Measured Extravagance

2001-05-24 - 11:33 p.m.

One of my cubicle neighbors went home this morning with fever, chills and cramp, so I threw an extra clove of garlic into the pesto I made tonight: Dichroic is coming to town, so I am not going to get sick if I can help it. I'm also going to make a point of getting myself to bed before midnight, even if it means I haven't dispersed the dust-Saint-Bernards currently convening in my living room.

In addition to dog food and tomatoes, I also picked up two pints of Ben and Jerry's to celebrate. Danke zehr, Mr. Jeffords.

I intended to spend the evening tidying up, but have been rereading Steve Kluger's Last Days of Summer instead, thanks to a Morning Edition piece on Japanese-American reactions to Pearl Harbor I heard during the a.m. commute. One of the Japanese-Americans interviewed by NPR felt that the filmmakers should have included scenes relating to the internment camps, but another Japanese-American expressed relief that Bruckheimer had chosen to leave the story alone instead of screwing it up Hollywood-style.

I'm inclined to agree with the second speaker - I can't tell you whether Bruckheimer is truly the anti-Christ, as I haven't seen any of his other movies, but from what I know of this one, the internment story doesn't belong in there because it just wouldn't make aesthetic sense. Which then led me to my copy of Last Days of Summer, which includes Japanese-American internment as part of its plot in a believable way - that is, for an utterly unbelievable yet satisfying book.

The book is one of my comfort reads - it's got baseball, music, Judaism and general smart-assedry in its mix. It requires complete suspension of disbelief because it consists of letters, notes, reports, and transcripts of psychologist interviews, and the ending is especially weak, but as a whole, the book makes me laugh often enough that I don't care.

Ter has already determined that he doesn't particularly want to see Pearl Harbor, I believe because what he's seen of it strikes him as overly bombastic and/or trite. The BYM thinks the action sequences might be worth paying big-screen prices to see. I'm thinking that I might go with the BYM on this one, because the photography does look stunning, and also because Colm Feore has a bit part. (Come to think of it, I'm probably the only woman in Tennessee who wants to see the film because of Colm Feore instead of Ben Affleck...)

After listening to the NPR feature, I did wonder if I ought to be worried about possible anti-Asian fallout after Pearl Harbor premieres, as I do get mistaken for Japanese-American somewhat frequently. On the other hand, my residence in Tennessee has been blissfully free of racist taunts to date. It helps, of course, that I live in Nashville - it may not be New York or Chicago, but it's still decently, reassuringly cosmopolitan: many of its residents moved here from other cities, and countries, and that does make a difference. I know there are racists here - or anti-immigrant minded folk, at any rate - but so far, it's seemed to me that this town gets far more riled up over religious differences and taxes than over race. I might be wrong, of course - it could be I'm less likely to encounter benighted yahoos at my small, liberal company or at my large, liberal church - or my perceptions could be hopelessly skewed from spending half a decade in Detroit, where the race card was waved in my face at every single election, twice a year. In any case, I suspect I'm still more likely to get a brick through my windows for being a spotted-hound Democrat [1] than for the slant of my eyes, and for that, I'm grateful.

Quotes from Last Days of Summer:

Joey to Charlie:

The first line of the Hebrew goes like "Ay-leh toldos Noach." When you get to the "ch," you're supposed to say it from the back of your mouth on the top, like when you have a sore throat and it itches.

Charlie to Joey:

...Then Mize came up, who does not like to hit until he has wasted a good 20 minutes fouling them off, which meant that me and Mancuso were standing on 3d Base for a while with nothing to talk about on account of we have maybe swapped two words with each other in our whole life and both of them wee fuck you. So instead I practiced the "ch" but accidentally wound up spitting a mouth full of snot onto Mancuso who thought I did it on purpose. Then both of the benches cleared and when it was over they made me cough up $50 due to starting it. I had a peach of a time. Thanks for nothing. What else I had was a split lip from G. Mancuso who still does not believe me -- and the only reason I am not going to tap him on the conk tomorrow is from all a sudden being able to play "In the Mood" on my saxophone without any mistakes. (I hope this does not mean I need to get pasted in the mouth whenever I wish to play it again.)

* * *

Joey:...somehow Ethel Merman wound up with a Diet Special instead of steak and a baked potato. You could hear her on Madison Avenue. Boy, she screams loud.
Dr. Weston: Some people call that singing. I never understood it myself.

[1] I'm not conservative enough to qualify as a blue-dog Democrat, and I don't count as a yellow-dog Democrat because I often vote third-party. Plus, I do believe I'm still a registered Republican (didn't see the point of voting in the Democratic primary last year, since Bradley had already dropped out). . .

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