A period of madness, &c.


As you may know, the famous cartoonist Jeff Danziger drew a cartoon making it explicit — making explicit an extreme, ideology-driven point of view. He showed an assassin rising out of a steaming teapot. That’s what killed those people in Arizona: the Tea Party. With the blogger Ed Frank, Danziger had an exchange, which you can find here. Here’s what he said about the Tea Party:

I have been watching the development of this combination of loons and opportunists since it started. The Tea Party, the very name is ridiculous. Crazed fat people tortured by their lack of success in life, following the absolute worst of our politicians. Palin, Angel [Sharron Angle], Quayle’s rotten kid. These people are your choice for anything? The whole thing is based on unreality. Don’t you understand? And Mcveigh was reading that crazy shit from the enbd times or whagtever it is called.

I like it when people make things explicit. The cartoon he drew — that’s very explicit. Those words about the Tea Party — they’re very explicit. I believe that many people think exactly as Danziger does, but would not be so frank. And, for my money, the more frankness, the better. If you think that Tea Partiers are “crazed fat people tortured by their lack of success in life,” go ahead and say so. It just proves that you’re the “crazed” one (or that you don’t get out much).

(I know about four Tea Partiers, in my general neighborhood, and they’re all thin and successful.)

Well, I said there’d be a couple of items about Arizona, and, as usual, I way overshot. (Whoops.) Let me make just a few notes about Miami.

I found it an American city, but not quite an American city. It had aspects of a Latin American city, and of a Caribbean city (or town). But it was an American city nonetheless: an American city with serious Latino-Caribbean spice.


Looking at cruise ships, it was hard not to board one. We NR-niks are always boarding cruise ships in South Florida. Not this time . . .

I was delighted to walk around a baseball field, an entire baseball complex, actually. I heard the sounds of baseball: bats on ball, thwacks of balls in gloves. And there were little kids on one particular diamond: tots, really, in their baseball best. There have been kids and tots on baseball diamonds from time immemorial. It’s just that I hadn’t seen many in a while.

It was really satisfying. I long ago grew tired of seeing baseball diamonds grassed over in favor of soccer (no offense to the “beautiful game,” barf). I guess I am willing to cede, or concede, soccer’s primacy among the young. (How did that happen? And so fast? Liberal parents’ fears that their children would get hurt in the traditional American sports?) But I’m glad that “the national pastime” has not been forgotten, in this nation.

One pleasure of walking around Miami was hearing the varieties of Spanish: not just Cuban Spanish but lots of Spanishes — from Central America, from the Caribbean, from South America. Maybe even from Spain itself. The world of Spanish is a big world, and the differences are keen and interesting.

One of many things I admire about Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the Miami Republican who has just retired from Congress, is his candor. Some years ago, I asked him how assimilation was going in Miami. Most politicians would reply, “Great, no problem, thanks.” Diaz-Balart said, “Badly.” He went on to explain that the influx of immigrants from South America and other points made it difficult for an Americanization to set in. But, of course, in time, it does . . .

I enjoyed seeing one sign, which I saw a lot: “HABLE INGLES EN 6 MESES. RESULTADO EXCELENTE.” What does that sign tell you, or suggest? A fair amount, and all good.

They say that if you can’t have fun in South Beach, you can’t have fun. A legitimate proposition.

Beautiful girls and beautiful cars compete for attention. A blonde here, a Lamborghini there. A black-haired bombshell here, an Aston Martin there . . .

I notice a lot of French tourists — saying, “Beh, oui” . . .