Perils of Voting and Other Civic Dangers

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

Perils of Voting and Other Civic Dangers

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

Perils of Voting and Other Civic Dangers
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Oct. 29 1998 6:06 PM

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

I note with alarm in your last electro-missive that you wish to return "to the pressing issues of our time." Perhaps it's the effects of my place of abode, but I can truthfully tell you that these shoulders feel no issues pressing down on them. People who worry about "the" issues have issues, as our youth are wont to say. I say, don thy moccasins, woman, and hie thee back to the forest.

Advertisement

Following your ill-fated sentence about trekking back to the issues, there appeared a number of sentences which put me in mind of a charnel house not unlike that in which Hamlet discovered the remains of Yorick. Mess around with old bones, dear lady, and I promise you that your shovel will strike the skull of more than one dead fool. I thought, as I read your words, I was overlooking a verbal moraine in which certain nouns stuck up into the air like the whitened tibias and bleached ulnas in a common Elizabethan graveyard: Monica, Republicans, Clinton, right-wing bimbo factory, Farrakhan, Hillary-dillery dock, Zionist tool, Democrats, sexual harasser, Starr of wonder, but possibly not Starr of light, except Lucifer is sometimes figured in old pictures and ancient texts as something akin to a light-bearing, single "r" star. Perhaps the devil, prowling the earth seeking the ruination of Democrats, has added a second "r" to his star. If he has, it isn't working. This dark angel of black light has been recognized and we are warned.

If I were your doctor or your priest, I would have counseled you against too much thought about such topics. Look what your contemplations have led you to. You have written a sentence which begins "The beltway feminists have long since squandered ... " The rest is of no consequence. It doesn't matter what they have squandered. Who the deuce are they, these beltway feminists? Are these the last of the Votes For Women crowd, tied together at the waist by creaking, leathery cinctures, at long last making their way out of town back toward their homes?

I notice toward the end of your current events treatise you use the word impeach, which I have never thought was the right way to treat a decent tasting fruit. Why always, impeach and never impear? And certainly, never imkumquat, imapple or imcherry, which, given the nature of "the" issue of "the" day, might be "le fruit jus" as they do not say anywhere save in the small hamlet on the Homerically named, rock-ribbed coast of Maine where I abide.

I want to talk to you about your unfortunate last paragraph in which you confess you are subject to "fit(s) of nostalgia for democracy." As your pen pal, let me reassure you. This distemper can be treated, but for a complete recovery, stay away from the voting booths. What will it profiteth a man or a woman if he/she casteth a vote for one whom he/she abominateth? Yea, verily, thy name may be writ large on a grand jury list where thou art liable to be plucked off thy stem by the ill-Starred One who shall cast ye into the fruit vortex with the peaches and the pears and the cherries.

Barbara Ehrenreich is contributing editor at theProgressiveand author of several books, including Blood Rites. Nicholas von Hoffman is a columnist at theNew York Observer. His books include We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against.