Not that the horror is easy to recall clearly. The trauma is too violent. Memory cringes, whines, tries to slink away. One recollects only a kaleidoscopic flux of gruesomely fragmentary impressions, too outlandish to be perfectly accurate, too vivid to be entirely false: nightmarish revenants from the dim haunts of the collective unconscious … monstrous, abortive shapes emerging from the abysmal murk of evolutionary history … things pre-hominid, even pre-mammalian … forms never quite resolving into discrete organisms, spilling over and into one another, making it uncertain where…
The cutoff to be a guest on Kids Say the Darndest Things was eight years old. Which means that, not long ago, our culture agreed that eight years old is the point at which ignorance stops being cute. Before eight, unqualified authority, circuitous logic, and denial of science are downright adorable.
When the Trump administration sought to identify persons who had come from the banned countries and engaged in terrorism, it was able to cite one sole suspect who came from Somalia and was eventually convicted of providing material support to a terrorist group. But he came to the US when he was a toddler and was convicted a decade and a half later. That’s hardly evidence of a national security crisis.
By contrast, the evidence that the ban was targeted at Muslims was overwhelming; the president openly admitted as much on the campaign trail, and pursued that purpose once in office. Indeed, no one on the court even disputed that the president had acted with anti-Muslim animus; the only real dispute was about the legal implications of that intent. The lower courts had ruled that the ban violated the Establishment Clause, which requires government to maintain strict neutrality among religions and deems invalid any government action that a “reasonable observer,” aware of all the publicly available facts, would view as intended to promote or denigrate a particular religion.
Two Poems from Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate
I just finished ‘Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by the late James Tate.
Tate recounts experiences on the edge of absurdity but not so absurd you can’t say “You know, that’s exactly what happened to me.”
Here’s a link to an excellent review by Charles Simic: Inexhaustible [...]