Richard Price’s most recent book, Lush Life, centers on the diverse communities on the Lower East Side who simply do not comprehend each other. A son of prosperity needlessly dies because he makes a stupid movie comment when faced with a gun stuck in his face by a project kid.
Price’s point is that too many of our well off are living in movie and TV land, not in the real world that can kill if one gets it wrong.
Actually a real life version of this killing occurred a decade or so ago when a Columbia grad student and his girl friend were held up by a kid who responded with a bullet when the grad student wise mouthed, “Don’t you want the dollar you dropped.” It bounced off a wall into his skull.
One cannot wonder whether the U.S. has been living in a comparable la-la land with its wars over there fought by guys and young women who signed up with the military as a job, not a death trap. I had a daughter doing military service for medical training who got out just in time to do her studies as a civilian (prior to 9/11).
One does not have the sense that either the smiling faces on our TV screens or others who may even have some reservations about the war realize that we are killing towards our second hundred thousand over there and are bringing home 40% of our troops disabled — total who have been fighting there working towards the second million. See Columbia’s Joseph E. Stiglitz estimate that our wars will cost us 3 trillion — TRILLION, NOT BILLION!!! [The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict with Linda J. Bilmes, WW Norton, March 2008]: http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/
And so — where lies reality?
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]