Friday night is traditionally cocktails-with-friends night, and last week’s debrief took place at St. Cece’s, which used to be a bad Irish bar/restaurant and is now a much better one, not Irish anymore but with all the decor left mainly untouched.
Everyone was sitting outside, summer being short and this summer particularly so. We sat inside.
Of course, topic one was SCOTUS, followed immediately by the president’s eulogy in Charleston. I said there what I said in the comments Friday, that this is truly an extraordinary presidency, one I don’t expect to see again in my lifetime. If you missed the speech, I urge you to look it up online and watch it. First, you might find it helpful to read James Fallows’ analysis. That’s because the speech is so good you’re going to want to just let it wash over you, and knowing why it’s so good will help you appreciate it so much more:
Here are the three rhetorical aspects of the speech that I think made it more artful as a beginning-to-end composition than any of his other presentations:
— The choice of grace as the unifying theme, which by the standards of political speeches qualifies as a stroke of genius.
— The shifting registers in which Obama spoke—by which I mean “black” versus “white” modes of speech—and the accompanying deliberate shifts in shadings of the word we.
— The start-to-end framing of his remarks as religious, and explicitly Christian, and often African-American Christian, which allowed him to present political points in an unexpected way.
I’ve noticed something over the weekend; I’m not hearing much discussion of this from the usual suspects who bemoan the lack of religion in daily life. Rod Dreher, as previously noted, it having a nelly-ass meltdown over same-sex marriage, and the coming purge of Christians he is dead-set convinced is going to happen ANY MINUTE NOW. I won’t link to a specific post. You can just hit the home page and scroll.
Pretty much everyone, from right to left, is melting down in one way or another over SSM. It is a big, big moment in our history, a real arc-of-justice thing, so I totally understand. This was the other big topic at Friday cocktails, and for once, I don’t think I have to give you a linkage roundup, although I thought this column, by the Freep’s consistently excellent Brian Dickerson, was, yes, excellent. It’s about an estranged gay partner who had the misfortune to have her custody battle in recent years, when she was a legal non-entity in the lives of three children she helped raise for a decade. It’s moving and sad, and when you contrast her story with Dreher’s chicken-littling, it’s even more so.
(Oh, and I don’t know if you’ll get the same autoplaying ad on the autoplaying video that I did, but man, it’s fucking weird — a “Michigan Celebrates Marriage” campaign from the Catholic church, of all entities. Horrifying bad taste, considering the circumstances, if you ask me.)
The above got us through two rounds of drinks, and then someone checked Twitter, and it was all about the hog story, a real OID about a guy who died — not in his own house, but nearby, very OID — and a couple days later the cops get a call that there’s a live pig in the guy’s basement, who’s allegedly been surviving on human remains. That last part turned out to be b.s., but the pig was very real, a female living up to her hocks in her own shit. Poor piggy! And when the cops got there, it turned out the steps to the basement were missing, because of course they were. So there was a several hours-long situation, with neighbors gathering at the yellow tape line and everybody joking about barbecue.
We talked about dropping by, maybe with a six-pack or something, but then they somehow fashioned a ramp that the pig found agreeable, and she was free. She’s going to a shelter or sanctuary or something, and as long as she doesn’t have any serious medical conditions, she’ll be living out her days there. Thank god, because that pig earned her some retirement.
More happened over the weekend, but let’s save something for the rest of the week. Lord knows what it’ll be like. (The prison breakout story is already wrapping up.) Let’s hope for the best.