Radical Boredom and Cross-Dressing

Radical Boredom and Cross-Dressing

Radical Boredom and Cross-Dressing
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 20 2002 11:01 AM

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Dear Dwight,

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Now you've scared me, not with the repeating numbers, which I can live with, but with your gory thumb stealing scenario! I have to admit, that horror-movie plot twist would not have otherwise crossed my mind.

I was amused to read about the extra who fell off the stage in the Metropolitan Opera's performance of War and Peace. No one was hurt. He landed in the orchestra pit and crushed someone's violin bow. A breach of manners that, according to the Times, "left a scar." It looks to me like he jumped. But why would he do it? The Met's general manager suggested that he was "overacting." But then, it also seems possible that he was driven mad by the audience; that faced with the plush red velvet room full of ladies in pearls, he wanted more. He wanted just for one glorious moment to be the center of attention, and not just an irrelevant French soldier earning $30 a day.

Speaking of stepping off of the stage, it seems that Monica Lewinsky finally wants to do something serious. According to "Page Six" she is now planning to become a psychiatrist. Imagine the transference!

I liked the article about the Saudi youths running wild through the streets out of sheer boredom. Two of them stopped traffic, jumped out of their car, and danced to loud music. It's funny to think of the trivial things that motivate mobs of young people. Will the revolution really be about movie theaters and discos? This article seems to be part of a new genre: benign stories about the discontents of Islam. This particular one shows us a whole country of caged adolescents (much less frightening than those stories about 13-year-olds learning how to shoot in religious schools). I especially liked the girls who snuck off to a chic restaurant by themselves and smoked tobacco flavored with fruit leaves out of a water pipe. And the men dressing up as women to be near them. There seems, at least according to the Times, to be a lot of Shakespearean cross-dressing among Islamic young men. There was another episode in the ski resort article I was talking about yesterday where the man dresses up as a woman in order to ski down the slopes with his girlfriend. I guess it is tempting with all of those long robes …

As for Bloomberg I've noticed that the press is up in arms. Yesterday the Post ran a picture of him on the back of a milk carton like a missing child. I am not sure why it should matter so much for him to take off a weekend. I suppose journalists are mad because they don't have a story. (I am not sure "Mayor Is Missing" is going to work for too much longer.) I think people want Bloomberg to prove that he is not a dilettante by working hard and humbly, Hillary-Clinton style. But that is clearly not his intention. At the very least, he seems strong in the face of irritating reporters.

I can't say as I am overly impressed with either Wolff or Wolcott, though Daniel Mendelsohn I like. Woefully out of touch as I am, I didn't know there was Rosie the magazine. And as for the Guardian capsule reviews, how British. I'll have to take a look at them …

Yrs,
Katie

Dwight Garner is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Katie Roiphe is the author of Still She Haunts Me.