Joe Conason's Journal

Musician Brian Eno's thoughtful essay on America -- published in the European edition of Time magazine -- isn't reaching those who could learn the most from it.

Published March 14, 2003 4:15PM (EST)

Ambience and perspective
Complaining about opinionated actors and musicians is now as clichéd as celebrity activism -- and no doubt they can be as dull-witted and annoying as any politician. But this week's European edition of Time magazine offers an essay by Brian Eno, who is smart and thoughtful as well as creative. Europeans don't hate Americans at all, he explains, despite the vitriol directed their way by assorted idiots over here. Lately, however, they're wondering and worrying about us:

"I could fill this page with the names of Americans who have influenced, entertained and educated me. They represent what I admire about America: a vigorous originality of thought, and a confidence that things can be changed for the better. That was the America I lived in and enjoyed from 1978 until 1983. That America was an act of faith -- the faith that 'otherness' was not threatening but nourishing, the faith that there could be a country big enough in spirit to welcome and nurture all the diversity the world could throw at it. But since Sept. 11, that vision has been eclipsed by a suspicious, introverted America, a country-sized version of that peculiarly American form of ghetto: the gated community."

The musician also has a few sane things to say about economic and political differences between us and our traditional allies. Curiously, the Time editors decided to publish him only in the European edition of their magazine, where his message would reach few of those who could learn the most from it.
[8:23 a.m. PST, March 14, 2003]

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By Salon Staff

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