A reader in California writes about a similarity between Presidents #42 and #44:
"I imagine [Bill Clinton's] prescience about death and the passing of generations at a young age is connected with the loss of his father before he was born, and the shadow that cast over his mother and his life. You see similar themes with Obama, perhaps also connected with a lost father, though his father was alive. Obama's remarks about the passage of time, the shortness of each person's life, when he was at the Great Wall were moving:'It's magical. It reminds you of the sweep of history,' Obama said, after breaking away from his tour guides to walk alone along the snowy parapets, hands jammed into his pockets against the cold and wind. 'It gives you a good perspective on a lot of the day-to-day things. They don't amount to much in the scope of history.' He added: 'Our time here on Earth is not that long and we better make the best of it.' (from Reuters)"It could also be that this heightened awareness of time passing is just what spurs some to extraordinary accomplishment - and wanting to be remembered in history, at least for awhile.(or maybe I'm making this up as a professional hazard of being a psychoanalyst, but just saying...)"
From a reader in Washington state:
"Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck
over Manhattan* ("I think men chase women because they are afraid of dying") plus James Fallows / Andrew Marvell ("But at his back he seems to hear/Time's winged chariot drawing near") equals Bill Clinton explained!"
* Thanks to reader DM.