The Breakfast Table

Tea With Bread and Jam

Dear AB,

Surely Mrs. Clinton was stoned when she made her “anti-Semitic slur.” I love the phrase “anti-Semitic slur.” As if one can make an anti-Semitic encomium. 

Can a person, do you think, be good and rich, and interesting on top of it? Did you read that essay about marriage by Jane Smiley in the Harper’s anniversary issue? The take-home message, more or less, is that despite the hold that capitalism has on us in terms of personal relations (you gotta read the piece), in the end, personal goodness to one’s mate and community–generosity I think is the main piece of that goodness–cements a union, if it is cementable, and makes for happiness. This, it seems to me, is the ideal stance afforded one in middle age, after desire has laid waste in its varying cruel way, to quite a bit in one’s path, including sometimes, oneself. My mother-in-law was truly good and selfless and generous. She was fully herself without having an ego–she was perhaps the best good person I’ve ever known, but also, and most important, she was not prissy. Prissiness seems to me to be a potentially dangerous side affect of goodness.

And as for Anthony Lane, did you read his review in The New Yorker of the sing-along Sound of Music? There are subtitles for the songs, and the audience (in costume) sing their little hearts out. We must go when it comes to New York. And you will wear your new green cloak, because you will be tea, green tea, that goes along with bread and jam.

love, jh