A Compact with Faust
In dress, habits, manners, provincialism, routine and narrowness he acquired that charming insolence, that irritating completeness, that sophisticated crassness, that overbalanced poise that makes the Manhattan gentleman so delightfully small in his greatness.
Should the Manhattan gentleman remain dissatisfied but then chooses to remain defiantly in situ, then in the words of Goethe, his compact with the devil would mean giving up his soul: ' Verweile doch, dann magst du mich in Feseln schlagen, dann will ich gern zu grunde gehen; Remain, then bind me with fetters on the day I will gladly perish'
The Manhattan man, as ever voicing his nationalistic urge, is based firmly on the Nietzschean principle that what was good for the individual was good for the country and not vice versa.
The Manhattan man, clearly had his ambition paid for by the suffering of others - low paid workers-, almost like the theme of Ibsen's Play, The Master Builder. The Manhattan man, clearly unable to mask his emotions, ensured the distinction between personality and leadership was sharply defined by his actions. 'Upon such a shrine, what are our petty griefs? Let me not number mine' Childe Harold (Byron) Is there more pain than pleasure in life, more suffering than enjoyment?'The most difficult thing in life is to live and not to lie - and not to believe in one's own lies' - Dostoievsky. Ibsen said that the man is strongest who stands most alone not one who is isolated.
The Manhattan man, who failed twice to ban Muslims from travelling to the United States, visited the Saudi Arabian state as a peacemaker. The Saudis whose Wahabbism radicalises militant Muslims rankles - 'Beautiful weapons made in the USA.' 'Islamic terrorists are evil losers' when the real losers are the civilians in Syria contending with 2,000 armed groups rebelling against the murderous al Assad regime. US policies in the Middle East led to the current refugee crisis. The Manhattan man visited Israel and Palestine whilst not fully conversant with their politics. The condemnation of NATO reduces the Manhattan man's credibility with the USA's foremost allies in that 'despicable city' - Bruxelles. Finally, does a nine day tour provide a respite from prosecution for obstruction of justice?
Collected Short Stories, Barnes and Noble Classics, 2007
Nansen, Roland Huntford, Abacus History, 2000, Ahamad Salama, Syria