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Friday, September 15, 2000
wen ho lee set free: read judge's statement/apology/musings
processes and things [via tony who had some very nice (but undeserved!) words for me :]
sam, zak and cheryl - on what can be smoked, what should be smoked, and why (via gulfstream)
(via zen calm ink) bewitched, seeing sequences, martin wattenberg
(via lemonyellow.com) spiral, map of the market, what you seek
great j. bradford delong "thought of the week"

all of a sudden
the girl of my dreams
she never asks
she always screams
do you see her face
in a puddle at my feet
as i bend down
to kiss the street
and i'll come runnin' to her
and i'll come runnin' to her
her sleep is troubled
her face will twitch
she wakes up angry
and i'm bewitched
her smile is forced
she's always late
but she's not sorry
and i capitulate
and i'll come runnin' to her
and i'll come runnin' to her
all of a sudden
the girl of my dreams
she never asks
she always screams
--courtesy of andy aldridge's galaxie 500 page

Thursday, September 14, 2000
editorial comment reprinted without permission from sept. 11 barron's online.

***
The Eternal Struggle
Maintaining property rights in a dangerous world
By Gregory P. Nowell

The fall of the Soviet Union and its satellites closed a worldwide struggle over property rights that spanned four centuries. From feudalism to monarchy to capitalism to socialism and back to capitalism, the contending forms of Western social organization revolved around concepts of property. Monarchs created state property by overwhelming the lesser lords of their realms. They wanted kingdoms in which all people and all property belonged to the king.

Advocates of private property fought to limit the authority of the king. French revolutionaries called each other "citizen" because the title meant they were no longer the servants or property of the king. This civic emancipation went hand in hand with the development of property rights that the state guaranteed to its citizens. Parliamentary democracy is associated with private property rights because it limits "absolutist" efforts to control society.

Later revolutionaries junked the divinely empowered monarch, while retaining the idea of a sole owner of property. Idealistic socialists such as Marx and Engels hoped that a state endowed with absolute power over property could abolish the cruelest abuses of capitalism, provided the right people controlled it.

The "commune" in their "communism" was derived from their study of history. As they saw it, early tribal societies enjoyed a communal, non-market sharing of resources.

Socialist recipes for a "new man" reflected the hope that tribal communalism, properly modernized, could replace greedy capitalists to organize society and distribute goods. The resulting command economies of the 20th century melded absolutist property rights to a romanticized view of communal life, and achieved abysmal results.

Clan societies

Most Marxist societies crumbled before the end of the 20th century, but communalism remains an important force in the world. Tribal control of territory is emerging as the principal alternative to the legalistic property systems of the West. Violent conflict often results.

A tribe consists of a group of clans under a headman. Though tribes and clans may conduct business with the outside world, internally they do not distribute resources by market logic. Despite this, such societies can be remarkably strong, especially when they are sitting on resources desired by market economies.

When we speak of the "ruling families" of places like Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, we are really talking about extended clan networks. Dominant headmen there years ago cut deals with outside investors. They have used their money to buy the cooperation of competing clans. In some ugly episodes, they bought weapons to exterminate the competitors.

Other areas are not lucky enough to have endless pools of easily produced oil. Where investments are not as profitable, the clan system has less to distribute and there is more reason to fight over what little there is.

An oil pipeline runs through Chechnya from Baku to the Russian seaport of Novorossyisk. For Chechen clans, it was a target of opportunity, but it never generated enough revenue to satisfy all the rival groups. President Maskhadov was not linked to a strong clan. A fragile coalition of tribal backers had elected him in 1997. He lacked the money to bribe clans into cooperating, or to beat them into submission. His dealings with Russia were not respected.

Uncooperative clan groups drilled into the pipeline to siphon oil. When the Russians decided that they could not deal with Chechnya, they started building a new, bypass pipeline through Daghestan. Some Chechen clans saw this as a new opportunity and so they moved into Daghestan.

The Russians not only had a pipeline route at stake in this area; they also were worried about protecting newly discovered offshore oil in the north end of the Caspian Sea. Russian forces had fought and lost before in Chechnya. But the leadership decided that if they had to fight the tribes again, it was still better to fight them in Chechnya than in Daghestan.

One result of the second Chechen war could be seen on television around the world. The conflict created deprivation and misery for the Chechens. What could not be seen is the way it reinforced the clan system. Destitute exiles need the collective support of their extended families for daily survival.

Stalin's massive relocation of the Chechens in the 1940s only made them more dependent on their clan leadership for survival. The clan system will survive the most recent Russian assault.

Halfway to the Persian Gulf from Chechnya, we see the same dynamic unfolding over and over again. The Kurds in Iraq have long been unhappy with the division of oil revenues from the northern fields. They have attacked pipelines, shelled oilfields, and invited the wrath of the central power in Baghdad -- itself a clan system with Saddam Hussein as headman.

Even under extreme Western military pressure, Saddam's ruling Takrit clan has never found the right mix of bribery and force to control the Kurds. His attacks on Kurdistan and Kuwait reflect the dangerous instabilities of tribal competition for territorial control.

Rule of law

If we look at Europe and the United States, we see thousands of miles of vulnerable infrastructure. If modern Westerners thought like clan members, all of this private property would be subject to occasional attack and demands for protection money. But in the West, the extended family structures typical of clan societies have disintegrated. We don't turn to our fellow clansmen for help: We turn to Social Security and Medicaid. The construction of a state able to provide these goods to citizens reinforces a social order that has discarded the extended families.

It's a virtuous circle: Without the distraction of clan rivalry, private property and the market have flourished, creating the wealth that makes clans unnecessary.

The Western system has worked so well that modern capitalists, interested in return on investment, often don't even recognize the existence of people with other agendas. When investing abroad, using expensive equipment to exploit resources in territory occupied by clans, the capitalists think like capitalists instead of like clansmen. The locals are offered a cut of the revenue and asked to leave the equipment alone.

It's logical. An alliance with a clan headman is quicker and cheaper than a colonial war for control of territory. But when the deals are cut in the short term, clans gain resources that reinforce, in the long term, a social system whose values are not compatible with our notions of a market system.

Continuing conflict

Here is the great irony of the global conflict over property rights that has lasted for centuries: The rivalry of absolutism and socialism with capitalism is not the most durable conflict of our time. More durable is the conflict between communal tribal systems and any rival property system.

Tribal systems have survived the imperialism of the great ancient empires. They have survived the bloody expansion of feudalism. They have survived colonial capitalism. They have survived the absolutist command economies of Stalinist Russia and Eastern Europe. Will they survive global capitalism? Of course.

The world over, vigorously resilient tribal and clan systems are entering the 21st century. They buy the capitalist world's consumer goods and weapons. They use banks and they negotiate over oil and mineral concessions. And when they don't get what they want, they are fully capable of undertaking protracted warfare.

Over the centuries, many smart imperialists, feudal lords, dictators and capitalists have tangled with tribal systems. All the seeming "quick fixes," ranging from extermination to accommodation, have been tried, with mixed results.

Modern international capitalism will continue to try accommodation, but such policies can be as stable only as the underlying system of clan alliances. Can the examples of Chechnya and Kurdistan give complete confidence to our most important relationships in fabulously wealthy places like Saudi Arabia?

Doing business with clannish societies is inherently risky, and such risks will be a durable and recurring feature of the 21st century economy.

GREGORY P. NOWELL (gnowell@wsg.net) teaches political science at the State University of New York, Albany.

***
also found this excellent piece: hobson's _imperialism_: a defense

Imperialism's continued popularity may be due, in part, to the fact that it provides an accurate outline and model of a major dynamic from a crucial period in world history. But there is another component. Stated in its broadest form, Imperialism's argument is that the movement of capital often works in ways that are detrimental to the interest of the nation as a whole. Public opinion is seen as a dependent variable, largely shaped by a news media whose independence is sharply curtailed by its relationship to major business interests. Social welfare, such as education, and redistributive interests, such as health care, are neglected for the maintenance of a bloated military budget. Major financial interests have a disproportionate share of political power, but democratic mobilization might be able to curtail the abuse of that power. If the argument sounds familiar, it is because it is. Hobson's Imperialism is an archetype of the left-liberal critique of a society dominated by major business interests.

Wednesday, September 13, 2000
the idler! (via ptypes)

gallery of US nuclear tests (via ghost rocket)

lovejoy ramp murals (via fishy blog)

In 1948, Greek immigrant Tom Stefopoulos started a series of paintings on the columns of Portland Oregon's Lovejoy Ramp, while working as a crossing watchman for the rail yard. These paintings depicted Greek mythology, Americana, and Biblical imagery, and have been a part of Portland urban legend ever since.

(2) two essays on yevgeny zamyatin's we.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000
FEED's book critic keith gessen reviews george saunder's pastoralia and word editors' gig. zen calm ink liked the review, too!

here's a short story by george saunder's called the fall (via metascene) more short stories here (alter-natively via loren :)

lots of good stuff at metascene! including naughty stuff by shel silverstein :)

there's also lots of good stuff on this page at alamut! it's cool, there were these pages on hakim bey by steve cook – we were in film society together :)

nosepilot is everywhere, but i got it first from carey! carey is so plugged in. there were also these (2) little gems by alex sacui.

Monday, September 11, 2000
so mertz makes sense is referring to chuck mertz. i'm so intuitive!

ECC sounds

more good spoofs at paravonian and lukeski

i'd also like to point out that smolin & penrose call it twistor theory while cahill & klinger call it process physics. what's with that? (the alliteration i mean :)

i believe our children are our future. listen to the voices in the wilderness.

Friday, September 8, 2000

and lo, he beheld the world in quantum superposition and awaited its decoherence

In looking at the world, we think of points — that is, things that exist in space — as being fundamental and time as something that happens to them. The fundamental thing is the things that exist, and the secondary thing is the processes through which they change in time. In twistor theory, the fundamental things in the world are the processes. The secondary things are the things that exist. They exist only by virtue of the meetings of the intersections of processes. In the twistor description of space and time, the fundamental entities are not events in space and time but processes, and the idea of twistor theory is to formulate the laws of physics in this space of processes and not in space and time. Space and time as we think about them emerge only at a secondary level.

and the war to define reality raged on at the edges...

All sentient beings shape reality by their perceptions of "what should be". Back in the middle ages, computers not only didn't exist, they *couldn't* exist, as people couldn't envision them. Computers did not fit into the worldview paradigm. At the same time, unicorns and dragons existed, and now they not only don't exist, they *never did*... because people don't believe they could have.

but united in common interest they arrived at an intentional community of sorts

But this type of weblog is important for another reason, I think. In Douglas Rushkoff's Media Virus, Greg Ruggerio of the Immediast Underground is quoted as saying, "Media is a corporate possession...You cannot participate in the media. Bringing that into the foreground is the first step. The second step is to define the difference between public and audience. An audience is passive; a public is participatory. We need a definition of media that is public in its orientation."

By highlighting articles that may easily be passed over by the typical web user too busy to do more than scan corporate news sites, by searching out articles from lesser-known sources, and by providing additional facts, alternative views, and thoughtful commentary, weblog editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us every day. Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.

Weblog editors sometimes contextualize an article by juxtaposing it with an article on a related subject; each article, considered in the light of the other, may take on additional meaning, or even draw the reader to conclusions contrary to the implicit aim of each. It would be too much to call this type of weblog "independent media," but clearly their editors, engaged in seeking out and evaluating the "facts" that are presented to us each day, resemble the public that Ruggerio speaks of. By writing a few lines each day, weblog editors begin to redefine media as a public, participatory endeavor.

Thursday, September 7, 2000
ptypes has ideal-typed karen horney as "mercurial" :)

The neurotics self is "split" into a despised self and an ideal self. Other theorists postulate a "looking-glass" self, the you you think others see. If you look around and see (accurately or not) others despising you, than you take that inside you as what you assume is the real you. On the other hand, if you are lacking in some way, that implies there are certain ideals you should be living up to. You create an ideal self out of these "shoulds." Understand that the ideal self is not a positive goal; it is unrealistic and ultimately impossible. So the neurotic swings back and forth between hating themselves and pretending to be perfect.

mitsu had an epiphany over at synthetic zero, check it out!

... it is the existence of mental systems (feedback systems of the right cybernetic makeup) that allow the observation of the classical observables (the feedback loops become correlated with observations) ... and thus, in some sense, the objective world exists, state vector collapse happens, only because they are correlated with feedback loops (systems with mental properties in the Batesonian sense)!

Wednesday, September 6, 2000
mormons (and calista flockhart) like you've never seen before

so i was watching showtime last nite (waiting for hot springs hotel :) and these absolutely riveting neil labute one-acts come on that are soooo good (in a morally degenerate kind of way :) lovingly crafted monologues/confessions of disturbing middle-class banality that leave you devastated and broken on the shipwreck that is humanity, neil labute (like only he can :) confronts the abyss and offers us deliverance. oh, and nurse betty's coming out this weekend! here's a review by harvey s. karten and one by james berardinelli.

hey, my mom finally retired yesterday! she was a medical technologist (drew people's blood and looked at it through a microscope to see if anything's wrong). we're going to hang out in san francisco in a couple weeks. we might go camping in yosemite with my brother and sister-in-law, but my sister-in-law just found out she has this INS appointment and she doesn't know if she can reschedule it at all so they might have to cut their vacation short. my mom was telling me she might go back to the philippines at the end of the month, too, and then go to china for a communist parade(?). pretty weird. it's like some deal with relatives. i dunno.

on canadian devolution from the washigton post (via dad :)

"If you hold Canada to your ear, you can hear the ocean."

Tuesday, September 5, 2000
acts of the observers

Happy is the writer who without dwelling too long on tedious and repulsive characters, which impress us by their distressful reality, feels drawn to characters which reveal the high dignity of man, the writer who from the great whirlpool of human figures that pass daily before his mind's eyes, selects only the few exceptions, who has never once been untrue to the major key of his lyre, who has never descended from his pinnacle to his poor, insignificant fellow-creatures and, without touching the earth, has immersed himself completely in his own exalted images that are so far removed from it. His rare lot is doubly to be envied: he is among them as among his own family, and yet his fame spreads far and wide. He clouds men's eyes with enchanting incense; he flatters them marvelously, concealing the sad facts of life and showing them the noble man. Applauding, all run after him, all rush after his triumphal chariot. They call him a great, universal poet, soaring high above all the other geniuses of the world as an eagle soars over the other high-flying birds. Young, ardent hearts are thrilled at his very name; responsive tears gleam in every eye. … He has no equal in power – he is a god. But quite different is the lot, quite different is the destiny of the writer who has dared to bring into the open everything that is every moment before men's eyes and that remains unseen by their unobservant eyes – all the terrible, shocking morass of trivial things in which our life is entangled, the whole depth of frigid, split up, everyday characters with whom our often dreary and bitter earthly path swarms, and who dares with the strong power of his relentless chisel to display them boldly and in the round before the eyes of all! Not for him the applause of the people, not for him to behold the grateful tears and the unanimous rapture of the souls he has moved so deeply; no girl of sixteen flies to meet him with her head turned and full of heroic enthusiasm; he will not find oblivion in the sweet enchantment of the sounds he has himself evoked; and, lastly, he will not escape the judgement of his contemporaries, hypocritical and callous public opinion, which will brand his cherished creations as low and insignificant, will allot him an ignoble place in the ranks of writers who have affronted humanity, will attribute to him the qualities of the heroes he himself has created, will rob him of heart and soul and the divine fire of genius. For contemporary public opinion does not acknowledge that the glasses through which suns are beheld and through which the movements of microscopic insects are studied are equally marvelous; for public opinion does not admit that great spiritual depth is required to illumine a picture drawn from ignoble life and transform it into a pearl of creation; for public opinion does not admit that lofty rapturous laughter is worthy to stand beside lofty lyrical emotion and that there is all the difference in the world between it and the antics of a clown at a fair. Public opinion does not admit that and it will turn everything into a reproach and a sneer against the unrecognized writer; without fellow feeling, without response, without sympathy, he is left standing alone in the middle of the road like a homeless wayfarer. Hard is his calling in life, and bitterly he feels his solitude.

And for a long time to come am I destined by the mysterious powers to walk hand in hand with my strange heroes, viewing life in all its immensity as it rushes past me, viewing it through laughter seen by the world and tears unseen and unknown by it. And the time is still far off when the terrible storm of inspiration will rise up in another stream out of a head encircled with a halo, inspiring sacred terror and, abashed and in trepidation, men will hear the majestic thunder of other words. …

chapter 7 from dead souls
by nikolai v. gogol
translated from russian by
david magarshack

from the back cover:

Gogol spent eight years writing the first part of Dead Souls, which was first published in 1842. Then his conception of the novel changed. In line with his mission to save Russia he now saw it as an epic narrative in three parts: the 'colossal figures' of his imagination would uplift the Russian people and extricate them from their predicament. He completed the second part, but in despair destroyed it just before his death: only fragments of it remain. Through his creative dream was never realized, its superb gallery of characters make Dead Souls his greatest masterpiece.

The cover shows a detail from 'Procession in the Province of Kursk' by I. E. Repin, in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (Snark International)

from founder editor (1944-64): e.v. rieu (penguin classics), the inside cover:

NIKOLAI VASILEVICH GOGOL was born in 1809; his family were small gentry of Ukrainian cossack extraction, and his father was the author of a number of plays based on Ukrainian popular tales. He attended school in Nezhin and gained a reputation for his theatrical abilities. He went to St Petersburg in 1829 and with the help of a friend gained a post in one of the government ministries. Gogol was introduced to Zhukovsky, the romantic poet, and to Pushkin, and with the publication of Evening on a Farm near Dikanka (1831) he had an entrée to all the leading literary salons. He even managed for a short period to be Professor of History at the University of St Petersburg (1834-5). Diary of a Madman and The Story of the Quarrel between Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich appeared in 1834, The Nose in 1936, and The Overcoat in 1842. Gogol also wrote the play The Inspector (1936), Dead Souls (1842), and several moralizing essays defending the Tsarist régime, to the horror of his liberal and radical friends. He lived a great deal abroad, mostly in Rome, and in his last years became increasingly prey to religious mania and despair. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1848, but was bitterly disappointed in the lack of feeling that the journey kindled. He returned to Russia and fell under the influence of a spiritual director who told him to destroy his writings as they were sinful. He burned the second part of Dead Souls, and died in 1852 after subjecting himself to a severe régime of fasting.

Monday, September 4, 2000
From: "The Economist"
Subject: Politics This Week August 26th - September 1st 2000

****************************************************************************
Welcome to Politics This Week
A summary of the world's main events from The Economist
Also available at http://www.economist.com

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IN THE ECONOMIST THIS WEEK

Shifts in Asia*s balance of power * Cheeky Swedes try to buy the London Stock Exchange * The EU and Austria. What future? * Why paying ransoms is a mistake * Ford, Firestone and dud tyres * E-business in China * Ragtag rebels in Sierra Leone * Nasdaq and its controversial new screen * South Africa*s migrant workers * Why private education means exam success in Britain * America steps into Colombia*s war * Why Japan needs more whizz-kid migrants * Elephant birth control

You can read these articles, and many more, in the free area of The Economist Web Edition, at http://www.economist.com. Subscribers can also read 50 more new article


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Towering inferno

+ A fortnight after 118 RUSSIANS died in a submarine accident, a fire in the Ostankino television transmitter in Moscow killed three people, stopped the beaming of programmes to viewers in the capital for several days and drew further attention to the decay of Russia's infrastructure.

+ FRANCE's interior minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, resigned in protest against government policy towards Corsica. He objected to talks with separatist terrorists before they had disavowed violence for good and to what he considered threats to France's unity.

+ Germany's chancellor, GERHARD SCHRODER, on a tour of eastern Germany, gave warning that neo-Nazi violence, on the rise especially in the ex-communist east, could damage Germany's economy.

+ The IRISH government and particularly its finance minister, Charlie McCreevy, were embarrassed by the withdrawal of Ireland's candidate for a place on the board of the European Investment Bank, months after the controversial nomination of a disgraced judge who happened to be a friend of the minister.

+ A 29-year-old town councillor in the BASQUE region of Spain was shot dead, presumably by Basque separatists, their seventh victim in six weeks. He was a member of Spain's ruling centre-right People's Party.

+ A former president of SERBIA, Ivan Stambulic, who has recently criticised Slobodan Milosevic, the country's strongman, disappeared while jogging on August 25th.


Missing peace

+ After a weekend in Nigeria, Bill Clinton went to Tanzania for the signing of a Hutu-Tutsi power-sharing deal to end BURUNDI's seven-year civil war. However, despite Nelson Mandela's ardent peace-making efforts, four Tutsi parties refused to sign the deal, though they later said they would reconsider.

+ Mr Clinton then discussed ways to break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock over JERUSALEM with Hosni Mubarak at Cairo airport. But the Jerusalem Committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, meeting in Morocco, passed a resolution backing Yasser Arafat's demand for Palestinian sovereignty over the Old City and its Muslim and Christian shrines.

+ The four-month Somali reconciliation conference in Djibouti ended after the new transitional parliament elected Abdulkasim Salat Hassan as SOMALIA's first civilian president since civil war broke out ten years ago.

+ Thabo Mbeki, opening a conference on RACISM in South Africa, called on whites to beat the racist "demon". In one recent incident, a black labourer was allegedly dragged to his death behind a truck by his white boss.

+ A gang of bandits in Sierra Leone, known as the WEST SIDE BOYS, kidnapped 11 British soldiers and their Sierra Leonean colleague. Some were later released.

+ Results from the first round of LEBANON's parliamentary elections showed success for the allies of Rafiq Hariri, an extremely rich former prime minister who has his eye on returning to office.


Too Jewish

+ The ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, a Jewish group, appealed to Senator Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore's running-mate, to stop making "overt expressions" of his Jewishness while campaigning.

+ Cases of DIABETES increased sharply in the United States in the 1990s, with a 70% rise between 1990 and 1998 among people in their 30s. Doctors blamed increasing obesity.

+ Amid heavy security, PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON made a brief visit to the Colombian city of Cartagena, to back up $1.3 billion in aid to fight drugs and guerrillas. Human-rights groups and several of Colombia's neighbours worried that the aid would stimulate more fighting.

+ Peru said it would allow a new trial in a civilian court for LORI BERENSON, a New Yorker sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in 1996 after being arrested with a terrorist group planning to seize Peru's Congress. Some of President Alberto Fujimori's supporters denounced the move as an attempt to curry favour with the United States.

+ ECUADOR's Congress elected a new speaker, breaking a month-long deadlock.


Staying put

+ The leader of Myanmar's National League for Democracy, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, was stopped by the country's military rulers as she tried to leave the capital, Yangon, by car. Her protest followed months of harassment of the NLD, which won the country's last general election ten years ago. She remained in her car.

+ Chinese officials said that tens of thousands of farmers had RIOTED for five days in August in the province of Jiangxi. Protests, against fees, taxes and corruption, are increasingly common in China.

+ Complaining that the United Nations was interfering in domestic politics, AUSTRALIA's government decided not to co-operate further with UN committees. Australia was angered by UN criticism of its treatment of aborigines and asylum-seekers.

+ The trial of Indonesia's former president of 32 years, SUHARTO, was opened, then adjourned. He is accused of stealing $570m.

+ The hostage drama in THE PHILIPPINES continued. An American man was seized and taken to Jolo island where at least a dozen other hostages were being held. Six hostages were freed and taken to Tripoli, the capital of Libya, to thank Muammar Qaddafi for securing their release, having, it seemed, paid their ransoms.
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Friday, September 1, 2000
an "unknown" passage from huntz

" Sam talked about a lot of things, trying to keep herself distracted. She talked about what a long drive they had tomorrow and how her parents had rented a van. She wondered what her classes would be like and what her eventual "major" would be. She said she didn't want to join a sorority but was looking forward to the football games. She was just getting more and more sad. Finally, she turned around. 'Why didn't you ask me out when the whole Craig thing happened?' I just sat there. I didn't know what to say. She said it soft. 'Charlie...after that thing with Mary Elizabeth at the party and us dancing at the club and everything...' I didn't know what to say. Honestly, I was lost. 'Okay, Charlie...I'll make this easy. When that whole thing with Craig happened, what did you think?' She really wanted to know. I said, 'Well, I thought of a lot of things. But mostly, I thought that your being sad was much more important for me than Craig not being your boyfriend anymore. And if it meant that I would never get to think of you that way, as long as you were happy, it was okay. That's when I realized that I really loved you.' She sat down on the floor with me. She spoke quiet. 'Charlie, don't you get it? I can feel that. It's sweet and everything, but it's like you're not even there sometimes. It's great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn't need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things.' 'Like what?' I asked. My mouth was dry. 'I don't know. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want.' "

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