Monday, November 21, 2016

Bluster

verb
2.
(of a storm, wind, or rain) blow or beat fiercely and noisily.

Yesterday was a strangely windy day in Amsterdam. The weather here is often gray and gloomy, but twenty-four hours ago the wind was howling past the apartment windows, untethering vines from the brick walls and toppling people's bicycles.

Despite the unusual gale, I walked a few miles to the brand new MOCO Museum to meet my friend Wendy. On the path along the Amstel, the gusts picked up the yellow leaves and whirled them in dynamic crowns around my head. The houseboats bobbed gently in the water, which rarely stirs.

The MOCO Museum is brand new only in the sense that it opened this year; it sits on the edge of the Museumplein, just a few yards from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, housed in a mansion built in 1905. The parquet floors, gilded fireplaces, and stained-glass windows make it an odd location to showcase pieces of contemporary art.

Their current (and very first) exhibit features both Banksy and Andy Warhol--Banksy on the first floor, Warhol in the basement. But whenever they have a Banksy piece that clearly pays tribute to a Warhol piece, they hang them together. Because the museum is so small, Wendy and I were able to walk right up to the paintings, examine their neon-bright colors from only a few inches away.

verb
1.
talk in a loud, aggressive, or indignant way with little effect.

I can hardly stand watching the news about President-Elect Trump--it's as though I'm reaching out to save someone from getting hit by a car, but someone else is holding me back. Not that I could do much even if I were home, but I do feel especially helpless across the ocean.

I can hardly stand the manner in which he talks--so childish and hypersensitive. If he can't handle it when SNL mocks him, how is he going to deal with criticism from other world leaders? The worst part is that he may be doing it on purpose; as many others have pointed out, Trump sent Mike Pence to see (and get booed at) Hamilton on the same day that he paid $25 million to settle the Trump University case. What was essentially the admission of his guilt in defrauding hundreds of people got drowned out by debate over whether or not actors should also be activists. (For the record, they should.)

I wish I could just put him on mute, remove any mention of Trump from my social media feeds. I think I'd be a lot happier that way. Unfortunately, our country has put itself in a position where every single one of that man's ridiculous, petty words matters.

I'm still floored that we elected him. I hope I never get used to it.

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