HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 17, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


Since I have done almost nothing over the past week, I have almost nothing to report. I do wonder why we come on these fallow times in life, when nothing one can think of doing makes much sense. I used to think they were bad for me but now I'm not so sure. There's at least the possibility that they're therapeutic. In any case, this morning I feel okay. It's just that I have nothing to say.

As I write, the Dow Jones average is down only 106 points. I suppose that's good news since many people expected it to fall faster than that.

I would like to let you know that I have no firm moral stance on what super delegates should do. Whatever they choose, it is impossible for them to make me angry.

Last night I watched an episode of Law and Order, which is not worth reporting except that I had seen it before, and knew I had seen it within minutes of starting to watch. But I couldn't remember how it came out. So, I watched it all the way through again, and enjoyed it about as much as I did the first time. Have any of you had that experience?

My cat Calo has been unusually insistent lately, which causes me to wonder if cats can get cabin fever just like humans do. She jumps on my lap when I'm watching TV or trying to read and sits for hours simply staring into my face. I ask her what she wants or what she's thinking about. And, so far, she has not answered. March in Vermont is a time of incipient insanity. The snow is still piled high outside my door. I think it should have gone away by now but it doesn't seem to care what I think. And that drives me a little nuts.

I did this past week go to the Waterbury Library to lead a discussion on Karen Armstrong's biography of Muhammad. One of the curious things about library discussion groups is that I expect them to contain some people who are religiously certain and, therefore, eager to set the rest of us straight. But such people never show up. I know they must exist. I read about them in newspapers. I see their essays in various places. But they don't come to book discussion groups. Does that tell us anything, or not?

I also attended a meeting of the Johnson Society where we talked about Abraham Lincoln and his address to the young men's Lyceum of Springfield in January of 1838. Our main theme was Lincoln's mystical faith in the Union, which went beyond mere political practicality. He appeared to "believe" in it in the same way many people say they believe in God. We tried to sort out whether belief of that sort is a good thing or a bad thing, but we weren't able to arrive at a sure decision.

My Kindle has not yet arrived. Amazon remains inscrutable.

Next week I may have had stupendous occurrences. If I have and they haven't rendered me inert, I'll let you know.


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