Longtime Angry Black Readers know I am fond of Alan Rickman*. What you may or may not also know is that Margaret Cho is one of my role models – I want to be her if and when I grow up. When Zandar (@ZandarVTS on the Twitter Machine) tweeted to me that she had been on the Melissa Harris-Perry show…this morning? Yesterday morning? I don’t know. I run on asiangrrlMN time. OK, fine. Sunday morning for those of you not running on asiangrrlMN time.
Anyway, when Zandar tweeted me saying I would be sad I missed it, I immediately scrambled to MSNBC and found the clip. It started with Melissa, who, in and of herself is pretty damn amazing, talking about a YouTube thing of kids (I’m assuming mostly girls) posting vids asking if they are pretty or not. Margaret responded as to why this is not a good idea and how women are still being judged on looks alone. In a bit, Melissa brought on Jennifer Pozner, the founder of Women in Media and News. The three women started talking about, yes, women in media, news, and how women are constricted in general, whittled away into nothing, while men are allowed to expand.
However, I had already sent them a different post, on a topic they asked us all to write about: My relationship with the word “Zionism.” The plan has been to scatter those posts along the way, over the next week or two.
And lo! They decided to run mine today, on the very day that the blog went live! O_O (I’m reduced to emoticons at this point).
This is very cool. This is very, very cool, and in many ways, is the very thing I’ve been trying to achieve since I started writing op/eds in 2002, post-graduate school.
And I was hardly even talking about it, though it’s been in the works for a month or so, because as an old school reporter, I know that your story isn’t safe until it’s on someone’s doorstep (or, in this case, computer monitor) and why on earth would I want to jinx this? So, you know: Mum = the word!
But Tablet Magazine ran a piece about the project today, and, well – if it’s online, it must be true, right? Here’s what they said:
Loath as I am to front-page this juvenile behavior, it has gone on long enough and I felt it necessary to address it for those out there in Cyberland who are wondering what this is all about.
For four days, a woman named Denise Romano has been incessantly tweeting falsehoods about me with the specific intent to paint me as a bully. As she has ignored my attempts to engage her and determine why she is on a mission to disparage me as a bully, my only recourse is to memorialize it so that I can tweet this post whenever Ms. Romano tweets about me.
This “dispute” as it were arises from this Twitter exchange regarding Nicole Sandler. Ms. Romano casts the exchange as me encouraging 10 or 20 people to gang up on Ms. Sandler because I disagreed with Sandler about a political issue. Any fair reading of the exchange demonstrates the falsity of this “gang up” narrative.
Two years ago today, a beloved and wonderful man died. I wrote this for him and his daughter, my oldest friend in the world, and I post it again today in his memory. I miss his laugh, the laugh that would fill rooms and call over strangers. I miss his words, his stream, his rushing river of words. I miss his whistle. I miss him. He didn’t believe in heaven, but I hope that he has found whatever rest any of us may find after this world.
There’s this house.
It’s at the bottom of a hill, to the left and in a small valley, as you drive north on Wisconsin State Highway 23. If you come over the hill at night, you’ll see the lights in the windows, an amber glow under more stars than you’ll ever see in a Chicago sky.
The house is small. The kitchen floor is rough and unfinished, the wallpaper torn here and there. There’s a terrible Christmas clock hung on one wall because it met a need and now serves to amuse. The house smells of wood stove heat and cooking, and of the earth that washes off vegetables fresh in from the fields.
I loved him once, as only a very little girl can, with a kind of ache that would sit on my little girl heart whenever I saw his beautiful face. His voice was lovely, and he and his Monkee friends are, I’m sure, a big part of why I have such a big place in my heart for absurdist humor. Because if you think The Monkees was just a little kids’ show? Look again. It was madness. Wonderful, inspiring madness.
But in the family and in the home in which I live as a 47 year old, Davy is best known for his collaboration with children’s author Sandra Boynton (also a purveyor of absurdist humor, if you think about it) on the song “Your Personal Penguin.” He sings the part of the penguin.
So in his memory, in real gratitude for his pop presence in my life, and with tears in my eyes, I offer you this: Davy Jones, singing “Your Personal Penguin” (after the jump). May he rest in peace – may his memory be for a blessing.
As I obsess about Khader Adnan and what will happen in Israel/Palestine if he dies in Israeli custody, and meanwhile also try to fit in actual paying work that is almost all about advocating for the two-state solution that Israel appears bound and determined to destroy, I find that all I can feel is how tired I am of being Israeli. Again. I wrote about it once, and nothing’s changed. So, a re-up:
I’m sick of being Israeli.
I am sick of watching my home lurch from bad to worse — from the unavoidable xenophobia of any hounded and nationalistic people, to creeping-vine-xenophobia, the kind that the holds the whole house up at a certain point, having all but replaced whatever was once between the bricks. Israel had one good, shining year when it seemed it might be stepping forward rather than back, but 1993 came and went and here we are, worse off than we were before the Oslo Accords, because the Palestinian economy is more thoroughly wrecked, the Palestinian people more thoroughly occupied, Palestinian land more thoroughly gobbled up, and thousands of people (the vast majority of them Palestinian) more thoroughly dead.
And to those who would say “Is America really any different?” (as some friends have) I would say: Yes. In America, we go from bad to better — slowly, painfully, splutteringly, we move forward. Israel? Not so much. Have you seen the recent spate of anti-democratic laws passed in The Middle East’s Only Democracy ™? Or read up on why all those protesters were out on the streets for all those weeks? Not to mention the continual erosion, by design, of any and all hope for a genuine, mutally acceptable peace with the Palestinians? Bad to worse, bad to worser, bad to worsest (until the next worsest comes along).
It was my father’s 82nd birthday on Wednesday, but he wasn’t here to celebrate: He died of cancer when he was 35 and I was 10 months old.
As a child, I think I believed that grown ups stop missing people who died long ago. I think it seemed a little odd to me when a grandmother would start talking about her own grandmother with sorrow.
I’ve realized, of course, that loss never really ends. We live differently with it over time, but it’s always there. I am always, and will always be, a little girl wanting to hold her dad’s hand.
82 years ago, in the very hospital and on the very floor on which my daughter was born (coincidentally on the anniversary of his death), my father was born, a tiny, wrinkled thing, a baby — a promise. Not anyone’s dead dad yet, not anyone’s dead husband. Just a promise. I wish he could have lived more of that promise out before he was taken from us.
Dahlia Scheindlin is a terrific, American-Israeli public opinion analyst based in Tel Aviv who I saw speak at last year’s J Street conference. She was cogent and engaging and willing to tell the truth, to a room full of doe-eyed peace-seekers, about the Israeli public’s opinions about peace negotiations (which are not always as positive as we would wish, btw — they want a two-state peace, they just don’t want to trust the Palestinians to negotiate for it) (though she might put it differently. With, like, numbers, and such).
She also writes, and really well, for the genuinely peerless +972 online magazine (peerless, in that it is an outstanding source, and in that I don’t know that it has anything remotely like a peer in Israeli media).
The other day she posted what can only be called a cri de coeur, a cry from the heart appealing to her American Jewish family (in both the narrow and broad senses) to not betray Israel by betraying their liberal values: