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Time magazine, Feb. 1, 1982

A cool, grey Saturday with nothing planned – heaven. After watching handsome Viggo Mortensen on Bill Maher’s show last night, I may try to see his new movie Captain Fantastic. For those of you in Toronto, TVO is showing a beautiful, very moving documentary, Buck, about a man who has phenomenal empathy and skill with horses, which we find out comes as a result of his horrific childhood. 9 tonight, TVO. Highly recommended.

I was going through some old papers last night and found a Canadian Time magazine dated Feb. 1, 1982. As I flipped through, an article caught my eye: “Islamic Fervor,” was the headline, “Fundamentalism on campus.” It’s about a new but growing trend to Islamic fundamentalism among Palestinian youth on the West Bank, who proclaim “Glory to the martyrs of the Palestinian revolution.”

The signs of fundamentalist renascence are widespread on campus. At Bir Zeit, where Muslims claim the support of well over a third of the students, Muslims tend to organize themselves tightly around such communal activities as studying the Koran, praying and fasting.” They quote a Palestinian student: “Islam is the only solution to the problem of Palestine. The Koran predicted the creation of a Jewish state 1400 years ago and also its conquest by Muslims.

And it ends by saying that the Israelis “realize that a militant fundamentalism, implacably opposed to Israeli control, would make their long-term occupation of the area much more difficult. Says one Israeli official on the West Bank, ‘If this develops, it will be hell.’ “

No kidding. That article is on the same page as one about the murder of an American diplomat in Paris by an Arab assailant, possibly from the “Lebanese Army Revolutionary Faction.”

Were we paying attention in 1982? Did anyone have any idea nearly 35 years ago that these nascent movements could escalate into the monstrosity of horror we face today? I think not.

And another monster that once unleashed was impossible to defeat: there’s an article on what they call “The Great Tax Giveaway of 1981,” when President Reagan slashed taxes, especially on high income earners, so forcefully that the country had “a gargantuan budget deficit looming.” The tax cutting bill included “a near elimination of estate and gift taxes … special write-offs for oil drillers, truckers and developers who rehabilitate old buildings… One depreciation rule on telecommunications equipment could be worth an estimated $14 billion to AT &T alone.”

The last paragraph: “Rather than propose repeal of the tax breaks he unwisely agreed to last year, President Reagan seems sure to urge whittling the deficit by slashing away again at social spending … Moral: tax breaks, once granted, are devilishly hard to snatch away.”

No kidding. Here we have the beginning of the erosion, if not the outright destruction, of the great American (and British etc.) middle-class about which we are hearing so much today.

Fascinating reading, old magazines, not to mention the ads for the giant Chrysler LeBaron, Players Extra Light cigarettes (beautiful people in bathing suits holding surfboards), and  an ad for Wang computers: “Wang started a revolution by making computers adapt to people instead of the other way around. Wang computers are easy to learn and operate … We brought the same simplicity to word processing. Wang is the leading marker of word processing systems in the world. We’ve also introduced Mailway electronic mail. And WangNet: the electronic connection network that links all kinds of office equipment together.

Whatever happened to Mailway and WangNet? I remember when I first heard about email in about 1988 (?), thinking, “Why would I need that when there’s the telephone and letters?” It was years before I gave in. And now … yesterday John was here working in the basement and accidentally disconnected my wifi, and I nearly went mad.

Hi, readers, I’m here, talking to you via WangNet. Or some version thereof.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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