27 July 2009

3 move along

we are a restless lot, us eatons. we've always fancied ourselves renegades, always harbored this (delusional?) sense of ourselves as ever on the run. i take it for granted we are the only family in the world who would think to cultivate taco bell themed witness protection names.

growing up, we were always on the go. my mum's job would lead to a huge pay bump and three weeks later my dad and i would cram our lives onto a van and pile in the car to come after her with the rifle, pets, plants and poisons.

my family, we can jump house at the drop of a hat.

which is ironic given we are, at the moment, all of us standing remarkably, uncharacteristically, unbelieveably still.

and yet, still this need is there. this intrinsic drive to stay on the run, to shuffle the deck.

what that boils down to these days is the "let's redo the whole house so it feels like we've moved when really we're just killing time" philosophy of interior design that i've always thought uniquely my own. turns out, that's a family trait.

this is why my mum documents the progress of the bedroom wall demolition with daily email blasts and hourly facebook updates that read like desperate cries for help. it is why there has been a construction crew at work somewhere in my parent's house every time i have been home since april 2002.

we do these things, i would argue, precisely because we are a rootless, restless lot. my parents see it differently.

over the years they have cycled through a catalog of reasons, all of which seemed reasonable enough. that is until my father, in the midst of the target flip-flop aisle, justified the months-long overhauling of the master bathroom (a project cushioned awkwardly between the just completed months-long overhauling of the kitchen and the soon to be embarked upon months-long overhauling of the downstairs bath) by saying to me, "well, no pressure, but you know we're doing all of this for you so you can be married from home."

25 July 2009

6 stephen the freshman

old age must be setting in because last night, apropos of nothing, i remembered that there was this guy in college named stephen the freshman who kind of came on to me and whom i had completely forgotten about.

and we're talking completely. as in, totally obliterated from any memories of college, in no way factored into the schematic of my romantic life and not thought of in at least 9 years.

then there i was last night, sipping a vodka cranberry, reading the corrections and suddenly, out of nowhere: oh my God, stephen the freshman.

i met stephen the freshman at some sort of back to school bonfire or something. (somehow the whole beginning of sophomore year has become enmeshed with the james van der beek classic rules of attraction so it could have been a hoedown for all i know, but in my mind it is the End of the World Party.) all i remember is sitting on a hill west of the football stadium next to my cheerleader roommate whom i had yet to come to hate while this freshman, stephen the freshman, hit on us the friday before the start of class.

i had a boyfriend, a steven of my own, but somehow, i went home with stephen the freshman's phone number.

this was as/just after Steven The Steven had become gay (round 2), while CP was on the horizon, and right before i kind of made my half-hearted move on The Soup. i honestly do not know how long it went on or if it was before or after i went to The Soup's dorm room and read him The Poems and he subsequently tried to kiss me to no avail, but at some point in there, in that incredibly confusing september of 2000, when i was absolutely convinced i had made a man gay and therefore hung out with every guy i could find who would have me, there was stephen the freshman, whom i had completely forgotten until last night.

all in all stephen (steven? i don't even know) the freshman was only memorable in that he was the only guy who ever made a pass at me that i didn't date (unless we count david finklestein, but really, when does david finklestein ever really count?) this pass was, i think, if i remember correctly, maybe made during a tickle fight that took place approximately 60 minutes into our screening of the hurricane in stephen the freshman's dorm room.

he tickled me.

there was an awkward moment where we probably should've kissed.

i left.

i think i maybe went on a date with The Soup later that night.

i was supposed to come back for the other half of the movie some other evening. i was supposed to call him. but after he came closer to my lips than any other guy up to that point other than a gay one had come, i never did.

i never went back. he never called me. i never saw stephen the freshman again.

i have vague memories of trying to find him later on. maybe later that year. maybe the year after. but he was no longer in the university's stalker directory and i assumed he must've transferred. i'll admit there was an excessively vain part of me that assumed he'd transferred because of me.

college is a funny, funny world, where people never have last names and are defined by their majors. it's ironic then that i have no memory of steven the freshman's major. i remember only three things:

he was from louisianna. he hated his roommate. he joined blockbuster for me.

24 July 2009

6 say my name, say my name

we never really used names in my family. we were all liney and mummybee and fatherbear and drinkiepoohs and jammiepants. nothing was ever its actual name unless we were really pissed, and then suddenly we were operating in an world where drinks were drinks and i was CAROLINE.

my parents spanked me and i can totally understand why. i could be the whiniest, neediest, most obnoxious little shit you ever knew. plus i was an only child, secure in the knowledge that my parents had wanted more children and that they treasured me to an extent i sensed but never quite understood. i never really thought the spankings had any long-lasting effects beyond my fear of flyswatters and the atlanta journal-constitution, but now i'm not so sure.

when i was a four-foot-tall crazy person who couldn't sleep and ran through the hall to crash into my parents locked door- because we would have repeated this performance several times that night and the locked door was the last act in the intricate drama that was my going to bed in the winter of 1989- with a whoosh of pink polyester night gown and a poltergeist scream, i always knew i was in trouble, i knew the end was nigh, that the journal-constitution was coming, when my father said my name.

my sizable anti-spanking lobby audience will probably weep upon discovery that to this day, i associate my name with the shit hitting the fan. which is rather an unfortunate circumstance when operating in the professional world, where one's name is kind of key.

now, people say my name all fucking day. they also say carolyn's name.

carolyn was the last of the new girls in our office. she's in a different department and she has a whole other name that i've spent a good bit of my life convincing people is entirely different from mine. and it is entirely different, but not quite enough.

for over a year now it has been as though my name was called from the rafters from 9 to 5. and every time, for just a second, there's a little girl part of me that feels i should gather my gown and run because the AJC, it's coming.

15 July 2009

7 jessica simpson and i go way back

back to the first weekend of may 1999- when, just a few weeks shy of graduation, me and a motley sextet of sexually confused CHSers stood near a clump of trees facing the 2nd avenue stage of river stages passing judgement upon the approximately 35 teenyboppers who cared enough about jessica simpson to come see her sing at 10 a.m.

it seems important to establish where we were in the oline narrative at this point in time. to make clear that i was young and impressionable and just about the most naive 17 a girl could be.

seven months before, partner and i had asked her mother about orgasms because we thought they were something related to papier-mâché. i'd never been kissed. my grades were my world. and then, suddenly S was gay and here i was running with a crowd that saw concerts in daylight.

it is difficult to convey how deliciously deviant this seemed, how glamorous, how incredibly hedonistic in what i see now was such a juvenile way.

and in the midst of this there was jessica simpson.

jessica simpson didn't change my life. i know that. in reality, i promptly forgot about her. it was only years later, when she had made a career out of violating her own privacy, that i even realized this quasi-famous person was the girl with the big boobs and bad backup dancers who had squinted into the sea of sweaty adolescents of which we were a dubious, judgmental part and instructed us to "do it up yo yo yo."

and then i felt kind of bad.

the two things i vividly remember from that day?

(1) the six (seven? three?) of us, everyone but me smoking, cynics all, after very limited debate reaching the conclusion that jessica simpson wouldn't amount to much.

(2) the 125 degree angle made by the slender bicep/elbow/forearm of matt joyner, his angelic facial features distorted by a grin one would expect from the joker rather than a closeted gay southern baptist, as he recklessly flung jessica simpson's demo (charred by a dalliance with a lighter) into the dump.

08 July 2009

3 humor me...

so our friend c. david heymann has written a book. a whole 230 pages on jackie and bobby kennedy's secret love affair. a love affair that-- if you've read any of our friend c. david heymann's previous three books on the kennedy family or pretty much any biography written post-1989 about anyone in any way affiliated with anyone affiliated with the kennedys in the post-JFK years-- is actually not so secret.

jackie and rfk were in love!

they exchanged "poignant glances"!

ethel was pissed!

all of this we already knew.

(if you didn't, trust me. had you gone looking, it was there.)

judging from the early press, heymann's only truly new revelation over the course of these 230 pages, the only thing that might be remotely characterized as a contribution to the jackie scholarship is that some socialite saw rfk put his hand down her pants.

hands down pants. this is what we've come to.

kennedy biography sucks and here's why. because it is a genre predominently dominated by a triumvirate of baby boomer men who have written multiple books about essentially the exact same things. they are viewed by the popular press as bastions of kennedy knowledge and are accordingly trotted out every time a kennedy kicks the bucket, but even a cursory review of their oeuvre reveals their limitations.

our friend c. david heymann has written about jackie, bobby, jackie and bobby and caroline and john. christopher anderson has covered jack and jackie, jackie after jack and caroline and john. edward klein has written about jack and jackie, jackie after jack and jackie's death. um... sound similar?

though i'm specifically coming after our friend c. david heymann here, christopher andersen (who referred to mrs. kennedy as "mommy" throughout the entirety of his 2001 caroline kennedy text) and edward klein (who single-handedly established carolyn bessette as a cokehead in an excerpt of the kennedy curse that was printed all around the world) are equally to blame for the swamp of tastelessness that has prevailed.

i began writing a kennedy biography because kennedy biographies featured the worst writing i'd ever seen. one makes allowances to a degree. while the biographical subject is alive, it's hard to have perspective. it's hard analyze anything and, if the kennedy crowd are any indication, it's equally impossible to write in anything less than overheated, psychobabble prose. but most of our people are dead, guys. they've been dead for awhile.

collectively, the kennedy biographers have exhibited a willful determination to avoid the in-depth cultural analysis i believe is so sorely needed here. they tell us jackie was important and they do not tell us why. they tell us something happened between her and the entirety of culture back in november 1963, but they do not explain what. they tell us she symbolized something, because clearly we fools need a biographer to tell us that.

and these boys! overall, the heymann/anderson/klein work is a hodge-podge of unsubstantiated gossip that is handed from one book to the next like a cherished handmade quilt. there are holes galore. bibliographies and endnotes have only just come into vogue and our friend c. david continues to lift whole pages from one biography to the next with wild abandon. there is a reason these books all sound the same.

and yes, there are interesting stories. there are glimmers of what could be. then there are hands down pants.

but really, if we're being honest and more than a little cynical, these books are not intended to tell us anything. these are not people writing now in the spirit of openness so writers of the future will be able to uncover more. no. these are people who have created an entire enterprise out of writing about kennedys because books about kennedys sell, even if they don't say a fucking thing.

this has never been more frustrating to me than now, when the new york post's write-up about jackie & bobby: a love story trumpeted c. david heymann's big source, the one who really throws the love affair out into the open, as truman capote.

our friend c. david wrote a woman named jackie in 1989 and RFK in 1998. he wrote about john and caroline in 2007. our friend c. david heymann has written three books on the kennedy family in the past 20 years and, working on the assumption that the ghost of truman capote didn't just surface to whisper in his ear, he is only now quoting from an interview conducted with a man who died in 1984.

which, in the large scheme of things isn't that important. truman was a blabby fucker, so it's not as though his opinion here would have colored every biography that came out in the interim or every book that comes after now. but it's the principle of the matter. this idea that you can sit on pieces of an interview for decades and dole out information piecemeal as it pleases you.

it would be one thing if this were revelatory. if there were an actual reason for it. if our friend c. david heymann had willfully embargoed the salacious bits of his interview until caroline kennedy hit 52, but i imagine that is not what happened here. i imagine our friend c. david heymann just wanted to make some money.

and i resent that. i resent that these are the people who are dictating the story. i resent that they do not take that responsibility seriously. that these people, these hacks who actually lived through this thing that i did not-- this collective shift of consciousness in which a woman no one really liked became the icon of our time-- are expending their energy collecting details like hands down pants.

and i resent that still, fifty years after the fact, the only story that matters is the story of who fucked who.

06 July 2009

6 a time to die

so robert mcnamara has died, which kind of sort of isn't a big deal since he was 800 and lived a full life and had a whole errol morris movie in which to explain himself. so we can't be too sad (beyond the fact that he is memorialized as "the architect of the vietnam war," which is a terribly sad thing to be memorialized for). because old people, they do die.

but then, we are living in extraordinary times. this is, after all, THE SUMMER OF DEATH. a context in which the death of robert mcnamara looms rather larger than it would in any other season. because robert mcnamara is a kennedy person, and death, as we all know, does like his kennedys. and as my mum so eloquently pointed out this morning, "it's only july. a whole heap of them could die before summer's out."

02 July 2009

8 meggie getting married

2 years ago yesterday, our beloved meggie got married. since there's nothing we love more than unseen scenes and nostalgia for the extreme recent past, it seemed somehow important to commemorate meggie's marital bliss
(and the resulting uptick in ky sales).

01 July 2009

0 the u2 tour opened last night

i wasn't there but...

it was phallic.

the edge was very edgy.

bono was well lit.

larry beat his little drum.

and adam clayton, sex god, wore bedazzled denim tuxedo pants with a freaking pleather vest.