Monday, October 31, 2005

Vanity Fair is not in Vain and Other Fall Musings

October was a slow blogging month, only three posts from the birthday gal (10/14 in case you missed it elsewhere)--though I thought of the Garden often, couldn't streamline my time.

Lots going on in my world. Major Libran indecision on whether to go to grad school, and if so, where? Why? Do I rate in any way as a writer? The downside of going back to school as an old, married broad is that I’m not mobile. I have pipe dreams about the Iowa Writers program, or University of Montana’s Mountain Writers program—but no can do, the husband is pretty much rooted in Portland.

My pseudo-mentor (pseudo only because she doesn’t know I’ve designated her as such), suggested to me the other day that I consider magazine work—that I maybe focus my goals on being a regular writer for some monthly journal (since she probably realizes that long-term focus, such as that needed to write a novel, is not my forte’). Upon which I began to daydream and think about my name on a byline at, oh, let’s just say “Harper’s” or “Atlantic Monthly,” or … dare I wish it, dare I dream this big? Vanity Fair, the hip-chick of commentary and social irony!!!

Vanity Fair has an unfortunate title, particularly for those who have never read Thackeray and are therefore not privy to the reference. VF is truly not frivolous at heart, regularly publishing well-written, well researched, long articles about current political issues (national and global), social issues, cultural trends that impact our daily lives, and yes, Dominique Dunne-style name-dropping, New York social-scene crap. And there’s a celebrity profile every month. It was quite apropos that October’s issue featured that representation of all that is wrong in America today, my personal buzzing gnat, annoying mosquito—Paris Hilton, as if to say, don’t forget, Pamela, we’ve gotta make a buck ... but you know, as well as we do, there's a subtext in all this.

Despite that, I think in many ways VF is a most intelligent mainstream publication. James Wolcott is probably my favorite VF writer. He’s got a
fabulous blog that I check weekly. It’s there on my sidebar. Recently he paid homage to the Village Voice’s 50th anniversary (can you believe that, 50 years of America’s youth/beat pulse gone by), and wrote a spot-on scalder about that yahoo Victor Davis Hanson. You know, the moron who had this to say about the vicious backlash from the frothing, extremist left (I just love that, the extremist left and their rhetoric of hate—does everyone in this administration have the same speechwriter?):

"George Bush also should begin addressing his most venomous critics at home, by condemning their current extremism. He must explain to the nation how a radical, vicious Left has more or less gotten a free pass in its rhetoric of hate, and has now passed the limits of accepted debate."

What did my man Wolcott respond with? Check him out:

“This will no doubt pass the limit of accepted debate, but allow me to part with the following sentiment: Fuck you, Victor Dave. The limits of accepted debate have already been trampled into mud and splinters by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, David Horowitz, Michelle Malkin, and the Swift Boaters, among others, about whose rhetorical extremes you've never made a peep. Moreover, this conflating of Howard Dean Democrats with Islamofascist hate speech is McCarthyism at its most unrefined. Truth is, Democrats have been remarkably watery and ineffectual when it comes to the Iraq war, as Arianna has
lamented (and when a Greek goddess laments, it's like thunder from the mountaintop). "

Hanson's use of the phrase "the limits of accepted debate"--he probably meant acceptable debate--has the authoritarian ring we've become used to on The O'Reilly Factor and other Fox news shows, where the word "treason" is thrown at every sharp note of dissent.”
Love him, love VF and their mutual adherence to a position that caused them an elitist uproar from a good segment of their readership.


Good-bye, October. In California you always meant hair whipped electric by a parched Santa Ana roaring through the valley and ripping off any misplaced deciduous leaves or the fabric of a thrown-together costume. A Halloween costume there didn’t have to be designed around an ability to ward off drench, as it does here in Portland, where rain has pattered for 6 days, and is predicted for 6 more (to date).


At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela! I have visited your page several times now and I enjoy your comments and musings. My first visit was when you had posted the "Search for the Perfect Tree". It was special to me because it included a picture of the daughter of a very dear friend. She speaks of you often and obviously loves you very much. That alone, in my mind, makes you someone special. I hope that you have a very happy holiday and I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Keep up the good work.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Pamela said...

Well, thank you! And do come by, anytime you'd like. Stephanie and Taylor will continue to pop up, hopefully in photos, and also in topic, because they both mean the world to me.

Happy Holidays to you!


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