Travelling on business this week, on the East Coast. But does that mean that my hyperactive mind is taking the week off? Nope:
– Is it possible to walk around historic Richmond, VA, without feeling *some* twinge of sympathy for the South? Slavery is evil, but does the presence of one great evil mean there’s nothing of value in a culture, nothing worth saving and even loving? If we are to judge a culture by a one great evil outweighs all standard, none could survive, least of all our own.
– The Catholic churches in these old cities tend to make me sad or at least a little melancholy. Richmond, for example, has two old churches down town, yet no regular daily morning masses. The Cathedral, adjacent to VCU, can only muster 4 weekday noon masses. Somehow the faith and people who were able to generate the energy to build those churches have dissipated to the point where those buildings are only infrequently used for what they were built for. Not to pick on Richmond in particular, this seems to be the case in just about every old city I visit.
– The mother, father and relatives of a man who dies deserve sympathy and respect, even if that man is a great murderer. Glancing at TVs in airports and hotels, and seeing swarms of reporters jamming microphones and cameras into the faces of the Boston Marathon bombers’ parents and relatives, then speculating over their reactions – vile. These are human beings first, and there are few pains to compare with a parent loosing a child, even if that child perhaps deserved to die. And what if they are publicity hounds? (Have no reason to suspect this, just speculating here.) That would be a doubly good reason to leave them alone.
– American citizen commits heinous crime on American soil and is apprehended in America by American law enforcement – he gets a trial in an American court, with American rights, and, if convicted by a jury of his American peers, gets set up for life in an American jail.
I don’t say this because I’m “soft on terror” (whatever the hell that means), but because I’m strong on civil rights. It is enlightened self-interest to want this kid tried in the most fair, careful, legal, and American sense possible.
– The business world is really funny, populated by characters Shakespeare would have had fun with. I never cease to marvel at the comedy inherent in any given room full of business people. In some cases, it’s hard to imagine what, with the exception of perhaps church, would ever motivate that group of people to be together in the same room voluntarily. In others, it’s like a wolf pack, gathered for a common purpose yet fearing each other on some level as well. And then there’s gaggles of people who seem like friends, laughing and chatting at every opportunity – these tend to be people with administrative type functions, but, sometimes, surprisingly, sales teams will be like this instead of like a wolf pack.
In every case, there’s the false solemnity of BVSINESS. Like this whole money thing is the real thing, and the people are there because of the overwhelming reality of money – that the money persists apart from people’s interest in it, somehow, and acts directly as an organizing principle. Then, layer on top this more or less forced geniality. And then look at the Power Structure That Shall Not Be Named – how many bosses are uncomfortable in their skins as bosses, and try to be one of the guys, while retaining the asymmetric power to take away your job, your place in the little synthetic tribe, and – gulp! – your money. Pals like that one would prefer to do without.
Business is dripping with comedy. Sure, it’s that Irish sort of comedy where the punchline is as often as not someone getting maimed or killed, but funny nonetheless. Wish we had a Shakespeare to immortalize it.