340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tube bombs? Luxury!

There's been an interesting subtext to the news coverage of the London bombings: the nation that invented the phrase "stiff upper lip" is having its stoicism quietly applauded in North America's newspaper columns and editorial pages. In today's Globe & Mail, Doug Saunders highlights the tenacity of London pub-goers and a British co-worker of mine was relieved (but not surprised!) to discover that the buses in zone 1 were running again before the evening rush hour -- "otherwise, all the nine-to-fivers would've been right annoyed." Well, sure. I know how irritable I get when mid-morning bombings slow down my trip home after work. I suppose that's what decades of IRA bogeymen lurking in English closets does: it breeds impassivity in the face of the maniacal.

Ian McEwan, suddenly sounding very old and very tired, wrote an affecting little essay for the Guardian. He strikes a tone familiar to readers of Amsterdam, Black Dogs or (my personal favourite) The Comfort of Strangers: vaguely detached empathy mingled with a growing sense of apprehension. McEwan explores themes of alienation, distance, disintegration and disaffection in his novels and the man has an amazing gift to make the banal sinister and vice-versa. It serves him well in this essay and he chooses to take an interesting tack on the issue. I won't spoil it, but take a look--it's a quick read.

* * *

In living with C., I've come to understand the difference between a rag and a washcloth. I'm not being facetious; there is a difference. One is intact, presentable and serves multiple purposes. The other is ragged, smells funky and is really only good for cleaning bird droppings off the hood of your car. I've often compared my local English-language paper to the latter, but today it bears a greater resemblance to the former.

Mike Boone, that charmingly self-aware icon of obsolescence, hastily wrote a quietly reflective bit about being the father of a teenage girl who's vacationing in the UK:
Not recommended for the faint-hearted fathers of daughters travelling abroad: British Broadcasting Corp. reports of the terror attack suddenly punctuated by a ringing telephone.

In the same paper, Janet Bagnall--one of the only reasons I keep paying good money for that paper--offers pretty much the most lucid and rational analysis of Homolka's appearance on Radio-Canada in her piece, "Homolka was handled with kid gloves." I'd link to both, but the Gazoo requires a subscription. In a couple of days, remind me and I'll upload the full text of both articles.


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