Friday, July 08, 2005

here we are

I'd been planning a post about cooking in someone else's kitchen, but it seems a bit callous to go on with that when we're 100 miles from London. But really what I have to say about that is that it's very interesting teaching in Oxford right now. We've been talking in lectures and classes about (among many other things) the Battle of Britain, and most of the news kept reminding us of that as well: Londoners, the British in general, we are reminded, know how to cope, will not be shaken, will not be terrorized.

I know that Giuliani had that sort of rhetoric after 9/11, and I know as well that the loss of the WTC was in both symbolic and real terms very different from these smaller attacks, but I'm just struck by how quickly things are getting back to normal here, and how easy it is (really) to feel relatively unscathed, 100 miles away. In 2001, 100 miles from the Pentagon and another few hundred from NYC felt way too close, and no one's life (that I knew) went on as normal for many weeks. Again, I know the comparison is inexact, and I don't want to read too much into it. But the fact is I spent yesterday afternoon walking around Oxford as if nothing had happened. And at the moment that seems really wrong, but there it is.

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