Saturday morning, exhausted beyond my own believing, I slept
in, only to be awakened by Tripp, who has, unfortunately been
the harbinger to me of great events, telling me that the day
had already started badly: the Columbia Shuttle had been lost.
It was enormously painful for me to hear that a shuttle had
been lost. When the Challenger blew up I nearly rear ended
the car in front of me in Los Angeles.
I am a huge advocate of the space program. It is something
I have believed in since I was a little child. And since I
was a little child I have known that lives would be lost in
the process. It is the price of conquering the unknown. It
was the price that was paid by the first sailors who went
out into the Atlantic seeking a New World.
And while we mourned the seven astronauts, a photograph of
how I see America, families were buying young men killed in
an accident in Afghanistan.
These events have cast a pall upon our world.
While we have been dealing with the Columbia disaster the
world was also moving closer to war - and I find it almost
impossible to comprehend. It fills me with such mixed feelings.
I understand so much of why we might go to war and yet there
is a part of me that cannot believe that we might go to war.
Yet, of all the people in the administration, I trust Colin
Powell the most and as he was giving his speech I was riding
in a taxi down the FDR, looking at the United Nations building
in the distance, knowing that as I was in that taxi, history
was being made.
Driving down the streets of New York with one of my clients,
we were talking about the state of the economy of New York
and John's feeling is that things in New York are worse than
anyone admits. We haven't admitted how difficult thing s are
nor that they were likely to get worse.
In television, programs are being sold but the price for
programming sinks and where there were once thirty major post
production facilities in New York there are now only three
- and they are underutilized. Technology and budgets have
resulted in the closing of most facilities.
Speaking to another friend, last night, it was this: not
many are really hurting but lots of us are deeply afraid that
we will be hurting badly soon. And so we are in a very strange
economic place with the possibility of war hanging over us,
with our sense of buoyancy fading. Many of my friends who
are looking for jobs are not finding opportunities and are
digging into their savings to maintain lifestyles while they
contemplate painful alternatives such as leaving New York,
moving into second homes owned by their parents,
Friends who had quit smoking are lighting up again.
As I write this, I'm at Real Screen, a kind of mini MIP for
those who deal in non-fiction programming and it is a healthier
place than it was a year ago. More people are here and more
business is being done but over all of us and over all of
this is the reality that in a moment or three we will be in
a shooting war in the Mid East and it will be very real and
very hard on us.
A week ago Saturday I was at a party, a grand and wonderful
party in SoHo, in the kind of loft that everyone thinks of
when they think of a SoHo loft. People were dancing and singing
and celebrating and in quiet corners only were saying: no
one is talking about war. For a moment everyone there wanted
to be free, free of all the things we are facing now. It was
a wonderful party and it was a party that could be soon be
part of some past that we do not wish to loose.
This is what we are living with, the possibility that the
world we know and love is about to leave us, forever. And
none of us want the life we love to leave us forever. I wonder
if this is how the intelligent people felt in the months leading
up to what became World War I and World War II.
When asked about the possibility of war in Iraq, New Yorkers
are afraid. We are afraid we will be a target of retribution
for any attack anywhere. Yet, at the end of the day, we will
go on. We will deal with what comes but we don't want to deal
with what we are afraid is coming.