In the middle of tonight's reading we had a digression. Tom had mentioned, in his previous correspondence, a cocktail he'd invented, and given the recipe for it, mentioning that it had not yet been named. We'd written back to declare our intention to offer nominations, as soon as we'd had a chance to procure the ingredients for the conconction and sample it, confessing however that at that juncture we remained ignorant of what Campari even is. This time around he explained the nature of that aperitif in composition and flavor, as well as in the post-Europe experience of insufferable young Americans who've done junior-years-abroad in Italy and now wish to demonstrate their worldliness.
The digression was to Marianne Moore's correspondence with the Ford Motor Company in the mid-1950s. "My goodness," I thought, or something like that, "We don't have to try the drink. We can just have him explain its character to us." Marianne, y'see, was helping the Ford people with suggestions of names for a new swanky line of motor vehicles they had coming out. The very formal guy at Ford with the acrobatic sentences is as much a delight as her whacky, out-there suggestions.
Alas, tonight's letter reveals that the libation has already been given its dubbing: it's to be known as a Wheatley, after the just-deceased Thelonious-lovin' Lawrence Wheatley, jazz pianist and musician-about-town. Bitter and sweet, see, the cocktail. Like it was for Wheatley. I doubt we coulda topped that.
I keep thinking I'd like to write about the disappointment that is the passing of the California anti-queer ballot measure. I know it must be devastating to a lot of folks besides, say, queerbychoice, who hasn't posted since the election but was pretty focused on the matter, to put it mildly, and is surely not having a great week. She's out to get married, you see. Even if you're not, if you're queer or care a lot about civil rights for the pervs, it's a decided elbow to the face in the middle of the series of overwhelmingly warm hugs that is the result in the Presidential contest.
In the leap of faith Obama directly asked us to make, however, part of what we were asked for is to think outside our cultural and subcultural niches, and imagine others thinking outside theirs, and inspire each other to work together for the greater good of all of us. Linked oppressions are linked in one big way it's easy to forget: when the Zeitgeist changes for social justice, whichever way the wind blows, the fates of the many variously oppressed, and marginalized, and underprivileged, change, too. In waves. As we help each other, we help ourselves. That's part of the unglamorous heart of Obama's style: patience and practicality and focusing on what needs to happen next. Whatever may happen as his Administration comes to power, he's shown already that there's power in that approach.
And by gum if there don't seem to be indications today of people already looking at the next steps in the wake of Prop 8. Getting up and dusting ourselves off and moving on with the next step is really the best we can do. Under the circumstances, in light of the bad news Prop 8 revealed, of how many people think Adam & Steve is scary or unacceptable around children or whatever, what can one do? It's not like we didn't know that's out there, is it? I say let's take our moments of cursing and crying and licking our wounds, and/but let's also not let it diminish the triumph of hope that just happened, has happened.
Yeah, I talk big. Sustaining hope is an appealing skill. Like finding it again is. Lord knows I suffer from wanting facility in those areas.
Maybe the most dramatically mixed love-hate relationship I've ever been in is the one I've had with my vulnerability.
"I'm gettin' tired of your sh*t," sings Badu, phrasing the line just so, in a way that comes back to me sometimes. Earlier she has said, with a wink, "Now keep in mind that I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my shit. So ya'll gonna be nice about it? Alright."