Elisabeth Sladen (as Sarah) shows the effects of suspended animation in Doctor Who
The tragic, still unfolding events in Japan and Libya have awoken in me a curious and disturbing sense of suspended animation., i.e., the slowing of life processes by external means without termination.
It seems so strange -- the protracted and seemingly endless alternation of unverifiable, unreliable and unsustained "good news" and "bad news" from Japan, dispensed and rotated through half, quarter -- even shorter -- cycles. Things must seem twice as incoherent over there -- unless they're receiving different and more consistent information than we are here -- and they are as unaware of our alternate universe as we surely are of theirs.
Jupiter Mission: 2001, A Space Odyssey
Libya, a completely different situation and one suffused with an obvious (except in the sense of being easily understood) political superstratum, is scarcely more coherent and confuses both spatial/political (right and left) and compass directions. (Civil wars are like that.) Please note that this is not a political posting expressing a personal conclusion or point of view on these matters. However, for an opinion/analysis of a person on the right (Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post), click here. To read a "left" alternative view (from Michael Kinsley in the Los Angeles Times), click here. Both writers are knowledgeable and thoughtful. Neither paints anything like a happy, contented picture.
While both catastrophes are still "current events", they now each seem to have gone on for so long without obvious milestones or signposts that I feel myself cryonically frozen in a permanent fuzzy present tense with no expectation of any future arrival at any point of entry or safe harbor.
Where my knowledge of suspended animation first began.
On a much more trivial level, a similar sensation of suspended animation arises from experiencing the continuing, practically incessant television appearances of former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, former Tennessee U.S. representative Harold Ford, and former Newsweek magazine editor Jon Meacham (the man who single-handedly wrecked Newsweek, in business since 1933, by making it unreadable, uninteresting and actually physically unpleasant to the touch) on various news shows where they each discourse interminably about subjects they know very little about. At least Rendell is in his element here -- turn on the switch and he just Goes, kind of like Jane's brilliant Kung-Fu Hamster. The other two just emit wheezy sounds.
Unrelenting blowhard, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who will speak at any length on any topic.
Former U.S. representative from Memphis, Tennessee, Harold Ford -- icy opportunist and "higher office political hopeful" turned soggy pundit and "investment banker"/Rolodex whore. Encountering him on a Manhattan street is scary -- is he a revenant or an extra-terrestrial visitor from an ongoing real-life "V" invasion? And why is he making that face?
Jon Meacham -- he actually destroyed Newsweek magazine all by himself. By making its appeal more "selective", he completely eviscerated it so quickly that he should receive the Admiral Graf Spee Award for speedy scuttling. A cure for insomnia in human form, being subjected to Meacham's Hamlet-like soliloquies is clearly collective karmic payback for some mysterious wrong thing each of us did to someone sometime somewhere. For what it's worth, I'm so sorry. As Linda Blair once said so memorably: "Mother, make it stop."
Kung-Fu Hamster -- in Todd Rundgren's words, A Wizard, A True Star.
Click on link above and here to see hamster in action.