gender of acceptability
Saturday, April 21 2007
After another perfect spring day, Gretchen and I drove to Woodstock to attend a talk/book signing by our friend David (of Penny and David fame). The book was Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression, a book David had compiled and edited. Partly due to an email Gretchen had sent out to her network of friends, a good crowd turned out for the event, which was hosted by the Woodstock Public Library. David's presentation was built around a slide presentation of various controversial cartoons that had been, for various reasons, killed by newspaper editors. He started his presentation with the recent furor over the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, though one of these cartoons (featuring a missile-heavy Ryder truck captioned "What would Mohammed drive?" had actually been nixed by David's editor - it was, in effect, the killed of the killed.) But most of David's talk centered on the difficulty cartoonists have had, particularly in the South, mocking President George W. Bush and the foolishness of the invasion of Iraq. The problem of the editorial preference for weak, non-controversial cartoons has been compounded by the consolidation of cartoonist careers nationwide, with local cartoonists being replaced with syndicated cartoonists who only address national issues.
At the end of his presentation, David took questions. Mine was, "How can you explain the continued success of The Family Circus?" a question for which David had no ready answers.
As we left the library, our contingent consisted of perhaps nine people, and Gretchen had a fantasy of us all going to her favorite Woodstock restaurant, the vegan Garden Café. But of course that place was crowded and there was no possible way. So somehow Gretchen engineered a stunt where everyone went to Marion's (the German restaurant and performance place off 375) except for me, her, and our friends J and B from High Falls. Our smaller group was able to get a seat at the Garden Café without waiting, although our waitress was a bitch, and not in a good way. One of Gretchen's goals for the evening had been to introduce J & B to the Garden Café, and her little maneuver allowed her to check that item off on her mental list. I had the wonderful #2 (the aduki bean soup) instead of the #1 (the pea soup), and yes, a little humor was had about the similarity between the names of these soups and the bodily functions having those same numbers. The cæsar salad was also a delight, although my pressed tofu sandwich was a little bland.
Later we met up with the others at Marion's. It was a warm enough evening for them to be sitting at an outdoor table. We'd brought our dogs, and they had fun running around the patio, scooping up fallen french fries and such.
After awhile we all went into the bar and a subset of us played a rousing game of pool. Based on my miserable history with this billiard balls, I'd billed myself as a lousy player, but my game tonight was good enough for people to accuse me of having lied.
At some point Gretchen convinced the bartender to allow her to bring Sally and Eleanor into the bar itself, at which point I turned to Penny to observe that Gretchen is always able to take the dogs inside with her anywhere she goes and people are uniformly delighted. When I try it, though, people seem to regard me as presumptuous and perhaps a little bit nuts. There's a gender of acceptability for that behavior, it seems, and it's clearly not male.
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