|Fig. 1. Do you see it? Do you see it?!?|
Just as in the actual last supper, we all fell to talking about famous celebrities we know. Until I joined Carnegie Mellon, I had a few close calls with the A-List, topped by three events:
3. I stood next to Steven Tyler on 7th Avenue in Seattle waiting for the light to change.
2. I attended an exhibition of Impressionist Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the accidental but prolonged company of Jamie Lee Curtis.
1. I took a piss in a Tribeca restaurant men's room next to Bill Murray [Fig. 2].
|Fig. 2. This image always makes me think of Ghostbusters.|
But yesterday Jed Harris and I had lunch with the President (Emeritus) of the Pittsburgh City Council, Doug Shields. I'm a fan of the Councilman; voted for him every time he ran since I got here. He backs the causes I believe in, he was a great help to a big project at my son's school, and he came to see our Inspector General twice. After the second appearance he did a postshow talkback with myself, Jed, and Molly McCurdy (dramaturg) and I said "do you think people will be offended by my ridiculous lampooning of city government?" and he said "Lampooning? I thought you had put a hidden bug in the Mayor's Office and just wrote down what you heard." My ego as a writer, dramaturg, and adaptor soared, but my hopes as a citizen plummeted. After all, I put the worst garbage in there I could come up with. Anyway, the Councilman agreed to blurb the back of the book for me, and so when it came out I wanted to give him a few of my author's copies, which I get from CMU Press in lieu of "pay" (love ya, Jerry and Cynthia!). So we had lunch yesterday.
I believe that Doug is on the side of the Wise and the Just, which is probably why he's not Mayor. But every time I speak at length to him I get a better sense of what goes on in government, and at the age of 40 I know I shouldn't be so idealistic that it continues to make me sick to my stomach. It's like the meat and dairy industry - one day you learn how much blood and pus from damaged and infected cow's udders the USDA allows to be legally incorporated into cheese, and you say "I'll never touch animal products of any kind ever again." And a week later you're tucking back into the burgers. Politics is the same way. It's vile and disgusting and warps your mind and showcases the worst aspects of human existence, both on the side of the manipulators and those willing to be manipulated. Plus, no one is interested anymore in listening to me gass on about Marx as a precursor to discussing Brecht or Feminism, or Queer Theory. I should just forget about it and work on robots, but I can't. I keep returning to it like a dog revisiting its own upchuck. Today's sputum has to do with the wholesaling of Pennsylvania's clean air and water to the Marcellus Shale fatcats. I saw a similar process destroy the glorious natural resources of Utah once, and I'm nauseated to think about it happening again here in the woodlands.
Celebrities of any kind, entertainment or political, emit the same smell. It's the smell of your ability to think as an individual rapidly decomposing. The more you sniff it, the more of yourself you lose. Too bad it's so goddam addictive.