Is evolution the merely pointless, meaningless consequence of having world enough and time, or is our current state of consciousness just too embryonic to grasp the telos of the universe?
A decade before 2001, the increased availability of the personal computer and the Internet revolutionized our world, but it hardly whipsawed our sense of well-being. We expect leaps in technology. We predict the world of things, even nature itself, will fall more and more under our mastery. But 2001 was a leap in dread, fear and anxiety, all things we have managed to medicate but not master.
What changed in 2001 was the comfort of predictability itself. Now we all walk around with a sense that the other shoe will not only drop at any time, but it might also drop on us.
"The Syringa Tree," which won the 2001 Obie Award for best play and premieres in Los Angeles this week, might be the first theatrical work to deal with the complicated and ambiguous relations between Jews and blacks in South Africa. A solo performance written and acted by Pamela Gien, it is a partly fictionalized -- though mostly factual -- account of a half-Jewish, half-English child in Johannesburg during apartheid. Created by Gien in a Santa Monica acting class in 1996, the play was inspired by the brutal murder of Gien's grandfather when she was a child.
To the end, Rechavam Ze'evi, murdered at the age of 75 by a Palestinian gunman on Wednesday, was a soldier in mufti. Alone among the Israeli generals who went into politics, he continued to sport his army identity disk around his neck. It was a statement: the battle for the Jewish State was not over, and one of its most aggressive commanders was still fighting.
September 11, 2001.
This morning, America woke up to the same nightmare that my parents did on February 6, 1985. On that morning, my parents in Los Angeles heard the news that a suicide bomber had attacked an Israel Defense Forces convoy in Southern Lebanon. Reports of casualties varied from 50 injured to 100 killed. My parent's ultimate nightmare was that their son, who had enlisted in the IDF seven months earlier, was a part of the convoy that had been attacked.