Monday, October 25, 2010

We now pause for matrimony and long novels

I'm always pleasantly surprised when people complain to me that I haven't updated the blog in a long time. And I haven't, due to several factors. These include: The beginning of the academic year and its attendant workload. Having to finish a library copy of Jonathan Franzen's 562-page Freedom in four weeks.

And probably most of all, being involved in, and traveling to, three weddings. As calzone (in my blogroll) pointed out recently, these things are a lot of work. They also provoke a lot of thought and bring up a lot of emotions. First of all, there's the whole tradition of marriage, with its patriarchal overtones and its being recognized for same-sex couples only in a small handful of states. Wedding #3, for example, was a traditional Catholic one, with a lot of talk about children. Wedding #2, on the other hand, had part of the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage printed on the back of the pamphlet. And then there was the crying. I cried at all three weddings. I had met the couple of Wedding #1 once, but the groom's vows were so touching I teared up. One of the readings, along with the unrestrained happiness on the couple's faces, got me at Wedding #2. And it was a double feature at Wedding #3 - the groom started crying when he saw the bride, so I did too, and then when there was a prayer for "those not with us today," I lost it thinking about my stepdad. He's been gone for ten years, but every now and then a memory or thought of him overwhelms me.

Anyway. That's what I've been doing lately. I highly recommend Freedom, by the way. I recommend, with reservations, Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. It is a deadly serious book - no jokes or inspirational moments or letting you off the hook (read Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman for that) - Foer presents a raft of facts and comes to what seems like the only logical conclusion. The whole thing is pretty depressing, but fascinating, and urgent.

There's your random-thoughts post. I promise to post more regularly this fall and winter.