It’s now going on 10pm in Wednesday Paris — the local supermarket is closed. Who knew? Following the zombie sleepless day that began with Monday breakfast and stretched like summer taffy into Tuesday night I hit the bed for a long sojourn in oblivion. And rose today to finally get my laptop online.
Here’s a bit from the Air France terminal, way back on Monday evening: Logan Airport, Air France terminal. On the tube an hour-long Hillary Clinton piece that trots around every well-known base on the playing field of her career. Opinionated persons are interviewed, Clinton responds, in all the repotage not a scrap of new is found.
Could have been orchestrated by a PR team. Hillary there to answer all the questions you know the answers to. I don’t realise how really off this show is until the next hour brings us the Donald Trump hour and I see how daintily they’re handling him. Gliding along bumpless, treating this man with the same deference they have Hillary Clinton. It’s not reporting, though it has all the recognizable set-ups. Head shots of opining stake-holders framed by tasteful upscale furniture.
It’s not reporting because there’s no news here. This is a play in which the players connive to convince you that it’s news. They visit all the stations of the Hillary story you already know by heart and they check them off, bam bam bam.
Today on Facebook someone posted what were purportedly two versions of the same Wall Street Journal front page. One suggesting Trump is softening his tone, the other that he’s pushing a hard line. Same news cycle but aimed at different WSJ markets. This isn’t Walter Cronkite’s journalism, this is calculation.
Back in the Air France terminal, while one channel in your brain weaves in and out of presidential candidates, another channel is aware of of an escalating Beethoven symphony piped in from the ceiling. While stewardesses who aren’t English-speakers pronounce names crammed with consonants or runny with vowels. These people need to get to their airplane, this is the last announcement. Last. Two minutes later it comes again. Again. And last chance. Won’t someone volunteer to get on that airplane so it can take off?
I want you to see the slapstick. The ludicrous subversive comedy of the wait for the plane to Paris.
Meanwhile the most consequential Presidential race of our lifetimes is playing out all around us.
This is real life.
Today we start at Notre Dame cathedral. Inside, visitors raise their smart phones to photograph stained glass windows too far off to be resolved in a digital snap. The camera folk include those who have lit candles or even entered the “prayer only” seating closest the front. Camera wielders likewise include those who brush past the nuns who beg money for the poor along the only route out.
The Pompidou Center, backtracking the same street — the same street as Notre Dame. The once avant garde contemporary arts center now comes off as badly in new of a new hairdo. The white funnels like those on ocean liners now have flows of grime. The whole venue feels as painful as an ad from 30 years ago.
Inside, stirring art. The Beatniks — Keruac’s long march of typescript narrow under a road of glass. Ginsberg’s young voice reading Howl. BonDylan’s here, with Ginsberg in a prayer shawl in the background perhaps hallowing a fire escape.
As my mother used to say, “Sorry this is long but I didn’t have much time”.