Moira: "Intellectuals who fetishize severity used to scare me, so for years I pretended not to like warm writers like John Berger. Fuck that though." It has been a long time since I checked out her Twitter. I ought to make it part of my routine. She has a writer's spirit. ... ... David Brooks: "Once there was a collection of Judeo-Christian nation-states, Bannon argued, that practiced a humane form of biblical capitalism and fostered culturally coherent communities. But in the past few decades, the party of Davos — with its globalism, relativism, pluralism and diversity — has sapped away the moral foundations of this Judeo-Christian way of life." [NYT] .... ... Andrew Webber's essay on Mann went pretty deep into "Death in Venice", whetting my appetite to take another run at the novella. I was reminded that one of the nice things about Mann's fiction is that it seems to almost always include some discussion and intimations on writing and art. You could excerpt some quotations and construct a "Paris Review" interview out of them. I am also reminded, yet again, what good soul food doth good literature make. It provokes the question whether I should exclusively read such high octane material. Forget about such curiosities as 1970s radical violence or about political and history books! Life is too short now, and my soul is famished. I don't know. Something to always consider. Always wondering if there is something that might better enliven the remains of the day. ... ... Kimberly Dozier: "Rising need, fewer resources, fewer jobs—and more campaigns like Donald Trump’s. That’s the world ahead, according to America’s intelligence agencies." [Daily Beast] ... ... Obama is giving his farewell address. I actually didn't know this was a ritual. I mean, I knew that George Washington gave a big farewell address, but I didn't know that it was taken up as an American custom. How could I have missed that all these years, from Reagan to Dubya? I imagine history will certify that our first black president was a competent and class act from first to last - if we have a lot more history to go. Who can imagine what Trump will bring? Such a dramatic regression: from our first black president to a white nationalist. ... Stephen King: "Hope you enjoyed Obama's speech. You won't hear anything so cogent and kind for a long time. So, with complete sincerity: THANKS, OBAMA."