Lifestyles Magazine Prague: Publisher’s Letter December 2008

In the December issue of Lifestyles Magazine®, our cover story offers a personal perspective of the man behind the voice of  José Carreras. In addition, our Arts & Culture section features stories on Prague International Ballet and Prague International Jazz. Since creativity is by no means confned to Prague, you will see in the work of three gifted talents we have showcased in the third profile. In 2009, we will have expanded coverage of arts and culture, as well as some useful information tools in our print and on-line formats..

Enjoy a visit with H.E. Catherine von Heidenstam, the Swedish Ambassador, and a quick trip to Sweden through the eyes of a Czech student. We offer some other unusual travel ideas for the holidays and the new year- at home and abroad. Unusual? You have several choices, including “The House that Sings” in Mexico and a Kenyan safari on the Masai Mara. Both offer 5 star luxury, but only one delivers that claim with a tent instead of a traditional suite.

Our education feature explores how private educators are meeting the challenge of delivering the “three R’s”, and includes an examination from Prof. Matz, our Associate Publisher. As they all learned, she doesn’t use a sliding scale. For the best students, or business people, Holiday Passions offers some ways to reward you may not have considered.

As this year closes, I wish to make an observation that those students of either Voltaire or Swift would label pure Pangloss. Normally, I prefer the satirical and darkly ironic tone that they served up so well, and is still evidenced in Czech black humor so perfectly today.

For the past few months, we have been deluged – globally, and now locally– with a stream of doomsday scenarios and bleak perspectives, including global economic meltdown. The media, in every form, has been feeding this on a “hypertime” basis, and, in large part, fueling some extreme reactions to a bad situation. Bad news sells.

This is not to suggest that times are not difficult, nor that change isn’t necessary; rather, that we might all be better served with perspective instead of panic. I believe that the overall present situation is in fact nothing new, and that the possibilities of change before us hold many positive opportunities. History is a good barometer of this point, even over the last 20 short years, and certainly farther beyond.

I remember the day when the market crashed in 1987 – 20 years ago inNew York. “Black Monday”. Some of the general terms: ‘Worse than the Great Depression’, ‘Panic’, ‘doomsday’, ‘meltdown’, and such. Pangloss can be heard: “All is for the best!”. The beauty of their satire can be found in the similarity of the root causes for the1987 maelstroms and our present situation..

I also recall one of my first childhood memories: A black and white television flickering as Jack Kennedy’s caisson was drawn through the streets of Washington, before the landmark legislation of change he had championed could see the light of day. I believe I have read the quotation that these were the days that hope died, especially when adding MLK and RFK.

It was Lyndon Johnson, thereafter, who signed the Civil Rights Act that began the end of apartheid in the United States. Lyndon Johnson, an ultra-conservative Texan; two generations later, a black American will assume the presidency.

I had the accident of history, and the extraordinary privilege, to be born in the United States. One of the truly unique “American” qualities is the unshakeable belief that anything is possible; related to that is America’s ability to reinvent itself.

Observe the reactions in Berlin, and then around the world, as the turbulent period of the past few years is finally drawing to an end. Voices of tolerance, change, and hope are finally emerging in America, and in fact, around the world. If history is an indication, these voices will carry us again; indeed, the journey is under way, and as before, not just for America.

Hope and change. Like the light of Bethlehem.

Happy Christmas, and New Year.

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