…A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin, an excellent book, delivering the inspirational message, if I may partially para-phrase, It took Western Europe 1500 years to get its shit together after the fall of the Roman Empire, so what can you expect in a region “where there is no sense of legitamacy — no agreement on the rules of the game — and no belief universally shared…, that within whatever boundaries, the entities that call themselves countries or men who claim to be rulers are entitled to recognition as such.”
It also strenghtened my growing belief that nations may not have been such a good idea in the first place. In a sense, they boil down to tribes squabbling over patches of dirt, and until we recognize that we are one tribe (people) on one patch of dirt (Earth), we may not make it till next Tuesday, let alone that millenium-and-a-half
Fromkin is pointing toward.
LSD in the water supply may be the remedy of choice.
[And a tip of Jimmy Hatlo’s hat to S. Friedman for recommending this book — and to Adele who, back when we were courting, caused my jaw to drop when she declared during one Olympics, “I don’t believe in nations.]
At Wh.ole Foods, I got into a discussion with a woman who had almost run over my foot with her grocery cart while I was getting the almond butter. I don’t how she made the transition but her announcement “I went to high school with Wilt Chamberlain” commanded my attention. Once we had established I was from West Philly and she was from Wynnefield, I decided to impress her with my knowledge of ’50s high school basketball, “Let’s see,” I said, “Wilt played with Johnny Sample and…” “He didn’t play,” she said. “He dropped the ball. That;s not playing. We stoipped going to the games. Who wanted to see him drop the ball? And then he wrote that terrible book that everyone in Philadelphia hated.”
She was a feisty, zesty seventy-seven-year-old, and everyone is entitled to write their own history, is how i figure.
At the conclusion of yesterday’s episode, your narrator was about to leave for his cafe wondering which of the several regulars who received the announcement of the launching of this very web site would be the first to comment. Immediately upon his entry a woman — lovely in every respect — said, “Thank you for your e-mail. He — well, I — expected to hear words on the order of “Gee, you’ve certainly published a lot.” But instead she said, “My husband and I know many of the same people as you.” That was it for the next hour and a half.
Which reminds me again that being a writer is a good way to regularly enhance one’s sense of humility.
The responses I’ve received to the announcement of this launching have been deeply gratifying. I only didn’t recognize one person (she’d changed her name) and no one claimed ignorance of me. All the pockets of my life I drew from were instructive and interesting. There were two guys I knew from my neighborhood, and people from high school and college and VISTA and my law career (but no clients) and guys I played basketball with but no one from law school (I only wrote two and one came back “Undeliverable”) or the cafe I go to every morning (but maybe someone will say something when i walk in) and only one (of seven) relatives.) One fellow sent me notice of his new book and a neighbor, who writes children’s books, offered to link to my site at her’s, which is sweet, though I wonder how our audiences will overlap. Two of you suggested site refinements that are being looked into and my guru, the novle Milo, and I are open to more.
So it’s been fun and educational. What more can you ask of 24 hours?
My pal — and web site designer — Milo George spotted this for me:.It is a bit disconcerting that it’s been two years without fame beating a path to my door, but maybe, other evidence to the contrary, it beats slower these days.
When my publisher Fantagraphics stuck its hand out at Kick Starter some months ago, a premium it offered was a t-shirt that said “F**K You. I’m with Fantagraphics.” Only it didn’t say “**.” When I got mine, I pondered where and how to wear it. Then I found a glitter-enhanced rubber star, which I Elmer’s glued between the F and K and set forth, notebook in pocket, ready to engage the populace as an intrepid journalist interested in questions of free speech. But at my health club and pharmacy and cafe no one deighned to comment. (At the cafe I may have been over-shadowed by the fellow at the next table drawing large swastikas repeatedly on his sketch pad.) I was about to think I needed breast enlargements to attract eyes to my chest, when an Afro-American bagger at Whole Foods said, “I like your t-shirt.” Then he added, “What’s Fantagraphics?”
So I’ve taken another small step into the 21st century. Boblevin.com was taken by someone who counseled cat owners and boblevin,net by an ex-FBIman/ whistle blower /investigative journalist, so here I am. Beat out oldoriginalboblevin and hurricaneboblevin. PEACE AND LOVE.