Notes From The War City

by Richard Brookhiser

How is the war going down in one of the places, along with the Pentagon and Flight 93, where it all started?

Much of New York has reverted to blue-country habits. This partly reflects the local political culture: The New York City Council passed an antiwar resolution, because of liberalsim and also, I am afraid, local term limits. In times past the Council was filled with dug-in hacks like Peter Vallone and Archie Spigner who were not wild-eyed leftists. Now it’s more open to eddies of fruitcakes. The influence of the Times has also been baleful on educated liberal opinion. As Eliot said of the Boston Evening Transcript, its readers sway in the wind like corn. The difference between the Times and the Washington Post has become quite startling.

But the tabloids wage merry war on Saddam, and there are other anomalies. Here are two, one unclassifiable, one gung-ho.

I was buying a paperback of the Bhagavad Gita from a used book seller on Avenue A. This is a section of the Mahabharata that is a conversation between Arjuna, one of the heroes, and his adviser and charioteer Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu, on the eve of a colossal battle. The bookseller asked me as I paid if I thought Bush was talking to Krishna, or to Rumsfeld?

I was eating at one of the my favorite restaurants, and the owner, a former model, told me he had taken all his French wine off the menu, and was serving only Saratoga Water (no Perrier). A votre sante!