I asked my patient - who was born in 1908 - what she remembers about the advent of womens' suffrage - she doesn't. She told me that when the Armiistice was signed, her mother gave all the kids pots and pans and wooden spoons to bang on, in celebration. She must have been 10. The Vote did not cross her mind.
And as being deprived of suffrage is still within living memory of citizens of this country, I am amazed at the scope - and intensity - of responses to the Runaway Bride story this last week. The facts of the case are trivial, the madness of the media coverage is not - recalls to me the great parody headline 'SLEEP CLAIMS JACKIE!" - yeah, Jackie O was out like a light for one-third of every day!! Shock, awe, and Nancy Grace going hyperthyroid on us all. If only there was some real analogue to Slim Whitman that would explode their alien brains, I'd pipe it out my window to restore local sanity.
The ordinary rites of passage are becoming so inflated, so freighted, with anxiety right now that we may need (but should reject) a Department of Homeland Insecurity. Lindsay, bless her, reasserts the privacy and particularity of weddings (my own sister's was very particular!). Lance addressed the fears of the fearful - straight men who have to demonize gay men because - hmm - they might be set upon and ass-fucked? Roving gangs of predatory fags - I'd like to see that, and I might even sign up - but it's a fantasy. I can assert that coming out (if you are gay) affirms your masculinity like nothing else - it's the closet that makes you a sissy.
Benjamin DeMott has a fine piece on another cleavage - jocks and non-jocks - in the 5/12 NYRB (free on-line, too). He's been clear-eyed on our national will to sweep class, race, and status under the rug for a very long time. How he can continue to spear the complacent received postures and prejudices of his peers, and yet remain hopeful, is virtue itself.