Parasol

I can't remember when I last unplugged quite as effectively as I did the past two weeks. For a week, no email; for another week, only marginal reading of the web. The come-down wasn't too brutal, as I slipped into a bit of a coma for a while. And the feeling of free-floating freedom that being a normal pre-web person provided was a bit of a revelation. You can get lost in these here Internets. Sometimes you need to clear the mental horizon of all protruding objects and breathe a little to remember what being human used to feel like.

I did my usual mini-retreats into the dunes and beaches of the Cape. What I find I crave after months of intense blogging is solitude. This may sound weird since a blogger is usually physically alone. But never mentally. In fact, being in the thick of the blogosphere is to be bombarded with company, loud and quiet, polite and rude, always begging for engagement. You can be on the end of a wharf in Provincetown and still feel as if you're in downtown Manhattan or central London. So I headed out to the beach, sans husband and dogs, for a temporary vegetative state. I took a photo of my veg-station above one day last week. It conveys the general idea.

I did some reading and writing. Ron Hansen's "Exiles" was right up my alley. But Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" stayed with me. It's the most important book yet written about the Bush presidency. Perhaps it was seeing "The Dark Knight" at the same time, but if you read that book, absorb what is tells us about what has happened to this country these past seven years, and then read or watch this election campaign filter through the ether, it is hard to avoid a sense of deep concern about where we're headed. We have war criminals as president and vice-president, and a constitution staggering after one serious terror attack. But the campaign is about whether Obama is like Paris Hilton.

The threat of Rove and his ilk is not that their petty, deceptive and irresistibly subjective tactics are evil in a petty, deceptive, childish kind of way. It's that their venial sins distract from their mortal ones. It's the mortal ones we have to be worried about. And the mortal ones that they are getting away with.

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