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01 January 2017

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David Habakkuk

Tidewater,

Insanity is commonly infectious. But sanity can be also. So, without being unduly optimistic, one does not rule out the possibility that good sense may radiate out from ‘ironic points of light’ like SST. (W.H.Auden, not normally a favourite poet of mine.)

A Happy New Year to all.

Nancy K

Well said. I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Mark Chapman

Best wishes for 2017 to an invaluable resource that has maintained its consistent impartiality. I was moved to remark today on how many former critics of American foreign policy have gradually come around to defending it, regardless that it has not changed its blundering and self-interested focus a bit and continues to annihilate its relationships with countries around the world.

It's never too late to change course until it's too late, but as things stand now so much damage has been inflicted that it would take a decade of reliable and sensible behavior to repair. And Obama, who swept into office as The Great Uniter, is responsible for much of it.

Ramojus

Happy New Year to all

Pundita

New Year celebration at St. Sarkis Cathedral, Tehran

About 25 photos of the service:

http://en.farsnews.com/imgrep.aspx?nn=13951012000675

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sarkis_Cathedral,_Tehran

"Iranian Christians tend to be urban, with 50% living in Tehran.Christianity is reportedly the fastest growing religion in Iran with an average annual rate of 5.2%, and it remains the second-largest non-Muslim minority religion in the country." (Wikipedia)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Iran

Happy New Year!

ISL

Big wish to all SST folk a Happy New Years 2017, but most importantly, healthy.

Down_in_Front

Happy New Year Col. Lang and your regulars. I visit this blog daily and appreciate the discussions.

Dr. Puck

Happy new year, healthy whole year.

despite the Chinese curse. . .

J

Great news for the New Year:

The Pentagon has a 'new' arms dealer negotiator. Gone will be the Generals doing the arms contracts for the Pentagon, enter the Commander-In-Chief, Negotiator-In-Chief, incoming POTUS Trump will be the one negotiating all arms contracts for the Pentagon.

A real Commander-In-Chief for once! Hoooya! :)

J

POTUS Trump is now America's Arms Deal Negotiator


http://www.defenseone.com/business/2016/12/trump-now-americas-arms-deal-negotiator/134146/?oref=d-channeltop

Degringolade

Is it odd that there are no aircraft carriers strike groups deployed?

One is in the middle of the Atlantic, that is it.

Dorothy108

Happy New Year! Many, many thanks to Col Lang.

Thank you, Sir for giving us the gift of sight and truth. May you and all thrive in 2017, and beyond.

Jack

Best wishes Sir for a wonderful 2017!

Happy New Year to all the SST correspondents. 2016 was momentous in many ways. My guess is that 2017 will be even more dramatic.

lally

Hope for a Happy New Year to all and special gratitude to Col Pat Lang for his perseverance in providing this invaluable space for the truth to will out.

mike

Catholic Bishop Hilarion Capucci reportedly died in Italy today. He was 92. Branded the 'gun-running' Bishop by journalists, he was imprisoned in Israel for four years. Later he negotiated, unsuccessfuly because of press leaks, with Tehran for the release of the Iran hostages. But he was successful in releasing the bodies of those killed in Operation Eagle Claw.

Jov

Happy New Year to everybody!

Does anybody know, is it true that in the Chinese culture when wishing somebody well, because of a holiday or birthday or something similar, you often wish a rich life or fortune, and not health, as a top value?

Balint Somkuti

Happy New Year!

Eric Newhill

Out with the old, in with the new.

Wishing all a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.

Valissa

Happy 2017!

On New Year's Day
and the whole year through,

I hope the kindness
you've given to others
returns many times to you.

May hope, love, and warmth
be in your heart's possessing,
and may the New Year
bring you and yours
many blessings.
--Anonymous

Putin speaks for about the first 3 minutes of this 7+ minute video. The rest is musical...
Putin's New Year Address 2017: Challenging year brought us closer together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYEnNMtKy_A

Bit of a noisy background here, but Trump does a good job answering questions in this 4 min. video. He is in his calm, civilized and gentlemanly mode (in case any of you are not familiar with this side of him). Melania looks fabulous. Hope she finds a great chief of staff and a good PR person to help her shine!
Donald Trump Impromptu New Years Eve Press Conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaIMMMaWZwU

r whitman

Happy new year. May interesting things happen that we can comment on.

Kerim

Happy New Year to our host and to all here!
Peace, wisdom, passion

Tidewater

Tidewater says,

Did you ever bowl for M.C.C.? Ball came over the plate (mixed metaphor, I admit) so fast I just stepped back. However, in spotlit pools of light in my warm basement, where one must turn sideways, I found my old disintegrating Vintage "Selected Poetry of W.H. Auden. On one full frontispiece page I had written: "September 1, 1939." And then noted something I couldn't decipher except for" "Crotchety." What? Now why would I say something like that?

Then I couldn't find the poem in the book.

A cascading chain of coming bafflements.

At long last I came to understand my own notes. One of the most famous political poems of the Twentieth Century and Auden (grown old and crotchety then?) disowned it and four or more other political poems by his earlier self. Said it was dishonest. He had not lived his life that way. I had to get the words off the internet. You will not find them in the anthologies.

So: September 1, 1939. Auden on his stool in his favorite Manhattan fern bar. (A windowless bunker known as Dizzy's.) He surely had the New York Times with him folded beside a little pile of change. "In the Rembrandt dark he lifts his amber life." (Anthony Hecht about another Manhattan bar, from "Third Avenue in Sunlight.") (Third Avenue= "Nature's error.") Big headlines. Poland Invaded. Not all that many hours before Clare Hollingworth (sp?) had phoned the British Embassy in Warsaw from the frontier, was it Gliwice: "Robin, the war has started." "Clare, how can that be? We haven't had a word." She held the handset of the borrowed telephone out of the window of these nice strangers' house. One after the other the terrifying steel machines of Army Group South rumbling and whining by below. She had the scoop of the century. She'd been four days on the job.

Think about this. On August 23 Germany and Russia had agreed to a Mutual Nonagression Pact. And Auden tells us a week later that he sees staring back at him from the barroom mirror the odious face of "imperialism." What a crock. (Imperialism could wait.) It was a time of such national menace and fear such as we have never (yet) known. Should not Auden have taken a little bit of comfort from the great Indian army, Imperial organization though it may have been, yet oh so professional... Good enough for a little lift of the glass? (What would Roy Campbell say about that?)

I think what the other solitary drinkers--of left and right alike--would have seen smiling out at them from the mirror were Ribbentrop and Molotov shaking hands. And in the sinister Goya-like backgrounnd behind them Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, shoulder to shoulder, and bats flying, looking intently at them. Winking. It's a world wide war and you're invited.

Which began two days later, Sepember 3.

Stepping out of the bar later, on the sidewalk he sees:

"Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame."

So I think what you have said is very fitting.

And I remember being rocked by the startliing (modernist) candor of the opening lines.

"I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of
death
Offends the September night."

My bar in midtown would have been Reidy's on 54th Street between Fifth and Madison, if I had stayed. One night when I walked out of there with her and we took the cab back to the Hotel Roosevelt--I was just thinking about that the other day. I made a mistake. I didn't want to pee in her bathroom cause she might have heard me and if I had turned on the spigots real loud she would have known what I was doing. And I really had to pee. When I finally got back up to her room something had changed. ("Where have you been?") That was a big hotel.

YT

The former you bid someone on festive seasons, yes.

For persons of senior years or rank, to wish unto 'em Good Health and Longevity is optimal.

With that, Bonne Année, Col. sir.

May every decade that beckons bringeth Fettle and Merry to you along with your Mrs.

David Habakkuk

Tidewater,

A lot to think about.

Your observations on the context do indeed bring out the frivolity of Auden’s poem.

Some echoes of that time which have been in my mind are however very strange.

Compare a French cartoonist denouncing the ‘Popular Front’ in 1936 with a ‘Houston Chronicle’ one denouncing Trump in 2016 (and this is just one of many examples):

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ce_sont_les_soviets_qui_tirent_les_ficelles_du_Front_populaire.jpeg http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/anderson/article/Pulling-the-Strings-9144094.php

Roy Campbell leads in interesting directions. One, towards the ‘lonely old volcano of the Right’, to use one of Auden’s better phrases, the painter/writer/critic Percy Wyndham Lewis (interestingly, the son of an American Civil War veteran.)

Another, through Campbell’s younger compatriot and friend, the deaf poet David Wright, is to the Soho of the ‘Fifties, which was ‘multicultural’ in very interesting ways – among other things, a strong Irish presence.

Perhaps the last significant survivor of that world, who returned to Ireland, is Anthony Cronin. Last year he published a finalised version of his long sonnet sequence ‘The End of the Modern World’.

Ironically, the concluding sonnet – written years before the attack on the World Trade Center – ends with a description of the Twin Towers. A – slightly condescending – review gives a picture of what the poem is about, but obscures the fact that at his best Cronin engages with the 'splendours and miseries' of modern history at a very deep level, as Auden did not.

(https://ardmayle.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/the-end-of-modern-world-by-anthony.html .)

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