Good morning. Hello. How are you? #504

A Treatise on Trist.

Good morning. Hello, there. Happy Tuesday. What’s going on? I am listening to the new Boo Radleys EP. Well, it was from July. I missed this whole Boo Radleys reunion thing. That is pretty crazy. I got very excited about it this morning. But, then, I found out it’s all the original members except Martin Carr, and that made me kinda sad. Because I like Martin Carr. I mean, I suppose I don’t actually know who did what in the Boos, maybe I like them anyway. But I met Martin once at SXSW in the 90’s at an American Analogue Set show and he seemed very nice. Must be rough when three of the four members of a band what to reunite but one doesn’t, and that one is, like, kind of important? Was your “main songwriter” as Discogs characterizes him. Like, you could reunite under another name, I suppose, but c’mon man, it’s 2021, no one is going to find out about “the other three Boo Radleys” reuniting under another name. It took me five months to even find out they reunited under their own name. I never would have heard about this if they had a different name. Just like I only this month, found about Michael Allen’s post-Wolfgrang Press band, Geniuser, and they’ve been around for sixteen years. No, I can’t blame Tim, Simon and Rob for being the Boo Radleys without Martin. Dude’s gotta make a living. Cruel world. Also, this EP is pretty good so far, so, yeah. Good on ya, Boos. Boos forever.

In other English 90’s band news (okay maybe early oughts), the band British Sea Power is back, except they changed their name to Sea Power, due to "a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world – an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism that [they] don't want to run any risk of being confused with. I just learned about this yesterday. I mean, sure, fine by me, that is kind of a cool name anyway, Sea Power. I’m excited that they have a new album coming out next year, new single out right now. They’ve always been a great band. For a while there in 2003, 2004 ish, BSP was touring America constantly, I swear I saw them like six times in the span of a couple years. And they were so awesome live, and they had this masterpiece nine-minute song “Lately” that they’d often (not always) close out with and it was just majestic. Excited for their return.

Well that’s exciting. New Boo Radleys and Sea Power, that’s the kind of morning I like. When I got out of bed at about 7:20 this morning I turned on the baby monitor and Jane was staring right at me. Bright white glowing eyes in the nightvision camera staring deep into my soul. Usually she sleeps to 8:30 or 9 these days, but apparently this morning she woke up before I did. I realize how lucky this is, how late she sleeps. Emma was telling me last night about a friend of ours with a kid Jane’s age who gets up at 5:30 every morning still, and many of you have told me similar stories. Whenever I get overwhelmed and think that this parenting thing is too much, I try and remember these stories, and remember how good I have it, but, you know, funny thing. When you’re in a doom spiral about how overwhelming things are, turns out adding on a layer of guilt and inadequacy by telling yourself you’re not even overwhelmed by that much? Turns out it doesn’t really help! Who knew.

Read some more about the Mexican American war and the aftermath in my book last night. I am so close to the end of this 900 page behemoth, god, it’s been months. A young Abraham Lincoln is giving speeches in congress and submitting legislation his first week in DC, impressing his elders with his eloquence, sounds all very Barack Obama, except he delivered, har har. A brilliant general named Winfield Smith — old Fuss an Feathers, and future failed Presidential candidate — executed the invasion of Mexico via taking the heavily fortified port of Veracruz, and brilliant military tactics, cutting himself off from his supply lines and living off of the land (ethically, without pillaging, and paying Mexicans for their supplies), inspiring and educating two of his Captains, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. James K. Polk is being a dick and undermining everyone and everything, including both his General in the field and his diplomat, whom he sent to broker the peace.

After the Americans had been occupying Mexico City for four months, he recalled his diplomat because he decided he wanted more of Mexico now – half the country wasn’t enough, on top of Texas, (now) California and New Mexico, he wanted Baja California and the rest of northern Mexico. The thing is, the Mexicans weren’t going to give it, no way, no how, there was no one in the country who would accept this, and the country was going to descend into civil war, and there’d be no one with whom to end the war. His envoy, Nicholas Trist, was a highly-capable diplomat, former secretary to Jackson, colleague of Madison’s, former ambassador to Cuba, executor of Jefferson’s will. Trist decided to ignore this recall and proceeded to explain to the Mexicans that if they didn’t wrap up a treaty with him, there would be someone worse, the whole thing would be worse. He hated his job, he was embarrassed about the war, about America’s conduct in the war, pretending that Mexico started the war when America started the war. He got his peace treaty and took it home to Polk. Polk was so pissed, because he was a meglomaniac, and even though Trist fulfilled the treaty exactly to the letter of Polk’s instructions, Polk had since decided he wanted more of Mexico, even though the war did not exactly go well, despite Smith’s brilliance (and General Zachary Taylor in the north), and he’d convinced himself that he deserved more. But once Trist was back with the Treaty, Polk didn’t really have any choice, the Whigs were against the war, had repeatedly been reminding everyone for two years that the war was immoral and illegal. And even his Democrats were done with this shit. So he ratified it, and Trist spared the US from potentially decades of guerilla war from Mexico, since Polk could well have decided to listen to the “whole Mexico” lunatics and annexed the whole country.

For his efforts at saving hundreds of thousands of lives, Trist was immediately fired and denied his pension for over thirty years until they restored it after the Civil War. He languished in obscurity for decades, and his reputation was only restored a couple years before he died.

Oh and the other reason Polk had to settle and not take all fo Mexico is because Calhoun and the other southern racists didn’t want it because there were too many brown people and it would make America Not White.

“My feeling of shame as an American was far stronger than the Mexicans' could be.” — Nicholas Trist.

Of course, there are almost no good guys (well, except for maybe the Tappan Brothers, JQ Adams and Garritson) in the US at this time, Trist was adamantly pro-slavery.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Every history book of the US is a book about slavery and racism. It never ceases to amaze me. There were people like Calhoun for whom every single political decision facing the country was secretly about slavery. Every issue. Whether there was a central bank. Whether we annex Oregon, or Michigan becomes a state. Tarrif levels. Policies on railroads, whether to keep a standing army or navy (navy was pro-slavery, army was bad because it strengthened the central government and that was bad for slavery). Whether a lunatic dude in Rhode Island should be prosecuted for trying to overthrow the government. Everything. Every. Single. Decision. Actually, it sounds a lot like the modern Republican party, except now it’s just their own personal power and whether it helps Trump. Reading about the Southern Democrats response to the Dorr Rebellion has uncanny January 6 similarities.

Whoops I guess we just wrote about history today, sorry. I will stop.

Okay time for a mix, W Hotel mix, I got a little nostalgic on this one: Soho, Inspiral Carpets, Enigma, Hildegard Von Bingen. I kinda wanna make a whole mix just of that vibe, but I guess instead we get that vibe mixed with some new stuff. And Geniuser, whom I just discovered, sixteen years too late, so, new to me. Also this Mogwai remix EP is awesome there’s also an Other Two remix on there that is great.

Okay! Talk soon!