Never too much

When it comes to charity and books, Table Talkers think big.

By Salon Staff
January 21, 2005 8:12PM (UTC)
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Social Issues

Old Broads: Women's Thoughts About Growing Older

KarylKrug - 04:50 a.m. Pacific Time - Jan. 16, 2005 - #2802 of 2834

OK, I do have one new celebrity hero -- Sandra Bullock.

When disaster struck, she quietly got out her checkbook and wrote a huge check for tsunami disaster relief. Yea, Sandra! I know some other celebs did the same thing. God bless them every one.


One of my pet peeves, dating back to that song "We Are the World," is when celebrities do something relatively inconsequential, like sing a song together, or, worse yet, make a big pitch for you to write a check when they own five homes on three continents, and act like they are engaging in a really selfless and heroic act. At the "We Are the World" recording, people made this huge deal about all these celebrities "leaving their egos at the door," which caused many to break into a sweat and some to even suffer grand mal seizures. The few cases of spontaneous combustion, suffered by minor celebrities with particularly outsize egos, were discreetly kept out of the news. Apparently it was the celebrity equivalent of signing up for active duty in Iraq.

Last night there was a tsunami relief telethonette. It takes incredible nerve, with a soupcon of delusion, to ask people with 30-year mortgages they will have to work into their 60s and even 70s to pay off to give to a cause when you own five mansions on three continents. Get off my TV and go sell your party palace in New Zealand, if you feel that strongly about it. Auction off a platinum record on eBay. No, your mere presence on nationwide T.V., which you will undoubtedly write off on your taxes, is not an actual sacrifice.

Which leads me to a genuine OB topic, values. This is one crazy, mixed-up world. Has it ever been thus? The professions that give the most value to society, social work, teaching, working with the retarded or the poor or the addicted or the mentally ill, are the most ill-rewarded. Conversely, for some, being seen in the same designer gown more than once is a major hardship. Our politicians say, "I take full responsiblity," after which there are no actual consequences. Couldn't they at least have the decency to commit suicide, like the Japanese? We now have the political phenomenon of the morphing lie, where a new story is told every week, and more than half the country does not think this unseemly or insulting. And yet, politicians and celebrities are the people whom society most rewards.


I was particularly stunned by Laura Bush's recent announcement that "the party must go on" in Washington because the country needs its "historical traditions" to go on. Hello, Marie Antoinette! Fire up the beans, America; drink your own sewage, Indonesia; while the privileged classes eat caviar and swill gallons of champagne in Washington, D.C. I would be more than willing to give up $40,000,000 worth of parties I have not been invited to for the greater good of mankind. How many working people have time to watch this gala on TV? How many thinking people would even want to?


How many books is normal?


chili - 04:31 a.m. Pacific Time - Jan. 14, 2005 - #130 of 152

I am just about disappearing under books, like a cartoon character, buried, not waving but drowning.

I put several boxes in the garage last year -- many of them were books I really liked, too, but I just knew I wasn't going to read them in the next six months. Don't read further if you hate sad endings: The books were violated and defiled by critters in the garage that clearly wanted to not only eat my words, but call them home. I was devestated. Throwing them all out almost made me throw up. It was excruciating -- like passing a monstrously abrasive kidney stone of the mind and heart. (Passing a heartstone? Passing a mindstone? Naaa, don't think so.)


Anyhow, I think for us here, heaps is normal. Drowning in them is normal. Climbing through valleys of them is normal. Trekking up mountains of them. Crawling into tunnels of them. Using them for pedestals, doorstops, screens, flower pressing materials, whatever. Books are family. Books are good family, family we chose! So let them come home to you.

Look, in the Third Reich they BURNED books. Burned them. Because books are subversive.

Books are fantasic. Books are distilled time and life and thought and dedication and passion.


Gather and read them while there is still enough freedom for thoughtful people to be respectfully published! Because, as the poet said, this same rose that blooms today, tomorrow may be dying.

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