Where Have You Gone, Mary Shelly, a Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You?

Boris Karloff in the 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale.

Frankenstein: Universal Studios; Trump: Matt Rourke/AP

I have divorced myself from politics, not out of despair, but with the clear-eyed recognition that the number of my days has dwindled into a quantity imminently recognizable as finite.  Of course, my days have always been numbered, but with 80% or more of those rotations having disappeared in the rearview mirror, why squander precious unlabored respiration lamenting what you can’t control when you could be watching a Marx Brothers movie or listening to Rashaan Roland Kirk or holding hands while exchanging anecdotes?


“Boogie boogie boogie!”

That said, I do glance at headlines in the Times, often proclamations from a pathologically insecure man incapable of self-deprecation, a man who extolls self-proclaimed virtues like his “genius” or “sanity.” He boasts of his “top tier education” or his takes credit for the fact that under his watch no one has died in a commercial air crash.  Recently, he has become aweary, aweary of the First Amendment of the Constitution of a republic he would rather rule than govern.  To say that he is an egregious ass is to understate his odium.

Yet a third of the country approves of him and more than that voted for him despite his garish, cartoonish appearance, despite the bankruptcies, despite his impoverished vocabulary, despite his taking pride in grabbing the genitalia of women he has just met.  Evangelical Christians are particularly devoted to him for reasons that defy rational explanation.

Of course, there is no easy explanation how a promoter of professional wrestling has come into the possession of the nuclear codes.  Pundits posit emotions like “resentment” or suggest nativist xenophobia as possible factors.  Then there’s that whipping girl Hillary Clinton whom many people simply abhor.  Recently I’ve read (in passing) that no one, including Trump, thought he could win (which, along with sloth, would explain why there was no transition plan).  So why not throw away your vote on Jill Stein or write in “Oprah Winfrey” since there is no way that Donald Trump could win?

Anyway, I’m contradicting myself by going on like this when I need to be rereading Frankenstein, which is due next Tuesday, the day after we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ll let Mary Shelley have the last word.

 [I]f no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.

Mary Shelly, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.


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