Today tastes like change again.. It's probably just that normal tendency to draw patterns across a wide range of unrelated phonomena, but my intuition tells me that "things", whatever that means, are moving again, with new endings and new beginnings on their way. Part of it might just be that winter has surrendered - things are cold but by and large this winter arrived late and only in part, and it's thankfully gone again. Today on the way home, signs of pleasant rain began, and I bumped into Isildur and Elly. We kinda-sorta bumped into J and R as well, and over the course of conversation on the walk to their car I joined them in, I came to the conclusion that either Isildur has changed a bit or I've been judging him too harshly in the Weltanschauung sphere (in case you haven't picked up on it yet, Weltanschauung is one of my new favourite words).
I grow increasingly concerned that my idea about moving to Europe isn't realistic with who I want to be - most European states have very different balances between freedom of speech and protections on the dignity of culture and faith. While I'm not a fundamentalist on freedom of speech, my inclinations on when it should be comprimised seem to be more in line with American laws and practice than European ones. I keep reading up on people tried in various European countries for mocking faith, and this is something that doesn't sit well with me. I'm more disturbed by fundamentalist Muslims making death threats (and sometimes, as with the unfortunate cases of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, carrying them out) for people who mock their faith, but that's theoretically a threat anywhere. I'm still looking into it, but it appears that Germany is completely out of the picture and the UK might be.
I just finished Rushdie's "Shalimar the Clown". It was amazing, and the ending was really well done. The historical backdrop was impressive too - from what I know of Indian history, it seems to be an honest, painful depiction of what went on without propogandic simplification of the struggles involved. I found it interesting, almost hitchcockian how the reader was drawn to identify with different characters over the story, each of them being fully human and multidimensional. The book doesn't take place in a moral universe, and it's all the more compelling for it. I was occasionally surprised at how, identifying with characters well outside the "safe bubble" of western democratic struggle, I strongly identified with some of the sides in their deadly struggles. I have a tough time accepting political Islam, burqhas, or similar, so perhaps the relative vagueness of Hindu painted in the book made it more paletable to me. I might imagine that readers who bring different political ideas to the table when reading the book might identify with different sides in the book though. I believe the work to be well worth reading, and look forward to getting more of his works.
I think tonight should mark the return of semi-frequent evening walks and jogs. If anyone else finds themself up at odd hours of the night (or even sane hours), they should drop me a line if they'd be game for joining me.