Daily Office:


Matins: It’s too bad that this somewhat meandering piece about depression and sadness and the persistent difficulty of deciding how to treat them appeared so soon after the suicide — a depression-related death, by all accounts — of David Foster Wallace and yet does not mention him.

Lauds: When my globetrotting correspondent Gawain wrote to me from Lisbon, retailing the pleasures of that city, I remembered that I had wanted to read The Maias, by José Maria Eça de Queirós. So I ordered it from Amazon, and began reading it yesterday.

Tierce: What percentage of American voters, do you think, is unaware that our diplomatic relations with Venezuela have been severely curtailed? What percentage is aware that Bolivia is falling apart — and that the United States supports (as it does in Venezuela) the losing side? Simon Romero’s brief report in today’s Times shows Bolivia breaking up on several fronts, from oil royalties to drugs.

Nones: While I’m unwilling to waste my time attacking The Infernal Machine — Sarah Palin is doing a dandy job of living up to the nickname that I slapped on her the day she was nominated — but I would be happy to see billboards plastered with her extraordinarily degraded syntax. Has the woman ever finished a sentence? She makes Dubya sound — presidential.

In the current New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch registers an interesting dissonance in Ms Palin’s speech.

Trooper Wooten has admitted to Tasering the boy and shooting the moose, and he was disciplined for these things within the department, but, under the union contract, he could not be fired at the Governor’s whim. (He had been cleared of the threat to Palin’s father, but disciplined for drinking and driving, which he still denies.) It was obvious that this continued to frustrate Palin. She also seemed to forget that you should not talk about your affairs when they’re under investigation. Troopergate was the one subject about which she seemed keen to explicate the details. She wanted to persuade me that firing Walt Monegan had nothing to do with Trooper Wooten; that it was in no way a conflict of interest or an abuse of power. But, as she spoke, she seemed to be saying something else—that her vendetta against Wooten was wholly justified.

But for the true flavor of the Machine’s façon de parler, one turns a few pages back in the magazine, to George Saunders’s “My Gal.”Oremus…

§ Matins. I have been mulling over the writer’s death ever since I heard about it, on Saturday night. According to his father, the illness had become untreatable: Wallace felt that the treatment was worse than the disease. As if the quarrel over medicating depression were not tragic enough, there are patients who can’t be treated at all.

One thing is for sure: people who have experienced depression themselves or in close family members don’t doubt for a second that it is a very real and very serious disease. People lucky enough to have had no first-hand encounter with depression ought to honor their lack of experience by observing a tactful silence.

§ Lauds. At the outset, I’m reminded very much of Lamedusa’s The Leopard. The novel begins at the Maias house in the neighborhood of the Rua das Janelas Verdes, which wasn’t hard to find at Google Maps. Instead of the fictional house, Ramalhete, I located the Lapa Palace, a luxury hotel. Check it out, if you’re looking to hobnob with heads of state.

§ Tierce. Finally, how many Americans understand the role of racism in South American affairs? (Don’t I sound like a scold).

What with everything else, I haven’t been following the problems of another fractious state, Belgium.

§ Nones. “‘So I didn’t blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.'”

Isn’t that so true? I know that many times, in my life, while living it, someone would come up and, because of I had good readiness, in terms of how I was wired, when they asked that—whatever they asked—I would just not blink, because, knowing that, if I did blink, or even wink, that is weakness, therefore you can’t, you just don’t. You could, but no—you aren’t.

That is just how I am.

Don’t miss the other Palin-for-Vice-President campaign at YouTube! (via Sale Bête)

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. LTG says:

    I’m guessing single digits on the percentage of Americans even dimly aware of what’s going on with Bolivia, the U.S. and Venezuela recently. Just once I would like to see us on correct side of Latin American conflicts, but as long as the Repugs are in power that ain’t gonna happen. I feel for Evo and what he’s up against. I hope he prevails, somehow. He’s a better man than Chavez, that’s for sure.