Alan Catlin: An Essay

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If the Shoe Fits, Wear It

lame n. (cf. LANE) 1a. Orig. Black E. a person who is LAME; fool; idiot. Occ. Lamer

lame adj. (sugg. By Lame Duck, 1a ) Bankrupted by speculation or gambling  2. Black E. socially unsophisticated; naïve; SQUARE; (hence) easily imposed upon; stupid; inept; ineffectual. Also as an adv. 3. Esp black E. of no interest or value; (also) contemptible; offensive; execrable.

Lamebrain n. a dolt; blockhead. Also as an adj. Hence lamebrained, adj. Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang Vol II  H-o  edited by J.E. Lighter

lame duck n.1- (mid 18th cent.) A defaulter on the stock exchange.2-(a 19th cent) any weak, handicapped or useless person. 3-(mid 19th cent) (US orig. political) a defeated politician who is working out a period of office esp. a president who has been defeated in the presidential election in November but does not leave office – in which all decisions are de facto irrelevant~ until January; this usage can extend to any similarly placed officials4- (late 19c-1900’s) (Aus) a rascal. 5-(late 19C- 1920’s) (US) a person who is unable to pay his debts. Casell’s Dictionary of Slang ed. Jonathan Green

lame duck n. 1 a Orig  Stock market a person bankrupted by stockjobbing or financial speculation  b. one not able to pay his way or to meet debts ; DEADBEAT 2a. a lame or incapacitated person, or one who is old, weak, or ineffective; invalid (hence) someone or something of no use or value. b. Specif (Pol.) an elected official or legislative body whose term in office is nearing an end....” ”broken down politicians” Random House Dictionary of American Slang H-O edited by J.E. Lighter

lame duck. In business, the term is also used for a large and prestigious company that cannot meet foreign competition without government support.  In general, the expression can be used of any person or thing that is disabled or ineffectual. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: Millennium Edition Revised by Adrian Room

Way back in the mists of time, in 2016, when The One Whose Name Shall Never Be Spoken of in Polite Company was elected president, I said something to the effect of whatever he does as president will be bad but watch out for what he does as a lame duck. It is almost unthinkable what a man with his lack of restraint, personality disorders, and no checks and balances will do once he is voted out of office. The assumption was, even an electorate as uninformed, amnesiac and disaffected couldn’t possibly vote a cretinous, immoral, moron to a second term. As a second term was tantamount to four years of lame duckness, the mind refused to go there. At some point, unless he appointed himself king, or dictator for life, both distinct possibilities, there would be a period of lame duckness.  And all the worst things you could possibly imagine happening would take place during that bleak period.

Unfortunately, I would be right in my thinking. As I write this, late March 2021, a news item breaks that one of The Orange Lear’s chief enablers, I mean legal counselors, stated that no reasonable person would believe her assertions about election fraud. Basically, she made everything up that she was telling the president. And he, not being a reasonable person, believed her. Because he wanted to. Because he had to. He could not be branded a loser, so he had to make himself a victim of a dark conspiracy. This was not a new or original idea, of course. He had been working on this wild conspiracy for five years even Before he was elected.  If he loses it would be because the system was rigged (the wrong way, against him, is left unstated). The Deep State, a science fiction organization part of an epic novel, each volume representing a year of his administration, was behind everything. They were the new Illuminati. As I said, not original.

In fact, this so-called adviser, Sydney Powell had a hyper-active imagination rivaling the Orange Menace’s own. She advanced a convoluted plot involving the dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, ballot switching voting machines, agents of deep state communist influenced pointed headed creatures from the Illuminati wearing Mason rings and controlled by lizard people aliens from outer space, etc.  At some point the mechanizations of this bizarre plot became the free associations of a fabulist. Intelligent people gave up trying to unravel the twisting and turning of this incredible plot and just concluded it was all arrant nonsense.

Everyone except Man Tan Raccoon Face and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.  Ms. Powell is now arguing all this stuff she was feeding the Man Who Would Be King was her personal opinion and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Funny how a billion-dollar defamation law suit will change your point of view.  Basically, she proved the prosecution’s case: she was lying through her teeth.

And Moron #45 believed it. It would be laughable if the Chief Agitator Frito Face, a sitting congressman from Mars, I mean Alabama, Rudy the Hair Dye Dripper, and assorted scions of the Orange Evil, plus the Chief Honcho himself, didn’t incite an unruly mob of people to attack the capital to somehow Stop the Vote.  A Sitting senator, a Russian tool of some sort, would call it a joyful, festive assemblage of patriots, but the rest of the world saw an insurrection. The blame for that could be squarely placed at the doorstep of people who make up science fiction stories and claim they are real. In fact, the Parboiled Fabricator, is now attempting to rewrite history, saying the people who invaded the capitol were hugging and embracing and kissing the police.  After they tried to beat them senseless and steal their weapons. As fantasies went, and the explanations for them go, this one was pretty unbelievable. On any level. Even for fanatic believers who don’t want it to be true. They Liked the idea of an armed Insurrection.

Even by the standards of the leading proponent of alternate facts, this was a particularly half-assed Insurrection attempt. All 50 states had ratified their votes and The Orange Elephant Man had lost. Decisively. By seven million votes.  All that was left to do was a formal procedure of finalizing these votes.  And possibly hang the vice president for not stopping a legal mandated process. 

I didn’t know about you, and I went to a lot of keggers in college, some that got pretty ugly, in an Animal House kind of way, but never did noose and gallows appear as an option at the end of the day. The enablers saw people celebrating their patriotism, but what the rest of us saw was a riot with intent to kill.  And we thought: This is what the Lame Ducks boldest move would look like. And he was ecstatic. As Washington burned, the Mar a Lago Nero rejoiced. These were his people. By definition: unreasonable, unruly, unbelievably stupid. Go team Go! 

In retrospect, it is unclear what this Insurrection was supposed to accomplish. Interrupting the vote was going to be a temporary measure, in this case roughly six hours of delay and then what? Did his supporters, did he, actually think stopping the process was going to somehow change the results? All his frivolous lawsuits claiming massive election fraud were thrown out of court. Some judges called them frivolous, some literally laughed at how baseless they were, others threatened to punish lawyers for wasting the court’s time. Yes, the thinking must have been: my three Supremes appointees would save the day and rule in my favor. But the Supreme Court rightly dismissed all the claims, not even bothering to comment.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. You have to admit he was audacious, more audacious than any previous president, even Tricky Dick Nixon. But, seriously, guys, suppose his people had gotten in the chamber sooner, grabbed Mike and Nancy, and hung them on the capitol steps, how was that going to look going forward?  There is word for that and it start with a t.

Instead, we have impeachment manager’s laying out an airtight case, with Congressman Rankin asking, are we supposed to say that there is no law that applies to the president during the lame duck period in office? Is there some unwritten, lame duck exception to all the rules? That the president cannot be held accountable for his acts during that time. That he cannot be impeached because there isn’t enough time to start and finish the process. The conclusion he and his colleagues reached was: not in your life. He must be impeached and he was.

In fact, articles were being drawn up, by future impeachments managers, even while they were in lockdown during the Insurrection. Of course, his political enablers voted to let him off the hook citing an absurd reasons that had already been disproved, as a basis for their votes of dismissal. The lame duck escapes to foment another day, to incite and to cultivate his new 4 F organization of fabulists, fakers, frauds and fanatics. You can substitute your own f words as desired. 

Coming soon, he threatens, a new social network. Being banned from the established
ones really cramp his style. There have also been speculations about a TV network as well. Too bad all the best titles have been taken: World’s Biggest Loser, Orange Is the New Black…..

Baldness: The shiny head top condition prized by some ladies. However, it is true natural baldness which counts.  If you are blessed with this it is abhorrent to fake it.

Golf: Upon Being Stung on the End of Your Prick by a Bee on a Golf Course
Your first shriek will immediately attract the attention of the other players in the foursome who will wonder what the hell’s the matter.  When they find out, your further wild gesticulations will throw your golf playing opponents into fits of laughter especially as words of your desperate concern for the future well-being of your front tail reaches their ears. Take consolation that their game for the day will be ruined but the muscle strain occasioned by their continuous convulsive laughter and take the opportunity to bet heavily upon yourself.  And keep your flies closed.

Upon Presenting Yourself before an Investigating Committee

Dress soberly in the current fashion an always wipe the dirty looks off your face.  Avoid hand wrenching, lip licking and eye darting.  At the beginning of proceedings apologize for any involuntary tremors, facial tics, quakes or quavers.

Upon Committing Perjury

First rehearse being honest on front of a mirror until you absolutely believe yourself. Then upon making sure no one can slam you with contrary evidence, get up there in your best toneless and expressionless manner and pile off your bare faced lies.
When caught, avoid the sickeningly mealy-mouthed excuse that you were only telling the truth as you saw it for the time being. Instead, have ready a list of dire personal tragedies which were plaguing you at the material time of your falsehood and which made you tell such whoppers. Which you hope now makes you no longer sound like a liar.

Upon the Display of Sun Tan

If you are blessed with a little black blood, this leisured look crisping of the epidermis is not a problem. But as the lizard like brown hardens over the years on your sack of haggard old bones, don’t smile.  As this can make you look like you’re grinning out of the grave.

From J.P. Donleavy The Unexpurgated Code:  A Complete Manual of Survival & Manners

Recently, I watched part of the sixties movie made from Carson McCullers novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. It was as I had remembered: maudlin and sentimental with one stand out performance by an actor I always despised, Chuck McCann. Until this movie he was only known as an unctuous, obnoxious, even to his audience, performer in day time TV children’s shows.  In Heart, though, he found his niche as a simpleton (to be kind) with a goofy hang-dog expression and kind of torpid, perpetually stunned, way of moving.  As if by lightning strike, I made a cognitively dissonant connection: Orange Fecal Face and his goofy smile that always impressed me as belonging to a, well, simpleton. Like McCann’s character. The horror, the horror.  

And the way he walked, not purposeful and martial, like George W who was always striding off some way like a Born-Again Christian soldier and then mucking things up. Fecal Face always seems to be slouching off somewhere to wreak some kind of irreparable damage like a refugee from a Yeats poem.   Once the connection was made, I could no longer watch a movie I really didn’t like that much in the first place.

The connection with daytime children’s TV bought to mind the irrepressible Soupy Sales, who was an adult comedian, a kind of ersatz role model for impressionable minds, masquerading as a kid’s show host.  In the middle sixties, it was much watch TV for all teenagers who rushed home from school, (No recording devices in the 60’s folks) to see what Old Soup was going to do to get himself suspended from the network today. I recall, vividly, seeing Sales sneak in a dirty joke in what was an otherwise harmless skit.  “Yesterday I went to the ball game with my girlfriend. I kissed her on the strikes and she kissed me on the balls.”  There was no point looking for Soupy for a couple of weeks after that gem.

After his latest suspension, he came back with yet another pointed joke, What word begins with F and ends with UCK? Firetruck. ‘See ya Soup.’  No Mister Rogers he.  But the one that got the sponsors goat the most was: Tonight, when your Dad goes to sleep, sneak into your parents’ bedroom and find your Dad’s wallet and take all the green stuff that’s in it and mail it to Soupy care of this station at the address on the screen. As I recall he actually got some money and boy were the folks at the station pissed.  Soupy sent the money back, of course but compare that stunt with Orange Grifter Cheeto Face telling the faithful not to send money to the republican party, those RINO’s, but send it to me at my CPAC and help me make American great and stop the steal. Think he’ll send the money back like Soupy?  I don’t either.

It wasn’t enough for him the ridicule, demean, defame, and mock all the quasi-serious contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination but he had to completely dominate them and make them vassals, fawning sycophants from a party of wide-eyed, uncritical, zealots.  Once elected, through a malignant, semi-psychotic need to self-gratify, he reveled in the attention he received.  I won’t ty to psychoanalyze or psychologize, plenty of that was done early on by professionals and their conclusions that he was temperamentally unfit (a correct one) was ignored.  Everything they predicted came to pass almost on cue but no one was listening. It was always about The Donald.

And he remade the party in his image as a self-perpetuating, corrupt, morally bankrupt agency of one man whose only interest was himself.  He could not be defeated, cannot accept losing as it isn’t part of the narrative.  Someone else had to be at fault because the Chosen One (remember that outdoors gaggle when he referenced an online post that referred to himself as The Chosen One, pointing to himself and then at the sky as if God and Rump were co-equals. Now that was scary!) is faultless. The republican engine now exists for one purpose and one purpose only, to serve his growing financial needs. Even Lame Ducks gets sued.  In fact, going forward it looks very likely that Particularity lame ducks gets sued. And indicted. 

No, owning it, remaking the party in his image in his name wasn’t enough, he wanted their souls. And on the sixth day of January, he took it.

“I do not doubt that the contemporaries of Caracalla lived in a similar
Spiritual eclipse. I am well aware how badly these poor lines fall short of bearing
true witness to this deepest degradation into which man has ever fallen.”

-- Germany September 1937 Fredrich Percyval Reck-Malleczewen, Diary of a Man in Despair Writing of the ascendant Nazis in Germany September 1937

Politician, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the super-structure of organized crime is reared. When he wriggles, he mistakes the agitation of his tail for trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

Truth, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

Truthful, adj. Dumb and illiterate.

Trust, n. In American politics, a large corporation composed in greater part of thrifty working men, widows of small means, orphans in the care of guardians and the courts, with many similar malefactors and public enemies.

Vote, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine a more unlikely figure to be an object of cult like devotion than The Donald. Everything about him reeks of phoniness. He is about as much a man of the people as King James II was. Imagine having a beer with that guy, in a folding chair, outside your double wide, wearing jeans and a John Deere cap. Don’t make me laugh. And it’s not just the superficial “Look”, one wonders how many hours a day he has himself made up before appearing in public? It’s everything about him and whatever comes out of his mouth.

Everything he says and does is a transparent bald-faced, lie. And not just little, self-contradictory lies, but massive ones, huge ones, that threaten the fate of the nation. Through a relentless campaign of blatant falsehoods, he has managed to convince some seventy million plus people that the election was stolen from him. And now, his evil minions in state legislatures, republican state legislatures, are trying to alter the rules to ensure the only results of an election are the ones they want. All in the name of an accurate election. As if this were the world Orwell envisioned in 1984.

What they want is an election that is predetermined as in a state like Russia where his soul-mate and best bud, Vlad the Poisoner, is in charge.  One wonders if Eric Prince was successful in establishing a secret connection with Russians on a second try. How else can you explain the appointment of cabinet officials whose only purpose was to gut and destroy the agencies they were in charge of, if they were not suggestions by an outside influencer? 

Sheer incompetence just doesn’t cover it. Malevolent disregard of the needs of the country cannot be disregarded and certainly plays major part in these decisions. Essentially, now it’s all about paying to play or getting with the Program and if not, you are on the outside, unemployed, and awaiting your turn as a potential federal witness in a future trial against a superior officer in your department.  You knew Vlad paid to play and all of #45’s administration was about repaying a debt. Not a debt of honor either. A real, huge, massive capital D, money, debt. Of yeah, and the sex tapes.  Given the Pied Playboy’s past history how can anyone even entertain a doubt about the existence of sex tapes?

I can date my opinion of The Dissolute One being set to a remark he made, in conversation, with some men, who were admiring how beautiful Marla Maples was.  His reply was, “You should see her naked.”  Seriously. This is how you view your wife?  Not as person but as body. As a possession.  Give me a break.

All you really need to know about him was revealed in a telling article by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker. She was speaking with the Trump Organizations CFO’s former daughter-in- law and the discussion went as follows,

“Jennifer (the daughter in law) told me that she first met Trump before she was married,
at Allen Weisselberg’s modest home, in Wantagh, on Long Island.  That day, the Weisselberg family was sitting shivah, for Allen’s mother. Trump showed up in a limousine and blurted out, ‘This is where my C.F.O. lives? It’s embarrassing!?’ Then Jennifer, recalled, Trump showed various shivah attendees photographs of naked women with him on a yacht. ‘After that, he starts hitting on me,’ she said. Jennifer claimed that Allen Weisselberg, instead of being offended on her behalf, humored his boss: ‘He didn’t stand up for me’.”

His legacy is still being defined. One can only hope that he spends the rest of his time in court in the various court cases that are developing as I write.  I expect after the Fox personalities are handed billion-dollar defamation lawsuits, to go with the one already filed against the station, he should get his very own one as well. After all the rumor starts with him and “the rally” turned riot all emanated from the words spoken by the Big Kahuna himself. 

Currently, the nation is embroiled in what must inevitably be a civil war of state’s right to change election laws to predetermine the outcome (never thinking they might not be in power forever and potentially, used against them, a version of Trump-think, one assumes. It’s always all about now, not later) versus the federal government’s need to prevent this from happening. The battlefield should be in the courts but I wouldn’t rule out actual combat to the death like the one we saw during the Insurrection. Not content with the stealing soul and the conscience of the party, he wants the soul of the nation as well. There is no conscience anymore to be had.

But to what end?  Even lame ducks die. There is nothing like a long-range plan beyond re-installing him as Exalted Leader. His not being in the best of health is obvious, just look at him, and remember his recent medical history that we know about. Despite what his drunken, dissolute, former white house physician, Dr Jackson says, now a congressman of all things, the man is not going to live to be a 110 or anything close to it.  He is a figment of his own imagination. And this too shall die.  There will be no Horatio to eulogize his passing at the end of the play.

And in his wake, the kind of ruins Rome experienced are a real possibility. Rome was destroyed from within by the total corruption of its senators who double-dealt and traded away the fortunes of the nation state for personal gain. The state, so weakened, in complete chaotic decline, was unable to defend itself against a foreign enemy. Devastation will be the resolution, the realization of the ultimate nihilist’s dream; complete an utter destruction of everything. What he has touched, dies. And he is a nihilist at heart, a seventy-four-year-old Made For TV Faker with the mentality of a three-year-old; if I can’t have it, no one can.  Chaos reigns. Just like always, when the Fabricator in Chief Is in Charge. “Live Free and Die.”

Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.  Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.

Hypocrite, n. One who, professing virtues he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.

                              -- Ambrose Bierce