SF Public Library
Help me buy robertsore.com.
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
I CONTAIN MULTITUDES Llyod Grove trashes Ricki Lake for her trashy show, which he says contradicts the clean message she's now pushing on behalf of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
She seems to be a muddle on other issues as well: at first losing weight precipitously, then dismissing the loss and gaining it back for the psychological well-being of her children, then saying she might, after all, one day consider having plastic surgery.
Contradiction -- and its viler, more deliberate cousin hypocrisy -- is an easy thing to pillory. And the archiving capabilities of modern media certainly make it easy to ferret out.
But life is never so simple, I say, that one can expect constant consistency. The brain is after all only a swish of chemicals, and that liquid which bubbles to the surface one second may be deeply buried the next. We are are always in flux; it's one of our species' strengths, I'd say.
KILLING PEOPLE WITHOUT A TRIAL IS BAD, ISN'T IT? There has been a lot of ire on the right regarding the Palestinians' recent summary executions of Israeli collaborators in the West Bank, after those collaborators tipped the Israelis off to an Al Aqsa leader's coordinates. (The Israelis killed the leader and another man in a helicopter missile strike.)
This killing is horrific, of course. Palestinians have been known to drag their dead spoils through the street, stringing them up like holiday baubles on a ghastly tree. And these people aren't given a chance to defend themselves, a situation that ought to provoke the world's outrage.
But what's the difference between these killings and Israel's targeted assassinations? The Israelis assure us that their assassinations are carried out only after extensive evidence is compiled, a position I'm inclined to believe. Israel kills its enemies without trial; that's defensible, I think, only because it believes these people are "ticking bombs," and there's no time for trial.
But if the Palestinians similarly believe that their compatriots are ticking like hot clocks, are they less justified in taking them out? If killing one's enemies is O.K. for Israel, why isn't it O.K. for the Palestinians?
Is it the goriness to which the pundits object? The dragging through the streets? Certainly that looks bad -- but we are talking about the death penalty, not juvenile hall. It's hard to make unsolicited death seem humane. And a "pin-point" helicopter strike doesn't seem like a picnic, either.
OLD MEN CAN KISS People Magazine reports that Tea Leoni, a screen goddess on the order of Garbo or young Audrey Hepburn, found Woody Allen's 66-year-old lips full of life during the filming of Mr. Allen's latest navel-gazing project, Hollywood Ending, in which Leoni plays the lead.
"It was a real kiss," Leoni told People. "Woody and I did have great chemistry. There were some brows raised. I applaud the man. I didn't feel that I was on the wrong end of that equation. He's older, and he's very sexy. I certainly didn't feel it was sci-fi with him at all. He has great magnetic pull. Maybe it's because he's a genius and charming. Or maybe I'm just getting older." (The article isn't explicit, but one imagines that Leoni was referring to on-screen kisses.)
This is yet further evidence of the point I've been trying to make -- through logic, eloquence, and sometimes none-too-decorous shouting -- to the women who've passed me on the street for the past twenty years.
Old men know their way around a pair of lips, and they're likely better smackers than men much tighter in the cheeks. A wisened gentlemen's lips are softer -- due to the effects of age and a lifetime of food acids -- and he's been schooled in the ancient art by the best teacher there is: experience.
HARDLY KNEW HUGHES The news that Karen Hughes will resign stokes, surely, some conspiracy theorists' uncertainties. The highest ranking woman in the West Wing (ever) does not decide, on a dime, to quit all she's worked toward because of a little homesickness --- does she?
My money's on this being on-the-level. Despite her tough-as-nails appearance, I'm inclined to believe that Karen is somewhat of a cream puff on the inside, as we all are when the lights go out and the world's devils are given free reign in the fertile fields of our imagination.
Hughes is a mother, and though she could surely have any man she wanted, she seems devoted to her husband. I applaud that, and I hope muckrakers don't go digging in her life just to find a key to her sudden departure from the top.
Monday, April 22, 2002
A PRESIDENT DEFERRED
What happens to a president deferred?
Maybe he just sags, like a heavy load.
Or does he explode?
Gore crawled out from his secret bunker this month, criticizing the Bush administration in The New-York Times for the president's industry-influenced energy policy. Many of Mr. Gore's points are valid, but if the Democrats cannot find a better man than he for the next round, they ought to shut down the store today. (Apologies to Langston Hughes.)
JADED ... NO MORE I've heard it often said that a few weeks after setting up one's web site, the initial euphoria of seeing one's thoughts published begins to fade; that slippage is sudden, mysterious, not too different from the beffudlemenmt of the lover who awakens one morning to find, to his horror, that he no longer even likes his mate ... that he finds her -- at best -- irrelevant.
Such was the panic I suffered during the past several weeks. E-mail messages have poured in to inquire what happened to me.
I say to your great relief it was nothing too horrible: it was just the mind, in these troubled times, seeking solace in the quiet of a life lived bravely on the streets, away from the roil of our information-addled politics.
This isn't me, but it looks like me.
The library doesn't have those scan machines. And I don't have a camera.
My name is Robert Sore. I am a homeless man in San Francisco, scraping out a living from trash cans and odd jobs. But don't think that I need your pity. If you see me on the street, keep walking, buddy. I don't need your money and I don't need you, in fact -- but I'd be willing to wager that you need me.
I have lived a long time, and I spend a lot of time in the library. A lot of time. I know what's wrong with this world. Why the politicians have it wrong, why the fancy professors have it wrong, why the United States has it wrong. Why the liberals are wrong and why the conservatives are wrong.
But I damn sure know what's right, too. And I'm going to tell you what.