What will I do now? I won’t have John McCain to kick around anymore. I’ll keep this page of McCain tongue images around in case I start to miss him.
Naturally, this has been a big-smile day around New York City. But there are dissenters, including some LitKicks regulars who are pointedly not dancing in the streets. I understand that some Americans think “Obama-mania” is causing our country to abandon its common sense. However, I want to point out that much of what we are celebrating today has nothing to do with the personality or mystique or even the healing historical significance of Barack Obama. Myself, more than any other single thing, I’m celebrating the fact that this nation just effectively voted to end the Iraq War.
This has been a long time coming. I was very disappointed when the American people failed to vote against the war by throwing George Bush out of office in 2004, and I was horrified to think we might do the same thing again by electing John McCain in 2008. By voting for Barack Obama, we just voted for a candidate who opposed the war in 2002 and pledges to bring the troops home in 2009 and 2010. We don’t know if Obama will manage to make this a reality — he may disappoint us, or changing circumstances may make it impossible for him to end the war. But even if this happens, the fact remains that the American people have made their feelings on the war clear. This is a momentous fact in itself, and it’s one of many reasons I say I’m proud of us right now.
I’m disappointed about a few election results, though. I was hoping to see what Al Franken would do in the Senate. I’m also surprised and disturbed that California has passed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. It’s amazing that anybody thinks they can promote family values by denying Americans the right to marry.
Okay … back to the literary scene, and I’m not talking about the poetry of Barack Obama even though, admittedly, his poetry is pretty good. Here’s what else is going on:
1. The Institute for the Future of the Book is conducting a close reading of a Doris Lessing novel beginning November 10.
2. Chad Post rediscovers Carlo Collodi’s original Pinocchio, which has been republished with an introduction by Umberto Eco.
3. Sarah Weinman reads a long-lost Jack Kerouac/William S. Burroughs collaboration. I’m not too keen on the Beat Generation cottage industry and this one doesn’t sound too great, so I’ll probably skip it.
4. I’ve been waiting a long time (a little humor there) to catch a production of Samuel Beckett’s much-discussed but little-seen Waiting For Godot. Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin will be clowning it up in a new production on Broadway, while Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are opening in a different production of the same play in London. I hope I’ll get a chance to catch Lane and Irwin, and I’d also like to catch the new staging of Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.
5. But first — big news — they’re putting on a new production of Rodgers and Hart’s great Pal Joey, based on John O’Hara’s New Yorker sketches at Studio 54. I’m catching a preview in two weeks and of course I’ll let you know what I think.