Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Significant Moments: Me, The President, Friends of Presidents, Lawyers, and Explosive Truths

He was as solitary and self-preoccupied as his father was garrulous; as serious and introspective as his father was effervescent and glib.
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
His father . . .
Franz Kafka, The Judgment.
. . . the old doctor . . .
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Guardian Angel.
. . . thought his son given to “looking at life as a solemn show where he is only a spectator”; William James . . .
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
. . . Henry’s brother . . .
H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines.
. . . found in him a “cold-blooded, conscious egotism and conceit.”
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
A timid adolescent, as sensitive as he was withdrawn, . . .
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.
. . . a person who had never learned to relate to another person, not even as a child . . .
Ayke Agus, Heifetz As I Knew Him.
. . . he no doubt felt the need of a rigorous context, an orderly and protective society.
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.

* * * * 

The young Nietzsche . . .
H. James Birx, Nietzsche 2000: An Introduction.
. . . was shy and quiet and kept to himself. He was not the sort one befriended easily. Some found him very solemn.
Tom Wells, Wild Man: The Life and Times of Daniel Ellsberg. 

* * * *

When he became an expert in the use and manipulation of his . . .
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
. . . own egotism, . . .
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself.
. . . he conceived a notion of space that allowed him to navigate . . .
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
. . . unknown currents . . .
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself.
. . . across unknown seas, to visit uninhabited territories, and to establish relations with splendid beings without having to leave his study.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Friedrich Nietzsche . . .
Desmond Stewart, Theodor Herzl: Artist and Politician. A Biography of the Father of Modern Israel.
. . . was truly a hero of the nineteenth century, that era when the tale of lonely outsiders—reviewing life and society in the obscurity of a study and plotting new policies in the reading room of a public library—was often more fascinating and significant than the story of crowned heads, prime ministers, illustrious generals, and captains of industry.
Amos Elon, Herzl.
His room . . .
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
. . . a quiet room for a . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.
. . . closet metaphysician, . . .
Lesley Chamberlain, Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography.
. . . was more than a place for work, . . .
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
. . . this wonderful place . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.
. . . Nietzsche’s place . . .
Lesley Chamberlain, Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography.
. . . was to him a . . .
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
. . . retreat . . .
Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August.
. . . a banqueting room of the spirit, a cupboard of mad dreams, a storeroom of revelations.
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
Nietzsche . . .
Edward R. Tannenbaum, 1900: The Generation Before the Great War.
. . . as we have seen, . . .
Daniel J. Boorstin, Cleopatra’s Nose: Essays on the Unexpected.
. . . had a good mind and was an excellent writer.
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
He looked at the world with the eyes of a Henry James, noting the subtlest of feelings in himself and those around him.
Charles B. Strozier, Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst.
Ever since his schooldays he had dreamed of composing a book about life which would contain, like buried explosives, the most striking things he had so far seen and thought about.
Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.
The books he wrote are now among the classics of philosophy, but are highly untypical of works that answer to that description. Primarily concerned to convey insights rather than expound arguments or analyse other people’s positions, they are usually written not in long chapters of extended prose but in short, concentrated bursts, sometimes no more than aphorisms, separately numbered.
Bryan Magee, The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy.
The internal tensions in . . .
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
. . . Nietzsche . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . . ultimately led to a fatalistic dependence on paradox and impotence, and this formed the basis of his . . .
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
. . . philosophy.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Consciously or unconsciously, he perceived the opposing impulses in himself, . . .
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
. . . what he called the constitutional incapacity . . .
Siegfried Hessing, Freud’s Relation with Spinoza.
. . . and gave up attempting to reconcile them. Whether man was inherently evil or perfectible, whether change ever constituted progress, even whether he himself existed—a question he took seriously—were unanswerable riddles. The easy solution was to acknowledge “ultimate Facts”—power, force, and change—
G. Edward White, The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges.
_______________________________


What is the psychological relationship between the President and me?  In a certain sense we are psychological twins.  Of course, he's far more successful than I am -- but then, most people are more successful.  Yet I think we share certain psychological traits.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the President is simply a more successful version of myself. With a little more drive and little more sanity, who knows what I might have accomplished in life?

I think the converse is also true.  I think I am what the President would be if he were determined, like Henry James' character John Marcher, to do nothing in life.

The President is a best-selling author.  I spent eleven years writing a book that will probably never be published.  I lobby members of Congress with feverish abandon and abject futility.  I review life and society in the obscurity of a study and I plot new policies in the reading room of a public library—

I used to work for a lawyer who was known as the friend and confidant of Presidents.  I guess you could say I was Bob Strauss's type.

6 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

An obsession with uncovering the truth:

http://dailstrug.blogspot.com/2010/09/la-verite-est-en-marche.html

Gary Freedman said...

Like yelling "I'm angry" on a crowded internet?

Gary Freedman said...

I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_qgVn-Op7Q

Gary Freedman said...

This guy was probably too "Jewish" for the stomachs of federal law enforcement.

Mr. Chayevsky, what was your motivation in writing "Network?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Chayefsky

Gary Freedman said...

Floyd Abrams' wife is an Israeli.

That figures! He's "Jewish" and she's Jewish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Abrams

Gary Freedman said...

President Kennedy wrote in his book Profiles in Courage:

"For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, 'holds office'; everyone of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve." [p.265]

I guess I am like everyone else, only more so. According to President Kennedy we are all "Mr. President." Some of us are just a little more noisy about it than others.