Alexander Cockburn reports on a Nation Magazine cruise

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 21 11:30:15 MST 2001

From: NY Press 12/21 "Wild Justice" column

Having just been on a cruise down Baja way with more than 200 readers of
The Nation, many of them advanced in years, I can report that old gals are
in the main a lot friskier than old geezers. Sprightly of mind though the
Nation-reading geezers were, they did sometimes exhibit a condition I came
to think of as Geezer Glaze, meaning the slightly dropped jaw and glassy
eye associated with hearing the loved one of more than half a century
rattling on at dinner about distressing trends in the human condition. Old
gals are better at pretending to be interested, whereas the geezers have no
compunction in making it known to the table that they’ve checked out for a
minute or two. 

Mind you, I and my brother Andrew were doing this in our 20s, claiming that
our ability to fall asleep over the dinner table was due not to excessive
bumpers of claret but by a condition officially known as catalepsy. Our
Uncle Frank, an abstemious Scottish solicitor, had it so badly that he
could not be trusted to carry valuable objects or even disposable infants
because of his propensity to slump to the ground in a cataleptic episode. 

According to my father, one notorious victim of the cataleptic condition
was a British journalist who worked for Reuters. Sometime in the 1930s he
secured an interview with Stalin, entered the dictator’s office, posed a
question and woke up 30 minutes later to hear Stalin say through his
translator, "and that concludes my review of the problems confronting the
Soviet Union today." 

On a luckier note, one of the cruise organizers told me that he was fresh
from supervising a Caribbean jaunt of A day or two before
the planned departure date a scheduled traveler called to say she had no
travel documents. Why? She’d left them at work. No, she couldn’t get them
because her office no longer existed. Yes, she’d worked in the Towers and
had been out getting a breakfast snack when her tower fell. This was one
lucky black single lady. She’d won the ticket in a raffle.
On the cruise she won the prize bingo sweep for $1000, and then won another

The organizer was discreet, but I had the impression she’d stayed single,
which was probably another stroke of luck too, considering what beasts men

Louis Proyect
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