in Verse (plus one book devoted to entirely on 1968 focusing on the Chicago Convention where he was a leading member of the protest movement). It is difficult to imagine histories of these sort (or any history for that matter) to emerge from a Trump presidency, should he win. They are taking names and they will retaliate.
Part of Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS is to make sure they cannot use the Internet to recruit. Conceptually, this make sense, but how, exactly does one do that? Remember the Patriot Act? The Law of Unintended Consequences is not a figment of the imagination and the Patriot Act was designed to do exactly what it does, suppress freedoms and dissent, and spy among many other nefarious things. Think about what regulations to the Internet would mean under the reign of a simple minded, Nationalist demagogue. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see there could be major problems. Like the end of magazines like Misfit. But in the meantime, we here at Misfit endeavor to bring you the best of the poetry written that we receive from here at home and abroad. Our original Art by Gene McCormick, compliments the poems, and our humble poetry editor attempts to add to the mix with an essay on Zen and bartending plus reviews of books, reviews that lapse into political discourse as it is that kind of year. The Poet Spiel contributes an updated essay on his friend, Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten sent to prison by the spiritual forefather of the Republican nominee, Senator Joseph McCarthy. Trumbo’s legacy is as important now as it was in the 50’s.
Ironically, as this is a year of high irony as well, Zoetrope All Fiction recently republished Budd Schulberg’s incisive short story “All American Traveler”. This story is the basis of the uncannily relevant, “A Face in the Crowd” directed by the namer of names Elia Kazan. The story charts the career of a down home Arkansas cowboy with a guitar parlays a modest talent, at best, as a singer into a national cult of personality, first as an entertainer, and, later “as a force” in politics. Lonesome Rhodes, as the character is known, is part folksy Ronald Reagan and part Trumpian tower of bullshit, a “demagogue in denim”, as his putative filmic biographer, Walter Matthau, calls him. Eventually he is brought down by the force that drove him to the top, himself/ his ungovernable personality. A moral in this, no? Phoning his former manager and girl friend, the one who loves him best, but sees him most clearly, she who sets in motion the man’s demise, Lonesome screams that he will Jump (from his rooftop penthouse) I’ll “I’ll Jump.” he pleads if she doesn’t rescue him. Patricia Neal, as the heroine, finally yells “Jump....Jump and get out of my life.... get out of everyone’s life.”