The Unbearable Banishment: It started out small but grew very big

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It started out small but grew very big

While I'm in Orlando riding the Disney buses from one resort to the other, here's my monthly column in the Undie Press on collecting rare books. This time, I discuss a literary journal that had humble origins but is now a publishing powerhouse. Along the way, I reveal the source for all my best ideas and quips. Hint: they're not exactly original.

* * *

We went to a luau tonight and between the main course and the Polynesian fire dance, the woman sitting next to me whipped out her tit and breastfed her infant. If I were a more evolved individual it wouldn't have bothered me but, I'm sorry, it did.

* * *

I usually keep close tabs on world events but it's hard when you're on a holiday. I got back to the hotel this evening and saw that the West has dropped a shitload of tomahawk missiles on Muammar el-Qaddafi's ass. The New York Times is reporting that he's using women and children to shield his compound.

Did you know that the Arab League went to the United Nations and asked them to intervene? Once again, the Arab world is incapable of taking care of its own.

Question: Why doesn't the Arab League mass an army on the outskirts of Tripoli and march in?

Answer: Because we're addicted to oil so they don't have to. They're crafty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A woman feeding her baby. THE HORROR.

March 20, 2011 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Yet another war looms to kill innocents and bankrupt the western world. Time to pull out of the UN methinks. Charity and common sense begins at home.

March 20, 2011 at 2:28 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I bet Anonymous is a regular reader / commenter. Be brave, put your name to it. Everyone's allowed an opinion - and all the better if it's an honest one.

The Earthquake has kind of overshadowed talk about Gaddafi and co, and I'm ashamed to say I have no idea what's going on over there, apart from snippets picked up on Twitter of all places. I can't even begin to get my head around oil / inter-country politics - but it's always been a case of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" when it comes to international affairs. It'll never change.

March 20, 2011 at 4:38 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I know! I agree! I'm an IDIOT! I think that's an American thing and we need to get over it. I assume you are not in the U.S.?

Jimmy: I was hoping we wouldn't get involved. Haven't we seen this movie before?

Jo: If she wants to be Anon that's okay with me. She's right, you know? I thought I'd put it out there so everyone can yell at me. I'll work on it. I promise.

March 20, 2011 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

The world is a mess. Hand on heart, I don't know if the UN invention in Libya is wrong or right. I've listened to strong arguments from both sides. I don't know.
All I do know is that everything is making me feel extremely uneasy... much more uneasy than watching a woman breast feeding her baby!

March 20, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

The breastfeeding thing? I have no issues with it, but given that there are still people who react as you did (no right or wrong here, I know some people can't seem to get used to what's best for baby when done in a public place) a little cloth over the bambino and boob for a little discreetness wouldn't hurt.

Regarding Gaddafi, I don't know what the right answer is. I really wish the West would just let all these countries take care of their own problems internally, but given the oil situation, I guess they feel they have too large a stake in things. I hate all this violence. I live in a country whose military has spend many more decades as peace keepers than fighting soldiers and I still haven't come to terms with our men dying in these wars now.

March 20, 2011 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

the bullies on the playground band together and ask the principal to deal with THAT bully because he's worse than they are, and it's hurting their lunch money extortion gig.

and the principal brings the tomahawks...


March 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger JZ said...

Middle East: decisions made by 'the West' motivated by the inevitability of a system of capital on life-support.

Breastfeeding: a most sensible, anti-capitalist thing to do.....among growing your own food, etc.

...someone once told me that if we equally distribute the wealth to all peoples on the planet, the standard of living would be equal to that of North explained to me EXACTLY why wars and interventions like this happen....

March 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I got caught up in your McSweeney's post and now have serious collector's envy.

March 20, 2011 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: Truly, I wish an exposed breast were the big worry we have. As far as Libya is concerned, I can easily be talked into either camp. They both have good points.

Ponita: I would love very much for the U.S. to mind its own business but as I pointed out, we need the OIL!

daisy: I guess it all comes down to which bully represents your interests. And, besides, their bully is truly crazy.

JZ: You're the kind of guy who wouldn't look twice at a woman breastfeeding in a restaurant. Why can't I be more like that, eh?

nurse: I wish I knew what I see in all those signatures. What do they mean to me? I have no idea.

March 20, 2011 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

I think half the problem with breastfeeding is that, as males, we're attuned to look at a woman's breasts most of the time but when they're out there for all to see, it just seems a lot sleazier than it really is. I wouldn't want it stopped but I get a little uncomfortable myself.

As far as Libya is concerned, Gadaafi has been crazy for years and no one has really given a shit. It's mainly because half the countries around him are having successful revolutions and Libya wants to get in on the act but Gadaafi isn't letting go any time soon. And if he does put this revolution down, things will get REALLY ugly.

March 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I nursed two boys for eleven months and six months respectively and NEVER did it in Public. It is a private, special time and should be kept for Mum and babe.
It's a small part of one's life time wise, and only requires a certain amount of planning.
With regard to quashing a tyrant, it's the hypocrisy that sticks in my craw. How many tyrants have we ignored?

March 21, 2011 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Hem: One of the biggest shocks of my adulthood was finding out that breasts are not, in fact, my personal playthings but, rather, FOOD! Boy, was I disappointed.

Pat: Re: Breastfeeding. Yes, keep breasts sexy! I know they're functional but you don't have to show me. Re: Tyrants. I notice we haven't marched into Saudi Arabia yet and they treat their women like second class citizens. If that!

March 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

I was shocked the first time I saw a woman breastfeeding as well. I thought breast were there to make sweaters look nice. I like to think that I'm more evolved now.

March 21, 2011 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

The milk of human kindness is in short supply.

March 22, 2011 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Kono said...

I'll ignore the war shit and go to the important stuff... i used to like Eggers and his ideas but i think he began to believe his own press clippings (there was a great article by Stephen Marche on this subject) and many of the McSweeney's gang did little to peak my interest, though i will admit a signed Denis Johnson and William T. Vollman makes me slighltly jealous.

As for Neal Pollack, i almost beat him up one night.

March 23, 2011 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Kono: I stopped reading/collecting McSweeney's because of the righteousness and unrelenting hipness of the editors and writers. It all got too smarmy for me.

March 23, 2011 at 8:29 AM  

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