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January 7, 2005 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
It is an awfully small world. I was reading Post to the Host a few moments ago and came upon a letter to you from Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass, who happens to be the wife of the cantor at our temple. This underscored to me the power of the Internet. Do you think the world is shrinking because of the Internet? Are you a Luddite about the Internet or do you welcome it? Will human relationships change because of the ubiquity of e-mail?

Mania Baghdadi
Potomac, MD

Mania, it used to be a smaller world back when I was living in Lake Wobegon and I thought I had a good grasp of how things worked. A small world of helpful friendly people and if you ever needed anything you only had to ask, and if you did the work and played by the rules, you'd be okay. We grew up in a quiet little pond, protected from treachery, and that was a long time ago. My view of the world was changed by Vietnam and by the realization that reputable and intelligent men were quite willing to permit the slaughter of innocents in distant lands rather than speak the truth and endanger their own careers. This happens again and again. The knowledge of evil makes the world seem vast and incomprehensible, and so, ever since November, I've given up reading newspapers or surfing the Net, preferring to live for awhile in a small world circumscribed by St. Paul, the radio show, poetry, my own family and friends, my writing, and a little music now and then. The country is momentarily in the hands of vandals and there isn't anything I can do about it. E-mail does enormous good in combating loneliness and gloom, and so one is grateful for it, but at the moment, we're stuck in a period of drift and squalor and the Internet isn't going to change that.

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