It’s Friday, July 12, 2019.
It’s the 230th anniversary of a speech given by French journalist Camille Desmoulins protesting the ouster of King Louis XVI’s finance minister.
Desmoulins, who normally stammered, delivered such an angry, unhesitant bombast that it inspired, two days later, the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
That’s the part of the story I like.
The part of the story I don’t like is that, less than five years later, the tide turned and Desmoulins’ head ended up in a basket. He was 34 years old.
At once an inspirational and cautionary tale for our times.
“Tepid” best describes the reviews for the movie “Yesterday” which I saw, well, yesterday.
In the film, for those unaware, the world experiences a total momentary blackout after which only one man, a failing British singer, remembers the Beatles. He capitalizes on this, becoming an overnight sensation by “writing” such songs as “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Reviewers seem to find this film far-fetched – duh – and the premise resolved clumsily. The Times’ A.O. Scott says it might have been better if it had taken the Beatles and their music more seriously.
I’m saying this: No, this film is not flawless. But I haven’t felt as good coming out of a movie in a very long time.
It’s sweet. Not many things are now. It’s a reminder of the joy of the Beatles’ music and the wonder they created for the world.
Yes, you need to suspend reality to embrace this film. So what. I felt pretty good for two hours.
So much so that, aside from this post’s title, I’ve avoided referencing Beatles’ lyrics.
Alex Acosta quit. Finally. He won’t be Labor Secretary after next week.
If you read the great Miami Herald series by Julie Brown last fall, you’d wonder why the hell it took so long.
If you haven’t, start here — and good luck stomaching your way to the end.
The series revolved around the so-called prosecution in 2007 of Jeffrey Epstein, a hedge fund manager accused of engaging in sexual acts with dozens of girls in his Palm Beach mansion.
There was enough evidence to put Epstein away for life.
But perhaps because Epstein had influential buddies or because of his supposed wealth and its ability to buy high-priced lawyers, the federal prosecutor agreed to a deal. That deal included:
— a 13-month state felony sentence that included six days a week of work release in an opulent office.
— immunity for those who assisted Epstein in recruiting the girls.
— the end of an FBI probe into Epstein’s activities.
— not informing the girls about the deal until it was too late for them to complain about it.
That prosecutor was Alex Acosta.
And, of course, with those credentials, he was the perfect choice for an important job in the administration of Trump, who was friends with Epstein in the 1990s and 2000s.
Given Trump’s penchant for bailing on people who might be perceived negatively by his base – there are still some evangelicals who think it’s wrong to rape a 14-year-old – you would think he would have bailed on Acosta when the stories hit.
But Trump likes people who like him. If he saw a picture of Acosta wearing one of those freakin’ red hats he sells, Acosta was golden as long as the furor didn’t get too hot.
And it didn’t. Until last weekend, when Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on new charges of engaging girls for sex, aka rape.
The negative publicity didn’t end quickly. So Acosta got ditched.
Is that good? Well, yes, people who protect pedophiles shouldn’t be Labor Secretary – who not only is the executive charged with protecting the interests of workers, but also the 11th person in the line of presidential seuccession.
But then again, two things crop up.
One is that Trump’s tendency has been to find someone even worse to replace someone forced to resign from his cabinet.
Two is that Trump faces accusations of rape himself. Sadly, it’s not as if abusing women is disqualifying for the Oval Office, according to the idiots who support him.
But, for a little while, we can cheer the fact that outrage over crimes against children triumphed. Acosta is off to wherever disgraced Trump officials go to cash in on their Trump association.
Finally, this idea:
We’ve become immune to the daily, the semi-weekly, the weekly Trump outrages. Sometimes they come at us in multiples.
Right now, we’re dealing front burner with Acosta/Epstein, yesterday’s backstep on the Census citizenship question and the reports of ICE raids coming this weekend.
That’s the front burner.
And that’s the problem. There’s so much stuff that’s happened over the last 30 months that it’s hard to remember it all.
So here’s a suggestion: Let’s keep tabs.
Let’s keep a log of the outrages starting from Jan. 20, 2017. List them all. Know what they are and remember the ones we’ve forgotten.
And then, when the Democrats have a nominee, let’s play them back. Every single day from the end of the convention to the election.
Make Trump defend his atrocities. Every day. A different one. Flood the zone the way he has and remind people of why he’s such a disgrace.
The goal is not to get the Trump sycophants to see the light. They won’t. They’ll see all these outrages as triumphs and there’s nothing we can do about it.
The job is to remind the rest of us – the majority of Americans, by the way – of what we’ve experienced. To keep the fire stoked and drive up the turnout.
In “Yesterday,” the hero has to try to remember the words to all the Beatles’ songs. He struggles with some of them, but he eventually succeeds.
We have something negative to remember. But we need to do it. It – and a nominee offering a positive message for the future – is how we end this era of disgrace.