Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2016

President Koom-Posh

I have written several blog entries this year that I have held off posting for various reasons, good or otherwise. Yet now I have sent in a blog entry to Aqueduct ( — another "Readings" installment that should appear sometime this season. That essay had room for a few but not all thoughts that were coming to mind.

So here I follow a few unvoiced strands.

Aqueduct's L. Timmel Duchamp has told me that she is "becoming an apostle of slow thinking." My sporadic blogging arises from a similar inclination, which has realized itself in my policy to post here only what I have drafted first in handwriting, usually in pencil. I still do some writing on typewriter and computer keyboard. Yet blog entries I want to redraft minimally, if possible.

My typing speed results, too often, in that which haste produces: words parading as Thought. While I acknowledge the demands of expediency, I believe a writer must nurture the writing process at every turn. That means nurturing thought, as opposed to hastening words. Writing as a process yields thought. Hastened words only reflect thoughts; and since they must reflect expedience, as well, they tend to reflect those thoughts incompletely or inaccurately.

This has become a pressing issue, to my mind, with the rise to power by Koom-Posh. Bulwer Lytton coined this term for "government of the many, or the ascendancy of the most ignorant or hollow."

Andrew Jackson I suspect could have been called President Koom-Posh, had the term then existed. However quick and canny a man he was, his making cronyism into a political institution points to hollowness. Expediency, prior to his becoming president, seems to have ruled him; and, afterwards, its demands, rather than those of the presidency, continued to rule.

The other day I came across comments stating that the presidency requires "exclusive fealty" to the constitution. "Fealty" as a word has links to fidelity; and this suggests that in thinking about a person who lacks such fealty, one might use "infidelity" as an attribute, or "infidel," as a label. The current president-elect Comb-Over, or Koom-Over, or Posh-Over, has indicated he wishes to continue his businesses while part-time president; and business cronies will dominate his administration. His fealty lies with another lord than the Constitution. Perhaps we might call him His Expediency.

Our eclectic, mannerist Age of the Masses has its deepest shallow roots in the Modern century, roughly the 1860s to 1950s. Van Wyck Brooks, in writing about the later 1800s, noted alterations to the American Fabric then being made — such as the conscious discarding of the traditional writings that had offered bedrock, on which her founders could build the United States.

I find what Brooks said about the Classics telling. They "kept alive great patterns of behavior ... The close association of intimate studies had made the patterns real, and the patterns had made great writers as they made great statesmen. They appealed to the instinct of emulation, an instinct that in later days followed the patterns set by industrial leaders, by bankers and by millionaires whose only idea was the will to power and who ruled by the blind force of money."

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