When future historians look back on the wide assortment of voices warning Americans of impending disaster, they will have to wrestle with the question of why the citizens, in the face of overwhelming number of Cassandra voices, reelected George W. Bush. Perhaps some future historian will propose a full length book that attempts to see it as an entire nation contending (subconsciously?) with a death wish?
Which brings us to the nagging question of the week: "If Rupert Murdock can use hacking to get scoops, why can't the NSA monitor e-mails and phone calls to keep the free world safe from terrorists?"
The topic of impending disaster brings us back to the large number of books dealing with the events just prior to America's entry into WWII when Roald Dahl would have to do his spying on the USA.
Many of America's future journalism movers and shakers toured Europe and were inspired to write dire warnings about the implications of the Spanish Civil War and the threat Hitler represented.
Low information voters were too occupied by the task of getting a job during the latter stages of the Great Depression to pay close attention to and try to critically analyze the implications of the war in Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War.
The children from the low information households would provide the essential manpower for fighting the war that the vagabonding journalists saw on the horizon, so maybe the people who were flocking to see "Gone with the Wind" should have paid more attention to the efforts being produced by the multitude of foreign correspondents churning out content for America's newspaper readers.
The folks in the San Francisco Bay area are being informed that the opening of the new Bay Bridge will have to be delayed while the authorities address the issue of some safety violations. Will any writer tackle a book assignment sometime in the future for elaborating the real challenge? The politicians know that the project has to be completed. What can be done to make that happen in such a way that the only people vulnerable to legal proceedings will be the mid level managers if a disaster strikes in the future? Aye, lad, there's the rub.
The new issue of the East Bay Express contains an article by Darwin BondGraham, titled "BART's lead negotiator has a history of illegal behavior." It only strengthens our hunch that the true goal in this local labor dispute is to continue the policy of union busting that began by St. Ronald Reagan.
[Note from the photo editor: War protests in Berkeley go back a long way so a sign at a bus bench in the downtown that was critical of the War in Iraq wasn't attracting many readers this week. We thought that a photo of the sign would be relevant to a column on reading matter. The sign shows a drawing of a hand holding a shoe and folks should know that throwing a shoe is an extreme demonstration of disapproval in Iraq. The only English words on the sign say: "Iraq is devastated." For critics of the Iraq War that tells readers what the sign maker had to say.]
Lenny Bruce wrote: "My reading matter ran the gamut from a technical book on intercontinental ballistic missiles to Jean-Paul Sartre's study of anti-Semitism but all I knew about (George Bernard) Shaw was that he wrote Pygmalion."
Now the disk jockey will play "Summer time," "Having a heat wave," and "Summertime Blues." We have to go look for our next used book treasure find. Have a "We'll always have Paris" type week.