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52 Days Away!

map of Gouna and Hurghada

A map I picked up 4 years ago in Egypt

The obsession with Trump in the media and commentariat such as Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald and David Frum is reaching epic proportions.

This does not include the thousands of liberal/progressive (this is the mealy-mouthed version of Liberalism that is too ashamed to say its own name) bloggers who rant daily on the Internet on the malediction that is Trump.

Without seeming to realize it, the entire country has gradually drifted into terminal lunacy, like a frog sitting in a saucepan of cold water on a lit stovetop burner. As the water heats up, its body compensates for the gradual rise in temperature, and the frog doesn’t jump out. Eventually, Pepe is boiled alive.

nyc antifaThe Thinking Man or Woman is the anti-Pepe that jumps out.

He does not waste words or time bemoaning Trumposis, or embracing the doomed antifa cause.

Nor does he attempt to make sense out of an insane system that is guided by a loathsome agenda.

He recognizes a brown shirt when he sees it.

He pities the economically naive and politcally gullible segment of the Trumpian base that is “conservative” about everything except saving the planet.

But he is not a fool.

He knows voting is for suckers, that the game has always been rigged.

Instead, he stands apart — noble, and tall, with a firm and manly jaw line — from the general madness of peasants, hands unsullied by voting levers that even industrial-strength sani wipes would fail to decontaminate.

From his aristocratic perch, The Thinking Man evaluates the situation objectively.

If, on an overall basis, the policies of a particular country seem unsuitable, he will leave for more temperate pastures. This particular stance is of course only possible with multiple passports, and a bank account that provides an escape hatch from doctrinal suffocation or provincial entrapment.

厂-pepe-the-frog-is-getting-boiled-i-guess-with-4599930

How’s that “Fuck your feelings” thingie workin’ out for ya, Pepe

The Thinking Man does not attach himself too closely to any one country; an exit strategy must alway be in place.

After all, all countries, like most people, have more or less sordid histories to one degree or another.

Moreover, The Thinking Man is an agnostic, in politics, business or especially in spiritus. When it comes to religion, he will, at best, cautiously murmur something about agápē, for all religions, too, have lurid pasts.  All saints have skeletons in their closets, and many sinners, as the song goes, were once saints.

If you are young and idealistic, you might tell yourself: no, that is so wrong.

You might instead cry out: I will stay in America! I will change the system! I will make the world a better place!

This is of course a complete waste of time. My generation attempted to change the system once. There were millions of us who wanted to do so. Nothing changed. What chance do you have, junior?

Everyone knows the world is set up is to protect the connected and the well-heeled.

Everyone knows the primacy of sex, money, and power.

If you are young and smart, you will have ample opportunities to enjoy these illusory pleasures.

For instance, there has never been a better time to become rich through technology. Solar, for example, is now huge.

With the knowledge that comes with a deep mastery of cutting edge technical skills, be it advanced solar panel research, or designing driverless car systems, or whatever opportunities one chooses to target, it’s possible to achieve relative financial independence at a young age. But then what? Give it all away? Move to New Zealand? Sue Internet ‘zines? Become a serial entrepeneur? Trade out for another, better wife or husband? Buy a bigger brownstone in Brooklyn?

If, on the other hand, you come from money, you will seem to have all the advantages. This is another illusion, of course, for you will most likely sink into a drug-addled, alcoholic morass, or engage in a parasitic lifestyle that is otherwise depraved and pathetic. This almost always happens.

The Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard are bursting at the seams with vile bodies who, er, embody Balzac’s dictum:

Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente
est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait.

Leaving the United States in the age of Trumposis is the Thinking Man’s only reasonable option.  Better keep thy counsel and stay far away from the obsessions, the lies, the constant agita, the fruitless investigations, the wild accusations, recriminations, molestations, and drama queen bullshit.

Obviously the Republican party is out to screw the poor, the old, and the defenseless.

Obviously a significant percentage of white Americans are racist anti-Semites.

Obviously the United States is a war mongering nation that cannot get over its love affair with guns.

Obviously there is no respect for personal privacy in the United States, unless (1) you have the money, time and inclination to occlude your digital and public footprint in a variety of tedious ways that will complicate your existence exponentially, and (2), had the foresight and perspecuity, as I did, to deregister your vote from your state’s election database (in some states, you will have had to have refrain from voting for at least two successive presidential cycles in order to foil Trump’s operatives).

Now what about being a first generation Arab immigrant in America in the age of Tromposis?

Some say, the hate is normal. Each generation of immigrants dumps on the next one. Soon, Arab-Americans will start to vilify some other Yahya-come-latelies.

Except that Arab Americans are not new to this country.  They didn’t just get off the boat yesterday. In fact, they have been around since the 19th century.

One hundred years ago, downtown Manhattan was a thriving Syrian enclave.  Right where they banned the building of a mosque after 9-11.

But still the human garbage that appears on the Australian Rupert Murdoch’s various hate mongering media outlets talk about Arab Americans as if they are not part of the fabric of the United States.

So, if you are an Arab-American, as I am, the choice of becoming an expat is a no brainer.

The drumbeat of some sort of heinous “Moslem registration” system is getting louder, and various travel bans and increasingly intrusive facial scanning for US citizens exiting Gulag America at domestic airports will soon become a reality.

“Denationalization” is being peddled in the White House by grotesque hate scumbags, such as Frank Gaffney, Pam Geller, and the rest of the despicable crew that trades in Islamophobia for a living.

So… you could leave…. or… remain costive in America, accept second-class citizenship, and forever look over your shoulder, every time you leave your house, for fear of some alt-right thug lurking in the bushes.

Is this a life?

I do not define my existence through any religion, nor do I practice one. But I need to know that I have that right, should I choose to do so. I need to know I will not be discriminated against when I travel, or apply for a job, or am up for promotion, or wish to buy a house, or belong to some club.

This is no longer possible in America for many; not just Arab-Americans.

I will spare you the soap box rationale, and cut right to the point.

Following the election of Donald Trump, I decided I’d finally had enough.

I’d had it with putting up with my ethnicity being endlessly reviled in the media and slurred with impunity by local and national right-wing politicians; or with being made to feel by neighbors that I somehow do not belong here — even though I have owned the house I live in longer than most of them. I’d had it up to here with being made to feel, in ways large and small, somehow less than, a ticking menace to society, a suspicious Other.

If America chooses to betray its own alleged principles, so be it.

Perhaps the noble experiment turned out to be the biggest illusion of them all.

I no longer care.

After all, the Thinking Man never forgets that Patriotism is nothing if not a provisional game, played by knaves and fools.

Look at the map up top. That is where I shall be chillin’, exactly two months from now.

There, in my troubled country of origin, I shall be far away from the Trumpian confederacy of nunces that has overtaken America. There I can finally be in touch, again, with my inner Epicurean.

hurghada

Tee patch, from better days

I plan to kick back in Gouna, where the beauty in the surrounding desert can take your breath away, maybe sip a cool glass of Stella beer once in a while, perhaps after a pleasant day spent writing fiction or movie reviews. I shall snorkel in crystal clear water over pristine reef. I may join the Rotary Club and engage in charity work with Bedouin children. Most of all, I look forward to visiting with friends from time to time, friends who would never think of labeling Islam, or any other religion for that matter, in deeply insulting ways.

America?

It shan’t be missed; and though I have lived here for half a century, I’ve made no plans to return.

 

Late breaking news: This is of course a rather disturbing, if not ominous development. I’ll be hanging out in Nice first, come early September, before flying to Hurghada, then taking a private car to Gouna. If Egypt is too unstable, my UK/EU passport allows me to reside in, say, France, should I choose to do so — at least while Brexit negotiations drag on.

 

Why Florida Loves Trump

…with 66 days left before I leave, all is far from gloomy.  You will have to pardon the superficial insights, regrettably ageist tenor, and more than slightly trollish tone of this vid, but at least you get to see — without having to actually come to F-L-A!!! — the beach where I often go to solve the problems of the world.

If you are interested in a truly insightful article on how a New York that no longer exists (one which I was fortunate to have experienced first hand) shaped Donald Trump”s lifelong urban-dystopia worldview — read this fine piece by Michael Kruse in Politico’s magazine section. If the New York of the 70s fascinates you, Fear City is a recently published book that I think is rather well written and comprehensively researched.

But, in the end, all that Trump and his odious eldest sons and his plastic-surgery daughter and wife and his various slimy acolytes and hangers-on crave is publicity, that, and dirty money, and a transient sense of power, derived from the Russian-backed hijacking of a presidency. Never has as illegitimate a President occupied the White House.

The point of my vid here is that Trump’s popularity is a stand-in, a stub for the failed nobodies who read the National Enquirer, paying the $5 with their Social Security money, or the idiot who resents black kids playing music while they gas up at Cumberland  Farms and tries to run them over, or the aging psycho who shoots a stranger in a movie theater for texting before the start of the feature — all of which have happened in Florida. But if you are a soon-to-be expat, all of this repugnant Trumposity is fast becoming moot.

Doing a geographic can be chicken soup for the soul. Yesterday’s Mika/Morning Joe tweet storm is already moot. The health care bill machinations are moot, because it has no chance in hell of passing, unless the Republican party wishes to commit political suicide. Even the Muslim Travel ban is moot, except ethically, providing the compromised Supreme  Court in November does not go full metal jacket into Planet Xenophobia.

One way or the other, I could care less. After all, the day after Labor Day, I will be here…

nice, france

The Bay of Angels, 29 June, 2017

 

Get yer El Gouna News heeeeere!

gouna news

Click to read Gouna News!

 

For the second week in a row, a post of mine has made it to El Gouna News.

This is a fantastic honor!

Gouna News is run by an ace-bassist Egyptian rock star player named Mourad.

Make sure you subscribe to his site, in order to stay in touch with what is going on in Gouna, and get my EXCLUSIVE Gouna Film Festival reviews, which are slated to appear in late September.

Now don’t start getting any bright ideas,  Thinking of visiting Gouna yourself?  What a terrible idea!

After all, the standalone villa that you can rent at an affordable price will probably have nothing-special views like this.

gouna

 

And some of these villas come with pools that are also nothing to write home about.

gouna

Yes, Gouna is only The In Place to visit if you want to stay by the sea, live in a gorgeous white villa, and make friends with fabu, relaxed people from all over the world.

Who on earth would want that?