Monday, February 23, 2009

Soul searching

Drew has accused us of trivializing serious subjects, and yet she has been grateful for our ability to cut through the razzle-dazzle and focus on timeless values. Uncertainty sometimes seems our only certainty.

But what has become clear is that we are living through much more than a bump in the road. We are navigating without a map, plucking our eyebrows without a mirror. We don’t know if we are headed for a deep abyss out of which we will need to claw our way hand over fist or if we are headed for a deep dark woods where branches will whip us in the face and thorns tear at our clothes and in the distance we hear the terrifying sound, like a woman’s scream and then we realize that it’s something worse—a bobcat—and it’s coming closer. It is starving. We are its prey. We have no choice but to run as fast as we can, tearing off garments to leave in our wake, to slow the beast. We throw off clothes until we are running naked, freezing and sweating. Will we reach shelter in time? Will we get arrested for indecent exposure? What if it really is a screaming woman and not a bobcat?

Discovering as much as we can about the nature of our situation is critical; it lies at the heart of what we do. Doing so will mean taking some difficult steps. At a time of new constraint, it will involve discipline and sacrifice. It will entail hard choices about what matters most.

This challenge can seem particularly daunting after a period of extended growth and expansive opportunities. But we live in the moment that history has presented to us, and I am confident we will rise to this occasion even though we have never done this before.

It is our collective obligation to face the situation with the right balance of short-term focus and long-term ambition, for ourselves and for dear Dr. Faust, whose disposition will be shaped by our choices.

Wherever we work or eat, whatever the demands of our present moment, we share enduring ideals. We are committed to attracting the most able and creative community of fans in the world, and pursuing new knowledge and ideas with all the imagination and rigor we can summon. We are committed to opening our doors to products of the highest caliber as long as we can obtain them for a reasonable mark-up. We are committed, as part of a nation and a world vexed with complex problems, to seeking new understandings and solutions informed by serious consumption of Champagne. And we are committed to upholding the values of free inquiry and expression, of excellence and innovation across the domains of fashion, food, and gardening that shape our fan club.