Fran Lebowitz

June 26, 2017

A few weeks ago I caught Fran Lebowitz being interviewed on a late night talk show.  I had heard of her but never read any of her work.  She was quite interesting in the interview and I duly ordered a copy of The Fran Lebowitz Reader from the library. I guess others had seen her interview because I was third in line for the only copy. I finally got it last week and began to read.

The book is a series of short magazine-style pieces, reprints of her books Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, some  of which were first published as magazine articles in Interview, Mademoiselle, and British Vogue.  I enjoyed the first few pieces, and I can see why she was considered a sardonic wit, perhaps a new Dorothy Parker. Unfortunately, I quickly became bored with the style and the viewpoint; after a dozen or so pieces, you knew what was coming in the next chapter, and the writing seemed no longer witty but, rather, repetitious and small minded.

I suspect part of the problem is the fact that these were written in the 1970s and 1980s. Our television schedules these days are full of brash, outspoken commentary by highly intelligent women. Compared to them, Lebowitz in this collection comes across as little more powerful than a pre-sensimilla spliff. And, like a forty-year old roach, her writing hasn’t aged well.

That’s a shame because I was looking forward to it.

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Night Music: Going To A Town

June 26, 2017


Happy Birthday Sam!

June 26, 2017

 

Today is my son’s 41st birthday. Unfortunately, he and I drifted apart some years ago. When I was 41 I was fully estranged from my parents but eventually the family came back together. I hope this will be the same for Sam and me.


Poem: Having

June 26, 2017

 

I have seen the best minds of my generation squander their extraordinary talents on the marketing of consumer goods and the maintenance of shareholder value.

I have seen them abandon all pretence of worker’s rights at the behest of foreign and domestic bankers, Friedmanites from Chicago and MIT.

I have seen them relegate the environment to the dustbin, a victim in the race for quarterly profits and analysts expectations.

I have seen them treat safety issues as public relations issues, and seen them lobby to lessen their liability.

They have shamed seniors into wearing diapers, taught children how to smoke, and taunted teens into starving themselves to death.

They have sold goods that have killed millions, children, pregnant women, families, clans, tribes and nations, here and around the world.

They have spiked the waters of the masses with a poison called greed.

They have swallowed our ethics and morals and spat them back in our faces as branded goods for which it is right and necessary that we pay to display their logos.

You have contributed to their victory with every discretionary purchase, every dollar saved or spent.

You have accepted their world view with every envious glance, every lottery ticket purchase, every time you have watched a TV program starring “celebrities” or giving away a million dollars.

You have bowed to the inevitable with each ring of the alarm clock, each punch of the work clock, each end-of-week celebration.

You have become your parents, your older sister, your Uncle Frank with his shiny pants, your parents once again.

I have purchased things I could have made myself.

I have allowed my city to become plastered with advertising slogans, from store signs to billboards to the names of buildings and arenas.

I have dressed my children in designer labels, given then Elmo dolls and Flintstone vitamins, and let them choose CocoPops and TV cartoons over papaya and reading for breakfast.

I have enough of everything I need, and yet forever I need more; and

We have accepted all this bullshit, washed it down with the liquid lies of the liberal’s election hoax.

We have time and again made the wrong choice; time and again we have meekly accepted that the choices we are offered are the only choices possible.

We have been active participants in our own kidnapping, paying the ransom over and over again.

We have failed ourselves — and the bastards have won.  At least for now.