I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office — the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, on the dignity of an office at such a troubled moment that he could not, in good faith, occupy it. His concern, intelligence, and self-effacement seem to come from an impossibly distant place and time.

Happy Birthday Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

I carried a laminated picture of R.W. Fassbinder in my wallet for awhile, more as a reminder that such a kind of person existed at all than that such a kind of person might exist more than once. I handily relieved myself of it one drunken night over 20 years ago by flinging it down a bar at a trio of German bankers with whom I was arguing the auteur’s merits. I was, I imagined, fulfilling a role of some sort, that of a poète maudit perhaps, but the truth was that I was drunk and loved cinema more than those bankers did.

In any case, it’s impossible to imagine Fassbinder at 73 years old, as he would have turned yesterday, or 72 as some sources have it.

In conversation with a friend earlier this week, we discussed how seeing one Fassbinder film didn’t disclose much about his greatness but that one should rather see 10 of his films to get the gist, and that given his filmography, this effort could be carried out at least three times without repeating a single title.

Here’s his obituary from The New York Times.