One of the advantages of wrangling databases for a living is that feeling of power when you finally have all the tables built, all the relationships defined, all the data slurped in (the easy way for voter histories, a stack of CDs, or the hard way for tax assessor data, scraped off teh Interwebz). Then you sit back, enjoy a tall cool one, and type in queries and watch your screen fill up with results. This must be what it feels like if you're on the inside. Seeing and knowing. It took more than a month, late nights and lunch hours, but it's done.
Now, it only remains to write a few queries to spit out optimized walk lists for the seven days of my vacation.
The New Dorp public library finally got my copy of Holtzman's autobiography on interlibrary loan, and I've spent the weekend reading. Nothing here, just the typical fake "insider" tidbits, the unavoidable namedropping and backstabbing, self-justification, and overdetermined explanation. Not that it's a bad book, quite the opposite. For something written by a politician, it was quite enjoyable, and I did learn a bunch of backstory that may be valuable as connection points. She was probably recruited by White Umbrella forces at Radcliffe. Don't all secret organizations have outposts at the Ivies and seven sisters? I mean, really, where do you think they get their people? Kingsborough Community College?
I was noodling with teh google this week -- as I always do in my stultifying hours as an underleveraged, underappreciated microserf -- and came upon an image of Mary Poppins, drifting over the skies of London under her magic umbrella. That led me into a maze of twisty passages about Dickensian chimney sweep children and the incidence of cancer of the scrotum, as well as a scene in a 1967 Dick Van Dyke movie called "Fitzwilly" which features umbrellas deployed by the eponymous scapegrace in a climactic Christmas robbery of Gimbels department store.
But the root question seems to me to be whether Poppins is a symbol of one of the Umbrella factions. And if so, which one?
Spent the weekend exploring a fascinating -- but ultimately fruitless -- synchonicity: the August 7, 1974 walk of Philippe Petit between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the resignation of Richard Nixon one day later. As delightful as it is to read Petit's performance as the literal enactment of Nixon's predicament at that time, there turns out to be no way one can tie the two together, even through the tendrils of the either Umbrella camp. Sometimes things just happen near each other, but not because of each other. Post hoc is not always propter hoc. No matter what some other conspirologists might have you believe. I'm here to tell the truth.
...is not evidence of absence. If it's a good enough axiom for Carl Sagan, it's good enough for me. Sometimes, when I find myself becoming obsessed with a minor detail -- in this case, Elizabeth Holzman -- I question whether I'm going off down a rabbit hole. Especially when the trail is cold and there's no information to be found.
And then I realize: that absense of evidence is, in fact, evidence. If you were trying to hide the action of a conspiracy, what better way than to emulate a bland, normal event. Of course people move away, die off after 40 years. Of course no one remembers. It was a momentary blip, an unexpected win in a primary. Who even remembers such things three-score years later.
In just such normalcy does the perfect conspiracy lie.