Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Culture Of Life,

my ass.

Maybe the Christian Right will care about the illegal occupation now? Except, oops, they don't seem to care when it happens to Palestinian women, either....

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Plus Ca Change

I have just returned home from a friend's post -wedding party. It was at the groom's bar, a lovely divey place in South Williamsburg. J. looked gorgeous and happy and was also an ample six months pregnant. Everyone was happy.

I ended up talking mostly to Moxie, a brassy rockabilly singer who had accompanied J. when J. was doing her burlesque routine. Moxie looks like Jayne Mansfield's mother and I was flabbergasted to find out that she is onl three years older than me. She admired my vintage sarong dress, I her blond fall and sexy voice. She told me all about the ceremony. We ended up talking about how beautiful and important marriage can be: especially for the people who did not expect it, did not plan for nor make room for it, and then realized one day that a wedding was the sole possible expression of a profound and inexorable alchemy of union, commitment and change.

J. told me how sorry she was to hear about my mother's death three weeks ago. I thanked her, and told her that yes, it is really sad and awful: but the corollary of that experience is that you realize who you have in your life upon whom you can rely: and that I have been so grateful for my true friends and for my family. How the three big life events, death, birth and marriage throw these essential connections in to high relief, and I was sure she was probably feeling that today, and when her baby came she'd feel that even more.

The groom's business partner was in the bar with his wife and their six month old son. I watched their baby watch everything else. I ached for a baby of my own, I was full of joy for J., I bonded over being married ladies with Moxie, I joined strangers in communal joy, I missed my Mom, and then I walked home.

Our house is crowded with boxes of things from my mom's house. My father and stepmother sold their house last month, and so they shipped 6 boxes of my old papers to me at the same time. Thus, our cramped apartment overflows with my life and my mother's life intermingled: the letters she mailed her best friend in high school: the telegram my father sent me when I had my eye surgery at age five: photo albums documenting a thirty year span: my Nancy Drew hardbacks and stuffed animals: death certificates and the Ziploc bag of my mother's souvenirs from our wedding. She saved her table number, her placecard, the business card from the hotel she stayed in, maps, printouts of our wedding website, and her corsage: a single perfect gardenia to match my bouquet. This ziploc bag is on my vanity, next to my bridal bouquet.

I have been opening a box or two a day. This would seem an efficent strategy, but sometimes one box will stir up emotions that drive one to take to one's bed. Today however, I opened a box of essays from my senior year in high school.

Oh My GOD:
Metaphors in the form of tales and myths are designed to explain something unexplainable in any other fashion, something that the ancient creators of those myths could not find the words to express in a straightforward or literal manner. They were created in attemts to communicate in "picture language" that which is divine and transcends description in words. They were created to be verbal containers embodying the transcendent.

So, to literally interpret religion and myth as historical fact is to miss the point of the mataphor, in the same way that literary metaphors are not to be read as literal statements. The map of a territory is not to be confused with the actual place it represents. A book is not an ax ["for the frozen sea within us": Kafka]
Have I traveled so far to merely adumbrate and affirm what I wrote about, so earnestly, in a fucking ESSAY TEST at the age of SIXTEEN?

I guess I have. I wish I could tell 16 year old Lillet that she was indeed very pretty, and smart as hell: to not doubt herself, to not despair: and that the axes for the frozen sea we all carry are legion, are all around, if you only look. If you look and you are brave.

But more than that, I wish I could see my mom. I really miss my mom. Not to mention, missed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What Your Day Job Is For

Calling People In Congress To Demand They Not Fuck Up The Internet!

I just called every person's office on this list. I reached everyone but one. It took less than 10 minutes. Do it!

Courtesy of Daily Kos:

In the 1980s the Republicans "deregulated" radio and television by getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine and allowing a few big companies to buy up all the stations, and now you can't turn on the radio without hearing that conservatives are good and liberals are bad. And you will not ever see a representative of organized labor on your television telling you about the benefits of joining a union. In the South the ONLY viewpoint you ever hear is the Republican Party viewpoint. MAKE NO MISTAKE about what "deregulating" the Internet will mean. It means they will ban BuzzFlash, and DailyKos, and [YOUR BLOG, and MYSPACE, and the TAPIR PRESERVATION FUND, etc!] and any other voice that speaks out against the corporate takeover of your country.

Here is what you can do today. Matt Stoller has a post up at MyDD with a list of members of Congress to call TODAY. Matt says

Urge them to support the bipartisan Sensenbrenner-Conyers Net Neutrality bill (HR 5417) in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday -- and to support it without amendment. Saying without amendment is key.

Here is the list -- CALL THEM:

Howard Berman (D-Calif. 28th)
Phone: 202-225-4695
Fax: 202-225-3196

William Delahunt (D-Mass. 10th)
Phone: (202) 225-3111
Fax: (202) 225-5658

Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas 18th)
(202) 225-3816 phone
(202) 225-3317 Fax

Marty Meehan (D-Mass. 5th)
Phone: (202) 225-3411
Fax: (202) 226-0771

Bobby Scott (D-Va. 3rd)
Phone: (202) 225-8351
Fax: (202) 225-8354

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md. 8th)
Phone: (202) 225-5341
Fax: (202) 225-0375

Maxine Waters (D-Calif. 35th)
Phone: (202) 225-2201
Fax: (202) 225-7854

Mel Watt (D-N.C. 12th)
Tel. (202) 225-1510
Fax (202) 225-1512

Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y. 9th)
Phone: (202) 225-6616
Fax: (202) 226-7253

Robert Wexler (D-Fla. 19th)
phone: (202) 225-3001
fax: (202) 225-5974

Please pass it on!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rack Focus

[I wrote this on May 2nd.]

If you live in New York or read any New York-based media (Times, New York, any fashion magazines), by now you have encountered the recurring article about the Old-School Bra Shoppe, ruled by a feisty octogenarienne who will “size you up” in 10 seconds.

In every single one of these articles, our intrepid heroine/ reporter walks through the door, is immediately sized up by Bra Lady, whisked into a dressing room, and walks out with a shapely, well-supported rack, abashed at her ignorance of her actual bra size all these years.

Since returning from my honeymoon, I have lost 17 pounds. Do you know how? By going nearly completely vegan! (we had fish on Easter – Trey’s mom was trying so hard! and some eggplant rollatini two weeks ago.) And SEVENTEEN POUNDS melted away --the extra weight I put on from October- December that came from drinking most of the leftover wedding champagne in our house (often while talking to Ashbloem on the phone!) and from all the beer we drank on our honeymoon. I feel no deprivation whatsoever: I drink wine, I eat until I am full, but mostly whole foods and a ton of vegetables. My skin is clearer than it has ever been, and I feel amazing. And I haven’t been to the gym.

However, although now most of my clothes fit better than before ( and I can wear clothes I couldn’t fit into a year ago!) my bras had gone to shit. The rode up in the back, they chafed. They were phoning it in, my bras. I needed a serious bra fitting: Clearly I was no longer a 34B – but what was I? a Birkinesque 34A? A saucy 32B(ardot)? Regardless, I needed new bras for my creamy (soymilky?) vegan décolletage, and this time I would make no mistakes.

So I made the pilgrimage to Town Shop. I expected to be assigned to a Jewish grandmother, but my bra guru was a gorgeous young Jamaican girl named Francine, who led me to a dressing room and told me to strip. Suddenly I felt shy! I mean, now that I am married, and haven’t done theater in nearly 2 years, no one sees my boobs anymore!

I explained the situation, that was no longer a 34B (as I extricated myself from the grossest laundry-day bra I owned) “Oh GIRL, you’ve been wearing the wrong size!”

I agreed wholeheartedly, awaiting Francine’s divine pronouncement.

“Look how small your back is! YOU ARE A 32D. Elle MacPherson makes good bras in 32D for you. I will be right back.”

Holy shit! I forgot that cup size is a factor of the breast size-to-back size ratio! I felt weirdly proud for no reason. Like a 12-year old getting her period!

Francine returned with an armful of lace. At Town Shop they do NOT mess around: they put the bra on for you and show you how to do it right, which involves bending forward while put your arms in the straps.

I looked in the mirror and did not recognize my breasts – or rather, they looked a bit like they did ten years ago! The band fit snugly around my ribcage, I couldn’t feel the shoulderstraps at all -- Awesome!

I walked out of Town Shop with my new bras and immediately phoned Trey at work:

“Honey? Ummm, I have something to tell you – I am not the woman you thought you married.”

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sea Change

Blindsided by depression, this weekend has been -- not exactly a wash? I just can't bear to interact with anyone or anything but comfort books: Jean Auel; Carolyn Keene. "Is there anything I can do?" I didn't anticipate how unwelcome, how insulting that question would feel; yet it is the only possible inquiry. The situation is what it is.

I can't ever call her again. Not that I called much before; often, the sight of her number on my cell would cause a violent jerk, eye-rolling: There is nothing to resist now.

I long to be wrapped up in something: immobilized, untouched by anyone: Yesterday I spent 14 hours in bed, unmoving. Only the bedding's weight felt right. Honestly, I long to be mummy-bound in a fetal position, laid in a packing box and slid under the bed to pupate. Send myself in a boat out to sea, for the message's duration. All outer life, at present, is noise.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


“So, in my own moral reasoning, […] I try to locate my own particular part in the big picture. I simply imagine what it would be like to see those [animals] every day – the ones, in effect, being prepared just for me. Suppose […] I had literally to live with my own choice to eat meat, seeing my own pig and cow and lamb and chickens every day […] in a miniature factory farm, let us say, right near my house?

“Each morning, as I stepped out to greet the day, I would observe them being readied for me, peering into their crates and cages and pens, seeing their eyes begging me to let them out, out of the darkness and into the sun. It would be hard and I would probably try to convince myself that they’re just animals, for heaven’s sake, they can’t really think or feel or want anything […]

“If I had pets, I would see them lolling and roaming freely about the yard, basking in my care and affection while, inside the factory farm, animals of comparable feeling and intelligence received no comforts, no names, no affection, no nothing, only my silent and irresolute indifference. Day by day I would observe a little stream of waste pooling outside of the factory farm, this refuse the only external evidence that inside there are living creatures never themselves allowed to touch soil and grass. Night after night, as I drifted off to sleep in my warm, comfy bed, I would hear them, hear the shuffling and stirring and yanking of the tethers, the groans and bleats and bellows.

“All of this not to obey some inexorable force of evolution and biology, not by divine decree, not to meet some unstoppable market demand, not for Everyone – no, all of it done just for me. Each creature born and bred just for me. Confined and isolated just for me. And then in lonely terror packed off to die, just for me. And every time I saw and heard them I would have to remind myself just why I was doing this, to ask if my taste for pork loins or ham or steak or veal was really worth this price, to ask if this was really my choice and there was no other way.

“I know that I could not abide the sight of animals being treated so harshly, much less inflict such punishment myself. I know that I would feel mean and selfish and mediocre.

“Therefore, I want no part in any of it. I do not want this product. And I damn sure don’t want someone else doing the confining and beating and killing for me so that I am spared the unpleasantness of it all. The only thing worse that cruelty is delegated cruelty. […] When you eat flesh extracted this way, as Alice Walker puts it, ‘You’re just eating misery. You’re eating a bitter life.’

“That is the reality, exactly the same moral situation in which you and I both stand, involving exactly the same degree of complicity and exactly the same degree of choice. And it is the cheapest kind of sentimentality to ignore it. Far from being and emotional response, this is reason, a direct confrontation with the facts about the animals, about ourselves, and about our own actual needs and legitimate moral claims upon those creatures. The whole sad business, even while defended in terms of reason and realism, is designed to keep information and conscience as far apart as possible, to soothe and satisfy all at once […] I know that factory farming is an economic inevitability, not likely to end anytime soon.

“But I don’t answer to inevitabilities, and neither do you. I don’t answer to the economy. I don’t answer to tradition, and I don’t answer to Everyone. For me, it comes down to a question of whether I am a man or just a consumer. Whether to reason or just to rationalize. Whether to heed my conscience or my every craving, to assert my free will or just my will.

--- Excerpt from Dominion, Matthew Scully

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Hero

In case you are the one person who has not seen the amazing video of Stephen Colbert's routine at the White House Correspondent's dinner: click here to witness some devastating moral courage.

Watching this footage, you can't help but know you are witnessing something of massive historical significance. Can't you picture George Clooney's kid, 40 years from now, making his or her own "Good Night and Good Luck" about Colbert?

And most of all, is not only does Colbert have the balls to eviscerate the President and press RIGHT TO THEIR FACES, but in a brilliant work of art. I submit that his performance is one of the greatest works of art of this century. I'm totally serious. What elegance! What wit! What balls! Give this guy a Macarthur already!