Discover more from The Good in Us by Mary L. Trump
The week that got away
Sometimes I don’t get overwhelmed by the news cycle as much as I get knocked off course by it. My reluctance to admit this has nothing to do with a feeling of false pride or some misguided sense that I should be stronger or somehow impervious to the impact of everything that’s going on around us. I have trouble admitting it because I find it frustrating that so much of what happens in this country still feels really personal.
That’s one of the reasons I didn’t watch the “town hall.” It was a corrupt enterprise from the start, stage-managed by another rich narcissist for the advantage of a man who has nothing of value to recommend him. I saw enough of that growing up.
I did watch some clips to get a sense of how bad those seventy minutes were (as apocalyptically bad as I thought they would be) and it’s tiresome at this point to pretend that any aspect of it—from the moderator to the audience to the very fact CNN allowed it to happen at all—is shocking.
But it is worth thinking about the ways in which the current state of our media is a symptom of a larger problem. Since Tuesday, I’ve been thinking about the juxtaposition of a media that continues to allow Donald Trump free rein—unfettered by propriety and unconstrained by the need to tell truth—and a justice system that, in ways small and now absolutely earth-shaking, finally seems to be catching up to the urgent necessity of holding Donald accountable.
This week, the accountability came to us courtesy of the extraordinary E. Jean Carroll—and I know that’s not a good enough or big enough word to describe her but when it comes to articulating how I feel about E. Jean, my ability to express myself with the required eloquence falls short. With a legal team, led by the brilliant Robbie Kaplan, it was like watching an Aikido master redirect her opponent’s greatest strengths in order to render them useless.
It would seem the balance can shift after all. Sometimes all it takes is telling the truth.
Apropos of absolutely nothing, I’ve loved Fred Astaire ever since I first saw “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town: (the best animated Christmas show ever made), which he narrated. I honestly don't know when I first saw one of his movies with Ginger Rogers but I know I watched all of them many times in the 1990s when they were on Turner Classics. (I videotaped all of them, too.) And it was then that discovered Ginger Rogers’ non-musical movies like Kitty Foyle and The Primrose Path. She had extraordinary range as an actor. One of the things that made her Astaire’s best partner (apart from their chemistry) was the fact that, in the words of John Mueller, a historian of dance, “she was cagey enough to realize that acting did not stop when dancing began.”
Shall We Dance is my favorite of all of their movies, creepy ending notwithstanding. In addition to the Gershwin tune Rogers sings here, she and Astaire perform two duets: “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” during a rainy ferry crossing and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” while dancing on roller-skates in Central Park. But this dance you’re about to watch is astounding.