It’s over 50 years since the formal misalliance and alienation of the United States and Cuba began, and it is just over seven years since the inauguration of an historically significant change in leadership in both countries (does everyone remember that it was 2008 that Fidel Castro stepped down and ceded the presidency of Cuba to Raul, his brother—the same year an African-American was for the first time elected as U.S. President?).
Given these facts, and given that it was these two men, with the aid of the first Franciscan Pope ever, who engineered the start of the dismantling of this diplomatic and political rupture, between one very small country, and the world’s greatest superpower: how can anyone in his right mind imagine that it will be an easy matter to rectify even older conflicts around the world, some involving the U.S., some not, involving entrenched interests and very conservative adherence to “old values?”
Clearly the Republicans tend to believe in the impossible, and likely most Democrats (and everyone in between and around the edges believes it too).
Will it ever stop, and a rational approach to merely begin to resolve age-old (some Biblical, some even older) differences between nations and peoples ever begin?
Today, I had the slightly unusual and, admittedly, slightly queasy-making experience of seeing my name set aside in print (if we can call a blog, “print”) for praise, I guess, in a review of the book I have touted here over the past nine months, the collection of food related writing called Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal. It features, among many other contributions, a poem of mine called “How to Make the Perfect Fried Egg Sandwich.” This poem follows a brief reminiscence by the fabled food writer, M.F.K. Fisher, which ends with her aunt’s fried egg sandwich recipe (the exact opposite of mine as it is, as she admits, unchewable and indigestible). The reviewer happened to like Ms. Fisher’s effort, as who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, she attributed it to me. Several commentators chose to add their thoughts, including one who admitted never having heard of me, and several much sharper readers than the blogger noticed striking similarities to what was described as my effort, to the work, justifiably and correctly, of Ms. Fisher.
Whatever the consequences of that, it’s hardly important. But I did find one thing mildly striking. The name of the blog is “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” and is meant, I think, to be resonant with a certain spirit of the age to convey, ironically, an exactly opposite set of sentiments. The women, of course, aren’t bitches, and the books, singled out for praise, are hardly trash. It does leave me wondering yet again what exactly is it that induces women to refer to themselves, to one another, and generically and universally, and I think with an air of bravado, defiance, and rueful humor as “bitches,” whereas any such usage by men—and it is usually so in far more mean-spirited, if not downright misogynistic contexts—is excoriated and faulted to an inch of its life and rightfully. Yet, there’s that usage by women themselves, without the slightest hint that the user of the epithet is aware that this can only encourage it further.
I suggest that the sensibility intent on being hip and au courant sufficient to refer to her sisters in spirit as bitches, as a truculent badge of honor, inviting challenge, has lost its attention sufficiently to make the kind of error, inconsequential as it is, that confused the work of a male poet for an iconic female writer of deathless prose, now considered part of the canon.
I am both bemused and, yet, hmmm, I just don’t get it. Nice review though, full of solecisms as it is.
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