Greetings from outside of Rhinebeck, New York. I was a little girl when my mother had the perspicacity to buy property up here, a house that had been a dairy farm as far back as the late 1700s, a place where for decades she was known as “the city woman,” and where, because for a long time she was up only on weekends, local teens would sometimes sneak over at night. One time she arrived to find someone had broken in and baked brownies (my kind of girl?). Later, I found a nightgown of my mother’s smeared with batter behind the couch, as well as an empty bottle of wine.
We did not have as big a time last night! But Matt Welch, on his way further north, did stop by long enough for us to jump on the Paloma Media YouTube channel, where we had a chance to thank the people who tune in and listen live and, by doing so, got us over the monetary hump. Tune into the episode if you’re a masochist for bad wifi connections!
We also discussed Alec Baldwin accidentally killing the director of photography and wounding the director of the film he was starring in and producing, and also the Dave Chappelle imbroglio. As to the first, I realize I linger under the notion that nobody would use the opportunity of the Baldwin tragedy to “score points” for their side. The idea of being so utterly without grace, to believe you can profit from the tragedy of others, it’s a malignancy. And yet it seems increasingly popular, people see the profit in it, and while I sputter to put into words how sorrowful this makes me, David French does not, he confronted such indecency in his column this morning, “J.D. Vance and the Great Challenge of Christian Malice.” I found the column profoundly moving and of right heart, or “orthocardia,” a word I learned from the column and which essentially means, “having a right heart.”
There have been enough words written this week about Chappelle, notably for me from Jesse Singal and Matt Taibbi. The former includes a link to the bananas-Coco Puffs video outside of Netflix, where a few dozen Netflix employees and allies confronted/combatted pro-Dave comedian Vito Gesuadli. You’ve likely seen the video…
I think Taibbi’s column, “Cancel Culture Takes a Big ‘L’,” gets it right. Do the people breaking Gesuadli’s sign and shaking a tambourine in his face while shouting ‘REPENT MOTHERFUCKER” believe these are the best and noblest ways to ensure the rights of transgender people? How is what they are doing different from Sohrab Ahmari, in his 2019 piece “Against David Frenchism,” making the claim that, “Civility and decency are secondary values”?
They are not and never will be, not to the people I love and take care of and who take care of me, and not the work I put into the world. I do feel sometimes like a spectator, watching people fetishize hatred and begin to love the taste of it. Meanwhile, we will be over here, looking toward the sunshine.
Last week was a week of meeting new people and old friends, all of whom are putting their good work into the world. I’ve told you before about Jack Henneman and his podcast, “The History of the Americans.” He and I had a chance to meet, at the New York steakhouse Keen’s, which you should go to for many reasons, including the lovely lass over the bar!
I had Erika Schickel, a friend from LA, ring me up impromptu - she’s in NYC to promote her new memoir, The Big Hurt - and told her to get over to Paloma Media to record, where we talked, among other things, about how parenting in the 1970s was… different!
My beautiful friend and Newsweek Opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon has a book coming out on Tuesday, Bad News: How Woke Media is Undermining Democracy, which - woot! - Amazon tells me is a “#1 New Release.” She will be in the studio very very soon to record.
Batya’s book I have been waiting for. You Should Have Left, by Daniel Kehlmann, I found this morning on the nightstand by the bed in my mother’s barn and inhaled it in an hour. Oh my god, this book, illuminative transcendent terrifying, god I love it so much, and am not the only one: “My favorite German novelist” - Ian McEwen, is the blurb on the back cover, really really really, give it a try.
Cookies as commodity, baby, I’m telling you…
I leave with this gorgeousness, and love xx
Gotta check out the David French article now...
I wouldn’t let my 50 year old son date Erika S. Talk about a train wreck.