erik lundegaard


Wednesday January 21, 2009

“There's Work to be Done”

Here's a great site, via Andrew Sullivan, that collects the newspaper headlines of the day. Yesterday was the day for it. Interesting to see what different editors chose to highlight or headline. There's almost poetry in it:

“A New Era,” “A New Day,” “A New Beginning,” “A New Start,” “A New Hope.”
“Hope Over Fear,” “Hope Meets History,” “History Made Today,” “History in the Making,” “Remaking America.”
“Hello, Mr. President,” “Mr. President,” “The President,” “The 44th President,” “The 44th and the First.”
“President Obama,” “Obama Ovation,” “Obama's Promise,” “Let's GObama,” “The Obama Era Begins.”
“Change,” “Change Has Come,” “The Time Has Come.”
“Face of a Nation”? “Yes, He Is.”
“Mark This Day”: “We Are Ready to Lead.”

There was also this:

It struck a chord and it took me a minute before I remembered why. It's similar to a line in “TimeQuake,” Kurt Vonnegut's last novel. I reviewed it for The Seattle Times in 1997. Back then I wrote:

Just as Billy Pilgrim could get unstuck in time (in “Slaughterhouse-Five”) and gravity could become variable (“Slapstick”), so Kilgore Trout and the world discover in “Timequake” that the universe isn't always expanding. In the year 2001, the universe has second thoughts and contracts, or hiccups, sending everyone back to what they were doing 10 years before.

It's a perverse form of eternal recurrence. Everyone has knowledge of the next decade but is unable to alter it in any fashion. They essentially become prisoners within their own bodies.

Thus, when the universe gets going again, people are unprepared — asleep at the wheel, as it were — and disasters occur. They don't realize that once again they have to drive their cars or fly their airplanes or concentrate on walking straight. So cars crash, planes plummet, people wobble and fall over.

Trout, one of the first to realize what has happened, tries to wake people out of their stupor by shouting, “You have free will!” When this doesn't work, he tells them, “You were sick, but now you are well, and there's work to do!”

It's January 21, 2009. You were sick. But now you are well. And there's work to be done.

Posted at 02:45 PM on Wednesday January 21, 2009 in category Politics