HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 26, 2007
From the Editor

John Turner


As I write this I'm preparing to return to Vermont. I've been in Annapolis for about a week and I'm ready to get home. The D.C. area has charms but, all in all, a small town like Montpelier fits my temperament better than a big city does.

While I was here I got a haircut from a Chinese lady in a big hair production emporium in the Annapolis Mall. She asked where I was from and I told her, Vermont. She answered, "Oh, cold there, huh?" I told her it was pretty cold, and she said, "Right next to South Dakota." So then I explained that South Dakota was a bit west of Vermont, and she confessed she was not much for geography.

I though, maybe, there would be tremendous breaking news while I was in the Washington region. But things went on about as they would have if I hadn't been here. George Bush doesn't seem to be learning anything new. The thought of learning may be offensive to him. E. J. Dionne, Jr. says his response to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the attorney firings case has been both ludicrous and absurd. But I don't think Bush cares. He says the attorneys were fired for good reasons but he doesn't appear to know what they were. The right not to know is a presidential prerogative.

I went to Barnes and Noble bookstores in both Annapolis and Tyson's Corner and noticed a tremendous number of new publications on current events and political affairs. I don't think I could read even the ones that appeal to me even if I did nothing else. I guess it's a good thing all these books are coming out. Somebody must be reading them. My trouble is I never meet anyone who has read even as many as I have. So, I'm left wondering where all these readers are lurking. It may be that in order to read they are reluctant to go out.

One new book I do want to read is Chris Hedges's American Fascists, about the religious right in America. I read his book on the psychological nature of war and found it both fascinating and persuasive. So, I'm hoping he'll tell me something about why pseudo-religion has become such a big item in the United States. There must be some way to account for it

Another book I think we should all try to read is Seth Shulman's Undermining Science which tries to tell us how the Bush administration has attempted to keep scientific information away from the public. Over the long run, this may be the method by which Bush has done the greatest harm, though there are bound to be many other candidates.

I made an excursion into the main food court at Tyson's Corner Mall and found it to be a little more gratifying than the one in Annapolis. At Tyson's they have tables with colorful plastic tops in pleasing patterns, and though they don't transform the food they tend to make it more palatable. I was able to choose among Philadelphia Cheese Steak, Texas Barbecue Factory, Charlie Chiang's, Desert Moon, Famiglia, Great Wraps, Five Guys (which when I first saw the sign I thought said "Great Guts." I figured it was a sausage place ), Grill Kabob, Cold Stone, Taka Grille, and TGI Friday's. I'm not going to tell you which one I picked, but if you'll write to me and guess, I'll tell you whether you were right.

Friends tell me that the danger of flooding in Montpelier has receded a bit. So, I should be able to get home without drowning. And next week I'll send thoughts influenced by being back in Vermont.


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