“It’s not just the fiscal cliff – there’s a whole series of crises coming” – so (sort of) said Edward Luce, the FT’s man in Washington when being interviewed by some BBC radio hack yesterday. He had a deliciously mixed metaphor, about the new “crisis as normal/normal as crisis” thing that we are going through/into. I meant to write it down, but I got distracted (I think by the cat).
And at the same time, I got to thinking about where that sense of “normal” has gone. I grew up in the 80s, with the Soviet “threat” visibly melting in the second half of the 80s. Along with the sense of Western Progress, all those household names are gone (Ronnie) or the subject of much thinly-disguised media vultureing. Schwarzkopf went today, but there are ghoulish pneumonia-watches on Thatcher, Bush and Mandela (and – for the Aussies – Bob Hawke).
Mrs Towers and I were talking about this briefly today, and I opined that it would be good to get them all out of the way in a single week. She modified this; “Let’s have Thatcher and Bush go on consecutive days, followed by Mandela.” Then I suppose, at least he can perform one last service in an amazing life of service, bravery and leadership – he can spare us from the horrible eulogies for those two major criminals. Graca Machel (formerly the wife of another real leader, probably whacked by the South Africans – or maybe the Soviets?) says that NM is fading before her eyes.