How “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” Haunts My Career

I wrote in the New York Times Magazine (gift link) about my weird connection to the experience of listening to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” while watching “The Wizard of Oz,” which is sometimes called “The Dark Side of the Rainbow.” I didn’t invent this idea, but an article about it I wrote in 1995, as a 19-year-old college intern at the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, is its earliest available documentation. Not unlike the Oxford English Dictionary’s citations to the first published usage of a word — even though people were surely using that word in the same way earlier, just without leaving any record of it — this article has come to be a stand-in for its mysterious origins. As a result people keep citing it and it has barnacled itself to my career as a national security and legal policy journalist. I’ve come to accept that the world is intent on treating this somewhat ridiculous thing as a defining contribution, and that no matter what else I have done or may yet do professionally, if I get an obituary after I die, it may well mention that article as a somehow notable fact.

UPDATE: Thanks to brothers Jeff and Scott Warden for sending in this shot – it’s apparently been taped to Jeff’s wall since 1995: