Archive for February, 2005

Did I (Gasp!) Conflate Narratives?

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

When I put the name "Glocal Man" on this site and launched it two weeks ago, a whole bunch feedback complained the word "glocal" was dorky.

This one from Chloe does the same but in high-flown language that makes a lot of sense when you think about it:

As a poet and as an anthropologist, the term "glocal" collapses and conflates stories.

It denies that some realities and positions are experienced separately, and while influences from the outside may come in and penetrate, the really "local" as in the rural, does not have the same penetration outwards.

This term tries to "harmonize" all of the global local connections and make unitary narratives in the same way globalization as a process does. It dissolves particularities as single unit data into a broader system. For instance, globalization is the standardization and harmonization of political, corporate, monetary and other systems, e.g. under the world trade organization the customary cultural norms of regions and communities are dissolved into new trade standards and recognition regimes, shaped by the intellectual property rights legislation that do not recognize "non-commercial" arts, science, cultural and intellectual resources as "property."

Furthermore, in the approach of writing a "glocal" story a cosmopolitan journalist unites many more disparate experiences, relationships and connections into a singular coherently globalized story. However, this approach does not do justice to yet to the way a story is experienced in a particularistic manner by individuals within particular cultural, linguistic, political and regional systems – it merely traces that such a particularity exists as an exception to the soveriegn/dominant media stories.

Saskia Sassen called globalization an "exponenential manifestation of the local." However, I believe only cosmopolitanauts experiences this.

Hence, while a cosmopolitanaut may have a "glocal" experience, their world view must still be recognized as unique and does not necessarily give "voice" to the local angle or story, as much as remind themselves that what they are engaging in is a journey of translations. They are tracing and pioneering pathways. But simultaneously, they are contributing to a globalization that some others seek to resist by amping their efforts at localization.

Anyway, despite these thoughts, I am bookmarking this site and look forward to the lively discussions and frontiers that may be formed here in nonetheless.

I finally changed the name.

Conversations Across Distances

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

The title of today’s post comes from an interview with the literary phenom Franklin Safran Foer in today’s New York Times Magazine. The interviewer asked Foer why he writes, and he answers:

Why do I write? It’s not that I want people to think that I’m smart, or even  that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness. Books make people less alone. That, before and after everything else, is what books do. They show us that conversations are possible across distances.

If books do that, we need more books. If blogs do that, we need more blogs. If e-mails do that, we need more e-mails. We need to understand everything we can about how to achieve conversations across distances, which surely is the quintessential act of human connection.

As a way to justify economic globalization, I used to say "people who do business with each other don’t bomb each other." Perhaps it’s true to a degree. But perhaps more so is it true that people who talk with each other don’t bomb each other.

If conversation with a person give us information we need to live and thrive, what’s the chance we will try to fight or kill that person?

Spoken language achieves conversation across the distance between one person’s mouth and another person’s ears, between one mind and another. Which is itself  a daunting abyss across which messages often degrade completely. One might reasonably wonder then, if history’s greatest poets, playwrights and orators have not yet mastered even that short distance, what chance is there that humankind will ever master conversation across distances like those that separate Washington and Baghdad, age and youth, Christianity and Islam?

Journalists could stand to think about this question. What we write gets slammed onto newsprint that then is physically hurled up onto door stoops and flown in the bellies of airplanes to the globe’s four corners.

Once those ink marks are deciphered in the minds of readers, what happens? Does a real conversation start? Or do we spend our skills as writers manufacturing for readers not the opening to a real conversation but something that’s more akin possibly to a box of candies, a metaphor for a newspaper suggested to me once by Arthur Sulzberger Jr.?

Is a newspaper — or a blog, or a TV news show, or choose your mass media vehicle — merely an assortment of sensually gratifying but nutritionally useless sugar highs? 

Using written language to communicate is far too important an activity to deploy globally with low ambitions, much less low skills. We are sending our words around the world. They are by far our biggest export. What messages do they bear? Not only the surface messages but their meta-messages? By meta-message I mean what we in journalism today are calling "frames," i.e., the all-powerful yet usually inexplicit narrative that determines which details go into a story and which ones don’t. These meta-messages go down with stories like drugs dissolved in soup. So what do these all-powerful meta-messages say about how the world itself should be organized? What do the meta-messages say about notions of fairness, equality, hospitality, decency? How do the meta-messages encourage people to act?

I am talking about the technology of written communication and how journalists can use it more responsibly, more effectively, and more humanely across distances.

I don’t buy that journalists have no business dabbling in these matters supposedly best left to literary theorists or mystics. When we write and publish words we encode the full powers of history and literature, of which journalism is a branch, into chicken-scratches of ink and pixels. We then presume to send those deadweight tons of encoded chicken-scratches onward to readers who decipher them, and in whose minds and souls explode the full powers of those symbols.

To deny that this is essentially what we do as journalists is to wilfully refuse to shoulder our greatest responsibility as writers, which is to ensure that when we do connect with our readers (if we ever are so lucky), that we do so in a way that is gentle and useful to that reader and therefore to humanity.

How come this skill isn’t taught in schools? Why didn’t our writing teachers and journalism teachers ever get to this level? It’s got to be the most exciting possibility that writing offers, to make meaningful contact with other beings, to stir in them a piece of the joy and insight and discovery we glean from life ourselves.

Certainly we as reporters are not mere stenographers. We don’t just show up with a tape recorder, our pens and notebooks. We show up with our hearts and minds. That’s why we’re in this dodge. We got into the ink-stained trade because we knew it would give us a front row seat to history, geography, politics, to important and fascinating and thoughtful people, to the world.

Actors and actresses often say their whole body and being is their expressive instrument. We think that applies to us as writers, too. We approach the world openly and forthrightly; we take in the world with our mind and heart and soul, our eyes and ears and fingertips; and we encode that enchanted encounter in ways that, when the symbols are uncoded, faithfully reproduce the original encounter.

We journalists, who are first and foremost writers, need to remember the excitement we felt when we first realized that such a thing was possible, this magical craft of encoding life into potent symbols that later could explode back to life in the minds of our readers, like lotus flowers opening on a still pond. We need to hold tight to that original joyful motivation for reporting and writing that got us into this business, and we need to keep faith with it, in order to be grow as responsible journalists.

I’m making a call to go deeper into the technology of written communication. As writers we sit at our instrument and watch our own minds. When a good sentence floats by, we catch it and type it out. Going deeper means understanding this process better. As we sit, many sentences float by. Why do we choose to grab some of them, and let others float into oblivion? Deeper than that, we have our rituals for starting that flow of floating sentences. What are those rituals? Can we change our rituals so that a  different type of sentence starts to arise and float by — sentences that are gentler, wiser, more powerful, and more useful to humanity?

The wordless state before writing is a place all its own. We as writers need to know more about this state, what it is like and how it operates, because our writing comes from this place, as our life does too.

As a small example, the writer Sunanda Patwardhan, who was assistant to the religious teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti, recalls once asking Krishnamurti to explain his idea of "responsibility without attachment." He seemed to be saying one needed to cultivate a feeling of home that was not limited to one’s birthplace, one’s house, one’s home state or home country, but rather included the whole world.

"Be responsible," Krishnamurti told Patwardhan. She shot back at him, "What could I do for other places, living here in Madras?" And he replied, "It is the feeling of responsibility per se, not merely the responsibility for some thing. This feeling is precious."

What I am suggesting is that such a feeling of responsibility may characterize what I just called "the wordless state before writing" from which all of our words flow.

We might find that cultivation of such a feeling would be precious to us as writers, insofar as by tapping this single feeling-state we might hit a gusher of right words, useful words, gentle words, powerful positive words for humanity.

Poetry & Journalism

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Journalists can learn a thing or two from poetry.

Poetry after all is a mode of speech that’s good at packing a maximum of thought and feeling into a minimum of words.

In these days when the fast-paced news business requires ever-more compressed expression, poetry’s compressing techniques are worth a close look.

Because it uses pure sound and rhythm as well as denoted meanings, poetry taps into the sensually rich parts of life. And good poetry does this responsibly. It’s intensely moral because it’s true to real human life. Iif it’s bogus, poetry is dead on arrival, like a joke that flops. But if it works, it connects immediately because people recognize themselves reflected in the writing. It’s a great writing discipline.

A greater poetic element in journalism, responsibly used, sharpens the mirror that good journalism should be. It presents a wider, deeper, and clearer view of the human beings and human activity that journalism attempts to convey.

Here’s what good poetry does, and sometimes journalism too:

1. Sings
2. Moves
3. Shimmers
4. Cracks the whip
5. Has an undefinable "woo woo" quality
6. Recreates the early childhood pleasures of moon, Mom, and mud
7. Forces an epiphany
8. Imitates nature
9. Contains the music of plain speech
10. Marries sound and meaning
11. Just sounds good
12. Shatters self-important, secluded views of the world
13. Snaps you into a different state of mind
14. Sets off your indicator lights
15. Is the exact opposite of a gazebungle
16. Connects the reader with an interior "otherness," sort of like music
17. Brings the whole soul of man into activity
18. Offers the most accurate possible symbolic image of objects which when they are actually seen cause distress (corpses, worms, etc.)
19. Instructs by pleasing
20. Proposes pleasure as the immediate object of attention
21. Creates a sort of religious feeling
22. Is nothing else, so is poetic by default
23. Remembers things silently gone out of mind
24. Induces movement by precise expression
25. Transforms contemplated emotion into actual, felt emotion
26. Breathes the finer spirit of all knowledge
27. Looks before and after
28. Sees relationships and love everywhere
29. Binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society
30. Feels as if it was always intended to be written as a poem and does not feel like prose in drag
31. Achieves a certain level of song that exceeds the limits of human language
32. Causes a crackling blue spark to arc from the page to the reader’s mind
33. Purges pity and terror
34. Ritualistically recalls horrible memories in loving detail
35. Is news that stays news
36. Hits you with a brick
37. Lives beautifully for a moment and then dies
38. Burns for the joy of it
39. Rings your bell
40. Lifts you off

Good journalism could do this too.

Local Man Changes Blog Name

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

The responses to Jay Rosen’s piece on my glocal journalism tells me two things. First, journalists like the idea of using newspapers and TV news to reveal the connections between local and global life.

Second, they hate the world "glocal." To some it just sounds dorky. Others find it guilty of "denying that some realities are experienced separately" and "making unitary narratives in the same way that globalization as a process does." 

Oy! This I would surely not like to do, even inadvertently.

I tried half-heartedly, at first, to justify the word. It sounds as clunky to my ear as to others. But at the same time, I liked the linguistic collapse it achieved. I told myself I’d accept the aesthetic inelegance, in return for linguistic creativity.

Marketing? Sure. But for a good cause, I rationalized.

Well, the heck with it. If it turns people off, that’s poor marketing. I’ll still use the word as an adjective now and then, but for a title, it’s Local Man.

As in "Local Man, Not Wishing to Conflate Narratives, Changes Blog Name."


India’s #1 Muckraker Starts U.S. Tour

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

The Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath, famous in India for writing about the poor, is now on a U.S. speaking and teaching tour. A recent interview with him by journalist Brian Kaller, published in the Twin Cities weekly newspaper Pulse, raises some important questions about how the Western media covers global poverty.

As I read this interview of a modern muckraking journalist on a scale 1000 times vaster than Jacob Riis could ever have imagined, I had a sinking feeling in my gut.

I know how mainstream reporters look at reporters like Sainath. They take one look and quickly say "Oh, another Third World idealist, a neo-Marxist, a goody two shoes."

What a shame that is. Because Sainath’s perspective is not ideological but rather pragmatic and humane. Also, it shines a light on what’s wrong with how the U.S. media covers the world beyond American borders. Which also perhaps explain why Western reporters are so keen to overlook him and journalists like him.

The rural editor of the Hindu newspaper in southern India, Sainath spends 3/4 of his time not at the office but out with the people he covers with his articles and photographs (that he does both, write and shoot, is another throwback to an earlier journalistic era of the United States that perhaps we should bring back). His 1998 collection of articles, "Everybody Loves a Good Drought — Stories from India’s Poorest District," was a non-fiction bestseller in much of the world that year.

Sainath’s essential critique of the Western media is that it covers Third World poverty using guiding metaphors — "frames" to use the latest journo buzzword — that exclude poverty from the journalists’ vision.

The frame-du-jour for India today is "Booming Thanks to High-Tech Explosion." Which is true as far as it goes. There is a vastly expanding middle class in India and the stock market is soaring. Tom Friedman is all over the story. But that frame excludes a far bigger story that isn’t being told — that the food supplies in India are at their lowest point in half a century, and that poverty is also increasing in the great majority of the population, just as wealth is increasing in a tiny percentage of the population.

The Sensex stock market index, Sainath notes, is universally quoted these days by Western journalists and Indian journalists alike. It has a talismanic appeal. Yet only 1.15% of Indian households has any share in the market. Further, although the top 10% of the population is becoming wealthier and more modernized, 90% of the population is losing ground in income, health, housing, education, and living conditions.

So why does the Western press focus so maniacally on the top 10 percent of the Indian population so often — the "techie entrepreneur" stories, the "rags to riches" stories, the "rising middle class stories," etc?

Is is that the numbers involved in the poverty frame are just so big that journalists and readers have a hard time grasping them? Nonsense, Sainath says. "The numbers are huge, but there is also a choice whether we want to comprehend it or whether we want to evade those facts to feel better."

Providing basic food, clean water, and sanitation to everyone in the world who needs it would cost about $40 billion a year, Sainath says, compared to $34 billion spent each year in Western countries on pets and pet products like low-carb pet foods and hip replacements for old dogs. 

Sainath cites a New York Times story about a politician from the Andhra Pradesh region, a supposed technoligical wizard who turned the city of Hyderabad into an Indian Silicon Valley in the 1990s. Now there’s a great story line!

Only problem is, Sainath says, the story was apparently written out out of a press release. It rehearsed all the politician’s favorite self-aggrandizing tales about himself. Again, not that the story wasn’t true at some level. Life has gotten better for a small percentage of elites at the top.

But at the same time, life has gotten worse for a far larger percentage of ordinary people at the rock bottom. During the same period when the techie-politician was on the rise, Sainath says, the same region, which happens to be where Sainath is from, poverty levels were dramatically rising and farmers by the thousands were committing suicide under the weight of crushing personal debts.

The fact that even a small percentage of the Indian population is a huge number (10% of India’s population is half of Europe’s), is hardly an excuse for missing the larger story of growing poverty. Returning from reporting on a house fire, what  reporter would offer as an excuse to his editor, "I missed the skyscraper burning down because it was just too big compared to the house next door!"

So who or what is to blame? To point out that the abuses flow mainly from control of the economic system by a small handful of corporations and elites is not to be a Marxist (such an ancient red herring by now) but only an observer of the facts.

"In India there has never been a greater period of inequality since the British Raj," Sainath says. "There are two reasons why this has happened. First, there has been a complete collapse of restraint on the power of corporations, and second the elites in most countries have captured the most power."

It would be more than a shame if we dismissed Sainath’s clear, plainspoken, I am tempted to say "non-aligned" journalism with easy labels. Sainath has spent his time with his subjects. His reporting is straightforward and shattering. The way he keeps his journalistic searchlight focused on the areas outside the favored story frames of the elite is in the best tradition of Steffens, Tarbell, Riis, Agee, Murrow.

"It is extremely important that Americans look critically at their own media," Sainath says. "This is a media-saturated society, and you have to wonder that Americans can have the world’s largest media and some of its least-informed public."

Not only citizens, readers, and viewers need to stand up. Journalists, who should seriously consider re-embracing their own best traditions, need to as well.

Ain’t Language Grand?

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

So, Mr. Putin doesn’t think Iran should have nuclear weapons.

So he agrees with Mr. Bush! The summit is a success!

But then again — did any reporter point this out to either leader? — Mr. Putin doesn’t think Iran has any plans to build nuclear weapons, either.

How come journalists let both Bush and Putin off the hook so easily with these word games? Surely this sophisticated press corps knows it is being used. Yet they report the whole empty ritual of the "summit" in an absolute deadpan, with the White House spin reported as if were the absolute objective truth. 

Hawthorne on the Chopping Block — Again

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Hawthorne School, the indispensable Rochester facility where up to 2,000 immigrants learn to speak English every year, is set to lose more than $300,000 in Federal funds for its language programs thanks to the Bush administration’s proposed federal budget for 2005.

And it’s going to lose 100% of the funds it presently uses to run a program to help disadvantaged children begin school at an equal level with other children.

Last year, Hawthorne was forced to shut the school on Friday’s and scale back on programs thanks to state and federal cutbacks.

Julie Nigon, Hawthorne’s principal, has no idea where she will start cutting if the Bush administration’s proposed education cuts go through.

"Teachers will have to go, programs will have to go," she said. "I just don’t know where to start thinking about this."

The school’s annual budget of $1.3 million comes roughly 2/3 from the state’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) fund, and 1/3 from federal ABE funds. The Bush budget would cut roughly 75% of the federal ABE funds provided to Minnesota.

The school started in the early 1970s, when Vietnam war refugees started arriving in Rochester. Since that time, every successive wave of immigrants to southeast Minnesota has taken its first steps toward full participation in American society at the school –  Hmong, Cambodians, Eastern Eurpeans, Somalis, Sudanese and, most recently, Hispanics.

More than 800 students pass through Hawthorne every day, studying everything from English as a second language to GED preparation, writing classes, and parenting and cultural training.

Sixty low-income families in Rochester are presently enrolled in Even Start, one of the education programs the Bush administration has proposed to entirely eliminate. The classes help children before age five learn to start reading and speaking English so they can enter public school at the same level as other children.

"It’s probably more palatable to the general public to cut programs like ours as opposed to K-12 programs, because they don’t see it as effecting them directly," Nigon said. "The kind of people who come to our school, it’s easy not to see them.

"You can not see them in virtually every restaurant in the state. You can not see them on the night shift at department stores, cleaning floors in every office building and every motel. You don’t see them because they are not the kind of group to stand up and say ‘How dare you take away my right to go to school?’

"We are a kind of sign of society’s failure" at Hawthorne School, Nigon said, suggesting another reason why programs for immigrant education and literacy are often easily overlooked at Hawthorne and similar schools.

"We started as a sign of failure in Vietnam," having to educate the thousands of Vietnamese refugees who came to the U.S. in the 1970s. Then we were a sign of failure of the K-12 system," picking up students who either didn’t graduate, or graduated but still couldn’t read. "Then were were a sign of the many failures of diplomacy" of the U.S. and U.N. in places like Eastern Europe, Sudan, and Somalia.

"We will probably end up being a sign of the failure of ‘no child left behind,’" she said.

Actually, Hawthorne School is one of the most upbeat and positive teaching environments anyone could wish for. The immigrants and refugees who study there are united in purpose, serious, focused, and generally help each other through the difficult process of learning a new language and customs.

The loss of more of its programs as the Bush budget education cutbacks continue won’t be just a loss for Hawthorne, but for us all.

Glocal: An “Aflac” of My Own

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

In the comment section following Jay Rosen’s article last week about Glocal Man, several folks have been critical of the word glocal — an inelegant hybrid that’s too cute by half.

I completely understand. I started out hating the word myself and for a couple of years I tried out several other ones, such as worldplace.

Has anyone thought of a truly good word for the important human effort to consider one’s local and global addresses (e.g., "10 Oak Street" and "Planet Earth") within the same breath and thought?

I’ve not been able to, so keep coming back to the clunky hybrid. To my surprise, given my initial distate, I ended up accepting the word glocal in my own head and my own ear. And despite its closeness to the sound of "local" it does come across distinctly when spoken, I find.

There’s perhaps a little deeper issue at work here. It’s interesting that most journalists, even though they are liberal in politics, are in my experience very conservative culturally, at least in respect to language.

Don’t we journalists tend to think the language should pretty much stay exactly where it was at the time we first learned it? Aren’t we really skeptical of neologisms until they get some kind of imprimatur that makes the neologism newsworthy — as with hip hop lingo, Silicon Valley jargon, surfer talk, and other language trends?

But if we are always waiting for a pop trend or a best-selling book to legitimize what’s newsworthy, might we overlook something that’s truly important but just hasn’t happened to become a megatrend or giant moneymaker yet?

In the case of glocal, I felt I had to get over my reluctance to be accused of trendiness and New Age-iness and just go with the best word I had to describe something I felt was important. And the best I had, I felt, was glocal.

I almost hope I chose wrong. If a more elegant and accepted term comes up, I will try to be the first to adopt it and to drop the word that sounds a choking duck and that Tom Brokaw could never pronounce.

Quick! Make an Iranian Friend!

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

The supreme leader of Iran spoke to Iranian Air Force officers recently. I watched the speech on C-Span while running on the treadmill at the gym. I listened as carefully to it as I did to Bush’s State of the Union speech. I fear a war with Iran is much more likely that most of us have previously thought.

A fierce war of words has already broken out between the U.S. and Iran, both at the diplomatic and chief executive levels. This is alarming. The U.S. president is being bellicose on behalf of freedom and democracy, and the Iranian government is being equally beligerent on behalf of Islam.

Some amazing photographs of Khameini’s Air Force speech are here.

Here’s the Ayatollah’s money quote:

"Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to the Infidels!"

And later:

"America is destroyed! Islam is victorious!"

Not "Iran" is victorious, mind you. "Islam" is victorious. We’ve got a budding nuclear superpower run by religious zealots who are explicitly calling for the destruction of America. And we’ve got an aggressive U.S. administration that shows every sign of itching for a showdown with the Iran’s mullahs.

The fact that Iran is run by religious zealots notwithstanding, Iran is a sophisticated society with long traditions of learning and culture. Its population is overwhelmingly young and to a large degree sympathetic to liberalism and democracy. They aren’t crazy about the mullahs.

Lots of Iranian-American organizations  and individuals are watching the situation closely, and doing their best to mediate and educate in what looks likely to become the world’s next gut-wrenching superpower vs. Islamic state showdown.

It’s time for glocalists to brush up on our Iranian geography and politics, and to reach out to our Iranian-American friends.

Meeting My Accuser

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

At Starbucks in downtown Rochester today, I met an old acquaintance, a Somali immigrant who is Muslim. I last saw him more than six months ago, just before I published a long article in Minneapolis City Pages about a local woman who claims she met one of the 9/11 hijackers in a downtown Rochester bar in August, 2001.

I was previously on friendly terms with this fellow, but apparently no more.

The minute he saw me, he started yelling. People in the coffee shop were turning around. "What do you mean by publishing that article?" he demanded. "What do you mean by that? That article hurt every Muslim who lives in this city!"

After it was published, several Muslims wrote to City Pages to say the article was unfair because it suggested that all Muslims who live in Minnesota are possibly terrorists. Needless to say, I had tried to write the article in such a way that it wouldn’t inflame this concern. I had done a great deal of research and not only believed the woman was telling the truth exactly as she remembered it, but also that there was a very strong circumstantial case that she was correct. I believed then, and believe now, that the hijacker named Mohand Al-Shehri likely visited Rochester just weeks before 9/11. 

"That woman, what was she doing in a bar so late at night?" my acquaintance demanded. "She was drunk! She was dating Arab men! This is not a good woman!"

I interjected that in the United States, the fact that a woman goes to a bar for a drink after work does not make her a bad woman. He brushed the comment aside.

"Why did you print what she said?" he yelled. "Now every person in Rochester thinks that every Muslim who lives in this town is possibly a terrorist!" By now a mutual friend of ours, also a Somali Muslim, was trying to pull the man away from me. More people turned their heads to stare.

"Did you read the 9/11 Commission Report?" my accuser demanded.

"Yes," I said.

"Did it say that a 9/11 hijacker ever visited Rochester?"

"No," I said.

"So you know more than the 9/11 Commission?"

"Yes, in this one detail I think I do," I began to say, but at this point the man’s cell phone went off and as he answered it my Somali friend hustled him out the coffee shop door, on the pretense that it would be quieter to talk on the phone outside. I gathered my newspaper and left while the getting was good.

The moral of the story? I’m not sure yet, but the encounter left me depressed.

I know the situation in town is not as bad as he paints it. I have other Muslim friends here who, while they are definitely concerned about stereotyping Muslims, are not upset to this degree and don’t believe my article was racially irresponsible. Still, to come face to face with such raw anger — a seething raw anger that spans the globe — is sobering and scary. This is a glocal reality. I am determined to the degree possible to try to understand — and as a journalist to report and explain — the legitimate concerns being expressed.

But at some point the dialogue turns ugly and scary and one simply has to turn away. One needs to wait for a cooler moment to continue the dialogue. Will that moment ever come between this man and me? And how? (Published 2/17/2005)