More Editing More Solemnness

If you want a really bizzare, humbling, depressing, startling, and bewildering look at humanity, just repeat my last night of consumption:

Start with startup.com, a documentary about the rise and fall of a dot com, govWorks.com.

Then watch this frontline program, which is entirely online, an amazing and highly informative look at how US foreign policy has changed in the last 10 years.

Finally read chapter 5 in our current read, Cafe Europa. Excerpts:<blockquote>…But the myth of the advantage of living in the West has not lost its power since the demise of communism. Bringing presents is not only a social habit, the nice and expected gesture of someone who has ‘been there’ …There is also a psychologocial mechanism at work here, namely the egalitarian principle with which we all grew up. It reminds me of a little boy of about seven whom I met in Bucharest. My taxi had stopped at some traffic lights. He ran up to me and said: ‘Speak English?’ When I nodded, he stretched out his hand through the open car window. ‘Give money!’ he said.

‘Why?’ I asked him, not really expecting him to understand me.

To my astonishment, he looked at me as if surprised by my stupidity. ‘You have, I not have,’ he explained seriously in his rudimentary English.

There was nothing wrong with the boy’s logic. It was obvious that he had no money, otherwise he would not have been asking me for it. It was obvious that I had money, otherwise I would not have been driving around in a taxi. Even at his age he knew that there are basically two categories of people in a society: those who have, and those who have not. But according to the egalitarian principles of any communist society, those ‘haves’ should share with the ‘have nots’. And because there is not much to share anyway, in the end that egalitarianism boils down to the equal distribution of poverty. At least it would in theory–in practice it did not quite work.</blockquote><blockquote>Class differences were established immediately after the communist revolution, first by those who themselves promoted the idea of a classless society, that is the leaders or the ‘red bourgeoisie’, as Milovan Djilas called them. But the egalitarian ideology survived in different forms, for example in codes of behaviour. The equation in my case looks like this: I live in the West. I have, therefore I am obliged to share.</blockquote><blockquote>My secret is that I do not like what they see as my great luck, I do not like living abroad all that much.</blockquote>