Roger L. Simon

Meeting Flemming and Leon - a lesson in globalism


The cliché goes that we live in a small world. It’s wrong. We live in a minute world these days – and it’s shrinking with every digitally-enhanced second. That has it’s good and bad aspects. I was reminded of the good last when, at an event in the Reagan Library (my first time there, of which more anon), I had the pleasure of meeting two men I had admired at a distance, Flemming Rose and Leon de Winter. The odd thing is I felt as if I had known them a long time, not for mystical reasons but because the Internet draws kindred spirits together. I instantly had more in common with these guys than I do with my neighbors, and not just because they are both writers – my Hollywood Hills neighborhood, as it happens, is lousy with writers – but because we all shared similar concerns and had known that about each other for some time.

So that’s the good part (or one of them) of globalization – meeting colleagues form across the world and making instant friends. One of the bad parts Flemming pointed out to me last night – the perils of instant communication between the developed and the undeveloped world. He understood it better than most of us because he had experienced that danger as the man responsible for the publication of the Danish cartoons. If those cartoons had been published in a pre-Internet era, who would have known? Almost no one, probably, outside Copenhagen. In this era, the most minor bit of satire, as the cartoons were, can set off an instantaneous conflagration.

Now about the Reagan Library, it’s worth a visit, despite the longish drive from LA. Reason: Air Force One is there (the one that was in service through the eighties all the way to 2001). You can go aboard. It’s an interesting experience that starts you fantasizing.