Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"It's not that things are getting better...."

"It's that things are getting worse more slowly," said Paul Krugman on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.


Tom Manoff said...

I just hide my head under the covers, write about the past, watch HBO and Showtime, drive the truck to the dump and recycle, plan this year's fish massacre --any thing to keep denying. If there were a Nobel Prize for denial, it would be in my living room.

gasket said...

Every time I go into NYC, I look for signs of the financial meltdown. Last Monday I walked 42nd Street from 8th Ave. to the library. Looked like boom years to me. Put me in a great mood: Hey, it's not that bad!

So I tell a friend about sunny New York, and he sends me this Tom Engelhardt piece about the Upper West Side, the exact neighborhood where my friend Jessica used to live before she moved to Inwood.

That, and I stumble upon a (confusingly written, I think) piece in the Village Voice about the number of homeless families in NYC: 9,720 last count. Nice round number. Highest ever.

Trouble with the last count is that it was in November. Bloomberg stopped issuing the report after that.

Tom Manoff said...

Well this fits billy's theory of the Two Americas, one in good shape the other not.

That library on 42nd St and 5th is MY neck of the woods in an important way, G.....

gasket said...

Been thinking long and hard about your last comment, Tom.

I find it impossible to comment on the Two Americas (or the Two New Yorks, for that matter) without sounding like I belong to the group I don't really belong to.

There have always been Two Americas, and I've always skated just along the ambiguous cusp of both, able to pass in either world.

I don't know Billy well enough to know how he sees the America he never inhabited.

He borrows the phrase from John Edwards, who borrowed it from Michael Harrington. So many permutations in between, yet nothing ever changes.

Yesterday Forbes had an article called The Meeting Of The G-2, meaning China and the U.S.

Thanks for making me think about this, T.

Tom Manoff said...

One thing that's been on my mind, or maybe not on my mind, is that now that the election is over, what can I do about politics, economy, etc. ? It sounds like a complete cop-out but I'm so exhausted from it and wondering if at my age and with whatever problems we have here, I have some "right" to just rest...

Maybe writing about the politics in the past makes me weary, the feeling of the blacklist coming back.

Suddenly I stopped reading the opinion pgs. What's happening to me?

gasket said...

I don't think it's you, Tom, I think these are exhausting times. The hyperaccelerated pace of current events is relentless.

Also, writing a memoir is like sorting through the family attic. The emotional engagement alone is an extraordinary effort: dwelling in that world is not something you normally do.

So now you have a separate narrative running simultaneously with the current narrative, but they are running at different speeds. And one's enhanced with emotional detail and foreknowledge of the dramatic outcome, while the other is loosely wrapped in fear.

Taken together, I'm not surprised you feel overstimulated and overwhelmed.

I could tell you two stories to back up my all-knowing assertions, but I think I'll save them for longer written pieces.

Writing is a peculiar endeavor because it is so solitary, so in your own head. Sounds like you are working hard and getting somewhere, though, which makes me excited for you.

Tom Manoff said...

Thanks g.