Been a minute since I've done this, I think. Thanks, Karsh.
"I felt and still feel that everybody is right, no matter what he says … And I gave a name … to a mathematical point where all opinions, no matter how contradictory, harmonized. I call it a chronosynclastic infundibulum. I live in one."
"In our seminar, whether we were arguing about labor or religion or
politics, he would sit back like a resource person and then he would
say, I hear Jane saying such and such, and Tom seems to disagree on
that, but then Tom and Jane both agree on this. I
don’t mean he makes all conflicts go away—that would be crazy. But his
natural instinct is not dividing the baby in half—it's looking for
areas of convergence. This is part of who he is really deep down, and
it’s an amazing skill. It's not always the right skill: the truth
doesn't always lie somewhere in the middle. But I think at this moment
America is in a situation where we agree much more than we think we do.
I know this from polling data—we feel divided in racial terms,
religious terms, class terms, all kinds of terms, but we exaggerate how
much we disagree with each other. And that's why I think he’s right for
It had been a minute since I'd been on any parts of Muni, let alone something as nice as the F Market. I leaned back in my back-row seat and lolled like a pasha, taking pictures of passing bicyclists, the Orpheum Theatre all Conan'd up, intersections teeming with people and cars and litter and neon not yet ready for nighttime. Taking those pictures was a pleasant reminder of riding down International Boulevard in Oakland to the San Leandro line and back last year. I need to take my road bike to Missing Link and get wider tires, or maybe even think about going mountain instead.
I got off the trolley at about 6:35 p.m. and walked over to a long line of folks waiting to get into the Castro. The line stretched around the corner to Nice Cuts. The whole time I kept saying to myself "I've had my fun if I don't get inside, I've had my fun if they don't recognize my credentials, I've had my fun if I can't find a seat." And then I was in and getting my large popcorn, soda, frozen Junior Mints and planting my happy behind about midway up the left side, two seats in from the left-center aisle.
After half an hour or so, the festival present came out and talked up the evening and showed off a clip show of most of Spike Lee's movies. Then out came Wesley Morris, probably the only reason I used to check out the old San Francisco Examiner. Spike followed a few moments later. It was not an even match. Spike was prickly, speaking slowly and deliberately, not trying to be light or witty, but clearly feeling his way through his feelings.
Wesley, I thought, wanted to draw Spike out, to have him Explain things. What made his reviews and occasional essays such fun was probably not just his voice, but time. Live and on stage is no place to try to draw someone out who won't be Drawn. I don't make a point of watching late-night talk shows these days, but I don't think Spike does the rounds on them. Nor, I suspect, does he play nice when he does. I think a little nice would've gotten everybody through the hour and change a little better than we got, which only lightened up toward the end.
Still, cranky as he came off in that setting, unwilling as he was to give Wesley more than an inch, he took his audience very seriously. He accepted thanks graciously and considered questions about almost all issues with equanimity, with the exception of a woman who asked about a bill wending its way through Congress.
And then parts two and three of "When the Levees Broke" played on the screen. I know there's a good reason that horror movies have made a comeback in recent years, but this was something else. What happened in — to — New Orleans and the Gulf Coast — was an abomination. The other word that came to mind about midway through the third part was "affront." Add it to the list of solid Bush-administration indictments: "Fahrenheit 911," "Control Room" and so on.