Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Importance of Being English

On my evermore intense quest to devote all my free (and unfree) time to pointless election micro-spectating, I came across the following passage by Tory mayor of London Boris Johnson (as quoted by Andrew Sullivan):

Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president.

But, as yet unremarked upon by Sullivan or TPM, or any other blog I can find is the source of the quote. Dude's referencing Oscar Wilde! From The Importance of Being Earnest:

To have lost one parent, Mr. Worthing, might be considered a misfortune. To have lost both smacks of carelessness.

And now, the question: intentional allusion (my vote), or is Wilde enough of the daily imagination of Brits that this construction has become standard? Also -- only 2 more weeks until I get my life (and, God willing, my country) back.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am Not a Pundit

And I have no idea what the American People's response to the last 48 hours will be, but I have to say that, from where I sit, John McCain had 4 advantages over Obama 1 month ago:

1) Experience, esp. in foreign policy
2) Reputation as a truth-teller
3) Cozy relationship w/ the media
4) Reputation as tougher and less wimpy in a crisis

And, from this l'il ol' chair, I can't help but think that between Palin, the negative ads, the Palin seclusion campaign, and the suspension freakout, he may have blown all of them BY HIMSELF in a month.

Now, just to prevent jinxing, I'm going to tap on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and spit three times.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A prayer

Dear God, let this be the shoe vomit.

P.S. I spent yesterday vacuuming moth larvae from the ceiling. I would prefer not to have to do that again, thanks.

Monday, September 22, 2008


And on a wildly more personal note, I just realized tonight why we are suffering our 2nd annual late summer/early fall moth infestation.

Last year, the moths all decided to live in our bread board (in its convenient plastic crumb-catching tray, feasting on our crumbs). So, of course, this year, we've been diligently checking and washing the brea
d board. No moths there, but yet somehow still moths.

Until tonight, when after making a post-Passion Play cup of cocoa, I saw. The moths have been living:

1) in our whole wheat flour jar from IKEA


2) in the dog biscuits

Both of which, are, of course, safely in the trash bag, which is safely in the trash container outside. But, still. Ugh. I killed about 5 out of 8 moths that I saw tonight, and I'll try to finish them off in the next few days, but I'm feeling a little too grossed out to go to bed alone right now.

And, in all the moth business, I wasn't able to drink my cocoa, so now it's cold and has a skin. Double ugh. I saw a 4 hour play tonight. I wanted my cocoa.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Barack Obama will never read this post

So I can feel pretty sure that my campaign advice can offered without fear of affecting things badly.

Everyone's shorts are in a knot (mine included) about what Obama should do faced with an attack of lies, more lies, fake outrage, and fake outrage + lies.

Go negative? Hire Bill Clinton? Stay positive? Make more ads about the 80s? Okay, no one wants that. Here's my two cents, for whatever it's worth (and, at this point, I think it's worth is primarily keeping me sane):

There's a scene in the 1st season of Mad Men where our protagonist, Don Draper -- 40ish, fit, talented -- invites his boss, Roger Sterling -- older, white haired, ruthless -- over to his home for dinner. Over the course of dinner Sterling gets drunk and makes a pass at Don's wife. Don is livid, but what can he do? Hit the man? No. Insult him? Unlikely. So, he says nothing, and, the next day, Sterling invites him to lunch. Where they eat and eat and drink and drink. When I watched this episode, I was like "geez, why all the oysters and cocktails?" Upon returning to the office, the men are told by an elevator operator (whom we saw Don chatting with earlier) that the elevator is out. So they take the stairs. Up twenty five flights. Don is younger and better at it, Sterling refuses to ask for a break, and when they arrive at Floor 25, Sterling walks in the door and promptly vomits 32 oysters all over the shoes of their client.

Obama's job? Keep going up the stairs. And bribe the elevator guy. McCain and Palin are going to vomit all over the American public. And we just have to hope they don't like it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tony Kushner's imaginary drag name

As he writes in the introduction to Homebody/Kabul, would be "Eara Lee Prescient"

And I have to say that's how I feel re-reading my last column in light of the whole Sarah Palin shebang. What are we talking about? Her kids, her uterus, her kids' uteruses, and her physical appearance.*

Politicians. And women politicians.

Not that women writers or feminists are being uniformly helpful about this either. They've made the personal their stock-in-trade, and so our presidential election becomes an extension of the Mommy Wars. I like her. I hate her. So what? Do you think she'd be a good presidential understudy? The most cynical thing I think I've thought this election cycle was when somebody said, "They're just nominating her to get the women's vote." My first reaction was "Oh, that won't be bad for the Democrats. Women hate other women." And scene.

I'm hoping that the 24-hour media cycle, billion-blog news OD thing will give way, at least a little, to issues of substance. (I know, a girl can dream). Although I have to admit that this inclines me toward despair. What can I do? Stop reading the stupid Internets like it's going out of style, and remember to breathe. We'll see how well those go.

*And yes, like 99% of women, she is both the victim of this and it's eager perpetrator. Who put this stuff on the table? Often Palin herself. Does that mean it's worth talking about? I don't really think so.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

X and Woman X

Woke up this morning to this on Jezebel, which was sad and disturbing and reminded me a lot of this from the world of Gawker Media lady overshares, and also made me think about this:

None of this would be happening if they were men.

Because there are no "men's issues" blogs. There are "issues" blogs and "women's issues" blogs. Imagine for a second that Ross Douthat and Joshua Michael Marshall and Reihan Salaam were invited to an event called "Thinking and Drinking." Would their sex lives EVER be on the table as discussable? Would their behavior from college? No, and partly because they didn't put these issues there. They, like their "old media" counterparts, Leon Wiseltier and Sy Hersh et al, talk about the election and the economy and the environment, while Sandra Tsing Loh and Caitlin Flanagan and Judith Warner talk about their children and their sex lives. When 2nd-wave feminists coined the phrase "the personal is the political" I don't know if they intended it to be this kind of substitution.

Women get attention, lots of attention from people (including avid reader me) about their personal lives. It's interesting. I'm interested. In their STDs and tampon follies. In their visits to the ob/gyn and their heartbreaking breakups. But, I don't know what this attention all adds up to.

One of my good (male) friends asked  me recently, apropos of the young male writer deal (Ben Kunkel, et al) where all the young women writers are . . . and my first, uncharitable, thought was: getting drunk, having sex, and writing about it on their blogs. Yes, it's unfair and there's institutional sexist, patriarchal reasons behind these differences, but the comparison stands: Emily Gould has a memoir coming out where she talks about, um, herself. Keith Gessen wrote a novel and founded a magazine. With almost no women writers. Which somehow doesn't make it a "men's magazine."

And, finally, the shittiest part of all of this comes down to biology. Yes, men aren't oversharing as much on their blogs and they're way further ahead in both old and new media in talking about the big-picture political stuff, even though I'd take Megan Carpentier's analysis over Matt Yglesias's any day. And, yes,  I have to wonder if the hunger we have, as a society, for the inner lives of women writers creates its own kind of glass ceiling where you can have a column as long as you promise to self-gossip. But, even if we did away with all of the societal crap, we'd still come down to this:

What are the two hot-button issues on the Jezebel interview? Rape and abortion. Two things that even feminists will fight each other about, two things that lead to blame and judgment and "how dare you" or "why didn't you" or "I never would have" or "you don't understand." The twin worst outcomes of sexual behavior -- the demons lurking around the corner of supposedly liberated, late 20s carousing. 

Two things that are never, ever going to happen to straight men. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

After "Resume"

Or "Dorothy Parker Tries to Remove Her Pubic Hair"

Nair smells icky
Razors cause bumps
Sugar's sticky
And cold wax clumps

Brazilians are burning
Right up to the tush
Scissors take learning
You might as well bush

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I am a part of a crucial demographic trend

And here all this time, I thought I was just wearing pants and cardigans.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sometimes it takes a blog

To remark on the one angle of the Eliot Spitzer situation you are 100% positive has not been covered by the mainstream media. . .

It's eerie similarity to a song by mid-90s folk-pop band The Nields. Keep in mind that George Fox was the alias Spitzer used at the Mayflower Hotel, and read:

Best Black Dress

Mr. George Fox requests the pleasure of my company
By pointed envelope marked "Special Delivery"
And I know what this means, most certainly
This means tonight Mr. George Fox will take me to Club Century

In my best black dress
In my best black shoes
Why should I refuse?

Most days are not like this, you understand
Oh no, most days find me taking ideas in shorthand
In a room alone with changing wedding bands
Mr. George Fox, I've got better things planned

In my best black dress
In my best black shoes
What have I got to lose?

He says, "That's what's wrong with this generation
You're supposed to be making something new
But it's so much more fun to play in your parents' historyland"

Speaking of which
Mr. George Fox has a daughter just my age
I've seen her once or twice at the other end of his estate
She has long purple skirts and an old mutt she got in college
I wonder if she's seen me creeping home at night through the foliage
Has she seen me?

In my best black dress
In my best black shoes
Would she be confused?