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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Don't tell Shelby Foote I wrote this

I told myself I would make a decision on a sequel to "Trump the Press" by my birthday, which passed last week with no decision. Then Labor Day, still no decision. So the deadline will be pushed back to end of the month.

The question is not whether Trump will win. He will. Big. Americans are tired of being burned by Washington.

No, the question is whether I can top "Trump the Press." I mean it was a unique situation in which every expert got it wrong except the guy who draws Dilbert. Surely that won't happen again.

Oh?

It is?

Hmm.

Anyway, I toyed with this opening last week:
In his 1949 novel, Intruder in the Dust, Nobel literary laureate William Faulkner wrote, “For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armstead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago....”
Then a year later Southern boys of fourteen do what Northern boys of fourteen do; they turn fifteen, discover girls, and if they have any thoughts of spending time in the woods, it is with some like-minded lass.
A dead end. Nice, but I cannot see building a book from that.

By the way, Professor Foote died 11 years ago. He's the reason most of us know this passage.

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22 comments:

  1. Maybe it isn't coming because Trump winning isn't the big story. The realignment of the right wing internationally but being accomplished on a nation by nation basis is the story. I'm not sure if I have mentioned the book on this site yet, but reading Nationalism the Last Stage of Communism by Emil Lengyel had a big effect on me. As noted in the intellectual history of Europe by Friedrich Heer there has long been a tension between internationalist cosmopolitan interests regardless of whether these interests are expressed by the Catholic Church, international bankers, the wealthy or, Jews, and more particularistic interests, usually representing peasant classes rooted to the soil and their families. These interests live side by side throughout history, but occasionally come face to face in conflict with each other. They can take a variety of appearances. In Lengyel's book the internationalist party is Communism. It ends up being destroyed by nationalism one nation at a time, but is almost predictable from the time Lenin died and the debate over what direction was to be taken by Stalin and Trotsky. He wrote the book in 1969,and never lived to see the end of the USSR, but predicted it. The major conduct we are seeing played out today is whether the common man has any right to self-determination in his own homeland or whether the entire world is to be governed by an international elite that has decided that it knows better. All this makes the election of one man, however important it may seem at the time, look small in comparison. The book on this is being written every day in front of our eyes on the internet. This is why those same elites want the power to censor our speech. Here's what I would like to know: if those elites are going to be defeated the seeds of their defeat have already been sown. I would like to know where they were sown. Like where Stalin beat Trotsky for party leadership. Many think that Trump is the answer. I think it was before this but I don't know where to look.

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    1. Major conflict, not conduct. Damn autocorrect.

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  2. Whew! I think both Don and the Doc should take a breath sometimes! OK, I think I've digested most of that wall of text.

    1. Don, put me down for your next book, whatever it ends up being about. The last one left me wanting more! Your prose seems effortless, and reading it is just like listening to my own thoughts (well, if my own thoughts made sense, that is.) So whatever it is you're saying, I want to hear it!

    2. TPDoc- it's the defeat of the elites that seems like the real story here, though it's hard to pick out the theme in all the confusion of the Web. I think I'm seeing a revolt by the common folk against those elites, against globalism, and pro-Nationalism; this seems to be happening all over the world. E.g. Brexit, the revolt in Germany against Merkel, Scandanavian unrest due to immigration, and so on.

    Which seems odd now; when I was a young'un, I wanted to be a "citizen of the world" and believed in world government. Maybe this was a side-effect of being a huge SF reader; Doc Smith was one of my favorites, and he always had his heros dealing with planetary/world governments, so it seemed natural as flying cars. Now I see a world government as being somewhat like having the Mafia running the world; not a good idea, to put it mildly.

    So- I'd like to see Don's next book be about the changes in attitude of the common folks, against the machinations of the elites and their media lackeys; with some attention to following the money trail, since there's very very very big bucks involved. This story should be a cliff-hanger; I know I'm hanging on by my fingernails already, and so are many others!

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    1. I think most people don't really care who are running things as long as they remain unharmed and can take care of themselves and their own. They don't care who signs the paycheck as long as they get it and feel that it is a justifiable amount. When the promise of any system begins to show a lack of being able to deliver they begin to take notice. After the fall of the Soviet Union there was supposed to be a huge "peace dividend" because the expenses of the Cold War could be put into more humanistic endeavors. This dividend never seemed to have materialized. Every economic boom since that time has also been the result of a bubble of one sort or another. This could be looked upon as being similar to the raised expectations of the French after the end of the series of wars ending with the American Revolution. They never saw a peace dividend either. And like the spasm of imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century, putting lots of effort into international endeavors seemed more harmful than fruitful. I think folks are just worn out by all these cosmopolitan do-gooders. Had their fill.

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    2. "Like having the Mafia running the world." -- what a good analogy.

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    3. One of my all time favorite essays.

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    4. I meant to put this under the post about Angelo Codevila. Sorry.

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    5. One of my all-time favorite essays.

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  3. This is playing out pretty much like Codevilla envisioned it.

    http://spectator.org/39326_americas-ruling-class-and-perils-revolution/

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    1. One of my all-time favorite essays.

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    2. Finally. Kept jumping up there.

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  4. The end of that first sentence and Ted Cruz's balls. The search for both continues.

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    1. Yes, in that excerpt Faulkner seems to have an aversion to the period. The comma is dead, long live the period.

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  5. Big D, here's how you should start your next one...

    Chapter 1: Nodding Their Heads

    It was late in the evening, East Coast time, on November 8th. Donald John Trump had been declared the winner in New York, Pennsylvania, both the Carolinas, Florida, and Ohio. The race for the presidency was effectively over.

    But, perhaps oddly to some viewers, TV coverage of these incredible events did not cause Trump supporters to jump up and down with joy. They were simply nodding their heads. As if they knew it was going to happen all along.

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    1. Or, like this: "It was a dark and stormy night....."

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    2. "...and the Bride of Clinton was both laughing maniacally and weeping unconsolably."

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    3. That's pretty funny! Good job brothers...

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  6. I too was once a "citizen of the world" until I realized that the rest of the world was not like the US and we would be outnumbered by Third World thugs. Look at the United Nations where we have Moslems and countries with tin pot dictators on the human rights council. That's what one world government would look like: the United Nations. We certainly don't need a world government like that. It is long past the time for us to get out of the United Nations and get the United Nations out of New York.

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  7. Wait awhile Don. No sense in deadlines now the alarm clock is off. Sequels are harder than the original and often suffer by comparison. Your book is utterly unique and so should be it's successor. As Euripides says, time reveals all things

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  8. And Vicksburg fell on July 3, 1863, and the CSA lost the Mississippi River.

    The one thing the CSA needed to win was for the USA to bend or break. If the USA didn't, the CSA was lost. The highwater mark of the CSA was Ft. Sumter; after that it was continuously losing territory to the USA.

    The focus on the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia obscures this, that the CSA was losing cities and states all around the periphery to the USA and only holding in one theater.

    If the USA did not bend or break, the end was inevitable.

    -Mikey NTH

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  9. Read Foote's three volumes earlier this year. Wonderful.

    Fortunately our Aussie history is much less interesting than yours.

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  10. It seems to me that what needs to happen starts with a large dose of reality. Reality struck home this weekend for some of the top collegiate football teams in the country when Houston out of the AAC beat Power 5, Oklahoma big time, Mississippi State lost to lowly South Alabama out of the Sunbelt, Wisconsin whupped up on #3 LSU at magnificent Lambeau Field, Kentucky blew a 17 point haltime lead, losing to Southern Miss out of CUSA, Army beat Temple, and the Longhorns rose from the dead, shutting down the Luck of the Irish in double overtime. Meanwhile some big guys like Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan stomped on a bunch of tackling dummies. Who knew?

    So who knows if Donald Trump will win? Nobody from our side ever thought that Barack Obama could ever win a second turn after the nightmare of his first four years but he did. And he did so because the Religious Right sat on their hands and refused to vote for Willard Mitt because he was a fake Christian, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a complex issue involving Mormon history, Mormon beliefs, Mormon polygamy, and a separate Mormon bible - but the powers that be didn't understand that it was a bigger issue among evangelical Protestants than today's politicians have ever come to understand . The MSN didn't talk about it then and never mention it now.

    What is going on now is a similar impasse because the populists supporting Trump can only think, "Throw the bastards out," while failing to understand that their attitudes toward conventional Americanism have somehow twisted to accept demagogic thinking and progressive ideas. When Trump supporters began spending all their time saying mean things about real card-carrying conservatives, simply because of disagreements about Trump, I shook my head and said I am not going there. This is not right.

    So perhaps you would like to take your next book into the future by searching out how we put the ship back into the bottle. It is going to take more than duct tape to repair the broken glass. And you might want to figure out how a Trump government gets rid of the fifth columnists stashed in every department inside the bureaucratic monster that is the Federal government.

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