On Ask Polly: Should I Give In And Be The Other Woman?

Any man who is actually intimidated by the rumor that another guy is packing more than he is himself deserves to be played like that. What is this, the high school cafeteria?

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm 0

On Dear Pamela Geller, If Someone Rips Down Or Otherwise Defaces The Disgusting Racist Advertisements You Have Won The Legal Right To Display In New York Subway Stations, I Will Not Know Anything About How That Might Have Happened

@Dave Bry I appreciate--seriously--what you're saying about the danger this inflammatory speech poses in a confined public environment like the subway. I think Pam Geller is a pustule on the ass of democracy and this makes me want to post nude cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on the sidewalk outside her house--hey, it's just speech!--to see how she likes it. But I still think that by censoring her scummy posters you're letting the terrorists, you know, win. 

Instead of scratching something out, what about fighting her speech with more speech--right on her poster? A nice fat red Sharpie should get the message across without obscuring any of her hateful words. No, it doesn't stop a lone crazy from taking offense and doing something lone and crazy, but even if we could stop all the lone crazies we can't let them run our lives. 

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 1:51 am 0

On 'Gone With The Wind': Devil In A Black Bombazine Dress

I was ten when I saw the movie (midnight showing at a downtown theater, ooh) and read the book.  I've had plenty of time to get over it. As an adult I'm a humorless prig who can't get past the racism to enjoy the dresses, much like I can't get past Mickey Rooney's hideous Japanese-y caricature in Breakfast at Tiffany's. My fave thing about the movie is the way Scarlett is played by a British actress, because it feeds the secret fantasies of all the lineage-obsessed Scarlett wannabes that royal blood lurks somewhere in their veins if you go far back enough, when in fact they are all the trash of empire. 

Also, the scene where Scarlett is checking out some kind of malfeasance at the sawmill and the slippery manager tries to keep her out of some room by telling her there's a nekkid man in there reminds me of a news story I read about a woman who was trying to integrate (as in gender-integrate) some old boys' club in DC (100 years after the action in GWTW!) and was told the reason they couldn't allow ladies was that they might see a naked man. 

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm 3

On What Are The Best Audiobooks For A Road Trip?

I highly recommend Andre Dubus's memoir Townie. He's the author of House of Sand and Fog, and his story of growing up in a decaying mill town in Massachusetts is pretty compelling. It's read by the author himself, so no need to worry about my pet peeve, fake accents (I'm looking at you, Jim Dale). 

I've listened to Moby-Dick twice on audio. The first time it took me a year, but I can't think of anything I'd like better for a cross-country trip. 

Nonfiction can be good. I liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Animals in Translation, by Temple Grandin, is a little obscure but maybe you can get it from your library. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is hilarious, also read by the author. And Jonathan Franzen's book of essays How To Be Alone is good if you like crankypants intellectuals telling you to get off their lawn. 

For kids, you really can't go wrong with Eric Idle reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 8:37 am 0

On What Books Make You Cringe To Remember?

@jfruh 9 was probably just the right age to read JLS.

I didn't get that the Narnia books were about Jesus either, and I read like all of them. Well, maybe right at the end when Aslan is all tied up I realized maybe something was going on, but up until then it went right over my 9-year-old head.

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm 0

On What Books Make You Cringe To Remember?

I never went through the Ayn Rand, VC Andrews, or fantasy phases, and I still think Sylvia Plath and the Beats are kind of sweet. But I do cringe when I remember how I thought All the King's Men was SO DEEP and how I took Sinclair Lewis way too seriously. I was a weird kid. Oh, and then there was my brief teensploitation phase (I remember a book called Paper Dolls, about two girls who wanted nothing but to be models, and what some icky older men made of their ambitions, hhhhhhhuhhhhh). But I refuse to be ashamed of those--that was just me being sort of normal.

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm 0

On 'The Secret History': I Know What You Did Last Reading Period

@Annie K. Jack Black could have played IJR, but I think that ship has sailed. They dicked around too long with casting Will Ferrell, who is all wrong for that part.

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 11:42 am 0

On My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever: Party of One

You're thinking way too hard. Just go alone. It's what I always do. You have to practice the right look for when you're standing by yourself. I recommend looking at other people, not staring necessarily, but looking intensely enough that they'll feel awkward looking at you. Eventually your superpowers will get so finely honed that when somebody begs you to take them to see some live music you'll hesitate: is it really worth the grief of having to coordinate schedules and watch somebody's spot while they go off for drinks? I promise, this will happen. Get out there, life is short.

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm 0