Karma (and Charles Freeman) on the Bus

More

On Monday I recorded an episode of blogging heads with Brian Beutler on the subject of Charles Freeman. I took the position that, since Freeman had managed to become Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, AIPAC's ability to crush its critics must be exaggerated. Of course, a couple of hours after after the episode appeared, Freeman went and resigned. The timing could not have been worse.

I now know that Karma does not work in subtle ways. A few stops after I got on the 42 bus this morning, Charles Freeman plunked down across from me. He was reading an old paperback copy of Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds, and looking more like a high school English teacher than an existential threat to the state of Israel.

I introduced myself and told him I was sorry that he resigned. He recoiled only slightly when I mentioned I worked for the Atlantic, then smiled broadly. "Shit happens." He added a little wistfully: "I wasn't so eager to go back to the government, anyway."

I asked him what he thought of his critics. "I don't pay much attention to the blogosphere. But I did read Jim Fallows. Fallows actually seemed to have read what I said."

The woman next to me suddenly pieced it together. "Now I know who you are!" She hesitated for a second. "I still disagree with you." Others on the bus started to look confused, even a little worried.

Freeman smiled again, and laughed. "I guess now I'm a notorious  personality." He went back to reading his novel. A few stops later, he got off the bus.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In