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Showing posts from January, 2018

Some Gothic Impressions

The Gothic is a wide umbrella, able to encompass stories as varied as Anne Radcliffe’s The Italian, a passionate romance of young lovers set in “exotic” Italy against the backdrop of a corrupt Catholic hierarchy, and Bram Stoker’s epistolary Dracula, a horror tale where undead bloodsuckers are repelled by Van Helsing’s little cross. Common to them is an obsession with the sublime, our humbling enthrallment experienced before the menacing ineffable. This sublime, “the moment of entry into [our] unconscious,” derives enormous power because it is fueled by our psyche (Hasanat, “Module 1, Lecture 2”). Gothic authors mine their readers' captivation with the sublime, entangling them vicariously in the shock, terror, and visceral horror that the characters experience.

Aside from the omnipresent prospect of death, another recurring theme is constraint and denial of freedom. Characters are imprisoned or placed under control of powerful malefactors. Harker in Dracula’s castle, Vivaldi and …

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff: A Review

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Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wolff gives what seems a reasonably accurate take on the infighting at the White House. My impression is that to a vast degree the book is correct. Wolff has tapes of interviews and an expert attorney doing a libel reading, so I seriously doubt if the *facts* are incorrect. Steve Bannon is clearly a primary source, a biased and untrustworthy one, and his temperament pervades the accounts. He comes off to me as a smitten, egocentric, vindictive man who is obsessed with his revolution, willing to ride Trump like a bull at a rodeo for as long as it takes to win his worldview.

To stay for long, though, Bannon needed to thwart two other forces inside the White House, Priebus and the Jarvankas (sounds like a bad band name), who in turn assailed him, all of them using leaks. Others quoted are Dina Powell (seems like a smart lady in an untenable situation), Sean Spicer, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Sam Nunber…