Faculty Writing: The Cloud Messenger, GOP priorities, and the wages of “Fear”

In Poetry, on the eve of September 11th, Anjuli Raza Kolb considers the ancient Sanskrit poem “The Cloud Messenger.” What kind of message does a wandering cloud conveyparticularly one composed of vaporized steel, cement, glass, and human bodies? “[O]n the day the Towers fell, we did make a collective appeal to the sky, and loved anew what had been destroyed, atomized, vaporized, dare I think it—minced. I still can’t say what the message was in that cloud, or what we wanted it to be.”

In the Washington Post, Suzanne Schneider offers a reminder that GOP priorities extolled by last week’s anonymous op-ed writer “are really just the other side of the fascist coin.” “Rather than celebrating the renegades working to destroy the Trump agenda from the inside, we need to note just how compatible that agenda is with the anti-democratic core of the modern-day GOP.”

In N+1, Patrick Blanchfield reviews Bob Woodward’s latest insider’s tome, Fear—a work of stenography that “reproduces, with gobsmacking credulity, the self-aggrandizing narratives of factitious scoundrels.” Interpreted by a writer obsessed with Seriousness, “Woodward’s sources emerge as singular voices of wisdom, prudence, and moral clarity… All this despite the fact that these figures have all left the White House in various states of disgrace or ignominy, and have a clear interest in narrating their experiences in the most self-congratulatory ways. At no point does Woodward evince a moment of skepticism vis-à-vis the material he has reproduced in bulk.”