Mitch “Caius” McConnell

Trump’s second impeachment (February 2021) involved four days of trials and statements—including a statement from Mitch McConnell. According to McConnell, someone who notoriously blindly followed and supported everything the former president vouched for,

“There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

As soon as I heard him utter the words I was reminded of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Lear’s relationship with Kent, his loyal servant. Throughout the play you see various examples of different dynamics between those in power and their servants. Some characters, such as Lear, prefer someone who would be on beck and call and not ask questions or make suggestions. Considering Trump’s obvious attempt to pack his cabinet with those of the same views as him, he and Lear would get along in that regard.

McConnell, someone who made himself a hypocrite following the passing of Justice RGB and going back on his word in 2016 all in support of Trump’s ideals, made an unpredictable move during the impeachment trials. He stated that he thinks Trump is in the wrong, something that most Trump supporters refuse to admit.

This “betrayal” is similar to Kent’s argument to Lear. He tries to show Lear how problematic actions were and Lear lashes out at him and bans him from his kingdom. Kent, ever the faithful servant returns under a disguise of a beggar named Caius and still does his best to serve and assist Lear. McConnell did vouch for Trump to be tried on the state level as opposed to federal, which would produce a different option than being convicted after being out of office. Plus he still voted to acquit so he didn’t suddenly change his ways overnight.

Only time will tell is McConnell is more of a blindly trusting servant or more similar to Kent where he does everything for good and to help Trump not further ruin “the Republican reputation”. However, his statement at the trial was certainly a big step.

If you want a good article to read there was one written by NPR which I found very helpful:

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/19/969139850/the-republican-rift-goes-far-deeper-than-just-trump-and-mcconnell

Every Tear’s A Rain Parade From Hell

Ariana Grande’s 5th album, thank u, next, was released in 2019. In this album, fans could tell that the music was very personal and listening to it was like having a connection with Ariana’s soul. In one of her most melancholy tracks, “ghostin”, she writes about her turmoil after losing her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller to overdose while also trying to maintain a healthy relationship with her fiancé at the time Pete Davidson.

I know you hear me when I cry
I try to hold it in the night
While you're sleepin' next to me
But it's your arms that I need this time

In the opening verse, Ariana describes how she cries at night over the loss of her former partner. However, she puts a twist on it by speaking to Pete instead of her audience. Understanding who this song is intended for puts a deeper layer of meaning into it. We find out in an interview that Ariana almost didn’t put the track on the album, as she didn’t feel quite ready to let the world hear how vulnerable she is in this track.

Baby, you do it so well
You been so understanding, you been so good
And I'm puttin' you through more than one ever should
And I'm hating myself 'cause you don't want to
Admit that it hurts you

In this verse, Ariana is admitting how difficult it is for her to be emotional with her fiancé because it hurts him to think about her missing another man. While there is a lot of nuance to this situation, one cannot help their feelings but it takes a lot of strength and courage to admit them. While the audience is still Pete throughout the song, she tries to make him understand what exactly she’s going through and make him see the situation from her perspective.

Though I wish he were here instead
Don't want that living in your head
He just comes to visit me
When I'm dreaming every now and then
And after all that we been through
There's so much to look forward to
What was done and what was said
Leave it all here in this bed with you

The line “He just comes to visit me/ When I’m dreaming every now and then” is actually a reference to Mac Miller’s song “Cinderella” in which he sings “You in my dreams that’s why I sleep all the time”. This sheds light that there is still love between Ariana and Mac, and while the relationship didn’t work out it didn’t deserve to end the way it did. She admits this to Pete, while also admitting that she doesn’t want him feeling like he is lesser.

We'll get through this, we'll get past this, I'm a girl with
A whole lot of baggage
But I love you, we'll get past this, I'm a girl with
A whole lot of baggage, yeah

The reference to baggage in the scene helps us understand what it is like to date Ariana Grande. In addition to losing her ex-boyfriend, the Manchester terrorist attack at one of her shows left her pretty rattled. She also was thrust into the spotlight at the young age of 12 and had family issues with her parents divorcing. The imagery of baggage being lugged behind her into any relationship she goes into is really poetic and helps dive deeper into the experience of being with her.

Look at the cards that we've been dealt
If you were anybody else
Probably wouldn't last a day
Every tear's a rain parade from hell

Another imagery from the song is “Every tear’s a rain parade from hell”. This is a reference to a song from her previous album (Sweetener) titled “no tears left to cry” where she shares the fact that she cried so much in this period of her her life that “there ain’t no tears left to cry”. So, naturally, when you’ve passed the point of crying so much you have no tears left, crying over yet another tragedy in your life is fair game to compare to hell.

The overall meaning of the song is her telling Pete that she still loves Mac and misses him dearly, but she is determined to make their relationship together work. She understands that there are complex feelings, and feelings even about those feelings but she believes they will get through it. While their relationship didn’t work out in the end, it was an important step in her life to heal from all the trauma she experienced while also learning to be open in love and the people you are with.

I love Ariana Grande and I am so proud of all that she has been through. The growth she went through can be heard in her music and it is fascinating, as well as heart wrenching, to go back and listen to it.

Time is a Jeremy Bearimy

In the show The Good Place, during Season 3 Episode 4, the concept of time in the afterlife is explained. On Earth, time is a straight line and events move chronologically. In the afterlife, time moves in a fluid chaotic line, which happens to look like the name Jeremy Bearimy.

Jeremy Bearimy. Past, present, and future are one and… | by HB | Medium
Jeremy Bearimy Diagram from The Good Place

This idea that time and reality aren’t related to each other got me thinking about the book Exist West by Mohsin Hamid, where Hamid created the doors that allow people to migrate instantaneously. According to Hamid, he wrote these doors as a plot device to allow him to not make the story all about the migration journey, but rather the feelings and experiences before migrating and once arriving to a new location.

My question is how do those doors work?

In this universe that Hamid created, time is exactly as we know it except in the instance of moving through the doors. There is no way for you, sitting there right now at home, to walk through a door located in The United States and end up in Greece only a couple minutes later. This balance between time and changing location reminded me of Jeremy Bearimy, where some times the line of time crosses back over itself, loops are created within the line, and there is even a dot above the eye (which according to the diagram signifies Tuesdays, July, Sometimes Never, and The Moment When Nothing Never Happens). The unbelievable, whimsical and chaotic reasoning of time helps explain away some plot holes within the show, and could also have been inspired similar to Hamid’s inspiration to make his migration instantaneous.

Parallels Between Sherlock Holmes, High Functioning Sociopath, and Mersault, Potential Psychopath?

In Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger, the main character Meursault appears to be very nonchalant and detached. He shows little emotion even at very major events. When his mother dies, he doesn’t cry, he doesn’t wish to see the body; the only thing occupying his mind is how he has a headache and wishes to take a nap, have a smoke, and drink some coffee. When he gets offered a job in Paris, he doesn’t show any emotion, only stating that he already has a job, why should he need a promotion?

In the TV show Sherlock, based on the famous novel series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock describes himself as a high-functioning sociopath. A sociopath is defined by Oxford as “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience”. Sherlock is capable of communicating and making connections with people just as John Watson, hence the high functioning, however, he is nonempathetic towards societal norms.

Meursault is similar to Sherlock in the sense that he acts on his own accord, societal norms not influencing his behavior or decisions in the slightest. However, I believe Meursault exhibits behaviors more synonymous with a psychopath. Sociopaths are seen more as “hot-headed” and have a “rules be damned” mentality, while psychopaths are cold and calculating, and have violent tendencies. Meursault killing a man certainly falls under violent social behavior. Psychopaths are also more personally driven to act the way they do, while sociopaths are still impacted by society and are compelled to act not according to the unwritten rules. Meursault is detached from society in the sense he doesn’t even care about its existence. He simply exists.

A Conversation About “White Gaze” and Careers

In the short story “A Conversation About Bread” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, the concept of people’s perceptions of stories is brought up and analyzed. The theory of the “white gaze” that applies to story telling or living with a roommate.

People bring their own subconscious opinions to everything in life. For instance, when Brian’s mom’s roommates was taking pictures of Brian’s mom out of the shower, “the girl was sending the pictures home to her family, like, look at this elephant I saw at the watering hole or this native with a disk in her lip” (179), she was bringing herself into the narrative and making comparisons (racist comparisons).

Similar to the white woman in the library overhearing their conversation about their short story who was “now very interested in their conversation” (181) and was “impressed by [Brian’s] use of the word ‘monolith'” (176) because she had some preconceived notion about how a black person should talk.

More people in the field of anthropology need to come from different backgrounds and be able to “ignore the white gaze until it no longer came to mind. Then, ‘and only then’… ‘black people can be free from all the double consciousness bull” (181). Diversifying different career fields will allow for different perspectives and new ideas that wouldn’t be brought up otherwise.

Inability to Escape From Lunacy

Abnesti and Verlaine operate under the guise of scientific inquiry, however there is no ethics in their experiments and observations. They test drugs on the lowest levels of society: prisoners.

They operate under the name of science, yet their actual reasons for continuing experiments are nothing but unethical. ” ‘Are we going to Darkenfloxx TM Rachel now?’ I said. ‘Think, Jeff,’ Abnesti said. ‘How can we know that you love neither Rachel nor Heather if we only have data regarding your reaction to what just now happened to Heather? Use your noggin. You are not a scientist, but Lord knows you work around scientist all day'” (73).

And when the small voice in the back of their heads say that maybe this is wrong, the beliefs of the system they are in quickly override any sense of sanity. … “Jeff, maybe you’re overthinking this, Abnesti said. ‘It is possible the Darkenfloxx TM will kill Rachel? Sure. We have the Heather precedent. On the other hand, Rachel may be stronger. She seems a little larger.’ ‘She’s actually a little smaller,’ Verlaine said. ‘Well, maybe she’s tougher,” Abnesti said” (73).