Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
second Kennedy/Nixon debate (photo: United Press International )
There is always excitement at the prospect of a presidential
debate. The Kennedy Nixon face off in l960 was of course an iconic moment in
politics (being the first presidential debate) as well as television and Nixon
may have lost since he lacked a mastery of the medium. If you remember he had
been sick and showed it. Sound familiar? But in some ways the anticipation accorded the first
debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, exceeded that of any political
stand off in memory and was more reminiscent of one of those contests that have
a physical aspect like say The Super Bowl or great boxing matches like The Thriller in Manila or The Rumble in the Jungle. One of the
famous tourist sites of Rome is the Circo Massimo or the Circus Maximus which
was where gladiatorial combats took place and the thrill of today’s circus is
still predicated on the same kind of blood thirsty desires that motivated the
crowds in Roman times. Will the Flying Wallendas fall? The Icarus myth is, of
course, what’s at work in these kinds of revels. One of the acrobats or
warriors is flying too close to the sun where his wings of wax will melt. Everyone was saying that the candidates and especially Trump had to talk about
the issues: the economy, the inner cities and ISIS, but what, in
fact, was really motivating the expected record setting 100,000,000 viewers
that were predicted was the desire for gore. The fact that the fight was
between a hefty looking man and comparatively diminutive woman only added a David and Goliath affect. Someone was going to fall and in an increasingly
tight race that fall would set the tone for the rest of the race.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.