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With hours of debate to fill before President Trump is impeached and only a minute or two for each member to make an impact, there is a premium on getting your point across. Trump got the ball rolling Tuesday by comparing his treatment unfavorably to the Salem witch trials. But his GOP colleagues believed they had some even better comparisons. Barry Loudermilk R-Ga. Fred Keller R-Pa. There are, of course, problems with these comparisons.

One is that the accused witches in Salem were systematically violated — including physically — and that, while they were afforded at least some theoretical ability to defend themselves, they were essentially required to prove a negative while the evidence against them was accepted at face value. But the gospels of Matthew and Mark suggest Jesus was essentially found guilty before the trial began.

He was also crucified, while the alleged witches were hanged, so the punishment involved there is on a slightly different level. Trump, by contrast, will have a trial in which the rules will be determined by his allies and he will be allowed to remain as president. Shortly after Loudermilk spoke, Rep. Mike Kelly R-Pa. Here are his comments:.

Clay Higgins R-La. America has been severely injured by this betrayal, by this unjust and weaponized impeachment brought upon us by the same socialists who threaten unborn life in the womb, who threaten First Amendment rights of conservatives, who threaten Second Amendment protections of every American patriot, and who have long ago determined that they would organize and conspire to overthrow President Trump.

Democrats certainly spoke in stark terms about the harm Trump has done and about the danger of allowing what he has done to go unpunished. But they were generally focused on appearing solemn. At one point, though, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond D-La. Hakeem Jeffries D-N. Slavery once divided the nation, but emancipation rose up to clarify that all men are created equally. Suffrage once divided the nation, but women rose up to clarify that all voices must be heard in our democracy.

Jim Crow once divided the nation, but civil rights champions rose up to clarify that all are entitled to equal protection under the law. There is a difference between division and clarification. Je ne veux rien. Vous avez agi uniquement par calcul politique personnel. Regardez-vous, regardez votre entourage. However, an artist in Jacksonville only received negative responses to a painting he made but when he examined closer, it was exactly what he expected all along.

The artist goes by his initials B. The controversy is obvious as both liberals and conservatives showed their disgust at what they described as an abomination. The artist explained the meaning behind the painting is far more telling of how the viewer is supposed to see it. Its purpose? What was made to be thought-provoking turned to bashing, according to Orvis.

Another individual joked that all conservative followers see Trump as a messiah and is the second coming of Jesus. Instead, they came together to chastise the artist and broker responsible for its content. Although he said none of the threats sounded like they held any weight, he will remain cautious until more time has passed. The surprising part is that the two men claim they should have seen it coming, but it proved the point of the painting and that in the current state we live in, seeing is believing and no one is taking the time to actually look and see before believing their own preconceived notions about the political and religious climate.

What Orvis said he learned from this experience is that it reminded him of a time where individuals were labeling themselves as Americans first and not by their race or political affiliations. He also hopes moving forward, people can come together for the betterment of the voters. Dear Madam Speaker:. I write to express my strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade being pursued by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history.

The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment! By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy.

Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying « I pray for the President, » when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense. It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!

Founding Fathers. Your first claim, « Abuse of Power, » is a completely disingenuous, meritless, and baseless invention of your imagination. You know that I had a totally innocent conversation with the President of Ukraine. I then had a second conversation that has been misquoted, mischaracterized, and fraudulently misrepresented. Fortunately, there was a transcript of the conversation taken, and you know from the transcript which was immediately made available that the paragraph in question was perfect.

I said to President Zelensky: « I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I then mentioned the Attorney General of the United States. You are turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense — it is no more legitimate than the Executive Branch charging members of Congress with crimes for the lawful exercise of legislative power.

Executive Branch. You know this because Biden bragged about it on video. He got fired. President Zelensky has repeatedly declared that I did nothing wrong, and that there was No Pressure. Never once did Ukraine complain about pressure being applied — not once! Ambassador Sondland testified that I told him: « No quid pro quo. I want nothing. I want President Zelensky to do the right thing, do what he ran on. The second claim, so-called « Obstruction of Congress, » is preposterous and dangerous.

Under that standard, every American president would have been impeached many times over. Everyone, you included, knows what is really happening. Your chosen candidate lost the election in , in an Electoral College landslide , and you and your party have never recovered from this defeat. You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!

You are unwilling and unable to accept the verdict issued at the ballot box during the great Election of So you have spent three straight years attempting to overturn the will of the American people and nullify their votes. You view democracy as your enemy! As you know very well, this impeachment drive has nothing to do with Ukraine, or the totally appropriate conversation I had with its new president.

It only has to do with your attempt to undo the election of and steal the election of ! Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me.

His shameless lies and deceptions, dating all the way back to the Russia Hoax, is one of the main reasons we are here today. Congressman Adam Schiff. You cannot defend your extreme policies — open borders, mass migration, high crime, crippling taxes, socialized healthcare, destruction of American energy, late-term taxpayer-funded abortion, elimination of the Second Amendment, radical far-left theories of law and justice, and constant partisan obstruction of both common sense and common good.

There is nothing I would rather do than stop referring to your party as the Do-Nothing Democrats. After three years of unfair and unwarranted investigations, 45 million dollars spent, 18 angry Democrat prosecutors, the entire force of the FBI, headed by leadership now proven to be totally incompetent and corrupt, you have found NOTHING!

Few people in high position could have endured or passed this test. You do not know, nor do you care, the great damage and hurt you have inflicted upon wonderful and loving members of my family. You conducted a fake investigation upon the democratically elected President of the United States, and you are doing it yet again.

There are not many people who could have taken the punishment inflicted during this period of time, and yet done so much for the success of America and its citizens. But instead of putting our country first, you have decided to disgrace our country still further.

You completely failed with the Mueller report because there was nothing to find, so you decided to take the next hoax that came along, the phone call with Ukraine — even though it was a perfect call. And by the way, when I speak to foreign countries, there are many people, with permission, listening to the call on both sides of the conversation.

You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain. Against all evidence, and regardless of the truth, you and your deputies claimed that my campaign colluded with the Russians — a grave, malicious, and slanderous lie, a falsehood like no other.

You forced our Nation through turmoil and torment over a wholly fabricated story, illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton and the DNC in order to assault our democracy. Yet, when the monstrous lie was debunked and this Democrat conspiracy dissolved into dust, you did not apologize. You did not recant.

You did not ask to be forgiven. You showed no remorse, no capacity for self-reflection. Instead, you pursued your next libelous and vicious crusade — you engineered an attempt to frame and defame an innocent person. All of this was motivated by personal political calculation. Your Speakership and your party are held hostage by your most deranged and radical representatives of the far left.

Each one of your members lives in fear of a socialist primary challenger — this is what is driving impeachment. Look at yourself and others. Do not take our country down with your party. The FBI has great and honorable people, but the leadership was inept and corrupt.

I would think that you would personally be appalled by these revelations, because in your press conference the day you announced impeachment, you tied the impeachment effort directly to the completely discredited Russia Hoax, declaring twice that « all roads lead to Putin, » when you know that is an abject lie. I have been far tougher on Russia than President Obama ever even thought to be. Our Founders feared the tribalization of partisan politics, and you are bringing their worst fears to life.

Worse still, I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam right up until the present. I have been denied the most fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution, including the right to present evidence, to have my own counsel present, to confront accusers, and to call and cross-examine witnesses, like the so-called whistleblower who started this entire hoax with a false report of the phone call that bears no relationship to the actual phone call that was made.

Once I presented the transcribed call, which surprised and shocked the fraudsters they never thought that such evidence would be presented , the so-called whistleblower, and the second whistleblower, disappeared because they got caught, their report was a fraud, and they were no longer going to be made available to us.

You and others on your committees have long said impeachment must be bipartisan — it is not. You said it was very divisive — it certainly is, even far more than you ever thought possible — and it will only get worse! This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth.

You are not just after me, as President, you are after the entire Republican Party. But because of this colossal injustice, our party is more united than it has ever been before. History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade. Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution. Perhaps most insulting of all is your false display of solemnity. You apparently have so little respect for the American People that you expect them to believe that you are approaching this impeachment somberly, reservedly, and reluctantly.

No intelligent person believes what you are saying. There is no reticence. This is not a somber affair. The voters are wise, and they are seeing straight through this empty, hollow, and dangerous game you are playing. I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming election.

They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power. American people. There is far too much that needs to be done to improve the lives of our citizens. It is time for you and the highly partisan Democrats in Congress to immediately cease this impeachment fantasy and get back to work for the American People. While I have no expectation that you will do so, I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.

One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another President again. But then, to achieve such an identity does require a modicum of cultivation; it does not happen overnight. In , the Utah artist was selling landscapes out of a gallery in a shopping mall. Capitol burns. Which means, in the sense that art can reveal truths about the undercarriage of the psyche, McNaughton is one of the most significant painters of the current era.

That one I told you about, Obama burning the Constitution? When I painted it, I worried, this thing is just hideous — why would anybody hang that in their living room? But they sell. You are my favorite artist. Sometimes orders come in with a shipping address of Trump Tower. The other day, we flew to Utah to watch McNaughton put the finishing touches on his latest work, which he planned to release by the end of the week.

American Fork, a Salt Lake City suburb, is an interesting town, a backdrop of ridiculous beauty and a foreground of bland chain restaurants. In the backroom of the nondescript white building, the painter had already set up his easel. Mueller III by the necktie, roughly pulling him close while Mueller shrank back in fear. McNaughton talked about his faith: the Mormon mission he did in Japan in his youth. He talked about his art training at Brigham Young University, where a frustrated professor chastised him for not taking instruction better.

He talked about how he wakes up every morning and turns on the news, perpetually seeking out angles for future projects. A good bellwether for if a painting would sell well was whether someone like Rachel Maddow, the liberal MSNBC host, was offended by it. Her blog once held a cheeky caption contest for one of his works.

Nobody was burning or tearing the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln was not weeping in the background. Several hours later we realized these standards were off. But had McNaughton himself jumped on the Trump Train, or had he merely set up a lemonade stand at the station? I cringe and laugh at just about anything I see. As a regal Trump gestures toward the Forgotten Man, who is planting a tree, a crowd of mostly veterans and law enforcement look on with approval.

The symbolism seems pretty bonk-you-on-the-head: tree as hope, Trump as savior, audience as grateful. The same with Trump, really. This prompts a thoughtful interrogation into the meaning and purpose of art: How much ownership does a painter have over his messaging?

So McNaughton must believe in him at least a little. Dickerson considers himself moderate-to-liberal, at least by Utah standards. I really like it. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. A note says that only 50 copies were made. The next day, McNaughton brings a finished canvas of the Mueller painting back into the warehouse. Now, there are faces watching the Trump-Mueller altercation: James B.

Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions. McNaughton has also changed the name: Instead of « Exposing the Truth, » the painting is now titled « Expose the Truth » — a swap that makes the depiction seem less observational and more directive. But his art does make people feel good under the new definitions of feeling good.

It provides a self-fulfilling sense of self-righteousness. It assuages people, telling them that they are upset about the right things. It feels good because feeling angry and justified is the new feeling good. McNaughton used to paint something new every few months.

Before leaving, we ask McNaughton for a tour of the warehouse, where all of his stock is kept, and he provides a copy of an out-of-date calendar: 12 of his greatest hits, consolidated in one item. I think he gets America right. Biden Jr. Biden accused the president of heartlessness for separating migrant families and inflaming racial tensions. President Trump and Joseph R. The debate was, on the whole, a more restrained affair than the first encounter between the two candidates last month, when Mr.

Trump harangued Mr. Biden for most of an hour and a half and effectively short-circuited any policy debate. From the opening minutes, the two candidates took opposing stances on the pandemic, with Mr. Trump, who badgered Mr. Biden and members of his family. Trump, however, did little to lay out an affirmative case for his own re-election, or to explain in clear terms what he would hope to do with another four years in the White House. He frequently misrepresented the facts of his own record, and Mr.

And on his most important political vulnerability — his mismanagement of the pandemic — Mr. Trump hewed unswervingly to a message that happy days are nearly here again, even as polls show that a majority of voters believe the worst of the coronavirus crisis is still ahead. Trailing in a series of crucial swing states, and with 48 million Americans having already voted, the president was under more pressure. But while he proved he can engage in a more conventional political jousting, it was less clear whether his performance could prompt people who dislike him to reconsider their well-ingrained perceptions.

Biden, for his part, stuck to the core of the argument that has propelled his campaign from the start, denouncing Mr. Trump as a divisive and unethical leader who has botched the federal response to a devastating public-health crisis. Though Mr. Trump pushed him onto the defensive repeatedly, the former vice president also laid out a fuller version of his own policy agenda than he managed in the first debate, calling for large-scale economic stimulus spending, new aid to states battling the pandemic and a muscular expansion of health care and worker benefits nationwide.

Significantly, Mr. Of all the disagreements between the two candidates, none blazed more brightly than their assessments of the American experience battling the coronavirus. Trump stuck to the sunny message he has delivered at recent campaign rallies, promising a vaccine in short order and citing his own recovery from a bout with the virus as an example of medical progress. Trump said, without offering any specifics. Holding up a face mask, Mr. Biden said he would encourage all Americans to don them and would ramp up rapid testing on a national scale.

Biden said. Biden pounced. I will make sure we have a plan. Then he quickly sought to skirt blame. The debate on Thursday, at Belmont University in Nashville, represented perhaps the last opportunity for Mr. Trump to shake up the presidential campaign and claw his way into closer contention against Mr.

Biden with just 11 days remaining. Trump was more coherent than in the first debate, getting off a series of attack lines depicting Mr. Biden as a career politician and avoiding harsh personal critiques of his children. When Mr. Biden said Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. And when Mr. Trump insisted, not for the first time, that he would release his tax returns after an I. Biden let out a wide, here-we-go-again grin. It was in the second segment of the debate that the exchanges turned sharply personal, as the focus shifted to foreign interference in American elections.

Alluding to unsubstantiated stories about him that have circulated in conservative media, Mr. Biden chided Mr. Trump rapidly escalated matters, brandishing the unproven allegations about Mr. Trump said, leveling a charge for which no evidence has surfaced. An investigation by Senate Republicans found no evidence that Mr. Trump maintained a Chinese bank account and challenged the president to let the American people see his tax returns.

The extended back-and-forth was the most prominent airing so far of the negative message that Mr. Trump clearly sees as his best chance of undermining Mr. Biden in the final days of the presidential campaign. But the clash did not yield the kind of explosive confrontation that strategists on both sides had anticipated, and in some cases feared.

As Mr. Trump peppered Mr. Biden with exaggerated or baseless charges, Mr. After the protracted back-and-forth, Mr. You know my character. You know our reputations for honor and telling the truth. Trump insisted of Mr. Biden, citing the stances of more liberal Democrats, including Mr. The candidates both expressed support for new federal spending on a large scale to help prop up the economy and aid distressed individuals and households, an initiative still gridlocked on Capitol Hill.

Trump again blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the holdup, promising that if a deal were arranged, lawmakers from his own party would fall in line. But he continued to draw a firm line against Democratic-backed plans to help distressed states and cities close immense budget gaps. And he put the onus on Mr. Trump to drum up support in that chamber. Days after it was reported that the government had failed to locate the parents of more than migrant children separated from them by the Trump administration, the president repeatedly evaded questions about how he intended to reunite those families.

But Mr. Biden castigated the president for imposing a family separation policy in the first place. It is criminal. And he also suggested he would be more effective at addressing the issue than the president he served — Barack Obama.

Biden said, vowing to deliver an immigration overhaul that offers unauthorized migrants a pathway to legal status in the first days of his administration. After Mr. Trump made a counterargument riddled with inaccuracies and some allegations that were simply perplexing.

He claimed falsely that the construction of renewable-energy facilities created more emissions than traditional fuels, and accused Mr. In a debate that was originally planned as a forum on national security, the two candidates devoted only a few glancing exchanges to the subject. In one, Mr. At the end of the debate, Mr. Sensing an opening, Mr. Will you remember that Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?

And, of course, the president has continued to hold densely packed rallies where many supporters are not wearing masks. Trump has said little to discourage them. For example, Trump held an indoor rally in Nevada on Sept. Press reports noted that few in the densely packed crowd wore masks, though Trump made no mention of the subject.

Announcing the new guidance that day, Trump repeatedly reminded that the recommendation was voluntary and that he personally would not be wearing a mask. His stance evolved some over the summer, as the coronavirus continued to spread around the country.

On July 20, he released a photo of himself in a mask. And he repeatedly made unequivocal calls for the public to wear masks, particularly when he appeared to be reading from prepared notes. But his waffling returned late in the summer around the time he began to stage rallies. Since then, his public comments have been inconsistent, toggling between advocacy and casting doubt, sometimes in the same speech or interview. In an interview with Azar on Sept.

Very clear. He says it, I say it, every health leader says it. I say it. In an interview just two days prior, Trump said the guidance from health experts was originally for the public not to wear masks. After scientists began to learn more about the asymptomatic spread of the virus, that guidance changed. But Trump often brings up this change in position from the scientific community, as he did in an interview on Sept. As Trump has often pointed out, members of the scientific community — including Dr.

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams — were in the early months of telling the general public not to wear face masks. Trump, April 3 : In light of these studies [on asymptomatic spread], the CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. They suggested for a period of time. But this is voluntary. You can do it. It may be good. Probably will. Adams, the surgeon general, went into detail at the press conference about why the change to recommending public use of masks was made.

And that even those who eventually become pre-symptomatic, meaning that they will develop symptoms in the future, can transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity: for example, coughing, speaking, or sneezing, even if those people were not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends and the task force recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. These include places like grocery stores and pharmacies. We especially recommend this in areas of significant community-based transmission. It is critical. The official White House messaging — aside from Trump — has been consistent since then in advocating for the public to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

Trump told reporters he wore a mask briefly while touring Honeywell in early May, though the press did not see it, or photograph it. On May 11, Trump told reporters that he had begun requiring that White House staffers wear masks. On June 20, Trump held an indoor rally in Tulsa. Although there was little social distancing and few in the relatively sparse crowd wore masks , Trump made no appeal to the crowd to wear masks.

To the contrary, Trump complained only that the media did not highlight when Black Lives Matter protesters were not wearing masks. In a telephone interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on July 9, Trump again brought up the reversal by the scientific community on masks, and framed it as an ongoing debate even though by then there was consensus from his health advisers advocating public mask-wearing.

And now they are saying, wear a mask. So, a lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes. During the interview, Trump took the opportunity to ridicule Biden for the way he wears his masks, and for wearing one even when he is socially distanced from others.

It became a familiar refrain for Trump in interviews and speeches. Trump, July 9 : I watched Biden walk onto a stage with his — practically — like, today, there was almost nobody in the room. And they have these massive circles. And the circles are very far away from each other to start off with. And then they have just a few people in the audience. And he makes a speech.

And he walks onto the stage wearing this massive mask. And then he takes it off. He likes to have it hang off usually the left ear. I think it makes him feel good, frankly, if you want to know the truth. It covers up a big proportion of his face. And I think he feels he looks good that way. So, you know, like Dr. Fauci, surgeon general, a lot of people — a lot of people — the surgeon general said that also.

Those guidelines are good. And it does evolve. You know, I mean, the thought process evolves. Hey, Dr. I think masks are good. But I leave it up to the governors. In a press conference the following day, Trump continued his full-throated advocacy for masks. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact.

And we need everything we can get. I view it this way: Anything that potentially can help — and that certainly can potentially help — is a good thing. I have no problem. I carry it. I wear it. Maybe it is. It helps. You know that. My attitude is, it probably helps. Give it a shot, because we have to win this thing. We have to win this. In a TV interview on Aug. In a coronavirus briefing on Aug. But frankly, what do you have to lose? In a campaign speech in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, on Aug.

Do them. If you feel it, do them. In a campaign speech in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Sept. And then he makes a speech and he always has it, not always but a lot of times he has it hanging down because you know what, it gives him a feeling of security.

If I were a psychiatrist — right? No, I would say — I would say this guy has got some big issues. I mean you have a lot of different ideas. In a press briefing the next day, Trump continued to express doubt about the efficacy of wearing masks, and then later said he thought they work. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC.

I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine. At a campaign rally in Bedmidji, Minnesota, on Sept. In an interview with a local Fox station in Detroit on Sept.

Then they come like masks are the greatest thing you can do. You know, you get all these different messages. Trump and Tragedy. There is something called force majeure that supersedes all rules of procedure. Somehow the welfare of the state depends, if not on their consequences, then on the consequences of not raising questions about them in such a way as to produce embarrassing answers. Assuming this is also the case for the allegations of voter fraud to explain all these states switching from one column to the other after the election-day votes had been counted, I will therefore assume that, whether or not his challenges are legitimate, Donald Trump will not begin a second term in In defeat, Donald Trump embodies the original role of the tragic protagonist in such a way as to teach us more about tragedy than we can learn from the usual readings of Shakespeare or Sophocles.

Tragedy is compatible neither with acephalous tribal society, nor with the archaic empires in which the godlike pharaoh cannot be conceived in dialogue with others. It is a product of the post-theocratic society of Athens and other city-states, one in which kings and tyrants interact with their subjects as fellow humans, not as sacred beings. He is in a position of sacred centrality, yet ontologically, merely a human being among others. Our republic has its roots in the Athenian agon , and it is no coincidence that its most agonistic recent moment has produced its most tragic political figure.

No president in the entire history of the American republic has been so unsparingly vilified as Donald Trump, throughout the nomination process and campaign, and the nearly four years of his presidency. As I have pointed out since the beginning, Trump was the sole candidate, other than the impressive but insufficiently political Dr. It was not a product of theoretical reflection, but of his faithfulness to the attitudes which reigned in his youth—attitudes which I largely share. Were we to seek an embodiment of our timeless model of the ideal president, wise and forbearing, Trump would hardly qualify.

Trump is not a political thinker, but a man of action, and as his detractors in both camps never fail to insist, he is not afraid to exaggerate, to bluster, to repeat quite dubious ideas. And these instincts, these political intuitions, were hostile to victimary thinking, not because Trump is obsessed with it, but simply because Trump is untouched by it.

Only someone whose social instincts had been developed before the current constitution of the Belmont world could credibly oppose this configuration, and only someone with considerable personal—rather than institutional—resources would have the freedom to do so. And indeed, whenever he makes the effort, Trump has shown himself perfectly capable of delivering a cogent address in a perfectly dignified manner.

I think for Trump this is a matter of principle, even if the principle is not articulated as a proposition. What makes it tragic is that, although this behavior may well have cost him reelection, it is inseparable from his sense of self. It seems clear that someone who had viewed these antics merely as a political stratagem would not have had the chutzpah to flaunt from the very beginning his disdain for victimary thinking in the face of the respectable majority.

Lee, as proof, despite his explicit statements to the contrary, of his endorsing neo-Nazis. And so Trump lost an election that he might well have won, even in the face of the Covid19 pandemic. No one can claim to know what formula he should have followed. But what makes him a tragic figure is the fact that he would no longer have been Trump had he sought any other formula than just being Trump.

The tragic protagonist assumes leadership in a crisis in which he is obliged to make decisions that cannot be deduced from prior social norms. Once a human being comes to occupy the social center originally reserved for the sacred, he is tasked with a responsibility both necessary and impossible to fulfill en connaissance de cause.

Hence every leader is potentially a tragic figure: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. But real-life and even legendary tragic figures are few. Tragedy depends on crisis. And although, objectively speaking, the United States has traversed many far more serious crises—wars and economic depressions—we are currently witnessing the most serious breakdown of our political system since the Civil War, one that the current election, whatever its outcome, is most unlikely to fully resolve.

Recently Michigan Democratic Rep. They hate it. Trump speaks to them, because he includes them. It is less treating people as stupid than as morally obtuse, un- woke. Which leads us back to our point of departure. Trump had a mission and, Wall or no Wall, he has largely carried it out. Even if he fails to obtain a second term, his example will have a lasting effect on American politics.

And I hope it will one day receive the historical respect it deserves. It was Trump who revived the American economy, reduced unemployment to its long-term minimum, and raised the salaries of minorities despite their diminishing! Donald Trump saw more clearly than anyone the danger that Rep. A virus far more virulent than SARS-CoV-2, this victimary faith has infested our educational, informational, entertainment, and governmental institutions, and unless promptly and firmly checked, risks handing our hard-won democracy to the barbarians.

Peine perdue. Evergreen est maintenant partout» , confie-t-il trois ans plus tard. Sam Abrams dit recevoir des dizaines de lettres, montrant que «beaucoup de gens en ont assez». Chez nous, on dirait: comment osez-vous assigner un genre? Elle passe par un combat juridique avec le soutien de tout le peuple.

Victor Davis Hanson American greatness November 1, We know its bipartisan establishment contours. China would inherit the world in 20 or 30 years. The self-appointed task of American elites—many of whom had already been enriched and compromised by Chinese partners and joint ventures—was to facilitate this all-in-the-family transition in the manner of the imperial British hand-off of hegemony to the United States in the late s.

Hollywood would nod as it put out more lucrative comic-book and cartoonish films for the Chinese markets, albeit with mandated lighter-skinned actors. The NBA would nod twice and trash a democratic United States, while praising genocidal China—becoming richer and more esteemed abroad to make up for becoming boring and poorer at home. The universities would nod three times, and see a crime not in Chinese espionage and security breaches, but in the reporting of them as crimes.

So our revolutionary role would be to play stuffy and snooty Athenian philosophers to the new muscular Roman legions of China. Antitrust legislation was as much an anathema to good liberals as rigging searches, institutionalizing the cancel culture, and censoring thoughts and ideas were welcomed. For now Trump, almost alone, is battling that revolution.

Fifty-million foreign-born resided, both legally and illegally, in the United States. Nearly a million annually walked northward across the border with ease and without legal sanction or invitation. To object to illegal immigration and decry its deleterious effects on the entry-level wages of our working poor, on the social safety net of the American needy, and on the sanctity of the law was to be smeared as racist, xenophobic, and nativist. Open borders and the end of immigration law enforcement had pushed Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado into just Democratic societies, and was supposedly soon to transform Texas and Arizona into enlightened states.

For now, Trump—with his soon-to-be mile wall, his beefed up ICE, and his war on sanctuary nullification zones—has nearly stopped the revolution to end borders. Until Trump, the American interior was loser country. Very caring and very humane elites felt very little for supposedly very expendable riffraff.

The United States has cheaper energy than anywhere on earth, a skilled workforce, a huge domestic market, and a still-viable infrastructure. There was a reason why Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania once led the world and why they can again. Until Trump, the woke cultural wars were just about won by the elites. The melting pot that sought to make race incidental was deemed racist; the salad bowl that made our superficial appearances essential was celebrated.

The success of civil rights was not to be calibrated by black unemployment figures, household income, family businesses, dignity in having leverage over employers, access to competitive parochial and charter schools, or descending abortion rates, but in electing more activists as progressive mayors, liberal city councilmembers, and leftist district attorneys to garner more redistributive state money to hire more careerists like themselves.

Can the Revolution Be Stopped? We are in the midst of a cultural revolution, for the most part driven by angry middle-and upper-class white youth of Antifa and its sympathizers, wannabes, and enablers. Many are humiliated that they have college pedigrees, lots of multi thousand-dollar debt, plenty of woke-studies classes to their credit, but still have no real jobs, no real knowledge, and no real immediate chances of buying a house, marrying, and raising a family in their 20s.

The revolution toppled statues, renamed what it did not like, Trotskyized the past, photoshopped the present, and used language, government, and cultural intimidation to do its best to make America into Animal Farm. Corporate CEOs in terror washed the feet of the woke.

University presidents, fearful for their status and careers, wrote incomprehensible memos admitting their past sins and asking how best to do present penance. Hollywood studio owners promised race and gender quotas, with ample provisions that—in the manner of NBA and NFL owners—adjustments and exceptions could be worked out for themselves. Standing for the National Anthem was unpatriotic; sitting in disdain for it, cool. Donald Trump fought that revolution too. The media?

The great foundations? The bipartisan government establishment? The international community? The banks? Wall Street? How much of it holds up today? I was raised on rock and took it with supreme seriousness, but most of the albums with which my high-school playlist was clotted now strike me as jejune at best, horrendous at worst.

Have they anything new to say to us, or are they simply going through the motions? The Rolling Stones, who recently embarked on their 50th-anniversary tour, can still play up a storm—but so what? And which song sounds fresher? Unlike the bluntly bluesy garage-band sound of the Stones, Mr. It is, in a word, music for grown-ups—with lyrics to match. What is especially interesting about Mr.

Fagen, though, is that unlike most of his contemporaries, he has always made music for grown-ups. Needless to say, musical complexity is not the same thing as maturity. What makes Mr. He knows full well that the narrator of « Slinky Thing » is a comic figure and deserves to be. Nor does he lapse into the breast-baring confessionalism that is the blight of second-rate singer-songwriters.

Fagen, who turns 65 on Thursday, is about the same age as the year-old Mr. The difference is that he acts his age. The British author V. Pritchett, who was as good a critic as he was a short-story writer, had a particular affinity for the works of novelists « who are not driven back by life, who are not shattered by the discovery that it is a thing bounded by unsought limits, by interests as well as by hopes, and that it ripens under restriction.

Such writers accept. They think that acceptance is the duty of a man. Aging well or just aging: The rockers of my youth. I think this is really a comment about aging in community vs. But, this is an issue beyond my ken to solve. I am not a politician or a policy person. An article by Alex Williams headlined: The music is timeless, but about the rockers… was the second thing I reacted to.

The old English musicians were about my age or younger! These and other icons were reported to have been the subjects of snarky Tweets. And Jagger still struts like he did when he was in his twenties, but it looked odd to me doing it at almost So why do some aging rockers have to use age denial to perpetuate their rebellious bona fides? Does the music of protest have to be accompanied by bounding across the stage, gyrations and age-denying cosmetic interventions?

We need to think about how the next wave may want to spend their time enjoying music in groups when they are not listening to iPods or rock wall climbing. This finding in developmental psychology helps to explain how people develop and get more complex, but stay the same person. They had moved on; the trait that was being measured had transformed from tracking a picture to interacting with a human being.

The Experience Corps is full of retirees who use their traits to help others although they no longer work in their old jobs. If the music boomers grew up on is still meaningful, then enjoying its essence—its many meanings—as we age will have to be available without the distractions of age-denying cosmetic overlays that the stars use. For many of their aging fans, the next era of life will depart from the conformity that an ageist, declinist approach to aging dictates. Thanks to McCartney, Jagger and the old English musicians, the beat went on.

What will the music in your setting be in , and what timeless music will people singing along with? When Neil Young walked onstage for the first of his four-night stand at Carnegie Hall, nobody in the audience had any idea what sort of show he was about to present. His previous theater tour in was a bizarre and ultimately unsatisfying mixture of solo acoustic and solo electric tunes, concentrating on hits and selections from his then-unreleased LP Le Noise. Thankfully, Neil Young had no such surprises for the capacity crowd at Carnegie Hall.

Instead, he treated them to an absolutely jaw-dropping two hour and minute show that focused largely on his golden period of to The opening notes of classics « Harvest, » « A Man Needs a Maid » and « On the Way Home » sent shockwaves of recognition and joy through the crowd, who then listened to them in near silence. I planned it out. Tonight I planned on an intermission. Much like his stellar solo acoustic tour, there was a chair in the center of the stage surrounded by about eight acoustic guitars and a banjo.

There were also two pianos and a pump organ, and sometimes between songs Young would wander around, pick up a guitar, briefly contemplate using it, and then opt for another. He was also in a chatty mood, sharing stories behind many of the instruments, including the legendary guitar that once belonged to Hank Williams. He followed it up with the thematically similar « Needle and the Damage Done, » showing just how influential this single tune was on his songwriting. Some of the best moments of the night came when he resurrected material from the Buffalo Springfield catalog.

But the most radically rearranged song of the night was « Mr. Soul, » which he played on the pump organ. The only real complaint is that he played so many early Seventies classics that he neglected all other eras of his long career. Not a single note of music was played from the past 22 years, nor did he go near anything from to At age 68, his voice has lost only a bit of its range, and his guitar playing sounds just like it did the first time he played Carnegie Hall.

Sarcasm aside, this is anti-Semitism of the ugliest, most primitive kind. With this one stroke, Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, demarcated the past from the future: eschewing the lengthy and ponderous compositions of Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, Rotten and his mates set about delivering sharp, angry tunes in a compact three-minute format.

Almost 40 years later, popular music has undergone numerous other transformations, but Rotten who now calls himself Lydon again and Waters have remained polar opposites. By contrast, Waters, outwardly, a much more refined and eloquent fellow, has firmly hitched himself to the movement pressing for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS against Israel.

In his response to the Wiesenthal Center, Waters denied he was an anti-Semite, coming out with the standard response that hating Zionism and hating Jews are completely distinct. Why did Waters think it necessary to point out the maiden name of Baroness Ruth Deech, a noted academic and lawyer?

The answer is obvious: before she was Deech, a name that resonates with English respectability, she was Fraenkel, a name that sounds positively, well, Jewish. And much as she might try to hide her origins, the intrepid Waters is determined to out her, along with her nefarious Jewish —sorry, I mean, Zionist — agenda.

If other stars grasp the appalling hypocrisy this represents, then having Roger Waters indulge his hatred of Israel at every opportunity is a price worth paying. I hesitated just a moment before including Miss June in my piece about Hugh Hefner. I wondered if some readers would find the nude photograph objectionable. Then I smiled at myself. I waited to see what the reaction would be. You dance with the one that brung you. But no one at the newspaper said a word, even though they certainly saw the page because the same article also appeared in the Friday paper.

Hefner was in town for the weekend for a nostalgic visit to his childhood home, and a screening at the Siskel Film Center of the new documentary about his life. At first no one at all objected to the photo, even though the entry was getting thousands of hits. It went online early on Sunday afternoon. But Monday was a workday, and a reader asked if it had occurred to me to label it NSFW « not suitable for work ».

The thought may have crossed my mind, but come on, would anybody be surprised to find a nude somewhere during a 2,word piece on Hef? Like this:. After learning that the mere presence of this photograph could get you fired and my blog put on a restricted list, I have removed the « prudent pixels » and linked the photograph here. Then other readers started wondering about a NSFW warning.

Feminist readers, some well known and respected by me, spoke of his objectification of the female body, his misuse of the Male Gaze, and so on. But no one objected to the photo itself. No, they explained that they read the column at work « during lunch break, » of course and were afraid a supervisor or co-worker might see a nude on their monitor. I asked one of these readers if his co-workers were adults. As a writer, it would have offended me to preface my article with a NSFW warning.

It was unsightly — a typographical offense. It would contradict the point I was making. But others wrote me about strict rules at their companies. They faced discipline or dismissal. Co-workers seeing an offensive picture on their monitor might complain of sexual harassment, and so on.

But what about the context of the photo? I wondered. A nude was a nude. The assumption was that some people might be offended by all nudes. I heard what they were saying. This created a stylistic abomination on the page, but no matter. I had acted prudently. An unsuspecting reader might suddenly find Miss June regarding him from his entire monitor! I jumped in again and disabled that command.

This left me feeling more responsible, but less idealistic. I knew there might be people offended by the sight of a Playmate. I disagreed with them. I understood that there were places where a nude photo was inappropriate, and indeed agree that porn has no place in the workplace. In Europe, billboards and advertisements heedlessly show nipples. There are not « topless beaches » so much as beaches everywhere where bathers remove swimsuits to get an even tan. Ironically, the only time you see a mob of paparazzi is when some starlet on the Carlton Hotel pier say , is making a show of removing her clothes.

Then you have a sort of meta-event, where paparazzi are photographing other paparazzi photographing this event. In Europe, people know what the human body looks like, and are rather pleased that it does. America has a historical Puritan streak, and is currently in the midst of another upheaval of zeal from radical religionists.

They know what is bad for us. They would prefer to burn us at a metaphorical stake, but make do with bizarre imprecations about the dire consequences of our sin. Let me be clear: I am not speaking of sexual behavior that is obviously evil and deserves legal attention. But definitions differ.

Much of their wrath is aimed at gays. I consider homosexuality an ancient, universal and irrefutable fact of human nature. When we were making « Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, » I got to know Cynthia Myers and Dolly Read above , the two Playmates in the film, and have followed them through the years. They have good memories of the experience. These women looked great in the s and they look great today, and let me tell you something I am very sure of: We all want to look as great as we can.

Now back to the woman in the photograph. Her name is Azizi Johari. I studied them side by side. Both women are unclothed, and regard the viewer from similar reclining postures on carefully-draped divans. I looked at them with the Male Gaze, which I gather that as a male is my default Gaze.

I want to be as honest as I can be about how these two representations affect me. Let us assume that the purpose of both artworks is to depict the female form attractively. Both the photographer and the painter worked from live models. Titian required great skill and technique in his artistry. So did the photographer, Ken Marcus, because neither of these portraits pretends to realism. I would argue that both artworks are largely the expressions of imagination.

For me, Miss Johari is more beautiful than Venus. She strikes me as more human. She looks at me. Her full lips are open as if just having said something. Her skin is lustrous and warm. Venus, on the other hand, seems to have her attention directed inward.

She is self-satisfied. She seems narcissistic, passive, different. Johari is present. She seems quietly pleased to suggest, « Here I am. This is me. She is full of her beauty, aware of it, it is a fact we share. Venus is filled by her beauty, cooled by it, indifferent to our Gaze.

If you were to ask me which is the better representation of the fullness of life, I would choose Johari. Of course abstract artistic qualities are not the point of either work. The pictures intend to inspire a response among their viewers. For men, I assume that is erotic feeling. Women readers will inform me of the responses they feel. Homosexuals of both sexes may respond differently. They will tell me. For me? Miss June is immediately erotic.

I regard first of all her face, her eyes, her full lips and then her breasts, for I am a man and that is my nature. I prefer full lips in women, and hers are wonderful. I admire full breasts. Hers are generous but manifestly natural. The female breast is one of the most pleasing forms in all of nature, no doubt because of our earliest associations.

I dislike surgical enhancements. As my friend Russ Meyer complained in the early days of silicone, « It misses the whole principle of the matter. I find the dark hue of her skin beautiful. Photographs like this she was the fifth African-American Playmate helped men of all races to understand that Black is Beautiful at a time when that phrase came as news to a lot of people. In a blog about her, I find she was « the first black Playmate to have distinctly African features.

As for Venus of Urbino, she has no mystery at all. I look at her and feel I know everything, and she thinks she does too. She gives no hint of pleasure or camaraderie. If you tickled her with a feather, she would be annoyed. Miss Johari, I imagine, would burst into laughter and slap the feather. I can see myself having dinner with her. To have dinner with Venus would be a torment. My parting words would be, « This bill is outrageous!

Of course these are all fantasies. I know nothing about either model. That is what we do with visual representations of humans; we bring our imaginations to them. The meaning is a collaboration between the object and the viewer. That is how we look at pictures, and how we should. If it seems impertinent of my to compare the photograph with the painting, the best I can do i quote e. Now as to the problem of the workplace.

I understand there will be pictures on a computer screen that will be offensive. I get that. Why will they be offensive? Is anyone reading it for sexual gratification? I doubt it. They think I have a dirty mind, but I think I have a healthy mind. It takes a dirty mind to see one, which is why so many of these types are valued as censors or online police.

The wrong photographs on a screen might also suggest a blanket rejection of the values of the company. Some corporations require an adherence to company standards that is almost military. Sex has a way of slicing through all the layers of protocol and custom and revealing us as human beings. But lip service must be paid to convention. We now learn that the recent Wall Street debacle was fueled in part by millions spent on prostitution and drugs.

We have seen one sanctimonious politician and preacher after another exposed as a secret adulterer or homosexual. Is there a danger of porn surfing in the workplace? Somehow I doubt it. There is a greater danger, perhaps, of singling out workers for punishment based on the zeal of the enforcers.

And of course there is always this: Supervisors of employee web use, like all employees, must be seen performing their jobs in order to keep them. There is also this: Perfectly reasonable people, well-adjusted in every respect, might justifiably object to an erotic photograph on the computer monitor of a coworker. A degree of aggression might be sensed. It violates the decorum of the workplace. So does online gaming, but never mind. You have the right to look at anything on your computer that can be legally looked at, but give me a break!

I also understand that the threat of discipline or dismissal is real and frightening. Behind the mask. Very little is recorded of the life of the great Renaissance artist Titian. What we do know of his personality and his turbulent sexuality is laid bare in his painting. He could not help looking. It was an accident — well, all right, an accident combined with curiosity.

But what was a man to do? Actaeon, the story goes, was out hunting with his friends in the woods when he got lost. That was his only mistake, really — that and looking at a naked goddess. The grandson of Cadmus had hunted all morning with his friends, and their nets and swords were dripping with blood, when Actaeon suggested they call it a day and enjoy the noon heat. He himself wandered off from the sweaty mob into a thickly overgrown valley, and found a cave.

It was a beautiful and refreshing place, entered via a graceful arch, and inside there was cold, clear water, flowing from a spring into a deep pool where Diana, goddess of the hunt, liked to come to cool off when she was tired from shooting her bow and hurling her javelin. Here she was, accompanied by her nymphs, who took her weapons and her clothes so that, naked, unencumbered, she could bathe. And that was when Actaeon blundered in.

Did his eyes fix on her breasts, her thighs? Or did he try not to look? She was a modest goddess. Diana turned him into a stag — a dumb male animal, his phallic antlers useless when what he needed, and no longer had, was a voice to tell his hunting dogs it was him, their master, Actaeon, that they were hunting down. They are good, zealous dogs, doing what they were trained to do. In a line of energy, they fly at him — the three pack leaders are already on him.

The tragedy is in the trees. And yet those trees are lovely; the matted texture of them is so deliberately thick and rough that you can feel it on your skin, on your face. You can feel the stormy air, too, the chill breeze before the storm that those roiling clouds and that terrific sky — eerily turning from grey to yellow — promise. It was said that Tiziano Vecellio was years old when he died in This was probably an exaggeration, but an understandable one — years ago, living beyond your 30s was an achievement.

Titian outlived him, and the average life span, by 10, 20, He was probably born in the s, making him between 86 and 96 when he died. Which means that Titian was at least in his 60s when he wrote to Philip II of Spain in June , telling him he had « two poesie already under way: one of Europa on the Bull, the other of Actaeon torn apart by his own hounds ».

Actaeon never got to Spain; it never joined the collection commissioned by Philip II from Titian, illustrating myths from Ovid. Instead, it seems to have stayed in his studio, possibly until his death. But I think the lack of finish is telling. The Death Of Actaeon seems to me a fearsomely personal work. It is one of those paintings in which Titian speaks about himself: he is Actaeon.

An Actaeon grown old, a frenzied animal at the mad mercy of his eye, his roving, incredible eye. About his greatness there has never been any doubt — not since he painted his astonishing altarpiece of the Assumption in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice as an up-and-coming contender in The Frari is a gothic church, high and bare, its glory a tall, semicircular network of arched windows that turns its south-west wall into a broken dazzle of sunlight.

Insanely, the ambitious Titian accepted a commission to make an altar painting to stand in front of this wall of light — a painting that was doomed to be cast into a deep shadow, to seem a mere eccentric, dull daub against the sun that shone above and around it. It is so bright, the gold heaven towards which the Virgin Mary is raised on a cloud borne by putti is so luminous, that instead of being overpowered by the sunlight streaming above, it seems that the sun is paying its compliments to Titian.

Look more closely, and it turns out that Titian has tricked the eye by mimicking the contrast of light and shade that threatens to dull his painting. Down at the bottom of the seven metre tall panel, at our level, the disciples — as we do — look up at the ascending Virgin; they are in shade in a dowdy space. At the very centre of the earthbound crowd is a black hole. Seeing how this light outshines the cooler colours below, we somehow accept that this painted sun is as powerful as the real one.

Titian is a magician, and this is his most jaw-dropping sleight of hand. His art is endlessly fresh and generative. More than anyone else, Titian shaped our idea of painting — what it is, what it is capable of. When he was young, oil painting was a new idea, and it was used with a raw excitement, as if every painting were a scientific discovery — the first time a landscape was depicted in convincing perspective, the first accurate painting of a reflection. When Titian died, oil painting had grown up — it had at its command an incredible array of techniques, an empire of the visual.

It was Titian who created this empire. It was Titian who demonstrated the full range of powers specific to painting on canvas — to be at once a convincing imitation of appearances and also something else, something abstract. Today, it is possible to argue that Titian was the most influential painter in history. And because his painterliness has an abstract quality, he has continued to influence modern artists. Even today, the best living painters, Gerhard Richter who has done versions of Titians and Lucian Freud, echo different aspects of Titian.

Titian is part of a triumvirate, with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who invented the very idea of the modern artist. He once dropped his brush in the presence of Emperor Charles V, and it was the Emperor who insisted on picking it up in deference to Titian. And yet, he wears a mask. He lived for perhaps 90 years, in the most sophisticated city in the world, and he was famous from his 20s onwards. He was by all accounts an articulate, courtly, sociable man, a close friend of the writers Ariosto and Aretino, bright enough to be sent on diplomatic missions on behalf of the Venetian Republic, refined enough to become the companion of kings.

And yet behind the screen of constant, smooth success, his life is practically unknown. His work, because of that, retains an enigmatic distance. Titian never said anything quotable, but Michelangelo said something quotably mean about Titian. In the s, Titian worked for a while in Rome. There, Michelangelo visited his studio. As in the Frari, it is the play of light and darkness that weaves a spell.

The void of darkness at the centre makes the scene incomplete, luring the viewer to complete it; the imagination does this by abstracting and fusing the colours of skin and gold, that hang in memory as a dream, a vision of desire beyond verbal expression. His paintings are not smooth; he paints on rough canvas in which paint catches; and he pursues the same emotive, personal themes across his long career.

Titian was a high-class kind of guy; his friend, the poet Aretino, commented on how Titian always knew how to speak to a lady, kissing hands, making courtly jests. This comes out most profoundly in his love of genre. Titian, I think, enjoyed the discipline of objective rules — for example the conventions of portraiture — which he could then stretch, challenge, reinvent. His incredibly lifelike Portrait Of A Man with a blue sleeve , painted in , which may be a self-portrait, is an example of this.

Doing something stylish, Titian communicates something personal — the deeply felt presence of this unnamed 16th-century man. There had been classical mythological paintings in Italy since the 15th century, but the kind of narrative, Ovidian art for which Titian is famous was new; it was his genre, the « poesie », as he called his paintings for Philip II. If genre is a discipline, and literary subject matter is an objective constraint, what Titian gave himself when he developed his unique kind of narrative painting was a way of both restraining and at the same time releasing — in a stylised, mediated way — his own sexuality.

It is as if he was so obsessed with eroticism, so obsessed with women — like Picasso in his sometimes loving, sometimes hateful portraits — that he had to invent a new art of organised fantasy, of civilised eroticism. Because the fantasies that Titian painted, from early on, are not just the lovingly painted, perhaps slightly complacent images of bountiful, sexually generous women, such as his Venus Of Urbino in the Uffizi — a painting that strikes you as pure body, openly desired by the artist.

Titian loved women — this has to be the least debatable statement in the history of art. Far from coming easily, the civilised tone of his art seems hard-won — violence, rage, terror are frothing in his brushwork. His overriding eroticism is not something worked up for patrons — although there was obviously a market for paintings like « the nude lady », as the man who commissioned it called the Venus Of Urbino — but something in him which painting allows him to project, simultaneously to enjoy and control.

Through his career, he is drawn to fierce and violent images. In his very first major public commission, a series of frescoes in Padua, he includes a scene of shocking brutality: the story of a jealous husband who murdered his wife.

She begs for mercy while he prepares to stab her a second time. There is a stale view of paintings such as the Venus Of Urbino, which arises from their popularity in the 19th century, as mildly saucy soft porn.

The same models recur in many of his pictures. One group of paintings seems to depict a woman who — a flower she holds suggests — may have been called Violante. It used to be said she was his lover and the pictorial evidence makes that romantic Victorian idea very plausible. Many of his most erotic paintings may be games in which Titian paints monuments to his lovers under the guise of heady mythological and pastoral art.

Titian, so quiet about himself and so organised in his professional career, is in reality a powder keg of emotion, artfully channelled but never suppressed; his art is profoundly confessional. The Death Of Actaeon is a confession. And at the end of his life, Titian movingly drops all his elaborate strategies, takes off his Venetian mask and addresses us — and his God — directly in one of the most unguarded paintings anywhere.

Titian puts himself in the painting, an almost naked, bearded old man, pathetically and hopelessly touching the hand of the dead Christ. If you look, you will eventually see what you fear, and in this last painting Titian sees death, his own death. What is striking is that Titian, in his 80s, or 90s, or — who knows? And looking at his paintings, so do we. At first glance, the painting might just look like another portrait of two lovely ladies, with a pastoral background behind them.

First of all, there are the women themselves. One is clothed, bejeweled, and—seemingly—made up with cosmetics. The other is almost stark naked, holding just a torch. In other words, a coffin, of the type the ancient Romans used. In the background, meanwhile, you have some other strange things going on: On our left, a horse and rider race up a mountaintop to a looming fortress, while two hares appear to be playing or chasing each other ; on our right, shepherds herd sheep in a pasture in front of a picturesque church, while a dog chases a hare.

For a long time, art historians thought that the painting was supposed to show two different kinds of love: the sacred, and the profane. Symbols of love are scattered throughout, from the roses on the sarcophagus to the myrtle the woman on our left clasps more on that later! And, of course, the painting was a marriage gift, which would make this focus highly appropriate. But does it show sacred and profane love? Well, if so, that might explain the background. The fortress, symbol of war and humanity, could symbolize the profane or worldly ; the church would, obviously, symbolize the sacred.

And it could explain the two women. Perhaps one is meant to be a Venus showing what worldly love looks like; the other, a Venus showing us sacred love. If this is true, then which of the two women represents sacred love, and which is the profane? At first glance, you might think the woman on our left represents sacred love. The other, naked one would, of course, represent worldly, amorous love. But look again, and you see just as much symbolism pointing us in the opposite direction.

For one thing, the clothed woman is seated, and therefore below—and closer to the earth than—her nude counterpart. The nude woman, therefore, might be sacred. The painting could show the bride, Laura Bagarotto, herself, dressed in virginal white on the left. And the nude woman on the right? But no one is sure what this painting really means. Ces regards de peintres sont essentiels. Pour le reste…. Donc incomparable. Titien peut ne plus douter de la puissance de sa peinture.

Il lui accorde encore le titre de comte palatin et de chevalier « dello Sperone ». Comme Apelle. Titien est Apelle. And the no-drama nerd who promised to restore decorum to the presidency after the bling and histrionics of Nicolas Sarkozy has certainly ended up creating a circus worthy of his media-baiting predecessor.

Hollande was supposed to be making an honest break from the French tradition of presidents who had sexless wives for official functions but sexy mistresses for fun or love. Allegations that Mr. Hollande has been having an affair with a younger actress have thrown Ms. His own ministers see him as a millstone and his ability to govern his fractured nation is in doubt.

But they do prize elegance. Sarkozy was an affront to both, with his messy marital breakup, his remarriage to a tipsy model, his new-money friends and his flashy presence. If Mr. Three decades ago, he could maintain a second family without the media making a fuss or questioning the first-lady status of wife Danielle. Both wife and mistress attended his burial, which, while noted, was hardly big news. The presidency is no longer held in much reverence by the French.

Today, not even Mr. Mitterrand could get away with living a double life, especially if seen to be interfering with his job or contradicting the image he was seeking to project. But what the French find most galling about Mr. The photos of the helmet-wearing President sneaking out on the back of a scooter, with minimal security detail following him, raise serious questions about whether those protecting this G-7 head of state are plain incompetent or just out to undermine their boss.

Hollande allegedly met actress Julie Gayet? This is not just tabloid fodder. Even Le Monde is playing the conspiracy card, asking whether Mr. Hollande was set to give a critical speech. In pledging tax and spending cuts, Mr. Hollande aimed to make headlines with new pro-business policies and a goal to spread French influence globally. But those ambitions now look laughable, as steamier headlines crowd out Mr. All this makes the otherwise jovial Mr.

Hollande a tragicomic figure. He became president by accident; voters did not so much choose him as reject Mr. But he has been true to his nickname Flanby, after a jiggly French custard dessert. All he had going for him was the appearance of normalcy at home. How long before he is, too? Steven Mercurio knows Andrea Bocelli well. Because of his passionate approach to all styles of music, and his natural talents as a teacher, Mercurio was called upon to school Bocelli through his first starring performance in an opera, Rodolfo in « La Boheme, » in Since then Mercurio has conducted Bocelli in countless stage performances and recordings, arranged many of his songs, and been his good friend.

But I did want to hear from the straight-shooting Mercurio, whose infectious energy is matched by his musical intelligence. Everything after that, basically from A-flat or A on, goes into a mixed voice. Andrea can get to a G, maybe an A-flat, in that full voice. After that, which was bel canto tradition, they turned it into, if not a real falsetto, a mixed voice. If you look at some of these old Donizetti things, written up to high Bs, by the time they were singing that high, they were singing in a falsetto.

Andrea has always had this sort of half voice. And when they sing over an orchestra, they cut glass. In other words, it gets really exciting. Singing that stuff on stage unamplified is where the issue is. Now that has pros and cons.

This is where the big battle comes. Andrea Bocelli worked hard to become a big draw. With a concert tour stop at Staples Center, he is a long way from the days of singing classic pop covers in piano bars. He looks back at his time as a struggling singer with fondness.

Friday evening, as Christmas lights glittered outside the window of his Central Park hotel suite, Andrea Bocelli was doing his best to explain himself in English. At his side was gracious Italian translator Maria Galetta, ready to help out. But the singer remained determined to find the right words himself. Ten years ago, at a peak of his international stardom, Bocelli wrote an ingratiating memoir. He frankly described his blindness, the pains and prejudices he confronted as a kid, and the years he scraped by as a piano singer in bars and clubs in his native Tuscany.

Why had he called his book « The Music of Silence »? Bocelli, 52, furrowed his brow and leaned forward. He was unshaven and wearing a white-knit sweater, open at the neck. He had a day off from his Christmas tour, which arrives Friday at Staples Center, and had the look of a perennial performer glad to be free for a moment from his tailored suits and image. A seriousness took hold. Second, because in our society, what we really miss is the silence. We live in a society full of big sounds, big confusion, big mess, you know?

Everywhere there is music, in the elevator, in the restaurant, in the cars, at theaters. Cars, they make noise, the engines. For this reason I discovered that silence is music for me. His hugely popular repertoire glides from the classic Neapolitan songs of Enrico Caruso to swooning pop duets with Celine Dion, or, as the case will be at Staples Center, Heather Headley, best known for her marquee Broadway roles in « The Lion King » and « Aida. Steven Mercurio, who has worked with Bocelli on stage and in the studio more often than any other conductor, agreed.

He wanted to explain his life to his sons Amos, 15, and Matteo, 13 , he said, and composed his book like a novel. Did he also want to set the record straight, given so many others had written about him? As Bocelli acknowledged, the book has been poorly translated from Italian into English, which may explain why it quickly disappeared in the U. Still, it lays bare a little hellion — his parents called him Terremoto earthquake — behind the international hits.

Bocelli was born with congenital glaucoma and had partial sight until he was He attended a school for the blind and one day, while playing goalie in a soccer game, was struck in the face by a ball. The ball had a special metal plate in it so the kids could hear it when kicked.

The plate caught Bocelli in the eye that had allowed him to see light and colors. At the hospital, doctors attempted to stop the hemorrhage. The treatments failed. From that point on, Bocelli would have to learn to live with complete blindness, like one learns to live « with sadness and pain, » he wrote. Bocelli soon forged an internal fortitude about his blindness. As he wrote, referring to himself in third person, « He felt himself capable of doing everything that other boys his own age did, and claimed the right to be treated and judged by the same standards as everyone else.

Bocelli has never veered from that attitude. Mercurio recalled that after their performances of the Jules Massenet opera « Werther » at the Detroit Opera House in , he would drive Bocelli to the Detroit Athletic Club and teach him to play basketball.

Bocelli hates to talk publicly about his blindness. Journalists are warned by his publicist that he may end the interview if they bring it up. Patrons would meander between thumping disco music in one room and him playing the piano in another. What songs did he sing?

Reminded that he called that period of his life « dissolute, » Bocelli let slip a sly grin. Galetta, the translator, conferred with him in Italian. One summer night in an open-air club in the town of Chianni, a year-old fan, Enrica Cenzatti, introduced herself to Bocelli.

Bocelli, Cenzatti and their boys moved to the coastal commune of Forte dei Marmi. Talking about his carefree nights as the piano man seemed to put Bocelli in a slightly melancholic mood. Many people come to my concerts just for me. And often the tickets are very expensive. And I am sorry for this. At that time I spent my time very easy. But I feel a big affection from the people. This time he responded without hesitation. The king of popera. Tenors are the elite athletes of the opera world, the Olympians of track and field: they need the stamina of the marathon runner, the quick reflexes of the sprinter and the vocal and physical agility of the hurdler.

No one embodies the new « popera » genre more than Andrea Bocelli, the year-old Italian tenor who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide since But that disability has also contributed to his success, creating an aura of sympathy and pathos around him. In other ways, he has been blessed, with several lucky breaks leading to a career no one could have envisaged for a lawyer who sang Sinatra songs in piano bars to pay for his musical tuition.

Pavarotti later invited Bocelli to sing a duet with him at a concert. The audience went wild and has been doing so ever since. But it is the very use of such technology that helps, at least in part, to explain the sniffy attitude that means Bocelli is not taken seriously by true opera lovers. The fact that he sings into a microphone disguises the inherent lack of power in his voice, they contend.

The microphone is to opera what illicit drugs are to sport. Not that Bocelli is the first, or the only operatic tenor to resort to such aids. Without the phenomenal success of the Three Tenors Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carerras , there would have been no precedent for the Bocelli phenomenon. It was they, and their canny managers, who embraced the notion of arena performances. The concept exploited unique opportunities to build a global crossover audience of people who might never feel comfortable in the supposedly starchy atmosphere of an opera house, but wanted to hum along to Nessun Dorma.

It was a logical, irresistible opportunity: the association with sport enabled opera to score a goal with an added oomph of virility. Of course, it helped that on their own, each of the Three Tenors possessed prodigious talents, enormous reputations, undoubted charisma and a devoted following, but were sufficiently different in style and temperament to make the mystique of the tenor an elusive quality.

In the case of Pavarotti it is the sweet natural beauty of his voice and an unmistakable presence; in the case of Domingo, the darker timbre of the voice plus a dramatic intensity; and in Carreras, a matinee idol persona heightened by a sense of tragedy he overcame life-threatening leukaemia with a bone marrow transplant. Enrico Caruso, considered by many the greatest tenor of all time, defined a great tenor as, « a big chest, a big mouth, 90 per cent memory, 10 per cent intelligence, lots of hard work and something in the heart ».

What he could not foresee as being equally crucial was the power of management and marketing, although he took part in the beginning of the era of mass communication as the first tenor to make a recording, thereby guaranteeing himself the largest operatic audience in the world at that time. Mario Lanza, to whom Bocelli is sometimes compared, made the transition from opera singer to crossover artist by starring in several Hollywood movies, in the process tarnishing his operatic credibility and reducing him to the status of schmalzy crooner at a time when the synergy between film, considered a lowbrow medium, and opera, a highbrow medium, had not been fully understood.

It was something that Domingo, a consummate actor, seized on to great success in films like Tosca and La Traviata. Breslin, a veteran of the opera world who once also represented Joan Sutherland, says: « Several things have changed: first of all, there are very few great tenors around, so of course the public is hungry for what they can get and are prepared to settle for second best.

When Pavarotti began his career, there were a dozen brilliant tenors singing around the world, which kept standards very high. People who go and hear Bocelli hear opera in soundbites — just one aria from Boheme or Tosca, like you would hear a pop song. Bocelli has gone about it the other way round, beginning his career as a recording artist before attempting to earn credibility in staged productions. The result is that his limited appearances in opera productions have been treated with derision by unforgiving critics.

All of them declined. To be Ella Fitzgerald, who to me is one of the greatest singers ever, you have to improvise, you have to be raw, you need to be able to lose that trained style that can sound so mannered. Breslin is reluctant to call Bocelli an opera singer, but recognises that he is a great entertainer « who sings pretty songs in a nice voice, a bit like Engelbert Humperdinck ». Compared with sopranos, tenors are a rare breed, partly because the way in which they sing is unnatural, as John Cargher, the doyen of opera connoisseurs explains.

With training, some voices have the ability to go down and become bass or bass baritone, fewer have the ability to go up and become tenors. But if the voice is forced, it can be ruined, as has happened to many great tenors with short careers. And there is no magic formula in terms of a teaching method.

Each voice is unique and determined by factors such as nationality, which will influence the sound the larynx can produce — in some countries, the language spoken produces a more open sound than others. Who you like is also very much a question of personal taste. These days it is the fashion, and indeed universally expected, for tenors to take high notes at full volume, but this was not always the case. Until the s, top Cs were sung falsetto. Audiences now would feel cheated if deprived of the thrill of anticipating whether or not a singer will clear the bar of the last note in the first act of La Boheme.

And today we also expect our tenors to be true romantic leads, as in the case of the suavely handsome Roberto Alagna. Pavarotti was the exception to the rule, simply because the quality of his voice meant audiences made allowances for him. Among the current batch of homegrown tenors singing with Opera Australia, Collette singles out Stuart Skelton as « the one to watch ». Cargher also mentions Skelton, together with three other Australian tenors building a reputation with their performances in European opera houses: Steve Davislim, Julian Gavin and Glen Winslade.

But no one is suggesting that any of these singers is going to fill a sports stadium. London opera critic Norman Lebrecht, who has written several books on the classical music world, sees the triumph of Bocelli as a cynical exercise on the part of a recording industry facing diminishing audiences.

He is rarely in tune and never in tempo. The conductor, Valery Gergiev, only tolerated him because he was assured that it would multiply sales and it did, but no person of discrimination would keep it in the house. Of course, such criticism is unlikely to deter his hundreds of thousands of mostly female fans around the world. For them, the future looks rosy: Bocelli, could have another 20 years as a successful recording artist and arena performer ahead of him.

Quit his job in a furniture factory to pursue an operatic career at The British broadcasters bought the rights to a Sept. Pavarotti says he did it because he had had no time to rehearse. Deciding what the term « real thing » means has not been so easy since music first started using electrical current. Now there are an awful lot of wires in between. There is nothing artificial about them. They have become part of the music. Sound engineers possess little boxes that can make the inside of a small recording studio sound like a cathedral, and vice versa.

And can we call Mr. Modena is different mainly in the time gap between the original « real thing » and the synthesized « real thing. Beginning with the premise that a listener always wants the most beauty possible, it would have been interesting to offer ticket buyers in Modena this choice: ripe Pavarotti, U.

It was going to be his voice either way. Everyone, of course, would reject the simulation to see what happened. The explanation they would no doubt give is that live sound is better than recorded sound. But I think the real reason would be something else.

Everything we do in life is geared to cause and effect, and when Mr. Pavarotti opens his mouth, we insist on not knowing what will come out. Public performance is more of a sporting event than we like to admit. We talk about beauty, but we all keep score. Picture a soccer match on television. Diego Maradona is outwitting defenders and speeding toward the enemy goal. Now picture Mr. But wait. Remember that great goal by Di Stefano for Real Madrid 35 years ago. We have that right here, queued up on tape.

How could soccer fans possibly complain? The substitute is going to have just about the same look: two-dimensional and shrunk to the scale of a television screen. And it is more beautiful. But of course they are going to complain. If anyone was cheated by Mr. Pavarotti, it was the good citizens of Modena, the ones who were in attendance when it happened.

They had the great man in front of them, sharing the same space, the same moment. They had their right to the present and to the unknown. For BBC listeners who could not see the Pavarotti lips moving out of whack with the music, ignorance may have been bliss and the sounds divine.

When broadcasters record « live » events for future transmission which they frequently do , the margin for complaint narrows even more. Here the thrill of the moment was never theirs to begin with. Frozen on tape, a firsthand experience is now secondhand. The Maradona analogy reminds us of the two kinds of listening going on in music these days: what is about to happen versus what has already happened.

The dichotomy, which actually predates electronics by a generation or two, began with the marketing of eternal masterpieces, unmovable and omnipresent. Here, you get to know the music so well that, after bar 50, bar 51 is scarcely a surprise. Recordings — the kind Mr. Pavarotti lip-synced to — have simply reinforced the syndrome. You not only know exactly what, but exactly how.

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