Train in the Distance
Monday, February 5, 1996 by Dave Winer.
Another great movie: "Don Juan de Marco", starring Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway.
Brando plays a psychologist. Dunaway is his wife. They've been married a long time. The kids are gone.
Along comes Depp, a pure romantic. They say he's delusional. He's a Spanish count from the Renaissance. He seduces women the way they want to be seduced. He's amazing! Brando is touched.
Brando's colleagues want to sedate Depp. Instead Brando listens.
He tries out some of Depp's ways. He romances his wife.
The pivotal scene in the movie. They're eating breakfast. Brando looks up at his wife and asks what she dreams of. She gets defensive. They argue. Then she gets it. The lightbulb goes off.
In the closing scene they're dancing! Elegant dancing. In a beautiful place.
Life begins when you start living.
A good-life movie begins like this.
Hi Dave! You're looking realllly well!
Thanks! I feel really well.
I bet you're really successful!
Yes, it's been a great year!
What do you hope to accomplish next year?
Wow! That sounds like fun!
I've seen both sides.
Some of my friends are energized. Some of my old friends have lost it.
Goodbye old friends, hello new!
The Mac world is in free-fall. On various developer mailing lists people are very confused. Some Apple people are showing up, and that's good. In the confusion it's certain that a lot of baby will get thrown out with the bathwater. What business are we in if we develop Mac software? We're waiting to hear from the new Apple leadership.
Microsoft is attacking the Internet as if it were WordPerfect or dBASE. They're just starting. Until a few months ago all of Microsoft was behind an Internet firewall. I believe the first Microsoft Internet innovations will miss the point. But they have staying power. As the years roll by, as they implement their transformation from a PC software company to an online company, we'll find out if they're really a great company.
The US government is clamping down. Even if the new censorship law isn't widely enforceable, or if it's judged unconstitutional, someone is going to be the test case, and that person will feel like a citizen of Stalinist Russia. The new law imprisons all of us, as it did in Russia, because it causes us to pull back from offending people with political power.
What's more disturbing is how many people I respect are willing to go along with Clinton and Gore on this. I don't care if the Republicans would be worse. I don't care if it's unconstitutional. Clinton is the president of the United States. Remember what that means! Let's be clear that attempted censorship is a crime against humanity, much as attempted murder is serious felony.
We are offended. It may not be the end. These guys run campaigns. They're here for the long haul. Gore looks good. That man will run for president some day, and he knows it. What is he really saying about us? He looks good, until you look at the truth.
Times of great change.
Everybody loves the sound of the Train in the Distance.
(Let's have fun -- later.)
But the train is right here, right now.
Which way are you going?
When things change, great fear comes up.
Lots of us try to live low-risk lives, hoping for no change, holding everything in place. Holding our breath. Not dancing. But no matter how hard you try, the world still turns. Eventually change is so great that the movie reel snaps and you become aware of your surroundings.
The earthquake in 1989 was like that. Freeways crash, bridges break, buildings fall, neighborhoods burn down. All those lives connected in new meaningful ways. We got a lot closer. Most people made it, but some died.
Those who survived learned a lot.
It changed our lives.
So -- if the foundation of your life is built on the assumption that the Mac business will remain as-is, or that you can freely express yourself thru the Internet; if either of these assumptions is challenged, your life is about to change, perhaps in a big way.
Remember to breathe.
Fear is frozen fun!
PS: A slight format change -- if you see a term in "double quotes" that means it's a hotlink in the website version, which always appears a few minutes after the email distribution of a DaveNet piece. For example, from the web version, you can link to a movie review for "Don Juan de Marco" and to the full lyrics of the Paul Simon song Train in the Distance. Everybody thinks it's true. It's twue, it's twue!