I had the opportunity to see Georg Simmel lecture at the Kiwanis Club in Hannibal, MO, the year before he passed away. I was only four years old at the time, but one of my earliest memories concerns his heavy tweed coat, his pince-nez, and that peculiar little accent of his, especially when he laughed. He was a fragile man: the archetypic scholar whose physical faculties emaciate as his mind grows ever stronger. I held his hand as we posed for a photograph at the urging of my father--long since lost--seated at the base of the statue I recall as "Justice Descends on the Countryside." The audience was not aware at that time that he was to die of syphilis a year later, likely contracted through contact with a prostitute or female "groupie" along the same tour (ironic given his own writings on prostitution). Because of the place where I was raised, I do not think I appreciated the urban forms of life Simmel was speaking about. It was only years later, living in Southern California during the entry of the United States into World War II, that I began to recall my adolescent copy of his essay called "The Metropolis and Mental Life." As a black man living alongside the interment of the Japanese-American community, I observed the ease with which others simply went about their daily lives and allowed racism and disposession to take on a shocking normalcy. I did not understand what I was seeing nor was I self-empowered enough at the time to speak out. I did later think of Simmel's essay. This connection was reinforced again years later when my academic daughter introduced me to the writings of Franz Fanon at the tail end of her graduate studies. A revelation! I believe Simmel was the first to write about a type of violence or indifference, a daily violence we all live by. For interested readers, I would draw your attention to a unique passage (page 17 in my copy) which I cannot claim to understand, even after all these years: "It is rather in transcending extensiveness that the metropolis also becomes the seat of cosmopolitanism. Comparable with the form of the development of wealth--(beyond a certain point property progresses in ever more rapid progression as out of its own inner being) -- the individual's horizon is enlarged. In the same way, economic, personal and intellectual relations in the city (which are its ideal reflection) grow in a geometrical progression as soon as, for the first time, a certain limit has been passed. [...] For the metropolis it is decisive that its inner life is extended in a wave-like motion over the broader national or international arena." Was Simmel speculating that the city-dwellers' "inner life" should share the blame for colonialism? If Simmel had lived longer, what would he have said about the 1922 rise to power of the Fascists in Italy? I am not a historian, but it seems like this was the opposite of the wave-like motion he describes, with a takeover of power in the coutryside first and then a march on Rome. Was this the moment in which the cosmopolitanism Simmel described that day in Hannibal, and many other days, was blindsided by more Machiavellian forces? Some younger people with whom I have had the opportunity to speak have suggested we are living through a similar moment now. This perhaps explains Simmel's enormous popularity in the age of the Internet. I am dictating this from my sickbed in La Jolla, but my great-grandson, tapping at the computer keys, tells me Simmel has reached the sales rank of 362,253 on the popular book-buying website named after a river. Way to go, Georg!