Tacit Endorsement #1

A selection of things I consumed this week that didn’t fill me with rage. 

1. Coffee at Julius Meinl. There were flowers on the table, and so many little objects: a tiny spoon, a saucer, a biscuit, a tray, a tiny glass of water. I felt equipped to perform some minor feat of witchcraft, or to cook some crack. So European.   

2. After years of living within spitting distance of the arena—er, field—I finally took in my very first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I was even given a certificate. Really. The certificate says “My First Visit.” I waited in a short line to have a gentlemen with a blue Sharpie marker carefully inscribe the memento (suitable for framing) with my legal name and the date. The Cubs lost to the Cincinnati Reds; I can tell you nothing else about the match. Er, game. 

3. The Spectacular Now. A lovely film. Great performances. A little sloppy toward the end. 

4. The first half of The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago. There is nothing quite like spending a gorgeous Sunday morning drinking fastidiously presented coffee (see above) while reading about grammatical rules and the conventions of good prose style to help restore one’s sense that there is still a little bit of order and dignity left in the world. I felt like Downton's Mr. Carson, taking solace in the fantasy of a table properly set.

Of course it is good to be suspicious of the pleasures and powers derived from keeping order and mastering rules (the maintenance of a status quo structured around inequalities and exclusions, and all that), but still….

5. A pint of Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.

6. A roll of Angel Soft. Because it is good stuff. And because they never run commercials featuring animated bears plucking bits of toilet tissue off one another. Truly, those Charmin commercials are the apogee of American vulgarity—and I say this having just seen a vampire rip off a fella’s manbits and toss them across the room (see below). 

7. The penultimate episode of True Blood Season 6. What a mess this series has become. What a wonderful mess.

But then again, it may be the closest thing we’ve got right now (on television) to a real exploration of the limits of the empty discourse of multi-culti, let’s-all-just-hold-hands-and-get-along-and-go-shopping-together liberal tolerance. (Now I will quote Zizek: “Why are today so many problems perceived as problems of intolerance, not as problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, not emancipation, political struggle, even armed struggle? The immediate answer is the liberal multiculturalist’s basic ideological operation: the "culturalization of politics” - political differences, differences conditioned by political inequality, economic exploitation, etc., are naturalized/neutralized into “cultural” differences, different “ways of life,” which are something given, something that cannot be overcome, but merely “tolerated.”)

8. Fried Bacon Mac at the new Upton’s Breakroom. Vegan mac and cheese with ersatz bacon, fried to order, in a tiny minimalist cafe attached to a seitan factory.

9. A good chunk of Edmund White’s autobiographical novel A Boy’s Own Story. Be careful about reading this on the train. 

10. The Plato Vegetariano at Adobo Grill in Old Town. I asked my Facebook people to recommend a restaurant near Second City—I had plans to meet some friends on their way to a show—and this is what my Facebook people came up with. They were not wrong.