HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 10, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


The New Yorker for March 10th has an amusing cartoon. It shows two guys in Biblical garb, one holding an immense scroll and the other writing on it. The holder says to the writer, "Quit worrying about corroborating your sources -- it's not as if anyone's going to take all this literally."

My friend Dan Noel used to say that the difference between the literal and the imaginative mind is the greatest gap possible, and will probably lead, eventually, to the destruction of the human race.

Joel Achenbach has an interesting article this morning in the Washington Post about how John McCain regularly ridicules a bill that provided for studying bears in Montana. The project cost three million dollars, which McCain says is unbelievable. McCain thinks, of course, that spending many times that amount for bombs to drop on people's heads is not unbelievable but, rather, glorious. It's good we can have a presidential candidate who's so scientific minded.

I saw John Kerry yesterday on Face the Nation. I still think he would have been a better president than George Bush has been, but seeing him now convinces me that the difference wouldn't have been as monumental as I had thought.

On ABC's This Week, George Will used the phrase "narcissism of small differences" to explain the bitterness of the quarrel between Obama and Clinton. I'm not sure there is any bitterness involved. They, and their supporters, are just looking for something to fight about because they can't think of anything else to do.

I was bemused by a New York Times headline this week which announced that George Bush had vetoed the anti-torture bill in order to protect his legacy. I suppose that's literally true but it's a fairly unusual way to use the word "legacy."

I am still waiting to hear from Amazon about my Kindle order. There is not even a hint about when they might ship it to me, and no information, whatsoever, about how production is going, or whether it's reducing the backlog of orders. The secrecy surrounding this process is surprising. Nobody seems able to break through the wall of confidentiality. It has caused me to wonder if the security operations of the U.S. government ought to be turned over to Amazon.

It remains cold and snowy here in Vermont. My conscious mind knows spring will come and the snow will go away. But my emotions can't find a way to believe it.

If you come on any breakthrough knowledge -- about Kindle or anything else -- send it to us.


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