The Lizard King

We’ve had a demanding schedule today: lolling and body-surfing at White Crest Beach, then the daily swim at Great Pond — and still to come this evening, our friend Larry Horowitz’s latest opening at the Cove Gallery, followed by dinner at Winslow’s Tavern. But a free moment having presented itself, I’ll take this opportunity to catch up a bit.

First of all, we all know by now that Mr. Obama has selected the longtime Senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, as his running mate. My impression of Mr. Biden has always been that he is a stupendously garrulous man, a logorrheic stuffed shirt, a narcissistic gasbag who simply cannot shut up. (It is certainly the case that right-wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh have been salivating at the prospect of his selection as Number Two on the Democratic ticket.) But the New York Times columnist David Brooks surprised me yesterday with a portrait of Biden that gives quite a different impression. Read it here.

Meanwhile, our British reader David Duff calls our attention to an article in the American Spectator in which writer Jeffery Lord explains why John McCain will win in November. The author makes reference to a tripartite division of our brains into intellectual, emotional, and instinctive components (also a central feature of the Gurdjieffian model, by the way — a topic I have neglected for too long). Apparently we Americans prefer the instinctive, “reptilian” sorts: men of action who don’t wallow in emotion or bog down in endless analytic recursion. Why we happen to be this way, while our European “friends and allies” do not, is left as an exercise for the reader; I may get back to it myself when time permits. I’d be interested, of course, as always, to know what all of you think.

Read Mr. Lord’s essay here.

Related content from Sphere


  1. the one eyed man says

    I think that if Lord is correct, it is because of the American archetype of the rugged individualist, whether it’s Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, or John Wayne. They didn’t spend a whole lot of time ratiocinatin’ in the OK Corral.

    On a different subject (but relevant to your title): I was in LA last week and had lunch with an old friend of mine who managed the Doors from 1971 to 1974. My wife asked what he thought of the Val Kilmer depiction of Jim Morrison. He hated it: all wanton sex, drugs, and debauchery. According to my friend. although Morrison was certainly no stranger to the louche life, he was also an intellectually very curious man who could expound knowledgeably on a wide range of topics.

    Posted August 23, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink
  2. I take that you’ve recovered completely from your recent brush with mortality . . . though do we ever truly recover from that universal brush?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted August 24, 2008 at 5:11 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Hi Jeffery,

    Indeed, I think I have. And no, we don’t…

    Posted August 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Peter, at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I have to wonder how knowledgeable the dissipated Morrison, who died at 27, had time to become about anything.

    Posted August 24, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    My friend’s point was that Morrison was not as dissipated as you might think, and the legend as epitomized by Val Kilmer was not who the guy really was. Also that his interests extended far beyond writing music and poetry.

    I lived in a building in New York which recently had Keith Richards as a tenant. The doormen said that he was a quiet family guy who would take his kids in and out of the building in their strollers. I ran into someone who knew Richards slightly, and she said that he was indeed a family type. Who knew?

    So I’m skeptical of the truthiness of Rock Legends. (On the other hand, my friend Fraser Botwright was Ginger Baker’s landlord for a few years, and that guy really was dissipated. Also he thought of himself as a jazz drummer, not a rock drummer). But I digress.

    Posted August 25, 2008 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Well, Peter, I will defer to your friend’s opinion; he is certainly in a far better position to comment than I.

    I did an album with the Stones back in the early 80’s, and spent many days in the studio with them all (well, almost all — Bill Wyman wasn’t there). I can tell you that contrary to his public image, KR is a very thoughtful, polite, and articulate man.

    That said, he is also known, I think, to have ridden a motorcycle inside that apartment (which I believe is in the old Tower Records building in the Village).

    Posted August 25, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  7. JK says

    Just an observation. Dissipation is matter of degree. I recognize that looks and actions and “the stories” can be deceiving. But my observation is: being dead is pretty dissipated.

    Posted August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  8. the one eyed man says

    True. Hard to be a composer when you’re decomposing.

    Posted August 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink