July 21, 2003
As I write this New York and the majority of the East Coast
is swaddled in
almost decent weather. It hasnt been raining too much;
doesnt demand sweaters even though it has a distinctly
fall-ish feel about
it. The sidewalk cafes in Washington, D.C., Boston and New
York are crowded
to overflowing and, as I walked into my building, past one,
I noticed that
the occupants of the table seemed to be enjoying themselves
in the casual
summer way that people have when its summer and the
living is easy.
As I walked into the building, I was thinking that it is
good that its
summer when all this Iraq WMD conversation is going on as
the easy living
tends, at least in America, to result in scandals and political
floating away down old man river at least until the
ice forms, when they
occasionally become resurrected.
All weekend the newspapers were filled with conversations
about empire and
the cost of it. Someone, and I forget who as on Sunday I curl
anywhere from three to six newspapers, suggested that we must
take on the
role that was once filled by the British in their pith helmets
For several minutes, I remember really attempting to imagine
American I know in a pith helmet and jodhpurs. It was impossible.
However, the juicy news that is filling the tables with conversation
the empire building we may or may not be doing but about the
of John Kennedy, Jr. and his troubled marriage. VANITY FAIR
has the late
couple on their cover as does every magazine that can find
their own angle
This is good summer stuff and very distracting from some
very pesky problems
were facing right now.
While I was on train coming in from Boston I started to write
a note to my
friend Joe who is in Iraq. Joes unit got sent back to
the States several
weeks ago but he raised his hand and asked to stay awhile
longer. He is, as
I am, fascinated with how this is all going to turn out. Hes
life to have a front row seat.
This is BIG history in the making. Domestically and internationally,
is history. Right now. Weve been living a sea change
with no defined
ending since September 11th, 2001.
It is so big that its no wonder that were avidly
drawn into the ongoing
saga of the Kennedy family. There is something comfortable
in drowning in a
story that has been a backdrop to all of our lives. There
alive, I dont think, that really remembers a time when
The sad part is that is has become more soap opera than high
But soap opera was invented to entertain; a distraction in
the early days of
radio from the grim reality of the Depression which doesnt
different from our need for soap opera now.
Not long ago I heard on the radio that the real unemployment
rate is closer
to 12% than the officially reported 6.4% rate; the difference
is that the
5.6% difference represents the people who have just quit looking.
The other thing is that Im probably part of that 5.4%.
Ive given up
looking for a job but have created my own life
as something other than an
employee. And Im curious how many others in that 5.4%
are individuals like
myself people who quit looking for jobs because they
had created some new
paradigm for themselves.
It bears looking in to.
As we go through our summer, planning parties, eating in
soaking in all the joy we can after the long and bitter northeast
are living on the edge of a new world that is defining itself
On one hand, we are becoming a land, more than ever, of small
scuffling for a place at the economic table. And, as we do
that, we seem to
be creating an empire of some sorts and
we are finding the price of
empire expensive, both in human and monetary terms.
People are dying and
our coffers are being emptied by this new adventure we have
a journey that began with that hole created on 9/11.