Wild River Review: So what do the British think of the American Revolution all these years later?
Oscar Wilde: We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language (The Canterville Ghost; 1887)
We drove from Istanbul through a misty veil of rain, and a stop for lunch in the Polish village of Polonezköy. The restaurant owner, fluent in Polish, whose descendants emigrated to Turkey in 1855 during the Crimean War, served us hearty bowls of a cabbage, mushroom, and meat stew. Pastry desserts were offered, but Sami suggested we wait until we got to our destination to “taste the special Black Sea baklava."
We’ve addressed Muna’s fear of bombs falling on her street or near her children’s schools, the sound of war planes overhead, of abandoned apartments in neighborhoods deemed unsafe, of the surreal quality of a city where on the surface the old way of life continues apace, but we have never spoken directly about the Assad regime or the insurgency.
A decade later, in May of 2012, I sat with an American friend who lives in Istanbul, at the rooftop bar of the Anemon Galata Hotel overlooking the pedestrian area in the trendy neighborhood of Beyoglu. A new city ordinance had banned restaurant tables on the sidewalks. “It is because this is where people socialize. Here, they can smoke while having drinks and dinner,” my friend explained. “And this law caused many restaurants to go out of business.”
A tad lightheaded from pork bun nitrites, I dared to venture out from the friendly confines of TST-East and crossed Chatham Road, pinning my fading hopes on a rabbit-warren of streets off Knutsford Terrace with an improbable cluster of bridal shops (don’t ask) that I had stumbled upon a few trips ago. And there, amid clutches of brides-to-be with their entourages, was a string of salons.
The following year brought big changes to the world – and Saskatchewan was no exception. After another parched growing season, with crops devastated by the worst plague of army worms anyone could remember, prairie families were confronted with news of the Wall Street stock market crash. In cities and in the country, the Great Depression had begun.
What veteran traveler hasn’t felt a tingle – whether of elation, anxiety, or expectancy – from strolling down a crowded street with the knowledge that, at that moment, there was not another soul on earth who knew one’s exact whereabouts?
How rare, how perfect. But perhaps this safe, quiet space can be seen as a gift allowing us the opportunity to break out of old patterns, to think generously and create dangerously.
So we are going to have to miniaturize all the previous economies (foraging, farms, and factories) inside this new planetary economy you describe. In a way the farmers' markets inside my town in Monument Square are starting this process, as they include artisanal booths for crafts as well.
Like a Chicago community organizer seeking to reconcile conflicting neighborhood gangs by sublimating violence into basketball, Obama sought to treat the two parties as two gangs in unnecessary conflict, but he failed to recognize that it is the task of the American President to lead from a higher level with a new vision of American destiny.
There is something a Navaho skin walker while wrapped in a blanket, sitting on a hill, once told me by mini Burning Man bonfire light, "Never tell a story in summer and don’t exaggerate."
The skies were without a cloud, as they often are in Israel in the summer. The ride was smooth and pleasant as the breeze came through the windows. Apartment houses and private homes and later open fields passed us by. Then the landscape changed to hills, the hills of Judea.
There is a secret language in New Orleans. This language is only known by a select few, but never spoken or discussed. Is there a dictionary for this tongue? No. But once a year, as if by osmosis, the language is shouted for all to hear. What are they saying?
Let's face it: Global profiteering ain't what it used to be, what with currency wars, increased labor regulations, galloping commodities prices and natural disasters including drought. Oh, and that darned internet thingy keeps bringing the global marketplace closer to buyers of even the smallest scale, rendering the veteran profiteer's all-seeing-eye redundant. Redundant, I say.
It is a journalistic truism to note that we live in the Age of Information. In this neo-feudalist age it is not your relation to the land but to the media that defines your social class.
A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)
“I remember in prison,” she said. “The jailers came every day to inspect my cell looking for a piece of paper. They said it was more dangerous than a gun. But I was happy in prison because really we are all prisoners of the system.”
In the space of one very long day, I had traveled from a current global nexus (Hong Kong) to a faded former version of itself, in all possible manner of conveyance (save rickshaw) including a bullet train that seemed to take me back in time at 250 kilometers per hour...
Memes—the notion of self-replicating bits of culture—are a seductive, slippery concept, vigorously debated in some corners of academia. And while I am serious in saying that they are easily deployed not just in marketing and church, but in counterintelligence and propaganda, they can also be merely banal or annoying. For example, snippets of song you may not even like but can't get out of your head...said I'd like to know, where you got the notion...Our love is like a ship on the ocean...rock the boat, don't rock the boat, baby...”—The Hues Corporation
Wild River Review reprises, “The Power of Conversation,” covering David Grossman’s PEN World Voices Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture in April of 2007, during which he spoke about the importance of writing in the face of fear, "rapid and repeated media flashes," heartbreaking violence, and “the suffocation of the cliché.”
Off by the main ECP (entry control point) a patrol is forming up to leave the wire. This is a patrol party that virtually no Hollywood film has yet to capture. This is a FET (female engagement team) mission. Four of the Marines adjusting their gear and weapons are female.
Before the Hollywood centrifuge of Facebook philanthropy stopped spinning and Sean Penn took the microphone from Anderson Cooper, I too gathered my lance and shield. Like a plate tectonic Don Quixote, I headed for Haiti.
The night was full of movement, quick and energetic, but I must respectfully pause here and take a moment to return to the poetry I had so dreaded.
"According to them, you want to create a New Jersey kind of Islam with naked women and and Michael Jackson music. It was so bizarre to have this mixture of Jon Bon Jovi and Atlantic City and the CIA..."
Kabir wove a web of words encompassing all of life, love, God, and man’s eternal quest for meaning, for peace and happiness. He used the medium of ‘dohas’ and poems to put forth his experiences and thoughts on this quest.
The Facebook Website, Desk Jockey is convinced, is an enabler. Every time you sign into the home page, a little reminder pops up that you have 37 friends in common with a perfect stranger. Rather than be unfriendly (which is not proper FB etiquette), Desk Jockey began clicking “accept.”
We watched Costner’s sleek Gulf Stream jet, featuring the Warner Brothers logo on its tail, taxi into the private terminal of Rapid City Airport. Kevin disembarked alone with an overnight bag and a very old Pendleton Blanket folded under one arm.
Stone Barns, restored and in a sense re-created as they were 100 years prior in another time.