Reading your Publisher\'s Note (Demo Issue) I was reminded that this same type of nostalgia for past times, even times that were patently horrific, is not uncommon in Russia and in China too. While traveling in (mostly west) China not long ago I was amazed at a kind of "Cultural Revolution Chic", which included songs from that era, wall graffiti, and, of course, the ubiquity of Chairman Mao\'s photo dangling from rearview mirrors.
China has changed dramatically since that time, but even though it\'s still a long way from being democratic, I could hardly fathom this peculiar fashion for an era now widely repudiated by so many people-at least by people living in the eastern part of that country. I couldn\'t make sense of it until I thought that, as nostalgia, recalling (even!) the Cultural Revolution conceals a desire for something that is known-something fixed and stable,
The past, by definition is finished, after ail, therefore we know how the story comes out and there is nothing to fear. Even a horror story, which might be extremely thrilling, cannot really hurt us. But the present moment is always anxiety-laden because, again by definition, the present perches on the precipice of the future. Who knows where democracy might take us? As you say, "that is precisely the point"; risk is what makes anything worthwhile.
H. R. Downs Sonoma County,