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Monday, January 12, 2004

Dear Diary

Dinner last night in a beautiful Cambridge apartment overlooking the lights of Boston and the nearly frozen river. Fire in the fireplace and Cole Porter tunes on the sound system.

Somewhere between the main course and dessert, the excruciatingly polite conversation turned into a loud exchange of un-pleasantries thanks to politics and alcohol, always a dangerous combination. One guest made his right-of-center leanings known and then suggested we “discuss” issues. An interesting idea from someone who, up to that point, had been a committed monologist. “Please,” I said. “Let’s not.” Surely the sub-zero Boston temperatures were enough to provide a whole evening’s worth of banalities. And no one really wants to discuss politics. We all just want to pontificate. (For example, this whole “Recent Rants” enterprise.) The monologist’s “George Bush is my hero!” was quickly (if confusingly) followed by his: “And I’m a fucking liberal and I’ll tell you why I’m a fucking liberal!” and then, “You people are all small and selfish and don’t care about anything but the indigent and labor unions.” The last two lines were delivered rather venomously and at full volume. I was immediately tossed back to times of boozy paternal rants at the dinner table, big accusations that follow a stream of thought so contradictory it’s nearly logical. S. said, “Fuck you, baby,” and made an obscene hand gesture. There was a rush for the bathrooms. Only two bathrooms on hand, alas.

After an extended period of awkward silence, weather returned as topic #1. Despite my claims of hating cell phones, I was barely out the door before calling friends to report. I avoid conflict too often. This turned out to be much more memorable and interesting than most dinners and I ended up feeling such conversational fireworks should be staged as a routine matter.

A former student sent a column by Ellen Goodman about the Britney Spears marriage situation and how it exposes the hypocrisy of the “sanctity of marriage” arguments used against the idea of gay marriage. True. But then again, so did my parents’ marriage situation.

Posted by smccauley @ 08:14 AM EST

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