Explaining 9/11 (just kidding)
Don't let anyone do this.
I am giving my vaccine a daily workout on the principle that a little delta viral load toughens you up and keeps your antibodies in shape. (N.B. THIS IS NOT SCIENCE DO NOT LISTEN TO ME. I already filled all the science cabinets in my brain with stuff about H.I.V., that space is taken.) Cough on me in the gym; rub your barista fingers all over my latte lid; manhandle me on the subway. Don’t care! I go to the movies every week. I promised myself that once I got the vaccine I would never think about myself again and could solely return to being a busybody in the lives of others. This is working out super well. However…
I went to Boston the other day (Sure, but like at this point I will go ANYWHERE that will have me, look out, Djibouti) and saw two horrible things. The first was that every real Bostoney Boston man tucks in his shirt no matter what he is wearing, still, here in 2021, as the world is burning down. Polo and some cargo shirts? TUCKED IN, FUCKED UP.
The other thing is that I thought I’d see if I could get a seat at the bar at Contessa, the overly fancy new rooftop hotel restaurant hotspot in town (I guess? What do I know from Boston and restaurants!), and I walked in at like 9:30 on Saturday night and was visually assaulted by actually hundreds of maskless Bostonians, all tucked in cheek to drunken jowl, just a vast landscape of aerosolized slobber traveling face to face. It looked like Matt Damon hit the Clone-i-fier and then hit all the tequila. The bar area was like an octopus of frat hands attacking a squid of white sorority shoulders all covered in an ocean spray of saliva. It was like Marilyn Minter tried to paint a Hieronymus Bosch, all glistening wet and infernal!
I literally ran away.
In her notable “Folk Song,” circa 1991, which is about, basically, surviving the AIDS pandemic — a song that has an early and dark dig at left-wing anti-Semitism, cc Bari Weiss! — Ann Magnuson wrote:
And it's time we find a way to cope, a way to find some hope
For some it's the Bible or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna or cheesecake or bourbon or the Butthole Surfers or Giorgio Armani or Romeo Gigli
To my mind it’s one of the best cultural artifacts of the moment about the 80s struggling to become the 90s, up there with the remix of Sinead O’Connor’s “Jump in the River” with the guest (!!??) verse (!!??) by Karen Finley, probably one of the most obscene things committed to CD, and of course with Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” (don’t yell at me for not saying “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” I’m a BASIC). (Also why we’re doing unedited parentheticals, Substack style, it’s possible the 90s didn’t even start until Hole released “Pretty on the Inside” in 1991 … like a week before Nirvana released “Nevermind.” Can you imagine if a couple released a pair of classic albums a week apart now? Who would that couple even be? I mean not since Diplo and M.I.A. broke up! I don’t even know if I’m kidding right now!)
One of the great things about having a world ordered by that awful garbage pit known as Google is that when you Google “When did the 90s start” you get a truly insightful result.
Thank you! Oh look at that little photo of Bill Clinton at the Oslo Accords. Perfect timing, ack.
I have a LOT to say about the cusp of the 80s and 90s and we will get into that, let’s book some time on the calendar, the nuances are REAL and the millennials deserve to know the TRUTH behind the conspiracies, and also I really want to talk to Deborah Iyall about it all.
But my point in bringing up “Folk Song” and its advice: if you have to lose some of your shit right here, right now, so be it. That’s what’s happening online right now, as people viciously dunk on anti-vaxxers whose words and deeds are catching up with them pretty fast as they die from COVID. Maybe it’s fucked up. But none of us are going to make it through this without making a mess.