Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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That’s why we should be writing about John Edwards now. We had something to learn from the fairly extensive coverage of Rudy Giuliani’s disastrous campaign, and now we have something to gain from looking back at the results of Edwards’ approach and the details of his inconveniently mellow-harshing story and concerns. I want to hear about what he’ll do next. Don’t discount him just because we love a bullfight.

Does God exist? Tonight Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach are debating it at the 92nd St. Y. I’ll be there. Potential highlights include God, appearing Marshall McLuhan-style, strolling onstage to declare to Hitchens, Boteach, the audience, or some combination of the above, “You know nothing of my work.” (Afterward: While that didn’t happen, exactly, there were certainly insults a-flyin’.)

At least we can be confident that Eustace Tilley exists, as did his creator, Rea Irvin; as Jason Kottke reports, the winners of the Tilley retooling contest have been notified. I’ve been enjoying the discussions on the contest’s various Flickr threads; entrants commune, commiserate, and praise with Threadless-like generosity and swap ideas for drawings that coulda been. Dan Savage has gotten involved, too. This contest has clearly been a hit—what’s next in user-generated interactoolery, do you suppose?

Finally, my carnivorous friend Paul Lukas has updated Joseph Mitchell’s juicy, tender, and well-done ode to the beefsteak (as Paul explains, “The term refers not to a cut of meat but to a raucous all-you-can-eat-and-drink banquet”)—which you can reread in Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink—with a sizzling, bacon-wrapped Times story (with video!) on how we beefsteak now. Sorry, cows of the world (and environment, etc.); I apologize from the bottom of my ostensible soul, and I’m saving you for special occasions these days, but in the list of things that are sacred, I’m going to have to include the occasional indulgence in just this sort of ritual.


I’ve heard Rudy’s and Edwards’ names both floated for Attorney-General if their party comes out on top in November. If you ever need any more evidence that voting for president entails a lot more than deciding who goes on top of the ticket, imagine the contrast between a anti-corporate crusader AG and an pro-torture incipient facsist.

Amen. Edwards did his country and his party credit. He’s giving his farewell speech as I write this. He ran a hell of a campaign, polar opposite of Giuliani’s even if they bowed out almost on the same day.

I’ll have to check out the “beefsteak” link, Emily, as the word appears in a Jean Stafford story I’ll be reviewing for Emdashes shortly, called “In the Zoo,” from 1953.

She writes, “She knew about the slumber parties we were not invited to, the beefsteak fries at which we were pointedly left out, she knew that the singing teacher had said in so many words that I could not carry a tune in a basket and that the sewing superintendent had said that Daisy’s fingers were all thumbs.”

She seems to mean it the way we’d use “barbecue” today, but perhaps not?

Edwards was never going to win, it was obvious. But it’s getting pretty obvious to me that neither will any Democrat. (When has a Democrat ever won an election while the economy is down? The Republicans have always been Mighty Mouse to the rescue.) I’d like Bloomberg to run now, so I can vote for someone who hasn’t blown smoke up my ass. That’s all I want from an election, for once in my life.

That said, most of the candidates have conducted themselves marginally better than candidates have in previous elections. And that’s better than not better at all!

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