I was at party this past weekend in the beautiful Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, got into a political discussion with a few people out in the back yard after one woman announced that she had had a breakdown that evening while watching the McLaughlin Group. There had been some debate on the Group about fois gras, over whether the force feeding of ducks and geese in order to swell their livers should continue to be an acceptable practice. This woman was outraged that A) this point should even be debatable, of course no! and B) that the Group would waste time on such a stupid bourgeois subject when there were Important Political Issues much more deserving of attention.
That's fine as far as it goes. Me, I'd have just changed the channel. If I ever watch the McLaughlin Group it's usually only to see what new and fascinating shades of pink Tony Blankley has attempted to match. But I took her point. It did seem a rather frivolous subject for a political talk show. Plus, we had all been drinking, and drunken political rants are fun. Right then, this woman was joined by her friend, and the two ladies began a very animated conversation about Kate Moss and the raw deal she was getting, crucified by the media for her cocaine use. They both were very indignant about the injustice of this. Got that? Kate Moss. I mean, this woman's earlier fois gras rant still echoed down the street, and here she was expressing outrage over the press's treatment of a supermodel.
I mentioned we'd been drinking, right?
Now, I aways get a familiar feeling that lets me know a rant is coming on. Warm sensation in the stomach, pupils dialate, fingertips begin to vibrate slightly, old baseball injury in the right knee goes ding!
When the rant is very good, I go into a sort of trance, and don't remember a thing. I don't remember much about this one, but I think the thrust of it was: "I've got a limited amount of attention and compassion. Call me selfish, but I don't think a pampered, coke-snorting multi-millionaire deserves any of it. And weren't you just complaining about people wasting time on meaningless crap when there are Important Political Issues needing attention?" though of course with many more references and asides and, at one point apparently, me pantomiming the flogging of a Royal Navy sailor by Dick Cheney dressed as the Queen.
Through the rant-smoke still drifting out of my nose, the two ladies stared at me as if I'd offered them a severed human finger on a plate. Thankfully, I had my small dictaphone recording of thunderous applause which I carry for just such occasions. I clicked it on, and said over the cheering, "Well, the people seem to agree with me." Then I went to find a shot of tequila.