I Am Sitting at Lytton Plaza Reading George Packer in The Atlantic

[Photo by Matt and Justin –Matt who models at Palo Alto Art Center –Justin his wingman and also a model of sorts — Or we can rest assured he embodies a human form]


A couple hours later, I have decamped to Coupa Cafe.

I stil have not finished the George Packer cover story about Bosnia and its significance as far as the so-called “American Century” and charting our future. The full title is: Elegy for the American Century: In the 1990s, when Richard Holbrooke ended a war in the Balkans, America seemed poised to reach new heights; instead it began to decline; a report on the decay of Pax Americana.

This is the first George Packer I’ve read in quite some time. I had been checking, fruitlessly, The New Yorker. Yet I had read that George had been hired away by Laurene Powell Jobs, who is investing via her Emerson Project into media of various stripes. Emerson whose offices replaced The Nevada Building in Palo Alto, which at one point had a studio of the California Poet Laureate Al Young. Actually,  in between posting this and fleshing it out a bit, I fist-pumped Ron Conway the investor, who I imagined was on his way to see Laurene Powell Jobs. I told Ron that I recognized him from the Pace Gallery JR show recently (Conway is one of about 1,000 people who sat for the photo-mural, some of whom were at the opening).

But I stopped on page 85 (not 84, mind you) to open my computer and try to reach out to Glen Eberle, the Dartmouth Olympian and combat veteran who I once tape-recorded (literally, on a cassette) about his experiences listening to John Denver at the Sarajevo Olympic games — Glen competed in biathlon. I am wondering what Glen Eberle would think of George Packer’s article.

George, meet Glen; Glen meet George.


I presume this is The Old Boy Eberle, my schoolmate and subject in a winter hunting outfit he helped design with a pack and stock he helped design, fording a stream near Boise.

Here’s Packer’s lead:

What’s called the American century was really just a little more than half a century, and that was the span of Richard Holbrooke’s life. It began with the Second World War and the creative burst that followed—the United Nations, the Atlantic alliance, containment, the free world—and it went through dizzying lows and highs, until it expired the day before yesterday. The thing that brings on doom to great powers—is it simple hubris, or decadence and squander, a kind of inattention, loss of faith, or just the passage of years? At some point that thing set in, and so we are talking about an age gone by. It wasn’t a golden age—there was plenty of folly and wrong—but I already miss it. The best about us was inseparable from the worst. Our feeling that we could do anything gave us the Marshall Plan and Vietnam, the peace at Dayton and the endless Afghan War. Our confidence and energy, our reach and grasp, our excess and blindness—they were not so different from Holbrooke’s. He was our man. (A variation of this runs on the cover, along with teasers for Kamala Harris and “What Your Dentist isn’t Telling You”)

In theory, I will edit to add some actual conclusions about the story, and hopefully a note from Glen (if not his take). I admit I am not good at telling the story of the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. I had a brief talk about this with the pianist Larry Vukovich. My father sold Yugo’s. I love Caffe Trieste.

Here’s the link to the actual story, but by all means plunk down the $9 at Mac’s Smoke Shop.

andand: this is very self-referential but I also have a post about running into my fellow former editor of The Dartmouth Paul Gigot ’77 at that same Lytton Plaza.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
This entry was posted in filthy lucre, media, Plato's Republic and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I Am Sitting at Lytton Plaza Reading George Packer in The Atlantic

  1. Mark Weiss says:

    I don’t know why I cannot login to my WordPress account from my handheld yet it is letting me post as myself but under Gmail, whatever. Years ago before I figured out how to work this thing I did addendums to posts via comment. I did finish the George Packer article about Bosnia and the decline since 1998 of American infuence, although it is still pretty fuzzy to me. At Michael Krasny’s class last week, I almost contributed a speck (speech) about the “Battle Royale” opening scene of Ralph Ellison “Invisible Man” and how I met a Rwandan Tutsi named F____ in Oakland where she was doing an intensive computer course in the Bay Area for one month, on break from her job doing IT for a bank in Luxembourg — she lives in Belgium — and she claimed that the civil war in he country 25 years ago was caused by the European colonists dividing her people into two camps, Hutu and Tutsi which ultimately led to violent conflict between the two groups. She also said that she was not offended by the songs in the 1960s — that I brought to her attention — about dancing “the Watusi”. Watusi is the pop American tranlation of Tutsi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s