Archive for June, 2010

The Moor, The Marrier

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I tend to dislike Facebook, but I’m on there nonetheless to avoid missing out on local parties only invited online, so I try to post something occasionally. Unlike working up a blog post here, which at least ostensibly ought to contain some sort of actual content, Facebook posts are tiny and so call for people to be pithy*.

I was thinking above love recently, I think because I had written a poem or two about it for a poetry reading the other week. The poetry reading itself was great fun, both because the featured reader was Taylor Mali (who is always a delight), and because my poems were generally well-received.**

Anyway, while thinking about love, I came to a conclusion about myself which I felt was an solid little Facebook update status. “Seth Brown loves very wisely, but not well enough.” And then I realized that while some people would understand my intent to present a reversal of Othello’s quote as an explanation that I feel I have chosen very excellent friends indeed even if I sometimes do not show my appreciation sufficiently, on Facebook it would probably sound to most people like, “Seth Brown likes awesome girls but is bad in bed.”***

I didn’t actually have anything to say about a marrier, but I wanted a double pun post title and now feel compelled to follow through with it, so I will do something unusual for this blog and dip briefly into the realm of the political. I saw talk of the 2010 Texas GOP platform on other blogs, presumed it must be either exaggeration or a fringe group. But no, I went to the official Texas GOP site, and indeed along with the expected mix of ideas I find supportable, ideas about which I am apathetic, and ideas with which I disagree, lie some truly horrible ideas, many of which could be eliminated from the platform and simply condensed into, “Gay people are illegal,” which would save lots of time rather than having individual laws that ban sodomy, ban partner benefits, ban restrictions on discrimination, and make it a felony to perform same-sex marriage.

I think every half-century or so, there’s a group we treat like dirt in this country and then eventually America slaps its collective forehead and says, “Oh, they’re people too, so I guess treating them like sub-humans should probably stop and we should give them the same rights as people.” And then we pass some laws, and while we don’t eliminate discrimination entirely, we at least give it a good kick by removing it from our laws, and then decades later we look back with shame at how we treated that group of people… all while mistreating the next group.

If you think about it, it was almost a century ago (give or take a decade or so) that we gave women the vote. Women! They don’t even have a penis! How will they push the levers? Alright, fine, women are people, but what about them black folk?**** You wouldn’t want to drink from the same water fountain, would you? What? They’re people too? Okay, sure, but these gays, you can’t let them visit each other in the hospital or fall in love and have families like humans, right? Are you kidding me THEY’RE PEOPLE TOO?!?

It’s a slow and painful process, but I try to remain optimistic. I have little doubt that in 50 years, we’ll have accepted gay people as people, and look back with shame as we always do on the attempts of so many to legislate discrimination. I don’t know what new group we’ll be dehumanizing then; I only know I’ll be in favor of their rights too. I hope by then I’ll be funnier about it.******

*”Girl, you are theriouthly pithy.”

**As usual, the painstakingly pre-written poems were met with mild approval, while the instantaneously composed freestyle poetry received a much more hearty ovation. I realize that many people can write poetry and fewer people can freestyle poetry, so the latter is more impressive, and I’m always glad that people appreciate my work in that area. But there’s still something weird about the poems you spent a long time working on getting quiet polite applause, and the poem you didn’t bother working on at all but just made up on the spot getting much more thunderous applause.*****

***Cause of death: Suicide. Reason: Top Google result for own name.

****The history of anti-black discrimination in this country is perhaps slightly more beset, because first the country had to be convinced that blacks should be free rather than slaves, and then they had to be convinced again later that they should be people and not just free.

*****I always accidentally read that phrase as “Thunderous Applesauce”, which would be a great name for a rock band.

******I’m reminded of one of my favorite old tales about discrimination. A very bigoted (let’s say, Texas GOP) family offers in patriotism to host some soldiers for a dinner, but writes in the letter to the Captain “No Jews, please.” On the appointed night, there is a knock at the door, and 8 black soldiers are there. “Oh no,” says the matron anxiously, “there must be some mistake!”  ”Not at all, ma’am,” says one of the soldiers with a smile. “Captain Goldberg never makes mistakes.”

May 42

Friday, June 11th, 2010

May 42 be the answer to life, the universe, and everything? It sure might. May 42 is also today’s date, as I once again slide past my goal to post one blog update per month. In my defense, I’ve been slightly busy. I tried to solve this by reading productivity tips, but my most recent humor column will show you how well that went.

I attended a nearly week-long family reunion, where I was reminded that parts of my crazy are very clearly inherited, even if other parts of my crazy are obviously my own creation. I had another book review in the USA Today, about a book called Merchants of Doubt. It’s about those scientists who say that things like smoking, acid rain, and global warming aren’t health hazards. A dense read, but interesting, if depressing. I’ve also recently done a number of restaurant reviews for the Berkshire Eagle. Now I just need someone to hire me to review board games and comedy, and my life will be complete.*

Meanwhile, my board game playing certainly has not slowed down in any way. I got to try two Vlaada Chvatil games, Galaxy Trucker and Space Alert, both of which were wacky fun. Space Alert was also wacky stressful trying to coordinate with 5 people in real-time, making it both a perfect teambuilding game, and something I enjoyed less than I could. I really want to try his new game, Dungeon Lords. Meanwhile, I’ve recently acquired La Citta and Notre Dame, the latter being a game we played at a friend’s wedding last year and has been on my want list for a while.

In other news, I’m in hot water. Or rather, my hot water was in hot water, as both my water heater and washing machine ceased to function. I wonder, if I could only replace one, would it be better to wash clothes in the machine with cold water only, or with hot water in the sink? Since I can’t shower in the sink**, I decided to replace the water heater first.

*Although hopefully not in the same sense that I complete the books and games I review. That’s the trouble with certain words, you could look at a dead person*** and say, “Well, his life is complete.”

**At least, according to the management at Applebee’s.

***Technically this is easier at some jobs than others.