-- the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgeral - "The Crack-up" Esquire magazine 1936This quote was recently used by MSNBC pundit Larry O'Donnell in an attempt to reconcile the fact that he (a self professed Liberal) had been taken to a Koch funded hospital after his car crash last year. He credits that hospital with saving his life. What O'Donnell was trying to say was that he felt you had to be a bigger man to accept the idea that he somehow benefited from the largess of a man whom you excoriate on a daily basis for his political machinations and greed.
What O'Donnell did not understand is that he took the quote entirely out of context. Apparently he thought it was saying that duality is something to aspire to. To the contrary Fitzgerald was delivering a scathing bit of sarcasm to those who behave in certain prescribed ways in order to achieve success and acceptance.
Quite the opposite of the kind of acceptance of two views that O'Donnell's soppy tear filled comments implied, Fitzgerald was saying that you cannot continue to function with two opposing notions of yourself and described himself as "a cracked plate" that was no longer serviceable for many things but still whole enough not to be thrown away. Like the cracked plate, he was being kept in a dark cupboard. He then makes a complete break with his past and decides (in a very Koch-ian way) that altruism and optimism would be abandoned.
"There was to be no more giving of myself -- all giving was to be outlawed henceforth under a new name, and that name was Waste. [...]
The conjurer’s hat was empty. To draw things out of it had long been a sort of sleight of hand, and now, to change the metaphor, I was off the dispensing end of the relief roll forever. The heady villainous feeling continued."Perhaps the quote was more appropriate than Mr. O'Donnell knew? Just not in the way he intended.
So, imagine my surprise when the young Mayor of Manitowoc (in his usual manner) used the quote in one of his many words-of-wisdom facebook posts. Having read the essay long ago I pointed out that this did not have the meaning that he seemed to think it did. Another of his facebook fans questioned that so I proceeded to explain what the source of the quote was and what it was really saying in the context of the piece. Fitzgerald was in effect, having a nervous breakdown.
What happened then was more than a surprise, it was a shock. Nickels himself chimed in justifying his use of the quote and quickly descended into personal attacks.
Now, if there is one thing that had fed into the squeaky clean image of Justin Nickels it is his silence on a lot of issues and his personal demeanor. Unlike his pal and political cohort Matt Kadow, Justin has had self control. There is no speech he has ever given, no position he has ever taken, no public comment he has ever made that has taken a risk or staked out any notion of controversy. He has played it safe - at least until now. At the 2013 Democratic Convention he served up some real Liberal red meat, something he would never do at home. But a Dem convention is a safe place to make the right sounds. Things done at home have been kept considerably more quiet and out of sight.
| Mayor Justin M. Nickels speech to |
Wisconsin Democratic 2013 convention
A safe place to sound Liberal
“While they are living in a world focused on “me,” Democrats are focused on “we”–“we the people...”
In sharp contrast for this is his political support (one might say operative) for DINO Democrat Jim Brey. Brey has consistently taken exactly the opposite position of everything Nickels espoused at the 2014 convention. I knew that Nickels had circulated nomination papers for Jim for the 2012 Assembly race and had probably privately let it be known that Brey had his personal endorsement. It was passed off by some Dems at the time as a necessary political move to get Brey's cooperation on the City Council but given Brey's disdain for all things Liberal it simply didn't jive with the face Nickels presented at the convention.
I've already written about how Nickels participated in a campaign to get me ejected from the Manitowoc County Democratic Executive Committee. More details will be presented in a future blog. Its also safe to say that at least one other politician was targeted with Nickels' help at the behest of Brey - but again - thats another blog.
"I have spoken in these pages of how an exceptionally optimistic young man experienced a crack-up of all values, a crack-up that he scarcely knew of until long after it occurred. I told of the succeeding period of desolation and of the necessity of going on, but without the benefit of Henley’s familiar heroics, “my head is bloody but unbowed.” For a checkup of my spiritual liabilities indicated that I had no particular head to be bowed or unbowed. Once I had had a heart but that was about all I was sure of." F. Scott FitzgeraldOne would think that having succeeded in showing me the door at the Dem party Nickels would at least let things settle down. He hasn't. In what is perhaps the most shocking example of his new found hubris he was recently caught engaging in a defamatory web post with Alderman Jason Sladky and Brey about me. When I confronted him on this he made no attempt to apologize or even distance himself from the slander. For Sladky that kind of thing is par for the course. His references to "illegal duck commander" are a right wing Benghazi charge that I had been caught hunting ducks out of season (I wasn't) but that doen't stop him. Brey is a serial slanderer who often posted on the old HTR forum anonymously who here now admits to it and repeats his greatest hit - as he sees it.
|The reference to selling a major electrical producer is about|
my reminding people the Brey and Sladky did try to sell MPU.
Nickels "Quack" comment indicates he had been participating in the smear
and knew about it and its implications.
|Brey formerly denied making this post|
now admits it and repeats the offense.
The problem is that he has said a good deal more than "quack". He in fact repeated Brey's post in the "Crack-up" exchange.
I responded with this composite of their previous "discussion saying that it was obvious where he had gotten it. He quickly deleted it.
Lets consider for a minute that this was just about a mis-used literary quote. It was not at all about any great political topic. People reference stupid quotes all the time on the web without having any idea of where the the quote came from, what the context was or what the actual meaning might have been. You then have to ask, why was I attacked? One can only suspect that the real meaning cut a little too close to the bone.
Or perhaps it was a kind of Freudian slip? Maybe what spoke to the young mayor was the very idea of duality, the notion that you could present one face while practicing something else. Maybe you can set aside your values and give yourself that "heady villainous feeling" while deciding to simply crack from your shiny image. I wouldn't know. You would have to ask the mayor.
In the interest of fairness and accuracy here is the entire conversation. The only edit was to replace the image deleted by Nickels.
He has since removed the entire topic.