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We talk a lot about leapfrogging, when a family doesn’t have a phone and they skip the land line and get a mobile. This happens a lot in people’s careers as well, especially with the talent crunch in India, and you have young people who become managers for the first time. In many ways, I feel my stint in India leapfrogged my own career. For all of my going over to India to impart the Western way of doing things, I feel that what I took away much more was what America can learn from the Indian media. It really forced me to reexamine U.S. journalism that I had learned. In New Delhi, I received nine newspapers every morning. When I worked at the Washington Post I only received the Washington Post. I didn’t pay attention to other media, even though there were competing newspapers around, and there were also competing websites. In U.S. journalism, as I left in 2006, we were all talking about the shrinking media and smaller news holes and our dying industry. Yes, it was a real honor to launch a newspaper in India, but in many ways I realized that our industry wasn’t dying, that we should have been paying attention to all of those websites, that the listservs that I was on in Washington, D.C., were actually serving our readers and our communities in more relevant ways than perhaps I had done as a local reporter at the Post.
--Mitra Kalita, Deputy Global Economics Editor, Wall Street Journal, from her comments during the panel discussion, “A Media Empire in India: Learning from America,” part of the Emerging India Summit, March 26, 2010
My friends in Europe think we have some pretty screwy ideas about terrorism. They say, “We know terrorism, you don’t, and the way you have reacted after 9/11 is typical of a society that is panicked, spooked by something unfamiliar. We know how to cope with terror, and it’s not with your defense department, it’s with law enforcement agencies.” I have a lot of friends who are in the military. Many of these people know warfare, and they have some ideas about victory, and they say, “How do you win a war against terror? It would be hard enough to win a war against terrorists . . . but are they all going to surrender? If you go beyond terrorism to terror, who’s going to surrender then? Are you afraid of the dentist, are you afraid of flying, or are you afraid of elevators, or your older sister? It sounds like a public relations slogan, like a war on poverty, or a war on drugs.” Looking at the problem from the vantage point of what we truly know and understand about terrorism, about war, about victory, we will cripple ourselves. And unless we have new ideas that are more sensitive to changes underway in the international system, in warfare, and in terrorism, we will not be able to cope with the threats that we can already see on the horizon. It might be that most of the ideas we hold now are wrong.
--Philip Bobbitt, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and leading constitutional scholar, from his talk, “The Future of the Wars on Terror,” February 11, 2010
[Robert] Schumann’s depressions were often accompanied by auditory hallucinations, which either took the form of voices accusing him of being a worthless composer, or he would get some kind of cacophony that would get stuck in his head, and he couldn’t dislodge these unwanted sounds. Schumann, probably more than any composer of his time, believed that the only reason to write music was to give a little internal glimpse of the composer’s inner self. His contemporaries were focusing on form . . . but Schumann had disdain for form. He was really just trying to capture feeling states. He was writing pieces with titles like “Rapture,” “Feverish Dreams,” “First Sorrow.” This is his essence. He was self-taught as a composer. It’s kind of hard to point to any predecessors stylistically. Of just about everybody that consensus puts in the pantheon of great composers, I don’t think anybody was less appreciated during his lifetime. . . . He had what we now call bipolar disorder, a manic-depressive illness. But there was no language for that in the nineteenth century. I think during this period, that started with the Romantic era, you had to be somewhat mentally ill to be taken seriously as an artist. But he was probably a couple of standard deviations beyond that.
--Richard Kogan, concert pianist and psychiatrist, from his talk/performance, “Musical Genius and Psychiatric Illness,” January 28, 2010