As Summer Declines
It has been a brilliant week here in New York; the weather
has been pretty damn good and we've all been savoring it,
especially since the forecast is rain for a straight week
all across the Empire State.
There is, across the eastern seaboard, a sudden, hurried
desire to make sure that everyone squeezes in their full due
of warm weather before Fall falls and winter begins. Friends
and clients and acquaintances, EVERYONE I know, are making
plans to grab a vacation because time is running out.
The wonderful thing about having Claverack Cottage is that
has given me the sense that I get moments of time set out
from ordinary life. I told my sister Mary Ann in one of our
weekly conversations that I felt it was extending my life
and deepening my appreciation of life.
The city has not been exactly a hotbed of activity this week.
Everyone has started to squeeze in that vacation time and
voice mails across the city announce the return date of dozens
of executives, as do the automatic returns on e-mail. "Your
message is important to me but I am on vacation. I will be
returning to the office on [fill in the blank] and won't be
checking messages until then. In case of an emergency, please
contact my assistant at [fill in the blank]."
Do you know how many assistants I have found? Not many.
Not that there have been many emergencies. It is not an emergency
sort of time.
And we're grateful for that. The major news this week has
been the Kobe Bryant case. It's been at the top of the hour
on almost every news programs. Before anything else
I would like to think it has something to do with the fact
that it's almost the dog days of summer and not a commentary
on the state of American news.
The most important news to me was a story that actually got
buried deep in the New York Post but managed to be more prominent
in other places: that planes are being targeted again by terrorists
as weapons. Now why that wasn't further up the news food chain,
I don't know. But it unsettled me. And it unsettled me that,
while it became a big story, it wasn't a big story when it
Beside Kobe Bryant's story, the other big news in New York
café conversation is about the possibility of gay marriage
now that the Supreme Court has struck down the Texas Sodomy
laws. My twenty-something old godson asked me how any could
have passed a law like that in the first place? The fact he
asked that question encouraged me to believe the world was
New York, notoriously blasé about anything outrageous,
is not engaged in a huge civic conversation regarding gay
marriage or the striking down of the Sodomy Law, other than
to comment upon the heated and virulent reactions of severe
conservatives, which now includes the Catholic Church, having
launched a campaign to agitate for political resistance to
Ah, well, the Catholic Church and I long since parted ways.
The real push against gay marriage, I suspect, has been spurred
not by the overthrow of the Texas Sodomy Law but by the sudden
[seemingly] success of programs like: QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT
GUY; BOY MEETS BOY, etc. Suddenly, gay seems hip - and popular
and therefore a little more threatening. The popular opinion
polls indicate that all this popularity is having a bit of
a backlash toward the gay community.
But, with the exception of the potential of hijacked planes,
most of the news is benign. That is, unless you count the
stories about the soldiers in Iraq that keep dying. I cock
my eyebrow and wonder: isn't that a little more important
than the Kobe Bryant scandal? Or gay marriage? How is it that
soldiers dying have now slipped down to third or fourth position
on the story tree? Are we tired of this? No. Is it that news
services are concerned about being too negative regarding
the war that is over but which we still haven't finished fighting?