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Pickle Me This

September 19, 2006

In praise of white linen.

I just finished the wonderful Nora Ephron Collected, which provided a take on the 1970s women’s movement I have never found elsewhere- that of the skeptical feminist with a sense of humour. I enjoyed it. It also made clear that nothing ever changes, which was apparent upon reading Ephron’s essay about the very first reality television program. Now reading The Afterlife of George Cartwright (for school), which takes place at that ground upon which I used to stomp- Nottinghamshire. Cartwright’s family’s house was where the Marnham Cooling Station stands now, and we used to go by it on the train! The book is a bit boyish for my liking, but I’m enjoying it.

~Where war and wrack and wonder/ By shifts have sojourned there,/ And bliss by turns with blunder/ In that land’s lot had share.~ I’m sad about violence in Budapest. It comes at a funny time, as the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution is coming up and it would be nice to have a happier ending to that story. I had a fascinating visit to Budapest in 2002 and whilst there, I inadvertantly fell into the middle of a political demonstration, which is one of the stranger things that have ever happened to me. (But not as strange as when a kiosk fell on me. Also in Budapest). I had gone to see the parliament buildings, and a crowd was gathered there, protesting dubious election results, if I remember correctly. Police moved in with riot gear. It was surreal and I couldn’t believe I was standing in the middle of it. Sometimes calm in Europe is so easy to take for granted, and we can forget what a lack of precedent there has been for sixty years of peace(ishness) there. It’s just as complicated as anywhere else in the world. And Thailand too, another place that features heavily in my personal map of the world. Of course, I think about bad things that happen everywhere, but I think that as a North American, one gets so accustomed to bad things happening “over there” that when “over there” is close to home, it makes a difference. Right or wrong.

Margaret Atwood’s new book does well in The Guardian. On mainstream poetry. The CBC Chair resigns for talking about bowel movements and bestiality (we wondered if someone had been evesdropping on us by mistake). And The Long Pen tries again, this weekend at The Word on the Street. How exciting! echolocation is going to be there too. Drop by for a free bookmark!

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