I was going into the city but decided to go home instead so I could do some site admin of my own, namely adding some more Sharpe fic to the archive.
Bad move though. I don't what I did wrong. Maybe it was being seen in public in my jammies, maybe it was daring to help myself to the stew first, taking a bowl to take to my room because I was cold and I wanted to read, maybe I was just breathing.
Whatever it was. I had a very, very bad night with me mostly trapped in my room, not daring to come out for water or the loo for fear of further punishment, and me washing up at midnight during Buffy (the one where she body swaps with Faith). That I didn't mind so much, in site of feeling a little Cinders. Gave me something to do though the lasagne dish was a hard case. It usually does for three dinners so after the third go round the burnt cheese has bonded on a molecular level with the pyrex and I went through three brillo pads trying to scrub the bastard clean. Did manage to fall asleep after I trudged back to my room, slightly damp and soapy.
Trapped in my room I did watch a lot of tv, natch, though I barely registered Roswell. It was the A Very Xmas Roswell one and I just so wasn't in the mood, as you can imagine. The only highlights were the Xmas Nazi and the Valentis. At least I know why I like the Valentis. They're working class and have a tiny, grotty little home of mismatched chairs, just like me.
After that it was 24 and I wasn't really paying attention to it, either, though I was not surprised, but disappointed Jack hadn't really offed the kid. Had it been a Brit show, no question. They had balls for almost going there, though. Bet the network got squeamish. I heard 24 doesn't rate its head off in the States. weird, because it's must see tv the way Twin Peaks was in Sydney ten years ago. Back then, when this town was much smaller and much less sophisticated, there was only one doughnut shop in the city and the crowd used to be at least a dozen deep on Twin Peaks night. Ah, those were the days. Must buy the boxed set sometime.
It's funny how we pick up on shows that people just don't in the US. It's always been this way.
Dozed off but woke with a start in time for Buffy. It was a Spike episode so finally I was paying attention. Poor, mad, rambling, tragic, evil serial killer Spike. At least Buffy failed to shaft the Spike, so that was a plus. Funny how somethings like, ooh, say, mass murder, are okay but Wes makes one little mistake...well, come on, fair dues and all that. The episode kind of worked in exceution but fell down in explanation. James is credible enough for me to believe Spike as evil's handpuppet, but the whole denoumont, that fell rather flat. I liked the Anya's attempted seduction of Spike. Amusing and clever at the same time. Just for once Anya wasn't written as a moron. Tragic Spike though, just about the only character I've got any sympathy for. Oh, and big epp for Giles. I hope the cliffhanger isn't why we've been blessed with Manchild on the ABC. I've only seen the ads, and they're more than enough. More naked Tony I do not need to see (still recovering from landing on naked Tony in Three Guys and A Girl while channel surfing, and that kind of ended up as a Willow sentence and I won't even try and go back and fix it.
This morning was better. Roswell and Sports Night as I got up, though I forgot what I'd intended to wear and instead grabbed stuff out of the wash basket and I look like I've been dragged through a brambles backwards. Failing that it was nice and quiet for a good long while and while ideas wouldn't come I managed to read through some fic I'd paperbagged, and some of it was actually very, very enjoyable. MAC is my second favourite Ezra writer, after Cyc. It made me happy and I needed an hour of happy. My eyes are all red, black and puffy, though I doubt annyone will get past my scarecrow hair and outfit (Tara meets bag lady) to notice.
A Letter to America
Globe and Mail (Toronto) Friday, March 28, 2003 - Page A17
By MARGARET ATWOOD
Margaret Atwood studied American literature--among other things--at
Radcliffe and Harvard in the 1960s. She is the author of 10 novels.
Her 11th, Oryx and Crake, will be published in May. This essay also
appears in The Nation.
This is a difficult letter to write, because I'm no longer sure who
Some of you may be having the same trouble. I thought I knew you: We'd
become well acquainted over the past 55 years. You were the Mickey
Mouse and Donald Duck comic books I read in the late 1940s. You were
the radio shows -- Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks. You were the music I
sang and danced to: the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, the Platters, Elvis. You
were a ton of fun.
You wrote some of my favourite books. You created Huckleberry Finn,
and Hawkeye, and Beth and Jo in Little Women, courageous in their
different ways. Later, you were my beloved Thoreau, father of
environmentalism, witness to individual conscience; and Walt Whitman,
singer of the great Republic; and Emily Dickinson, keeper of the
private soul. You were Hammett and Chandler, heroic walkers of mean
streets; even later, you were
the amazing trio, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, who traced the
dark labyrinths of your hidden heart. You were Sinclair Lewis and Arthur
Miller, who, with their own American idealism, went after the sham in
you, because they thought you could do better.
You were Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, you were Humphrey Bogart
in Key Largo, you were Lillian Gish in Night of the Hunter. You stood
up for freedom, honesty and justice; you protected the innocent. I believed
most of that. I think you did, too. It seemed true at the time.
You put God on the money, though, even then. You had a way of thinking
that the things of Caesar were the same as the things of God: that
gave you self-confidence. You have always wanted to be a city upon a
hill, a light to all nations, and for a while you were. Give me your
tired, your poor, you sang, and for a while you meant it.
We've always been close, you and us. History, that old entangler, has
twisted us together since the early 17th century. Some of us used to
be you; some of us want to be you; some of you used to be us. You are
not only our neighbours: In many cases -- mine, for instance -- you
are also our blood relations, our colleagues, and our personal
friends. But although we've had a ringside seat, we've never
understood you completely, up here north of the 49th parallel.
We're like Romanized Gauls -- look like Romans, dress like Romans, but
aren't Romans -- peering over the wall at the real Romans. What are
they doing? Why? What are they doing now? Why is the haruspex
eyeballing the sheep's liver? Why is the soothsayer wholesaling the
Perhaps that's been my difficulty in writing you this letter: I'm not
I know what's really going on. Anyway, you have a huge posse of
experienced entrail-sifters who do nothing but analyze your every vein
and lobe. What can I tell you about yourself that you don't already know?
This might be the reason for my hesitation: embarrassment, brought on
by a becoming modesty. But it is more likely to be embarrassment of another
sort. When my grandmother -- from a New England background -- was
confronted with an unsavoury topic, she would change the subject and
gaze out the window. And that is my own inclination: Mind your own
But I'll take the plunge, because your business is no longer merely
your business. To paraphrase Marley's Ghost, who figured it out too
late, mankind is your business. And vice versa: When the Jolly Green
Giant goes on the rampage, many lesser plants and animals get trampled underfoot.
As for us, you're our biggest trading partner: We know perfectly well
that if you go down the plug-hole, we're going with you. We have every
reason to wish you well.
I won't go into the reasons why I think your recent Iraqi adventures
have been -- taking the long view -- an ill-advised tactical error. By the
time you read this, Baghdad may or may not look like the craters of the
Moon, and many more sheep entrails will have been examined. Let's
talk, then, not about what you're doing to other people, but about
what you're doing to yourselves.
You're gutting the Constitution. Already your home can be entered
your knowledge or permission, you can be snatched away and
incarcerated without cause, your mail can be spied on, your private
records searched. Why isn't this a recipe for widespread business
theft, political intimidation, and fraud? I know you've been told all
this is for your own safety and protection, but think about it for a minute. Anyway, when
did you get so scared? You didn't used to be easily frightened.
You're running up a record level of debt. Keep spending at this rate
and pretty soon you won't be able to afford any big military
adventures. Either that or you'll go the way of the USSR: lots of
tanks, but no air conditioning. That will make folks very cross.
They'll be even crosser when they can't take a shower because your
short-sighted bulldozing of environmental protections has dirtied most
of the water and dried up the rest. Then things will get hot and dirty
You're torching the American economy. How soon before the answer to
that will be, not to produce anything yourselves, but to grab stuff
other people produce, at gunboat-diplomacy prices? Is the world going
to consist of a few megarich King Midases, with the rest being serfs, both inside
and outside your country? Will the biggest business sector in the United
States be the prison system? Let's hope not.
If you proceed much further down the slippery slope, people around the
world will stop admiring the good things about you. They'll decide
that your city upon the hill is a slum and your democracy is a sham,
and therefore you have no business trying to impose your sullied
vision on them. They'll think you've abandoned the rule of law.
They'll think you've fouled your own nest.
The British used to have a myth about King Arthur. He wasn't dead, but
sleeping in a cave, it was said; in the country's hour of greatest
peril, he would return. You, too, have great spirits of the past you may call
upon: men and women of courage, of conscience, of prescience. Summon
them now, to stand with you, to inspire you, to defend the best in you. You