Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Death of Henry Ford’s America

Born in 1863 to an Irish immigrant farmer, Henry Ford quit his parents’ estate as a young man, and became an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company where, prone to experimentation, he became intrigued by the automobile. In 1905, he founded the Ford Motor Company which, by an innovative manufacturing process christened “Fordism,” made cars accessible to ordinary Americans. Ford, amongst others, was to blame for the indulgent consumerism that overtook the U.S. in the teens and twenties; such was America’s fascination with and dependence on the car that “[m]any families . . . [didn’t] spend anything on recreation except for the car.”[1] Only after the New York Stock Exchange crashed in late October 1929 did Ford’s star wane, as Americans disposed of their misguided regard for such technological wonders as the car, the vacuum cleaner, and the electric sewing machine. By the 1940s, that which Ford represented and stood for––the so-called “business consensus” of the Roaring Twenties, American prosperity, economic inequality, anti-labor, anti-welfare, anti-immigration, white supremacy, and isolationism––was less prevalent in the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era populist reforms and the U.S.’s precipitous entry into World War II convinced America of the need to settle its domestic affairs and assume a more prominent international role as the West’s guiding light; Henry Ford’s America, as morally dubious as it was, was unprepared to discharge such momentous responsibilities. Read the rest of this entry

Scourge of Plenty

Man a keen shard
Shroud in blinding light
In glazed varnish––
Man a wax figure
Sheathed in splendor fine
Smile wooden manners divine

Scourge of Plenty Man’s fell mistress––
Begone your gilded ardor

Man grand in tender green
Mean and starved
Of the rudely grotesque
Savage brethren all––
Man bald and blind
From thunder black to sunny gray
Swell breast a fleeting mirage––
To lush Eden attend

Scourge of Plenty Man’s fell mistress––
Begone your gilded ardor

Man beat by folly
Till contagion’s spread embalmed
Splintered and sundered––
Man belly a sluice of ash ebullient
Sun’s burst world’s end
Ere a thirst quenched

Scourge of Plenty Man’s fell mistress––
Begone your gilded ardor

Copyright © 2013 Elliot Silverberg. All rights reserved.

Potty Training

A florid, glorified production – an altar
To a gestaltist’s cognitive urinal

A jester mired in choral drivel, in a shrine
To lyrical plaster, pickles and pajama pygmies

Swaddled in chastity white
O bestial Balladeer! O curlicued Friar!

For such bastardized zealotry and handsome brackishness
A pasture of urban flower beds is much too kind!

So consign yourself, Eleanor of the paupered greenbelt
The Rigby brigade – to a Mackenzie homily

Six feet under, the surest track to an Eden punctuated
By cries of “Bad potty! Bad potty! Bad potty!”

Copyright © 2013 Elliot Silverberg. All rights reserved.

A Rhetorical Analysis of Krauthammer’s “The Truth about Torture”

In “The Truth about Torture,” first published circa December 2005 in The Weekly Standard, syndicated columnist and conservative political commentator Charles Krauthammer argues for a concession to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA). Introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the DTA effectively prohibited any and all forms of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of those in the custody of the United States (Krauthammer 1). However, Krauthammer asserts that, in “two very circumscribed circumstances”––(1) the ticking time bomb and (2) the slower-fuse high-value terrorist––exceptions to the McCain amendment’s no-torture dictum should be allowed (7). Throughout his essay, Krauthammer rarely makes use of pathos, since his target audience of government policymakers and The Weekly Standard’s readership––which consists of the elderly, affluent, and politically active––tend not to be receptive to arguments that cater to the tender-of-heart, preferring instead the educated, empirically permissible conclusions of men of logic and science. Read the rest of this entry

Adonis + Aphrodite

Shell stained in red grace
A sea-bred beauty takes flight
Hounds by heart alone
Adonis, a hunter born
Till jealous War do them part.

Copyright © 2013 Elliot Silverberg. All rights reserved.

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