Back Roads in the Age of the Internet

One of the benefits of retirement is that “dicing time” becomes less thinly sliced, its passage vaguer, elapsing as it did before that infernal invention the clock transliterated the overhead sun into 12:00 P.M.  Because I no longer have workday pressures that dictate how I spend my hours – no essays to grade, no lessons to plan, no report cards to crank out – I can take my own sweet time. 

For example, on road trips, rather than enduring a regimented slab of interstate stretching forth with its green mile markers clicking past tick-tock like, you can opt for the back roads, which, if you’re driving from Athens, Georgia, to Folly Beach, South Carolina, means you motor through mostly farmland – cornfields, peach orchards, but also tiny towns in various stages of civic decay.

Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, you can run across something truly remarkable, as my wife Caroline and I did outside of the tiny town of Wrens, Georgia.

What caught Caroline’s eye

***

We had dropped Brooks off at Camp Illahee[1] and spent a couple of nights outside of Athens with our friends Jim and Laura. Both they and our friend Ballard, whom we met tending bar at Five & Ten, suggested we take the backroads home. 

The route we chose took us through Thomson, Georgia, the birthplace of Blues legend Blind Willie McTell, whom I had discovered on a compilation LP called The Story of the Blues, a gift I received for my nineteenth birthday. So Blind Willie and I go way back.

I mentioned to Caroline that Blind Willie had been born in Thomson, so for a moment she abandoned her post as navigator and googled “Blind Willie.” She reported that there was a statue of Blind Willie in Statesboro but also that he was buried about eight or so miles outside of Thomson in Jones Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. So, as upright Protestants used to say – what the hay – we decided to take a side pilgrimage to pay our respects to Blind Willie. As Bob Dylan put it in one of his greatest compositions: “No one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell.”

***

I’ve visited Oscar Wilde’s and Jim Morrison’s graves at The Père Lachaise in Paris, both graves bedecked with flowers, notes, and in Wilde’s case, lipstick-like kisses imprinted on the stone obelisk that marks his resting place.

Not surprisingly, McTell’s grave is not as rich in gifts bestowed. There were no flowers, only a sprinkling of pocket change that wouldn’t cover the cost of a Coca Cola, a mini bottle, and a guitar pick. 

Rather than backtracking to return to our original route, we improvised, GPS-ing out a more southerly passage. As I was tooling along, Caroline let out a “Whoa, what was that!” 

“We ought to turn around,” she suggested. “We need to check it out.” Which we did.

Now you can check it out. Southern Gothic Deluxe.

After ten or so minutes taking in this remarkable outdoor installation, we continued to Allendale, the county seat of the poorest county in South Carolina. Not to put too fine a point on it, Allendale is the po-dunk equivalent of a Blade Runner hellscape, a stalled freight train of shuttered businesses lining the highway in succession, not to mention human habitations in various stages of collapse.

abandoned motel, image courtesy of ABC news
image courtesy of ABC News

At any rate, we arrived at the kennel to pick up KitKat, who, was beyond ecstatic to see us, and headed back to Folly, which, of course, offers its own offbeat pleasures.

I’ll live you with a snippet of Dylans'”Blind Willie McTell

Seen them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghost of slavery ship
I can hear them tribes moaning
Hear the undertakers bell
Nobody can sing the blues like blind Wille McTell


[1] What a gorgeous-sounding word, Cherokee for “heavenly world.”

Sam Cooke, Shreveport, and “A Change Is Gonna Come”

Sam Cooke’s plaintive, moving civil rights ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come” was born in 1963 of discrimination after he and his wife were turned away from a segregated Holiday Inn at Shreveport, Louisiana. Incensed when the desk clerk lied and claimed no vacancies, Sam made a scene in the lobby, vociferously protesting, and while driving off, he and his entourage honked horns and lobbed insults like Molotovs as their taillights disappeared into the night. 

When Sam and company arrived at the Black hotel downtown, the police were waiting. However, the arrests created abysmal p.r. north of the Mason-Dixon line after the NY Times and UPI caught wind and publicized the discriminatory arrest of an affable fellow (at least he sounded affable on his records) who only wanted a place to sleep after twisting the night away. In 2019, Shreveport’s mayor apologized to the Cooke family and awarded Sam a key to the city – a mere fifty-six years after Cooke’s death at thirty-three. Nothing like a posthumous award to salve the wounds of a no-longer-sentient being.

According to Peter Guralnick’s biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” also spurred Sam to compose “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Sam, the story goes, felt chagrined that a White fellow had written such a moving civil rights song. In fact, Sam admired “Blowin’ in the Wind” so much that he included it in his live performances not long after its release. 

Of course, the songs are much different. In “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Dylan asks in third person a series of questions that ponder “how long” it’s going to take to end discrimination. “A Change Is Gonna Come,” on the other hand, is deeply personal, written in first person, and cites incidents of hurtful slights and expresses existential despair. However, despite the dirge-like tone of the song, the narrator feels certain that eventually “a change is gonna come” and justice will prevail, so the overall effect is hopeful rather than depressing.

Well, despite the election of Obama and the proliferation of people of color in national advertising, we’re not quite there yet, and it seems that many in the South have recently become emboldened to unfurl and wave their inner Stars-and-Bars, not to mention Republican-led state legislatures’ ongoing successful attempts to make voting more difficult for African Americans. 

In fact, to me, 2021 feels an awful lot like 1961, though at least now, Sam would have no trouble checking into a Holiday Inn – though he might turn up his nose at one – and Confederate statues are coming down as opposed to being erected. 


Sickroom Notes from a Whiny, Wounded Epicurean

painting by H. James Hoff

Sickroom Notes from a Whiny, Wounded Epicurean[1]

Perhaps boasting non-stop about my superhuman immune system for the last thirty years wasn’t all that judicious. Oh, you should have heard my cock-a-doodle-doing![2].

My immune system makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Denver Pyle.

I haven’t been ill since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An airborne virus does a one-eighty when it sees me bopping down the boulevard, etc. 

And it’s true that in my thirty-four years at Porter-Gaud, I maybe missed ten or so days in total, most often because of laryngitis.[3]

Well, comeuppance has arrived, taken off his mask, and sneezed in my face. For the last four days, when it comes to coughing fits, I’ve been giving tubercular John Keats and DH Lawrence a run for their money. Although doubly vaccinated, I drove the day before yesterday for a Covid test, which unsurprisingly was negative. Afterwards, I retreated to bed, ministered to by nurse Caroline, who throughout my malady has plied me with chicken broth, hot tea, and good advice, like not going the Singer/Soapbox Open Mic the previous Monday[4]

Let’s face it: a summer cold isn’t exactly kidney stones or a case of the shingles (not to mention bone cancer), so the source of this whine festival lies not so much in physical discomfort but in the boredom I’ve experienced, borderline ennui. I felt so drained Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t read anything longer than a tweet, and scrolling down my feed is disheartening, with all that talk of the decline of democracy coming from the likes of Steve Schmidt and Bill Kristol. And I have two books I’m rarin’ to read, Peter Guralnick’s Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing and James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, which until today lay on my bedside table like a couple of concrete blocks, heavy, cumbersome. Petite misère but for a second or two, misery nonetheless.

But, hey, I must be on the mend because I’m sitting at my desk and taking this opportunity to roll my right foot over a frozen water bottle to combat a king hell case of plantar fasciitis I’ve developed walking to and from bars on Folly Beach in flip flops.

Like they, say, there’s no fool like an aged, wounded epicurean.

still from WF Murnau’s film The Last Laugh


[1] No one can accuse me of click-baiting with that title.

[2] And no doubt you have if you know me personally.

[3] I also took a couple of personal days along the way, one to see the third game of the ’91 World Series, another to see the Stones in Columbia, and several during my late wife’s last week.

Missing school is a drag. It’s more work to miss than to trudge through (and I never got close enough to students infect, I’d like to think).

[4] I’d made a solemn promise to Kelly West I’d be there for her debut poem, and who would break a solemn vow because of what at that time was merely a scratchy throat?

Amnesia Comes A-Calling

Exactly five years ago an ambulance carted me off the MUSC emergency room after I bonked my head on the floor, lost consciousness, and came to suffering from a strange case of amnesia.

The bedroom smoke detector had gone off, and I leapt to my feet before my blood could be pumped into my brain. My late wife Judy described my falling “as straight-backed like a tree – timber!”  When I regained consciousness, the first thing I said was, “Judy, why are you bald?”

She looked surprised. “I have cancer. Don’t you remember?”

“What kind of cancer?”

“Lymphoma.”

“Lymphoma! What type of lymphoma?”

“T-Cell.”

“Oh no!”[1]

I [forgive me] absent-mindedly wandered to my study and got on the computer as Judy awakened our neighbor Jim who waited with us – I think – until the ambulance arrived.

When I got to the hospital, physicians began quizzing me. “Who’s running for President?”

Although it was July and Hillary and Trump had secured the nominations, I catalogued who had run against them in the primaries as if those contests hadn’t been settled. The last six months had been erased from my memory.

So, they wheeled me down to run tests, and over the course of a couple of hours, my memory slowly returned.

Before releasing me, a doctor asked, “Now, how far back can you remember?” 

I recited the first couplet of The Canterbury Tales.

“WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote . . . “
 

So, memorizing the first twenty lines did have some practical utility after all!


[1] It’s strange that I hadn’t forgotten the types of lymphoma, which I had learned after Judy’s diagnosis.

The Devil’s Workshop

“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” – English Proverb

Some weirdness going down on the back side of the Edge of America.

Freud is about to leap from the second story, and Jung is whispering, “Jump, jump, jump.”

We have a madwoman in the attic, and a saint on the roof, Ophelia and St. Joan.

“Her sin is her lifelessness.”

Master Will and the Dalai Lama engaged in a staring contest.

All these people that you mentioned
Yes, I know them, they are quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good, don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row

Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row”

Rockin’ in the Projects

After finishing James McBride’s Deacon King Kong, I’m rechristening the author Zora Neale Samuel Clemens Brer Fox McBride.[1] Not OMG! But Do Lawd! What a blast – jazz riffing Gullah-lite, not indiscriminately slung but fashioned into a plot that, though somewhat improbable in its tidy tying up at the end, delineates a complicated saga populated by characters we care enough about to shed tears. 

Even if the story hadn’t moved me, I would have kept reading for the sheer pleasure of its sentences.

Here are three:

“She was coming off her once-a-year sin jamboree, an all-night, two-fisted- booze-guzzling, swig-faced affair of delicious tongue-in-groove-licking and love-smacking with her sometimes boyfriend, Hot Sausage, until Sausage withdrew from the festivities for lack of endurance.” 

“After practice on lazy summer afternoons, he’d gather the kids around and tell stories about baseball players long dead, players from the old Negro leagues with names that sounded like brands of candy: Cool Papa Bell, Golly Honey Gibson, Smooth Rube Foster, Bullet Rogan, guys who knocked the ball five hundred feet high into the hot August air at some ballpark far away down south someplace, the stories soaring high over their heads, over the harbor, over their dirty baseball field, past the rude, red-hot projects where they lived.”

And then this masterpiece:

“And there they stayed, a sole phenomenon in the Republic of Brooklyn, where cats hollered like people, dogs ate their own feces, aunties chain-smoked and died at 102, a kid named Spike Lee saw God, the ghosts of the departed Dodgers soaked up all possibility of new hope, and penniless desperation ruled the lives of suckers too black or too poor to leave, while in Manhattan the buses ran on time, the lights never went out, the death of a single white child in a traffic accident was a page one story, while phony versions of black and Latino life ruled the Broadway roost, making white writers rich – West Side StoryPorgy & BessPurlie Victorious – and on it went, the whole business of the white man’s reality lumping together like a giant, lopsided snowball, the Great American Myth, the Big Apple, the Big Kahuna, the City That Never Sleeps, while blacks and Latinos who cleaned apartments and dragged out the trash and made the music and filled the jails with sorrow slept the sleep of the invisible and functioned as local color.”[2]

Ultimately, Deacon King Kong is a comic novel, which provides McBride some leeway when it comes to implausibility. Moreover, it takes place among a community of believers, which is a prerequisite for magic realism. Some of the best dialogue comes from the protagonist Deacon Cuffy Jasper Lambkin[3] (aka Sportscoat) and the ghost of his wife Hettie, who naggingly haunts him throughout the novel, despite her having drowned two years before the action begins.

“Well, Hettie, if I weren’t taking that white man’s good hundred dollars on principle, I surely ain’t gonna take no mess from you ‘bout some fourteen dollars and nine pennies you done squirreled up in Christmas Club money and hid someplace.”

You’re not going to find ghosts or a systematic invasion of ants in The Stranger.

***

I suppose some plot summary is in order. Deacon King Kong is set in 1969 in Causeway Housing Projects in South Brooklyn with the majority of the characters members of the Five Ends Baptist Church. Sportscoat, drunk as a coot on a potent moonshine known as King Kong, stumbles into the project courtyard and shoots Deems Clemens[4] with an antiquated .38 pistol. Back in the day, Sportscoat taught Deems Sunday School and coached him in baseball.  Deems had been a bone fide big league prospect before he abandoned that escape route for the easy money of drug trafficking. Smart, strategic, Deems is a force to be reckoned with, compassionate despite the heroin trafficking and its at its attendant horrors.

Damn, this summarizing is way too hard. I’m gonna cop out and quote the back cover.

“McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportscoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportscoat himself.”

Ultimately, it’s a novel of redemption, a glorious amalgam of love and violence, greed and generosity, teeming with vibrant characters who do justice to the human race. It’s easily the most enjoyable piece of long fiction I’ve read since Infinite Jest, which means it’s most enjoyable novel I’ve read in a quarter of a century, the most enjoyable novel I’ve read this century.

Do yourself a favor and go check it out.


[1] Kudos to former student Rachel Lauren Wolf for turning me on to this gem she described as “a cross between Flannery O’Connor and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”

[2] As my wife Caroline is wont to say, “Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having.”

[3] Note the name symbolism. BTW, virtually all of the characters have nicknames.

[4] Ditto above.

Oh, Those Old Southern Barbershops of Yore

Barbershop by Joan Estes

One of my favorite Tom Waits songs is “Barber Shop” from the 1977 album Foreign Affairs. It’s a jazzy, Beat poet-like monologue propelled by stand-up bass and drums. The song condenses a cascade of rhyming cliches into an archetypical visit to a Mid-20th Century barbershop.[1]

He sets the scene with one ass-kicking couplet:

Bay rum lucky tiger butch wax cracker jacks

Shoeshine jawbreaker magazine racks.

Then he treats us to typical idle barbershop chatter:

Morning Mr. Ferguson, what’s the good word with you?

[snip][2]

You lost a little round the middle and you’re looking real good.

[snip]

What’s the low-down Mr. Brown? I heard your boy’s leaving town.

[snip]

Throw me over the sports page, Cincinnati looking good.

[snip]


The hair’s getting longer, you know the skirts are getting shorter,
And don’t you know that you can get a cheaper haircut
If you wanna cross the border.

If your mama saw you smoking, well, she’d kick your ass.
Now you put it out you juvenile and put it out fast.

Well, if I had a million dollars what would I do?
I’d probably be a barber not a bum like you.

Still got your paper route now that’s just fine.
And you can pay me double because you gypped me last ti
me.

In Summerville, South Carolina, my hometown, going to the barbershop was not one of my favorite activities, right up there with visiting the dentist. In pre-adolescence, we patronized Homer’s, which conformed almost perfectly to Waits’s depiction. My father took me in those days because he thought women didn’t belong in barbershops – the way men didn’t belong in “beauty parlors” – because their presence would curtail free expression, whether it be an off-color joke by the males or juicy lady gossip by the females. 

At Homer’s you could get a shoeshine and a shave. I remember watching the barbers sharpen their razors on strops after they’d lathered the reclining recipients with soft-bristled brushes. To me, it looked scary. 

Mr. Homer, as we called him, employed another barber, Ben, a robust, heavy-set Filipino proficient but not fluent in English. Whenever someone came in with flipflops, he’d bellow, “How ‘bout a shoeshine?” and then laugh loudly at his own joke.[3]

At barber colleges, they must have a course in how to engage in small talk. Truth be known, I’ve never enjoyed Q and A small talk from service providers, whether they be barbers, dental hygienists, or the Porter-Gaud dad who peppered me with questions while performing my vasectomy. 

Also, sometimes small talk can seem like lying. 

“Don’t you think Gone with the Wind is the greatest movie of all time?”

“Uh, maybe.”

Anyway, in adolescence, I ditched Homer’s for a barbershop I think was called Bryant’s, which was owned and operated by African Americans, though think they only cut White people’s hair. It was located a couple of doors down from. Dr. Melfi’s Pharmacy, my go-to source for Mad Magazines

Bryant’s didn’t conform at all to Waits’s Homer’s-like barbershop. It had a New Orleans vibe with ornate shrines set up to honor JFK and MLK, Jr. with other photographs of less famous civil rights icons along with Hubert Horatio Humphry campaign buttons. It also seemed not as glaringly well-lit as Homer’s. On the other hand, I don’t think they offered comic books or magazines to flip through while you waited.

The barbers at Bryant’s weren’t all that big on small talk either, which suited me just fine. I think the last time I had my hair cut there was in August right before my junior year of high school. After that, I started cultivating a “freak flag” do and would get slight trims from girls I knew, just enough snipped so I wouldn’t get thrown out of school. Hair couldn’t touch your collar, and sideburns could only come down halfway down your ear. I had a friend named Gray who actually wore a short-haired wig to school.

The last old-fashioned barbershop I patronized was Gloria’s on Center Street at Folly Beach not long after we moved there in the very late Nineties. Like my ol’ man, I took my boys to the shop to get their hair cut. Gloria’s cat had full range of the joint, and although it didn’t seem all that hygienic, it was picturesque, and she only charged me five bucks because I’m bald. A proud lesbian, her small talk wasn’t all that small.

Now, of course, the building has been converted into a tourist bar. 

Ah, no; the years, the years; 

Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.

On a brighter note, I’ll leave you with Waits’s song. Enjoy.


[1] In fact, when I taught the Beats in my American Lit class, I played the song for my students on a Porter-Gaud phonograph, a relic that nevertheless produced high quality sound, albeit not stereophonic.

[2] [snip] designates I’m omitting lines; though, I’ll confess, it’s an onomatopoetic play on the action of the song. 

[3] Interestingly enough, we children called him Ben, not Mr. Ben, the way we called our maids Lucille or Alice while they called us Mr. Rusty or Mr. David. 

Hanging with Dylan

An incident that occurred yesterday engendered a frustrating dream last night, or to be more accurate, this morning. 

On most weekday afternoons around five o’clock, I walk to Chico Feo for two or three beers. Yesterday was particularly lovely with its offshore breeze and low humidity. I found a seat at the bar and chatted with someone named Thomas about Charles Bukowski. Later, I learned from my friend Jim that the operator of Folly toll booth of the 1920s could refuse entrance to undesirables. Right before leaving, I hung awhile with the swashbuckling twenty-something surf crew, Connor, Nathan, Ike, etc. Eventually, I forked over fifteen bucks to bartender Gavin for three low potency IPAs (tip included) and began my seven-block trek back to East Huron for a chat on the deck with Caroline before she prepared fried chicken, air-fried broccoli, and couscous for dinner. 

When walking home, I take various routes, depending on the heat and shade or my mood. Yesterday afternoon, I took East Erie to 4th Street, and as I made the turn, I spotted a couple in their forties playing badminton. She was wearing a knee-length floral dress and giggling girlishly as she retrieved what we vulgarians call the “birdy.”[1]

Lovely, I thought, wholesome.

As I turned right from 4th to Hudson, I encountered eight or so short-term renters who had placed the largest inflatable pool I’d ever seen in the side yard. Three of the young men, in their late twenties or early thirties, splashed around sitting in the pool while three or four women stood over them with their wine. Completing the tableau was a springer spaniel in profile defecating, his head facing the pool. 

It was a wonderful sight to see, the cast of characters spaced harmoniously, the modest one-story cream colored clapboard house in the background, the dog triangular. I thought, “Man, Edward Hopper would love this,” and then, “I ought to take a picture,” but I had already passed and knew that if I turned around, the dog likely would have finished its business.

In this age of unlimited photo-shooting, many of us – and I’m including myself here – feel that if we don’t have a photo, it didn’t happen. I remember visiting the Louvre years back and marveling at Japanese tourists viewing masterpieces through the lens of cameras and my ruing their inability to nakedly gaze in appreciation of the art in and of itself. But now here I was approaching the fifth block of Hudson and chiding myself for both not taking the picture and for regretting not taking the picture, which led to more general musings about behavioral oddities in the age of social media.

Fastforward ten hours or so. 

I’ve bumped into Bob Dylan on Folly, a younger version than I one I last saw in concert.[2] He’s dressed modestly and is relatively friendly. Afraid of alienating him, I don’t share what a pivotal role he played in my life or ask any of the thousands of questions that have popped up in my now teeming brain. 

I’m desperate, though, to take a picture, to prove to the world I was hanging with Bob. He is on Folly for an exhibit of his art, and I ask if I can take a picture of one of his paintings, but he doesn’t answer . I walk away to fiddle with my phone so I can take a photo, but when I come back, he has vanished, replaced by a core of festive people saying, “We heard that Dylan was just here.”

Yes, he had been, and I had been in his presence, sort of, but sort of not, because rather than living the moment, I abstracted the experience by wanting photographic proof, validation for my coolness, hoping that some of his immortality would rub off on me.

A day late and a springer short

[1] I can’t bring myself to use “shuttlecock” even though “giggling girlishly as she retrieved the shuttlecock” sounds more musical, an improvement over “what we vulgarians call the ‘birdy.’”

[2] I don’t know if this is related, but Bill Murray was at Chico Feo three weeks ago, and I had no inclination whatsoever to engage him in any way or to take a photo. Also, a couple of Christmases ago, I met Stephen Colbert at a relatively small house party. We conversed about Porter-Gaud, his alma mater and where I used to teach. During the party, only one person asked to have his picture taken with him, which I considered très gauche. 

Got Them Ol’ Metaphysical Summer Solecist Oblivion Blues Again

Jonas Pettersson “Cracking Void,” 2012, mixed media

Got Them Ol’ Metaphysical Summer Solecist Oblivion Blues Again

Time hath, me Lord, a wallet at his back

Wherein he puts alms for oblivion.

Ulysses to Achilles, Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare

They say the sun’s lease will lapse one day,
after we ourselves have been evicted
and lost our senses.

Extinctions come and go,
like summer solecists,
year by year.

So no humans will be around to fret
about the extinction of their
solar system’s center,

no zillionaires boarding lonely spaceships
to escape the inescapable – oblivion’s
dreamless kingdom,

the realm of non-existence, where once
before we were were-not but
did not care to know.

Daliesque Playing Field

The cliché “level playing field’ has a pleasant lilt to it; it’s a sweet-sounding pair of trochees followed by a vowel-laden accented syllable. Fairness, it proclaims, should be a prerequisite. Unfortunately, the playing field of US politics is tilted way right – it’s warped, Daliesque, unsettling, at least for small-d democrats.  

For example, Wyoming has two senators; DC has zero, though more people reside in the District of Columbia than on the lone prairies of the Tumbleweed State. For me, it’s weird that the dispersion of a smattering of like-thinking people in the boondocks should have more say than a concentration of like-thinking people in urban areas, that folks in Albin WO (pop. 181) should have the same Senatorial representation of folks in the Bronx (pop. 1.435 million), but that’s the case, the plan from the get-go – though I doubt that a majority of the Founding Fathers would be happy with the rejection of Enlightenment thinking that characterizes the philosophies of many in the Hinterlands. 

To quote a song from the days of my youth that looped a lot on AM radio: “Something’s happening around here/ What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

I realize that Twitter is also skewed, the extremes getting more than their share of attention, but according to my Bloomsday[1] feed, many Republicans tweeters are cheering for Putin in today’s summit today over Biden. 

Gimme a C, gimme a U, gimme an L, gimme a T.  What does that spell? 

Atavism. 


[1] 16 June 2021