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The Headaches I Have

2004-10-05 - 10:14 a.m.

Presenting, courtesy of the one and only Zephoria at, a snippet of Ani's latest:

i had to leave the house of privilege
spend christmas homeless and feeling bad
to learn privilege is a headache
that you don't know that you don't have

Done. Excellent.

I had actually just been thinking that I know I am privileged myself because all of my problems are so meaningless. Everything that upsets me--as in, things that affect Notorious RRZ personally, and not the things that upset me about the world--is absolutely pointless. The number of things that I don't have to worry about is huge. The fact that they include "feeding myself," "getting medicine if I'm sick," and "avoiding bombs" sets me off incredibly well against most people on this planet.

Take Sunday, for instance. I spent the day working on a paper, taking advantage of relatively cheap internet service and buying myself the occassional pastry or cup of coffee to keep me going. Against all reason, I was actually enjoying the process of writing this paper. It was about the publication and production history of Midnight's Children, and I got to find out all this dishy gossip about Rushdie's remarkable ability to forget about all those people who supported him while he was writing and who got his book published. If I had just won a national award, I would like to think that I, at every opportunity, would say, "And I'd like to thank my amazing editor and publisher, Liz Calder, for giving me so much unending support these past few years. Midnight's Children could not have been born without Liz Calder." Instead, not a friggin' word. What a douche.

However, finding this out made me happy, because it meant that I had a lot to write about in my paper. I felt so good, in fact, that just after finding out about Liz Calder, I decided to take a break and go wander around a bookstore. While perusing the new hardcovers, I saw a name that turned my eyes into calderas of hellfire.

Jennifer Weiner.

Some of you may remember Jennifer Weiner as my nemesis. She is the author of the worst book I ever read: Good in Bed, the story of an elitist, self-absorbed, homophobic, snotty little cow and her journey towards middle-class nuclear family nirvana. I have written at length about how I feel that this book exemplifies all the bad ways to write a novel. You can imagine the tiger-growls in the back of my throat when I saw that she had put out yet another piece of garbage when some other, very talented people can't get published, and when I can't even write anything besides an online journal. Then I saw the title.

Little Earthquakes. She titled her book Little Earthquakes.

Now presenting, in the style of James T Kirk, what Notorious RRZ really wishes he could have done in the middle of that bookstore.


Goddamn you Weiner!!! You dare to use the title of one of the greatest albums in the history of music to sell your rancid prose?!?!?! And then you try to argue that it has nothing to do with Tori Amos?!?!?! BLASPHEMER!!! KILL THE BLASPHEMER!!!

See? I am so lucky. This was a huge thing that bothered me for a good hour. Of course, then I got on with my paper and even had time to do yoga. I am so lucky.

Which makes me wonder who the Hell has enough time on their hands to ACTUALLY declare a fatwa on a writer. Are you with me?

Well, I hope you are, because not everyone is. See, I got an e-mail today, and it reminded me that occassionally my notoriousness pisses off people whom I have no desire to piss off, and can put me out on limbs that I didn't know I was walking on. It also reminds me, much more usefully, that I should never get so comfortable that I don't BCC, but such lessons are ones that need to be learned over and over. So, that's at least one blessing in disguise. But the fact that this happened had me feeling a bit guilty for the last hour, meaning that I had to write this entry instead of the one I was planning to write.

I could have been doing something useful during that hour. But I was worrying over my little tiny headache, the one that's so meaningless, in comparison.

Last night, Desmond Tutu was on The Daily Show. This guy is one of my favorite speakers. He spoke at Penn graduation the year after I graduated and he was brilliant. He reminded us in the audience that Americans helped liberate South Africa through boycotts and international pressure. He said, "You did not bomb us into liberation." He got a standing cheer from me on that one. He managed to piss off some people--good speakers always do--when he said that Israelis and Palestinians should learn to live in peace. I guess there were people in the crowd who just wanted one or the other to disappear.

Desmond Tutu was eloquent as always. He actually made me cry when he talked about how much God wants us to realize that we are part of his family, how he looks at those of us who resisted the war and smiled. Tutu has an amazing smile, full of true delight and a hint of mischief. I wouldn't mind if I met God and God looked like him (although I also wouldn't mind if God looked like Toni Morrison, or Anthony Quinn, or Arundhati Roy). I was a little amazed, because I feel like all the work I've done has come to nothing sometimes, that nothing I can do can stop this war or end corporate imperialism, and those are two goals that could really use some accomplishing. It was comforting to think that somewhere, someone was adding up all the little good deeds that we all do, that someone's looking down at those of us who are at least trying and thinking that, in our actions, there is hope.

I also remembered that things got really wonderful in my life when I stopped feeling sorry about how much it sucked to live in Texas again after I'd promised myself not to and started working to make the world a little bit better. And yeah, I got disillusioned, but who the Hell doesn't?

I've got some time coming up, I think. There are no scary assignments for the next couple of weeks--they look downright comforting. So I'm gonna see what some things are that I can do. Something tells me that there are tons of liberal causes in the Berkeley area that could use someone notorious.

And when I get my own little earthquakes that give me little headaches, I'll tell you all about them. It's better than aspirin.

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previous - next

The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
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