Tuesday, March 18, 2003


Raven is hunched over in front of the computer screen listening to Dylan’s “Memphis Blues.”

“Oh, mama—can this really be the end?”

Are you stuck, Rave? Inside of Mobile? With the Memphis Blues again?

“All of those. And up to my beak in the Slough of Despond.”

Anything in particular that has provoked this unusual depth of despondency? You’re a pretty upbeat guy.

“Upbeat, no. Beat up. By the daily dose of gratuitous cruelty. Check out this latest from the Gaza Strip:
A group of international peace activists has disputed a claim by Israel that an American who was trying to block the path of an Israeli bulldozer in a Gaza refugee camp was crushed accidentally."

Oh no, Rave. Say it isn’t so.

“I am not Shoeless Joe. How many times in the past two years have we said that? And every time it has been so. The piece goes on to say:
‘When the bulldozer refused to stop or turn aside she climbed up on to the mound of dirt and rubble being gathered in front of it ... to look directly at the driver who kept on advancing,’ the group said in a statement.”

How could that happen with all the witnesses?

“The Israeli army said her death was an accident. It said the driver's vision was restricted because the bulldozer cab had small windows.” Small windows. Try the old tunnel vision model. Ontology recapitulates teleology--or ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny—is that something like what’s happening here?” Rave is peering at me as only Raven can peer, intently, the gleam of malicious analogy in his eye.

I sure don’t know, Rave. That’s a question for a philosopher--or for Stephen Jay Gould or one of those other guys who know about the evolutionary patterns of organisms.

“Well, in this case the small windows look like the tiny vision that’s operating with the upper hand in world politics right now. The tiny eyes of Ariel Sharon. The tiny eyes of Baby Bush.” Raven turns toward the computer screen. “My own. Tiny. Eyes.”

Rave, get hold of yourself. You’re not the crazy culprit here. You’re not building fires on Main Street.

“But I might be shooting them full of holes. Just like in the song. Oh, mama. Can this really be....?”

The End

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