References for Robert S. Barnett, ex post facto
U.S. Navy Electronic School, late 1960s: 25% of instructors said I understood
electricity better than they did but they knew what the Navy wanted me to
know. Recorded record high on final comprehensive exam.
Undergrad, early 1970s:
Campus Medical Doctor: Told me to be a doctor, a researcher not a practitioner.
(I did not like the attitudes of the pre-med students so I changed majors
rather than consider working a career with them.)
Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry Professor: Held a patent on l-dopa
... earned $60k annually while professor salary was $30k ... when asked
why he kept teaching without a need for the money, he responded, "I like
teaching." Told me to go into chemical research.
Gave eulogy for Chiang Kai-shek's last education minister who had been one
of the five-member Chinese delegation to the founding of the United Nations
in 1945. Oxford grad. Translated Shakespeare into Chinese. Once he said that
I seemed to work very hard and asked how many kids I had. When I said none,
he responded,"You are not working hard enough."
A well-known , wealthy Virginian said we could do lunch and I could come
to his parties as long as his mother was not there--she only did FFV.
David Manning White: To weigh this unique reference, you need to find within
his qualifications what he said about me. I thought I had had a lucky life,
but this single son of Russian immigrants had a better one.
Co-authored the book (Mass Culture) that contributed to
journalism redefining and renaming itself as Mass Communications ... originated
the "gatekeeper" principle to describe the pivotal role of journalists in
educating or distracting the masses.
Youngest full professor at Boston University. His final teaching years were
at VCU because his wife wanted to tend her ailing mother in Richmond.
Aide to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, writing propaganda in Japanese to drop on
enemy troops ... could rattle off the Iliad in Greek (but it was all
Greek to me).
Charter member of the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
Wrote 33 works published by first-line publishers.
David had a mistress who wrote in her autobiography that David was the best
lover she ever had. The Mistress? Betty Friedan, a mother of feminist movement
and author of the Feminine Mystique. (David, a cad at times, showed
me her letters begging him not to break off the relationship as he did.)
David's wife said she was tired of going to White House dinners, told David
to find someone else to take.
Katherine Graham, owner and publisher of the Washington Post, penned a short
note to David's wife when David died, "Sorry to see David go."
Mike Dukakis, 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate, was a personal friend
who often telephoned during the campaign for feedback and advice. (I was
there more than once when he called David.).
David had many famous friends. It was fun going to the movies with him two
or three times a month. When the credits rolled, we would sit with David
commenting on many of the cast and crew. For many years he had been
the film critic for Boston's largest paper (or TV station).
A mentor of David's was Bernald Kilgore, the editor who took the Wall
Street Journal from a small local NYC financial paper to a national
powerhouse rag. The story I heard several times from different people was
how the two would dominate the journalism conventions by playing the piano,
Kilgore knew the songs before 1940 and David played the post-1940s songs.
The story was that no one could come up with a song that one of them did
Live simple so others can simply live (Gandhi): When the VCU's original
masscomm library was named after him, he laughed, "Here I am in my $5 thrift
store suit." When we went to NYC during which we dined with the Archbishop
of New York at the Metropolitan Club, David insisted we take the bus so we
could talk to the bus people. We gabbed the whole way, to and fro.
When I met David in 1980, I wrote a computer program for an instant
tally of their financial assets. I learned they were giving away $50,000
a month to charities. (I also programmed David's last two books onto floppy
disks so as to save MacMillan the cost of retyping, The Search of God
and The Affirmation of God.)
1987 Stock Market Crash: David and I were tooling around to several venues
as he was laughing, "There goes another $100,000, but Bill Gates is losing
1,000 times as much."
Maid stealing $300,000: She took a check out of the back of the ledger, buying
a house and a five-year prison sentence.
David had good genes. His son was a renowned California gastro-enterologist
who treated the King of Saudi Arabia at the Cleveland Clinic that earned
a bonus of a state-paid visit for his family to the Islamic kingdom.
An amazing thing was that Steve was Jewish. He sold his practice in the 1980s
to his associates for multi-million dollars. (While visiting David in the
days leading up to his unsuccessful heart surgery, more than one physician
stopped in and said, to wit,"Your son saved my [parent, sibling, offspring].
I am a consultant on your procedure, no charge." [David's valve replacement
was useless as his aorta was paper thin--bleedout if unmedicated or suffer
strokes if clotted with medication.])
David spent hundreds of hours editing my
with a qualifier: No distracting slop. One time he started a chapter and
when the pencil marked a third simple typo, punctuation or grammar error
he threw the sheets into the air, exclaiming, "I edit your works for the
ideas, not simple mistakes." After he stormed out, I was on my knees gathering
up the sheets. Thereafter, he found few simple mistakes as I hired a university
senior English major to do pre-editing.
Often, as the serious discussions became tedious to David, he would give
me his "You have mustard on your tie," to wit, "What is more important than
honor? Inner peace" which I (immersed in the discussion) always failed to
catch before the punchline. (I did add an additional punchline which he thought
was great: "And, how do go from honor to inner peace? Liquor.")
When a business of mine went bankrupt in 1992, I announced it at the regular
Sunday lunch with the apology of losing $30,000 of their funds. David laughed,"I
wanted to see if you could translates your ideas into daily reality." [I'm
still trying.] Catherine said, "You'll still come to Sunday lunch, won't
you." (At one lunch, Catherine announced she was going to, in sequence, cook
each of the meals in the New York Times food critic's "Best 100 meals in
the world". Over three years, David and I enjoyed 5-star meals.)
One time, David began to berate Catherine. When I told him that I did not
like him criticizing my friend in front of me, he stormed off. Catherine
looked at me and said, "You don't scold David, no matter what, if you want
to continue to be invited into our home." After David's death, at a Sunday
luncheon with three high school friends, one asked her if she missed David
to which she responded, "No, I had 50 years with him." Since David was dead,
the pre-nupe of living on their income, not trust funds, was null. A month
after David's death, the 20-year old Volvo was replaced by a $125,000 silver
Beamer. When she answered the door, I said, "Guess the pre-nupe is over?"
"Yep, David is dead." I had driven the Volvo on occasion but Catherine said
nope on the Beamer.
Catherine edited my book
without Manager: Profiting from Democratic Capitalism." David said she
was a better editor than he was. She earned her PhD in biochem at the age
long after most people retire from work.
At one luncheon in the early 1990s, David and I encouraged a former student
of his to stop investigating the "Octopus." A few weeks later, Danny Casolaro
was found dead in a West Virginia motel where he was supposed to meet an
inside source. His notes were gone, and his body was cremated without an
autopsy or family knowledge. (Another former student was Henry Kissinger
of whom David's opinions cannot be shared.)
After five years of friendship and hundreds of hours in his gratis
editing of my writings, I asked
David why he had me as a friend. His response: "In my life, I recognize
five people smarter than me. You are the only one still alive."
What a lucky mensch!
Between these references and the epiphanies of Timism, I have been able to
forge forward without standard support and review. Of the latter, on-going
questioning found flaws. On some paths, those who travel alone travel
farther faster. Traditional feedback was and is a drag on progress. Google
is faster and less political and less petty. Your respect for Timism--the
Morality of More Time--will reflect your ability, motivation and time to
inspect and re-inspect its tenets. But, the accelerating, synergistic
meltdown will preclude this inspection.