Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Dakota

The Dakota, circa 1890, from wikipedia.
The Dakota, circa 1890
In the music world, December 8, 1980 is a truly infamous day. Beatles founder and writer of "Imagine," John Lennon was fatally shot by Mark David Chapman in front of Lennon's New York City apartment complex known as the The Dakota.

A born-again Christian, and former Beatles devotee,  Chapman came to view Lennon as a "phony" for imagining a world without possessions, but still having them. "There he was with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, [who] laughed at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music," Chapman told his biographer Jack Jones.

Most people who live in the Dakota, however, have possessions. Completed in 1884, the Dakota was the first high-end apartment complex in the city. Its name was derived from its location, at the time a rural north west corner of Manhattan, "bound on the north and south by humble cottagers," considered as remote as the Dakota territory.

In the second half of the twentieth century, it was a haven for famous artists. Lately, though, they've let in a banker or two like Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama considered nominating Porat as the next Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. It could be said that her possessions killed her nomination.

In March, the New York Times reported that Porat withdrew because she did not want to face questions about her finances, and suffer the kind of acrimonious confirmation process inflicted upon then Treasury Secretary-nominee Jack Lew. (Lew was scrutinized for receiving a bonus from Citigroup at the time the bank was receiving government bailout funds, according to Bloomberg news).

In July, Obama nominated Federal Reserve Board Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin to the deputy post.

Back on December 8, 1980, in breaking the Lennon news, Monday Night Football announcers Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford reminded us things are just things, football just a game.

Gifford: (whistle blows) John Smith is on the line. And I don't care what's on the line, Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth.

Cosell: Yes, we have to say it. Football is just a game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps, of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which, in duty bound, we have to take. Frank?

Gifford: (after a pause) Indeed, it is.
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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.