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Though there’s really no point in paying attention to it until next year, it’s been an amusing pre-season for would-be GOP Presidential contenders. From the hey-looka-me birther-ism of Donald Trump, to the not-very nimble verbal tacking of Newt Gingrich, there’s been no shortage of political comedic gold lately. Indeed, watching Trump’s stone face while Obama and comedian Seth Myers lit him up at the White House Correspondents Dinner—the President clearly relishing the dish-back after months of taking it—was much more fun than I’d care to admit, as I don’t usually enjoy watching somebody being the unwilling butt of jokes. Dadgumit, how I cackled with glee, even guffawed! And I actually wondered later: why did I enjoy this—admittedly richly deserved—humiliation of this guy so much?

I guess it’s really the utter lack of humility and genuine compassion exhibited by Trump, and so many others of his ilk, that kindles this cheap mirth of mine. Humility has apparently become a sign of weakness in the world of luxury and high finance in this country, unlike Japan. People like Trump operate completely in their own reality, getting pampered and kowtowed to, and start believing themselves to be invincible, even armored. The self-delusion can be psychically crippling: Trump pulled out of the Presidential race actually claiming that he had no doubt that had he decided to stick with it, he would become President in 2012! Of course, nobody except his immediate family and “apprentices” believes that for a nanosecond. But The Donald obviously does, or at least wants us to think he does. And that stone face of his on YouTube that made me giggle so revealed not armor, but wafer-thin skin. Almost feel sorry for him. He he, almost. Such hubris…

Nope, no humility in the U.S.A. It’s like American Gladiator never went off the air. It’s the whole ‘roided-up We’re-Number-One mentality our culture embraces, even a drug-fueled flameout like Charlie Sheen. Meanwhile folks who work hard doing good things for society find—through no fault of their own—their wages stagnant or reduced, their collective bargaining rights under fire, their salaries eliminated to cover the shortfall created by state governments lowering corporate taxes, ostensibly to “lure in business.” On certain cable “news” channels, those workers who protest these doings get to be labeled as “freeloaders,” “parasites,” and “Un-American.” And the banks and hedge fund folks who sank the ship in 2008? Why they need even less regulation nowadays, they’re “job creators,” don’t you know? Just like the major corporations create jobs. Well, in other countries anyway.

And there won’t be much humility to come, because that actually requires being willing to take responsibility for our actions, especially when they are wrong. And when was the last time you saw that done on the national stage, except for when a politician goes public with an infidelity? (Hi, Arnold!) We don’t do “I’m sorry” round here pal. Besides, country singers have trouble finding rhymes for “sorry.” Try it yourself sometime, it’s pretty hard!

So, we turn to the respite of the arts. We humbly present encaustics artist Nadja Petrov who draws from her father’s experience in the fabled Dadaist movement to create multi-textured abstracts of her own. Similarly, playwright/novelist/educator Carey Harrison draws from his unique upbringing (as son of actors Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer) to produce a treasure trove of literary and stage-worthy gems, a brand new one to be performed at Woodstock’s Byrdcliffe Theatre. Maverick Concerts starts it’s new season of great classical, world, and jazz music, Jamaican sound system RoyalHeartSound cranks the vinyl “riddims,” and we give you a heads up on the June festival scene. Plus, all that other good stuff we bring you every month.

Hey, It’s why we made this magazine, to give you a break from the national media circus, and help you connect or reconnect with the good things people are doing around here. And I promise that other than this here rant, Roll is not just free, it’s delightfully and deliciously Trump-free, and going to stay that way. Hope you enjoy. And if not…well hey.

Ross Rice, Editor

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