One consequence of living several thousand miles from the place you grew up and shifting residences every few years is that the people you care for tend to die at a distance. Once a year or so I get a phone call to inform me that someone I had assumed alive and well has suffered a stroke, or shot himself, or neglected to wake up. Upon hearing such news I usually feel a brief but genuine desire to drop whatever I am doing and fly to the funeral. Then I recall the funerals I have attended.
CLOSE THAT COPY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. IT'S O.K. Clip the coupon below to let Foreign Policy guide you through the next critical year. — Advertisement in Foreign Affairs, Fall 1993 I think I can pinpoint the moment I first felt obliged to be interested in foreign affairs. It was during a steamy New Orleans summer between high school and college, when, after a local worthy ridiculed me for never having heard of Rebecca West, I found myself bench-pressing a copy of Black Lamb and Gray Falcon, the author's 1,200-page study of Yugoslavia.
When you first meet David Rubenstein, you have to force yourself to remember that as a young staffer in the Carter White House he believed that the best thing in the world to be was a public servant. In those days he was known mainly for his unwillingness to go home at night.
I don't know whether the more esoteric passages of the kabala mention the talismanic importance of blond-headed gentiles, but I would not be surprised if they did. The flaming gentile in the Jewish institution often enjoys a status not so different from a luxury good: the Toy Goy. The Toy Goy has many privileges: he is permitted to slough off before and after (but hexer during) Jewish holidays; to laugh at Jewish jokes around the office: to be as superficial, happy and untroubled as he pleases.