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27 Nov


I’m Canadian, so I celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago, but still, it’s hard to ignore all the cheerful goodwill and gratitude in the air when American Thanksgiving rolls around. Also, the pie. That’s all anyone has been able to talk about this week: PIE, pumpkin or otherwise. And stuffing and turkeys and liquor. Oh, and gratitude.

Gratitude, like appetite, is contagious. So, herewith, an account of my thanks, the things for which I am grateful (not, please note, in order of importance):

29 Oct

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Monsters

A few weeks ago, I said this about Hollywood’s defense of Roman Polanski:

What message does it send to our sons when the rape of a young girl is dismissed as something that is not that bad? What message does it send to the would-be Donalds of the world? To the would-be Roman Polanskis? To all the boys and men (and, yes, perhaps, women) who would grab and grope and hurt and rape, and to all the boys and men who wouldn’t? That sometimes, it’s okay? And that even if you wouldn’t do it, you shouldn’t necessarily condemn someone who does grab or grope or rape… who? Your sister, your mother, your wife, your lover, your daughter, your child?

I could not have imagined, when I wrote those words, that one might also have added this suggestion: that it’s okay to stand by and watch as a young girl gets gang-raped.

15 Sep

The Unbearable Lightness Of Letters

A friend called me, last week, after I’d written about struggling through the process of sorting through some of my father’s papers.

“After my aunt died,” she said, “after we went through all of her things, I immediately went home and dug up all the old love letters from old boyfriends and notes and letters and things that even mention my old love life and tore them to shreds. I just don’t want my husband and kids to ever see them. I don’t want to die and have them find them. I just don’t.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I know what you mean.” I do know what she meant. But also, I don’t. I understand the impulse to protect – if that’s what one is doing – one’s loved ones from the full force of one’s history, as this is recorded in letters and notes and photographs. What I don’t know is, whether that impulse is the right one.