– This week I received the best possible thing I could receive for free as a blogger: two free tickets to see Martin Short’s new show, “Fame Becomes Me.” In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Martin Short is one of my comic heros. I think he’s a genius. I know I’ve told you about my priziest possession, a VHS tape from a mid-90s Martin Short special with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks that is the funniest thing I own. So I was super-psyched to go see the show. And boy was I not disappointed. I loved it. Every minute. It’s almost two hours of sheer comic energy exploding at you and not only is Short fantastic but all the supporting players (including the composer, Hairspray-writer and South Park Movie song orchestrator Mark Shaiman) are wonderful. (This woman in the cast did a Rene Zellwiger impression that had people literally screaming with laughter.) The best part is when Martin comes out as Jiminy Glick and pulls a celebrity from the audience to interview. Apparently, each night there’s a different celeb (otherwise they use an audience member). The night we saw it he pulled out Bob Costas, who was a great sport about it. I hear last night it was Chris Noth and there’s a rumor going around that Miss Bette Midler (who Mark Shaiman also works with) may be a celebrity guest in the future. If you want an evening of good campy fun, go see “Fame Becomes Me.” I even bought a poster.

– The feast I made on Saturday for the last chapter of my book went tremendously well. I can’t tell you any more but I can show you a picture. Aren’t the flowers pretty?

– I am now going to tell you a story about popcorn and Titanic. Another free thing I received recently was gourmet popcorn from Dale & Thomas Gourmet Popcorn. It was their signature kettle corn and it was excellent and Craig and I noshed it while watching “Titanic” on TV. Craig, an NYU grad film student, thinks “Titanic” is an excellent movie despite the crappy dialogue and over-the-top acting. “It’s a big Hollywood movie like they used to make,” he said enthusiastically. We watched and watched and then that scene came on where the guy who built the ship sneaks on to a life boat as it lowers down. “That’s morally indefensible,” said Craig and then began the fiercest debate I’ve ever had in my life about something that happened in a movie. We debated throughout the rest of the movie, through the rest of the night (including dinner) and all the next morning. I just said the human need to survive is an unconscious mechanism and self-preservation can’t be morally indefensible just because you did something wrong. If you steal a little girl’s favorite stuffed animal and then you walk away, feel guilty, and then see a train barreling in your direction, it’s not morally indefensible to step aside and save your own life. But Craig would say that it’s not the same situation, that the guy on the Titanic should’ve found someone to take that seat—a woman or a child. But I pointed out in that scene there was no one else around him, the boat was lowering and either he could get on it and save his own life or die a martyr, and his decision to save his own life is not “morally indefensible.” And so on and so on and so forth. But the popcorn was good.

– Diana and I have been having similarly heated debates, this time, though, about obesity and feminism. Over dinner at Pastis, (where Diana ate only half her Croque Monsieur because it was slathered with mayonnaise and Diana hates mayonnaise) I argued that it could be empowering for a woman to gain a lot of weight. “That way,” I said, “she’d be shirking society’s notion of what’s beautiful and therefore, outside of the norm, she can operate as a free spirit.” I pointed out that lots of powerful women, from Gertrude Stein to Roseanne, have been stout or overweight. Diana disagreed with me entirely and said, “Believe me, it’s never empowering to get fat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t make you more powerful in society to be fat. That’s the unfortunate fact of the world we live in.” Meanwhile, I enjoyed the mussels at Pastis–the waitress recommended them–and I liked dipping bread in the sauce. I found that empowering.

11 thoughts on “Nibbles”

  1. AG, I have to agree with Diana on the obesity debate. First of all, I don’t think it’s being fat that would be empowering, you have to really accept it in order for it to empower. Besides, most of America is obese anyway, so you wouldn’t really be “outside of the norm”. Also, you have to think about the health implications of being obese. I doubt type II diabetes, high blood cholesterol, etc. etc. would be very empowering.

  2. Being obese would be empowering if a person, either a woman or a man, was gaining weight specifically for that reason. Else it would just come with a smorgasbord of health implications and probably eating disorders and mental issues a few more years down the line. Trust me, I’ve been there.

    On a lighter note, I love Martin Short! and I miss Phil Hartman. I wish I could see that VHS of yours.

  3. I’m a fat feminist, and I hate it! But there are a lot of fat feminists out there that are able to feel empowered — it’s all individual.

    You and Craig both have valid points, and you’re both right for different reasons. Logically what Craig thinks might be correct, and realistically what you think might be correct.

    but most importantly, I can not wait for your book! Out of all the bloggers with books coming out I’m most excited about yours.

  4. I have to disagree with Craig. Titanic is by far the worst movie I’ve ever seen. And I saw Ishtar in the theater, too. I think if that character knew that such a crappy movie would be made out of that tragedy he would have thrown himself overboard willingly. I’m just bitter because I still want my $7.50 back from my movie ticket to Titanic.

  5. Hey, Martin Short graduated from my college, McMaster University, in Hamilton Ontario, AND he was our commencement speaker! It was pretty awesome.

    And fat is uncomfortable. I think it might be easier and more… true to point out that thin women aren’t necessarily happier, healthier, better, smarter, more willpower-y, more driven, than obese women. Shrug.

  6. I’m gonna have to side with Craig in the Titanic debate. I believe it is mainly because my father was a Navy man and as one of the ship-planner/builder guys, the ONLY honorable thing that man could have done would have been to stand by the Captain as the ship was going down – to die with honor. Honor SHOULD have superceded his need for survival in that instance.

    Secondly, I disagree with Diana – it IS empowering to be larger than average – although it requires a certain type of thick-skinned woman to accomplish it with dignity. No matter how thick-skinned, it’s never EASY to be thick in the middle, thick-thighed or what-have-you. Being large and making no apologies for your size and having confidence in not only your inner-beauty, but also your rebellious outer-beauty is a VERY empowering thing. I’m no delicate flower – but I am a flower, nonetheless – and a pretty one at that.



  7. First–empowerment of fat. I think you’re both a little right and both a little wrong. As a fat and sassy woman, I don’t find my overweight to be empowering in a feminist way, but in a real world way I will tell you from experience that when you are fat, you always know who your real friends are. That knowledge is extremely useful in life.

    As for Titanic–I agree with you as far as the movie scene. No one was around, the lifeboat was going down, what did it matter what the gender was of the person stepping in? In REAL LIFE, I agree with Craig. Bruce Ismay was a greedy coward. He put the Titanic in jeopardy by wanting to break crossing records in spite of the ice fields they knew were drifting farther south that spring AND not only did he make sure his own ass was safe, once on the Carpathian he took one of the best and biggest cabins all to himself while the rest of Carpathia’s passengers brought Titanic survivors into their rooms to share space and warmth but many survivors had to sleep on the decks. He was a complete moral wasteland.

  8. Dude, not to be a downer, but on the subject of self-preservation being morally defensable — many of the cops and firemen at the WTC went into the towers near the end KNOWING they would not make it out alive. If there is one thing that makes us different than animals is that we can sense our death and choose to accept it out of love for others. Many cases in history of man’s love for his fellow man overcoming his selfishness. Even more specifically, my dad, many years ago, had a client who HAD been on the Titanic as a child. Her father, a well-to-do-fellow, put her and her mother in a lifeboat knowing he would not make it out alive.

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