Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brother West Rocks the East Coast

 "It's not Brad Pitt that gets me hot. It's Cornel West."
--Quote from Flickr

 (May 5, 2009 - Photo by Stephen Lovekin/
Getty Images North America)

I concur. Pretty doesn't go nearly as far for me as brilliant-beyond-belief. Yesterday's Boston Book Festival featured, among its many sessions, a panel composed of Christopher Lydon, Harvey Cox, Mary Gordon, and Cornel West. The topic was spirituality. It amuses me that they believed they could have a truly rich conversation about God, religion, atheism, and the future of spirituality in one hour. But God love'em for trying.

Smart is sexy. And intimidating. And without perhaps really even noticing, women largely like intimidating. Big, overbearing men, unbelievably pretty men, controlling men...there's a woman for each of these types of intimidating men. And then there are those of us whose motors are revved by men who are too smart for their own good. I fall into that last category of women. I love a smart man.

And so it is with someone with like Cornel West. Yesterday Boston made me proud. Standing in line at the Book Festival at the Boston Public Library, no one asked me if I was in line for the talk on spirituality. Everyone asked if I was in line for Cornel West. Yes, yes I was. And Dr. West delivered. Patient and clearly deep in thought, he is someone to watch. People couldn't keep their eyes off him. They leaned in when he spoke. They clapped before he finished sentences. They nodded fervently when he made points that were political, economical, religious, and racial. To see a room 90% full of white folks nod in agreement about the "vanilla suburbs" is something.

I don't always follow what Dr. West says--purely because his knowledge is so vast and deep that I just don't have the context to keep up. Instead I take away little nuggets--his plays on words, his subtle grabs at pop culture. He talks about "spiritual malnutrition," and I think yes! While listening, I think about how amazing it would be to sit and talk with him over a cognac--and then instantly shiver with the fear of actually having a conversation with someone so intelligent. Oy, I would eff that up not be able to keep up my end of the conversation.

Dr. West is a class act. He's the kind of person you want to please. If you were speaking and he began to nod, you'd feel like a million bucks. If you made him laugh, it'd be a jackpot. In trying to describe him to a friend, the only word I could come up with was animated. He is called a "provocative public intellectual." An excellent job title, no? And perhaps what is equally impressive as his intellect is his ability to speak. And I mean speak. My friend and I marveled after the talk over what it must be like to be one of his students. He could talk a group of thugs into painting a church and a team of Hell's Angels to learn ballet. He just exudes a love of life that is seriously inspiring.

As a reviewer on Amazon stated, "By his own admission, he is a bluesman, a man who loves hard, speaks truth, questions unapologetically, and a servant of the people." There just aren't enough men (or women) who live so intentionally.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I reckon I'm a seven

According to this grieving site, I'm at stage seven with my Facebook withdrawal. I've experienced shock, pain, anger, loneliness, a bit of an upward turn, and reconstruction, as I went through an abrupt withdrawal over this past week. I'm pretty much at acceptance now.

I only check about twice a day now, morning and night, to see whether they've fixed their database issue. And I've checked out the different online chats/text strings from people describing the problem, experiencing denial, pissing each other off by declaring every loser's life would be better if he/she went outside to play instead, etc. For every hideous "Their R starvin kidz in Africa stupid and if you new that youd get off da computer" comment, full of misspellings and written by some moron who is also on the computer and somehow found his/her way to a chat about Facebook being down, there is one helpful individual discussing what's actually going on and linking the public to other forums with more info.

I imagine Twitter is loving this. I saw one post that announced, "Inaugural tweet!" and then went on to mention the Facebook issue. And surely many others are doing the same. If you search the issue on Twitter, a long line of people are talking, er, tweeting about it. And while I've adjusted back to pre-Facebook life well enough after a week, I pretty much mostly agree with Tashinka, on Twitter, who simply states, "site maintenance for 7 days SUCKS ASS." Right on.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I am amazed that people are proposing texting while driving bans in certain locations. How about banning it EVERYWHERE because it's ridiculously dangerous. Having driven near three people in the past month who appeared to be driving drunk but, upon closer inspection, turned out to be texting, I can't believe we treat texting with the same democracy as abortion or gay marriage. This shouldn't be debatable. BAN IT.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Delirium tremens

I have disturbing news. It has caused a jittery sweat for three days. I'm just not the same woman I was last week. And who knows how long it will take to fully recover from such pain.

I can't get into Facebook.

Who knew it would disturb me so much? What is everyone doing? I'm missing the minute-by-minute account of shoe shopping, baby firsts, Farmville scores, and philosophical ponderings. Approximately 110 of my closest friends are living life without me. No matter that we didn't stay in touch for 10 years or longer in most cases. I had become fond of the Monday "So and so is getting ready to go to work" notes and the "TGIeffingF" declarations each Friday.

Now, it's just me. Alone. Who cares that everyone else's happy family info made me feel so single and childless and constantly like I was missing something? Now I can't even try to feel happy for others. I can't snicker at self-indulgent profile pictures or raise an eyebrow over the "deep thoughts" folks like to share ("Damn, it's raining again. Waaaah").

Now I'm just painfully aware of my aloneness. I may actually step away from my computer and become more productive. And who the hell wants that?