Posted tagged ‘Death’

For rage and sorrow…

September 16, 2011

…You might want to check out Susan from 29’s diary over at GOS, in which she writes on the moral horror that was a Republican Presidential debate in which the audience cheered the death of an uninsured man — Susan’s brother, Steve Patience.

I won’t say that the moment — or that audience — defines America.

But America is a place where poor — and not so badly off, in fact — suffer and die with what a medical student I once knew termed “financial arrest” within a badly broken medical system.

It’s a place where we know we can do better, and are in fact beginning to do so — not enough, but it’s a start — as long as the health care bill survives.

At the same time, America is indeed the place in which the “I’ve got mine, Jack” crowd that gets loud at the news of Steve Patience’s death could define who we all are for decades to come.

So when you think of all the ways Obama has betrayed you  this week, or how the Democratic congressman or senator representing you or the next door district or state just hasn’t gotten on top of what this country needs, or really, how both major parties are tied in way too tightly with the monied interests — there’s reality to be found there.

As a practical matter, for the next thirteen months, whatever truth there is to any of our grievances with our Democratic leaders doesn’t matter.  Not one damn bit.  (I.e. — what Tim F. says.)

Bonus video:  Susan of 29 in her own words, courtesy of Move On:

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And Speaking of David Mamet….

November 18, 2008

A true story (or at least one too good to check):

My Uncle Dan (whom I’ve had sad occasion recently to write about in this venue) had a professional relationship with David Mamet — as his personal lawyer for matters including estate issues and similar stuff.

I don’t know any details, so I couldn’t violate attorney-client confidentiality if I wanted to (my uncle was more than rigorous about such matters), but he did tell me th is story about the time when he and an associate were drafting a new will for Mr. Mamet.  They bent to their task for a while, and then all of a sudden the associate looked up.  The dialogue as reconstructed is not guaranteed to be accurate.  But the sense is there:

Associate;  “This is David Mamet’s will.”

Dan:  “That’s right.”

A:  “Mamet.”

D:  “Yeah?”

A:  “So we can’t just say, ‘I David Mamet, being of sound mind and body.”

D: “So?”

A:  “How about this:

“So I’m dead.

Fuck you.”

Works for me.

Image:  Original painting by J. Northcode, R.A., engraved by P. Simon, “Last Scene of Romeo and Juliet.

RIP John Leonard

November 7, 2008

The world is just a little bit too quiet suddenly.

Leonard had a voice.  He didn’t write book reports and it never was all about him, two of the common sins of cultural criticism.  Books are a very strange way to make a living — I should know, as I’m about to embark on my fifth willing suspension of disbelief.  People like Leonard are essential to writers of books because he/they provide hints in contradiction to the evidence that the effort matters.  That’s true, except, of course that there aren’t people like him; the whole point of Leonard’s work is that his was an individual sensibility — what he thought and felt, he himself, and not some congealing of herd reaction.

It’s getting too quiet around here, and I haven’t even got to my thoughts on the loss of Studs Terkel yet.

A Leonard credo can be found here.

More links to his work and other commentaries on his life and writing can be found at the bottom of this moving remembrance by Edward Champion. 

(h/t bkcdgrd)

Image: Gustave Courbet, “Portrait of Baudelaire,” 1848.