The Duck of Minerva

Back in the Saddle

19 August 2009

OK, I’m officially back from hiatus after a long summer on the road plus the requisite settling-in period.

Getting off the grid for a month and grounding one’s experience in the practical aspects of life in a clunker with two kids gives one some perspective.

I spent the summer aloof from some of the major news stories of the season: Michael Jackson’s death and the charges against his doctor, the media spectacle’s supposed knock-on effects on events in Iran, the mud-slinging over health care reform.

And I came back to find a world I barely recognized:

1) Foreign Policy declaring the “death of machismo” (really? a glance at this summer’s blockbusters you’d be hard put to tell);

2) the US favorite in the Afghan election tainted by an alliance with war criminals (well, maybe this will help attract Britney Spears’ vote; she seems to like dark, dangerous men); and

3) (wait for it!) the recession is “over” (must have been the Clunkers for Cash program; too bad my clunker (above) is way too fuel-efficient to qualify at a whopping 22 mpg).

It’s taken a little while to shift gears. The thing about road-trips is that you spend most of your time in the vast empty spaces of the continent, and the rest of it in small-town America, where the agenda cycle is markedly different from that of the political blogosphere. So before getting back to regular posts on human security, military affairs and transnational activism, I’ll start by sharing a few political insights from the road in the next couple of posts.