I had occasion today to go to the Museum of New York, Historical Society it probably adds, though I rarely pay attention to full titles. Mimi's groomer is a few blocks away, and I was determined to spend the time while she fluffs up doing something constructive in the neighborhood, and have meant for some time to see the First Ladies exhibition, which included Eleanor and Jackie. A friend gave me a motto to put on my desk some time ago, a quote from that great Eleanor, saying "Do one thing every day that frightens you," and I have certainly tried.
Today my spirit was slightly shorn before Mimi's coat was, by the news in The New York Times of the split by the Supremes about displaying the Ten Commandments-- they can on the lawn in Texas, they can't in the courthouse in Kentucky-- which threatens our separation of church and state, though not as badly as the right wingers waiting in the wings to blow us into the arms of Jesus would have it. Worse was the news that Matt Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times would be going to jail for refusing to reveal their sources, since the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The issue was the outing of a CIA operative married to a man who rankled the administration. Meanwhile the execrable Robert Novak, who put it in print is out and about, maundering on. The mills of the gods grind slowly, goes the saying, but they grind exceedingly fine. I'm no longer convinced that is the case unless Robert Novak ends up in someone's pablum.
Tonight our(is he ours?) president will make an address on TV about Iraq, and John Kerry who stands very tall once the fight is lost by his own ambivalent palavering wrote an op-ed piece saying what Bush ought to say in his speech, like he's going to listen. We should get out and end it. Of course. Now he takes a strong stand. If I sound like I am angry with not just their candidate but ours, it's because I am. He missed the boat (swift) and now there is no one to stand behind, the reason why we are not marching, according to the opinions of some knowledgeable friends like Victor Navasky, who publishes The Nation, and Sidney Zion who fights with everybody, passionately, though sometimes espousing less than important causes like second-hand smoke, which I must guess he is in favor of, as he is going to write a big piece for Harper's about how it doesn't kill. Victor said Barak Obama is too young and Sidney says he sounds like Osama Bin Laden. Hillary is too polarizing and Dean acts a bit bi-polar, though he is certainly the only one besides Teddy Kennedy who speaks what is on his mind.
Anyway, in the forecourt of the New York Museum is a quote from Gallatin, whoever he was, about Alexander Hamilton: "he made no blunders, committed no frauds." Hamilton's gravestone(it was a blunder to duel with Aaron Burr) is upstairs in the display organized and donated by Henry Luce III, alongside the tombstone of CaptainJames Lawrence, who died at 32 saying "Don't give up the Ship." The memorabilia about all these true patriots seems particularly heart-rending at this time, especially when, on the way back to pick up Mimi one dashes into the Museum of Natural History, and reads the word carved in their front hall of Teddy Roosevelt's (Eleanor's uncle) that it is "Character that determines the future of individuals and nations alike." Oh, we are in such deep___ --what they cannot print in the New York Times.
I first had occasion to go to The New York Museum when Frank Rich wrote a soul-searing article about the 9-11 exhibit there, where you could sit, and slow-breathed, watch the second plane in what seemed like slow motion leisurely glide into the Tower, as well as the unraveling of film from a dropped video camera that recorded much of the rest of it-- people running and screaming in confusion and disbelief. The second time I went was to see the Jules Feiffer exhibition that included his letter to Laura Bush refusing to come to a White House dinner honoring writers, because of who she was married to. I wonder today where the rest of the people are who will stand up to the bogus pageantry, and say, like Howard Dean in his balanced time, we have to get our country back.
Well, off to the Marlon Brando exhibition at Christie's. I musn't lose all of ,my glitzy focus. Eleanor Roosevelt said that New York became a great city because its populace was 'Unterrified.' I guess that's why Los Angeles never did, great distances aside, since everyone in the motion picture business that kept it stoked was so afraid. Well, as we know, Marlon wasn't. But he still blew it.