Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sally Quinn: Let Them Eat Cake. At My House. Or Else.

Does anyone else picture Sally Quinn in an elegant room, typing away as uniformed butlers slice her tethers to reality one by inevitable one?

Her latest batch of pap is not quite so great as the Great Editorial Page Freakout of 2001, where she advocated we all buy gas masks and carry them everywhere, stock beans and peanut butter in our cars (for the protein!), and eventually barricade ourselves into our homes with tarpaulins and duct tape. (Where, thanks to the duct tape and tarps, we'd promptly suffocate. Which, to be fair, is probably better than slow death by nuclear mutation.)

But it's a hoot nonetheless. First, she compares herself and her posh Georgetown friends to the kindly Na'Vi of Avatar...then, thankfully, completely drops the analogy on the grounds that it makes no sense whatsoever.

Then she bitches, at length, that the last six or so presidents haven't hobnobbed enough with her for her liking. In an acrobatic feat of logic, she takes this as a sign of the increasing irrelevance of the Presidency, and not of her own increasing irrelevance. Then she advocates that the Obama administration make it mandatory that their staffers come to her dinner parties from time to time. Which I am sure would be the best HR move ever, considering these folks already work 12 to 20 hours a day.

Unfortunately, there are a few apples spoiling the Semiannual Shredding of Sally Quinn. Some folks take this as an opportunity to accuse Quinn of sleeping her way to the top, having her job only because she's Mrs. Ben Bradlee, looking a little too much like the Crypt Keeper, or various other 'Sally the Unpretty Skank' broadsides.

I have two issues with this. One, is, of course, that it's appallingly sexist. Until no-talent men are accused of sharing their goodies for success, we need to just drop the notion of a journalistic casting couch. And her looks? Just. Not. Relevant. At all. Drop it. Now.

The second issue is that there are so many wonderful and fair-minded reasons to mock her, so why focus on the unsavory? She has nothing to say, and no interesting way to say it. She's odiously elitist. She lacks the self-awareness to realize that bitching about her fancy dinner parties in a city with 12.1 percent unemployment is on a "Let them eat cake" wavelength.
Worst of all, her writing is ponderous, dull, and lacks craft. It's like slogging through a ninth grader's book report. On a macro note, the fact that the Post retains her while exfoliating legions of copy editors heralds the death of substantive journalism.

So, folks, let's band together. Stop the sexist insanity. Let's hate Sally Quinn for all the right reasons.

In the comments, tell me why you've been turning down invitations from Sally Quinn.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Identity Crisis

Who am I, really?

OK, fine, I've been blogging on that very subject since 2002ish. But it's now a question with more practical implications.

Back in the day, when a cashmere twinset was the height of style, I was a married lady who went by Shannon Johnson. While this name was legally 86'ed almost four years ago, it still crops up in the most unlikely and annoying of places, like a many-headed retro-traditionalist hydra:

1. My screechiest nightmares.

2. My cellphone bill.

3. Some of my checks.

4. My passport.

None of those mattered until today, in fact, they were all kind of funny. Like routine hauntings from the Ghosts of Bad Ideas Past. However, now I'm going to Mexico. Next month. And apparently, you need a valid passport for that (how Brenda and Dylan snuck into Baja to go surfing without even a driver's license is either a big ol' plot hole, or just further proof that the imaginary rich really are different).

My passport's completely valid, well, in that it has a datestamp on it for sometime in the future. But it's got the wrong name on it, creating the current crisis. Especially as every attempt to call the State Department's helpline involves me pressing the number "0" and barking the word, "Operator!", which just sends me back to the main menu.

So, folks, tell me what to do.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Gizzardy

Boy, it's sure been a lot of Big Life Stuff around here lately. I'm sinking under the weight of my own profundity, here on my mountain of brilliance, above the valley that is the petty hum of everyday life. I am, like, so much better than all of you.

I'm getting a little sick of myself. This isn't a Big Life Stuff blog...we have Wil Wheaton for that. So, in no particular order, here are my most frivolous, petty thoughts of the last 24 hours:

1. Honking doesn't get you home any faster, so knock it the @@$*%(%! off.
2. Inebriated Facebooking is a hazard not because you might say something embarrassing (let's face it - even my sober status updates are embarrassing), but because undoubtedly someone from your 9th grade English class will come along and correct your grammar.
3. You're comfortably sitting inside your nice warm car. It won't kill you to wait a moment for me to get across the street. Also? It's the law.
4. When reading Yelp reviews, do you find yourself horning in on the worst review of the bunch? Like, if one person out of a thousand finds a fist-sized cockroach at the Ritz, does that make the Ritz a bad hotel? Or does it mean some prankster is going around planting cockroaches?
5. I understand that men are visual and all, but I don't get what's alluring about pornography crotch-shots. It's all gizzards and McNuggets to me.

In the comments, tell me something random.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Bet He'd Laugh if I Called this "Requiem for a Peanut"

I am saddened to report that my Cousin Peanut, a frequent reader - and occasional character - on this blog passed away last week at the age of 63.

Peanut was my dad's cousin, and lived in the Stamey enclave of Hartsville, South Carolina. The nickname came from his premature birth, and the declaration at the time that he was "no bigger than a peanut." Over time, the nickname grew with him, to "The World's Biggest Peanut."

He shared the family grasp on absurdity, and joked about his wife's tendency to get in scraps at the Wal-Mart. He even claimed to wait outside in the "getaway" truck, with the motor running, every time she went shopping. His favorite breakfast was served at a restaurant called Carolina Lunch...which only served breakfast.

He was good and decent, and worked as a millwright for 35 years. He and his wife raised five children in a little house. His kids all married. His kids have kids.

And my condolences to all of them for their terrible loss.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When Words Fail, It's Time to Shut Up and Help Out

One of my greatest peeves is when people leverage human suffering to score political points. Well, it's more than a peeve. I find it nauseating, inappropriate, tasteless, grossly lacking in compassion and well, tacky. I also find it sadly and heartbreakingly human.

When tragedy struck Virginia Tech, both the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies had their say within hours. Over the last two days, I've heard griping against Pat Robertson (seriously, the man is and always has been a ridiculous douche, so why give him any more of our attention?), the bottled water industry, building codes, the Obama administration, and more. In the face of unimaginable human suffering, the first instinct is to make sense of it all, find fault with someone or something, put it all in a box and move on. I'm human too, and I understand the desire to want someone to blame.

Meanwhile, the people of Port-au-Prince are digging their dead children out of the rubble with their bare hands. Now is not the time to score points. Now is the time to rise above our first instincts, abandon our anger, and help.

My wish is simple. Every time you feel like taking a swipe, taking a stand, climbing a soapbox or mindlessly bitching, get out your phone. Text the word, "HAITI" to 90999. That sends $10 to the Red Cross and will automatically be added to your next cellphone bill. Think of it as a swear jar that actually does some good.

Every little bit helps, no petty indignation required. Please, I pray of you, think about it.

Postscript: According to the Red Cross' blog, they've already raised $3 million dollars, one $10 text message at a time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Changeling Booze Babies

My home bar is frequently the victim of troll-baby changeling booze swaps.

What? Exactly!
Let me explain. A changeling is more than an Angelina Jolie movie that mostly existed so she could tuck those big lips under a cloche and look all glamorous. Anyone with a respectable amount of dungeon master experience could tell you that. There's an old folk tale that trolls would swipe human babies and replace them with troll babies, known as changelings. As I have no children for the urbanite trolls to take, they take my wine.

My wine supply usually includes a variety of reds and whites of various brands and price points, a bottle or two of prosecco, maybe a rose or two. Then I'll invite my usual assortment of friends and enablers to stop in for drinks or dinner. The next morning, I prop my eyes open with toothpicks, fix myself a Bloody Maria and take a good look at the bar.

The number of wine bottles on the shelf will be unchanged. However, all of the original wine will be gone, replaced with Yellow Tail, Barefoot, and Korbel. Every damn time. Not that I have anything against those brands, I just find it weird that my bar has an exclusive Sunday morning contract with them. Deepening the mystery is that I have yet to see anyone drink, hide, or steal the original bottles.

Conclusion: Sometime in the night, the trolls change out my booze babies for Yellow Tail, Barefoot, and Korbel, and expect me to raise those bottles (or glasses full of them) as my own.

In the comments, tell me why no one ever drinks the Yellow Tail. Are they insulting my Australian heritage?
PS - Hi! I'm back!