October 18, 2017

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

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Opening my mail one morning last week, I found what I considered a pointed but rather humorous ‘Letter to the editor’ written by a fellow Islander Monte Mastel, and, after much soul-searching, I created space for it in the next edition of the Doodlebug Run-on, which I edit and publish. The latter comes out weekly although the exact day of the week is something of a crap shoot. Tuesday is the target day, but if nothing newsworthy has announced itself, or if a story is taking its own sweet time coming together, Wednesday or Thursday will do just fine.

And, if honesty is worth anything, the paper has occasionally been known to debut on Friday. Fun-loving critics have suggested that one overlooked improvement might be achieved by the expedient of cancelling publication entirely for the week, with an eye toward extending the moratorium indefinitely. I retaliate by threatening to either raise their subscription rates, or by having their carrier leave the paper in a nearby clump of cactus. This doesn’t change the dynamics at all; we continue to fuss and bluster in the good-natured fashion as always.

Getting back to Monte’s letter, this is what he wrote: “It is now apparent that Trump defines his presidency in terms of simply voiding the executive orders of his predecessor, President Obama; that when the last DACA young person has been deported, the last National Monument has been returned to exploiters, the last transgender service person has been drummed
from the service, the last of Dodd Frank limitations is lifted from banks, the Keystone pipeline together with Alaska drilling is authorized to deface the environment, and health-care is made unavailable, he will have reached the outer limits of his abilities. This may be viewed as: “Draining the swamp.”

And, in offending women, Latinos, LBGT’s, the media, allies like Great Britain and France, neighbors Canada and Mexico, NAFTA partners, Paris Accord partners, China and Middle East counties, Congress as a whole, a number of senators by name, the courts, and many others; and in defending Flynn and pardoning the miscreant Arpaio, he is “Making America Great
Again.”

And, in tweeting sometimes, incoherent, sometimes vitriolic, often misleading or inaccurate statements, or in rambling speeches that reveal a narcissistic paranoia that can only be requited through periodic visits among supporters as muddle-headed as himself, this can be viewed as Trump’s version of President Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chat”, or, in sports vernacular, “Trash Talk.”

It was to be hoped that the letter would not be perceived as simply mean-spirited. Monte himself is always polite and mild-mannered, more likely to poke fun at himself than others, and it was this that helped me decide to run his letter.
In other Island news, the calendar committee announced that the summer solstice dance—postponed because June was too warm—will be held in conjunction with equinox festivities, and both events will come off this Saturday. If it sounds like we play fast and loose with time, dates and events, we do!

The general feeling is that these elements should serve us rather than require some slavish devotion. We’re rather ‘locked in’ to Christmas and New Year, maybe even the Fourth of July, but everything else ‘floats’ until there’s a good use for it.
Halloween, for example, is better celebrated in warmer weather more suitable for the light costumes children like to wear, so it takes place some time in October, just before a predicted cold snap.

But, if we are careless with holidays, we are much more careful in readying ourselves for the cold snap itself. The fact is that while we winterize our homes, we are less concerned about them as adjusting our attitudes so as to be ready for the fun and frivolity carried on the winds of the season. Halloween is generally regarded as the springboard event that announces merry-making on the order of Mardi Gras and which carries us into spring, at which time renewal signs in nature buoy hope for the possibility of doing everything all over again.

Well, it’s been a week since Monte’s letter hit the streets — to use the vernacular of big-city newspapers — and, apparently, it elicited the response he hoped for. Several people dropped by my office to share a laugh, and one of them was heard to suggest that Trump’s offer to M-C the Emmys should be accepted, “inasmuch as his tenure as president has been little more than a joke, anyway!”

I don’t think I’ll print that.

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No News from Doodlebug Island, by William F Jordan
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