For those who do not live in the Athens of America, a few insights from Sunday’s Boston Globe.
The editorial proposes a concluding (hope springs eternal) unscientific postscript to the Cambridge dust-up:
Each man [Gates, Crowley, Obama], in his own way, has spent considerable time contemplating the kind of tensions that arose that day on Ware Street. If they talk past one another, it’s hardly shocking that the rest of society struggles with the same issues. At our worst, we are all long on surprise, and short on insight.
Jeff Jacoby, the Globe’s token “conservative” columnist, uncovers rather odd bed fellows — and hears the “echo of eugenics” in the statements of some prominent advocates of abortion.
Finally, on a more up-lifting note, the wonderful Katherine Powers celebrates the power of irony in the stories of Nikolai Gogol:
The characters of Gogol’s Ukrainian stories, though villagers, live in a much larger world than city folk, especially the people of St. Petersburg, the capital city. For Gogol’s villagers, the world is huge and strange and unknowable, mostly because the membrane that separates the earthly realm from the supernatural one is permeable. These people believe that what they see could well be delusion, for the devil is always up to his tricks.
Gogol’s townspeople are, in a way, more naïve than their country brethren, for they live under the thrall of appearances, seldom questioning what exists behind, or other than, them. “It lies all the time, this Nevsky Prospect,’’ Gogol writes at the end of this great story of St Petersburg. “But most of all at the time when night heaves its dense mass upon it and sets off the white and pale yellow walls of the houses, when the whole city turns into a rumbling and brilliance . . . and the devil himself lights the lamps only so as to show everything not as it really looks.’’
Come to think of it: isn’t St Petersburg known as the Athens of Russia?