Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dinner with David

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, Mauritius. Photo by RomeoDesign.
Shorter David Brooks, "Where History is Being Made", New York Times, February 7 2017:
James and Deborah Fallows, as I think of them, since I'd like to emphasize that I habitually encounter them together at dinner parties rather than separately in the articles and books that each of them writes, have lived in many interesting places, such as Japan, the District of Columbia, and China, at times when important historical events were taking place in those locations, for instance in the 1980s when the Wall Street Journal dumped me in Brussels, the bastards, which is why everybody thinks Fallows is cooler than me. 
Nowadays they just fly around America in their Cirrus 435SR, because James is a pilot, so that they're frequently absent from dinner parties I go to, allowing me to ask the other guests, as a clever conversational gambit, "Where would you live if you were James and Deborah Fallows?" The beautiful thing about this is it doesn't really matter what they say, because I have so many answers myself.
First of all, I would like to live in the past. That's where history's really made, right? 
For instance in 1968 I would like to have two residences, in San Francisco and in Orange County, and in 1974 I'd move to the offices of Ms. Magazine, in Arlington County, if they'd let me crash, perhaps in a conference room. Then in the 1980s I would move to Japan or Wall Street, Silicon Valley in the 1990s, and Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus in 2006 (apparently because of some events that took place in 2003, which I'm not at liberty to discuss because they are classified, but let's just say I was temporarily transferred to a possible universe where the Iraq War did not take place, and it was some other David Brooks that published all those columns about it), the offices of university neuroscience departments in New York, Cambridge, and Los Angeles in 2010, and Ohio in 2015, where all the white working class guys are. 
Then if I have to live in the present I pick Washington, which is coincidentally where I do live.....
Fallows himself is reported as suggesting he should go to Erie, Fresno, or Columbus, or presumably anywhere with a comparable small-craft airport, and Brooks comes back with a Brooklyn church or the Paris offices of the Front National (actually in working-class Nanterre just north of Paris; he certainly does seem to have a thing about sleeping in offices), which he hasn't yet written a column about, I don't think, or what I suspect must be the African Leadership University in Pamplemousses, Mauritius, where I'm betting he has an upcoming speaking gig. And a dinner party, no doubt. I ate already, I'll just have a glass of antifreeze.

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