Question Reality

(Published in The State, Columbia, SC 4/1/98) Welcome to the 90s: Smart bombs. Rapid deployment. Cruise missiles. 72 hour wars. Just when it looked like the decade’s military/political hype had finally drifted deep enough to make the world feel safe and small, two incidents recently brought me back to reality. The first was my viewing of the Barry Levinson cinema satire Wag the Dog. Forget...

Woolworth’s

(Published in The State, Columbia, SC 1/1/98) I make a pilgrimage to Charleston at least twice a year. I go down to park my car and slip on my walking shoes, to eat a praline from the market, to stand in front of historic buildings and reflect on my relationship to my own complex past. Of course, I always notice changes. Focusing on the past does that. Sometimes these changes are disturbing to...

Suburbans

(Published in The State, Columbia, SC 12/8/97) Today I turned onto the street alongside First Presbyterian church in Spartanburg and found myself, I kid you not, in a line of eight Suburbans, what a friend calls “suburban assault vehicles.” The Suburbans were all waiting to pick up children at the church kindergarten, blocking the thru-street. If the Union had built such huge...

Saving the Blue Wall

(Published in The State, Columbia, SC 11/3/1997) I believe there is nothing more important than the preservation of wild land. The aquisition of Sandy Island was a moment of great celebration for me. I felt that somehow the overwhelming human greed so common in South Carolina coastal development had been stopped in its tracks. As the poet Gary Snyder says, “If the lad or lass is among us...

Dixie Rising’s Unanswered Questions

(Published in The State, Columbia, SC 7/4/97) Peter Applebome’s recent book Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics and Culture leads with an important question. Who is Southern, and who’s not in an America that is increasingly Southern and a South that is increasingly American? Applebome suggests that the values that are becoming “America’s...

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