Wednesday, February 18, 2009

azar nafisi on midmorning and (separately) contagious foulness

I wasn't able to listen to the entire program because I had to take Georgie's cello in for repair. I hope it's on podcast soon so I can hear the few minutes I missed.

I loved her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. I have given up recommending it, however, because no one I've recommended it to has liked it much. I was delighted to hear that Kerri Miller, one of my favorite journalists, seems to like the book as much as I do. The program was primarily about Nafisi's new book, Things I've Been Silent About. But Kerri kept sneaking in questions about Lolita. I felt like saying a big AMEN to just about everything Nafisi said this morning. About the beauty and power of literature, the shocking cultural decline in our country, the importance of passion and imagination to the American culture, and something about not living a life of victimhood no matter what happens to you, though I think I missed part of that discussion. I think I would have liked listening to the interview even if I hadn't read any of her books because it totally comes through what a passionate, intelligent, strong woman she is.

Listening to that lively interview almost made me forget about a weird incident at Cub Foods this morning. I had been waiting in line at the check out for a few minutes. I saw that another lane was being opened. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that some lady who'd just arrived to the check out area saw that the lane was opening, so she stopped and waited there. The check out lady came out, looked at my line, and pointedly said, "I can help whoever is in line next." I waited for the lady in front of me to go first, and then I followed her into the newly-opened lane. The lady (remember: just barely got to the check out) who'd stopped to wait a couple yards back came up behind me and said very bitterly, "FINE! You just go ahead," whipped her cart around and took off to find another lane. Shocked, (this is highly unusual behavior in a state known for its "Minnesota nice") I turned around and stared at her offended back. That's when I noticed she had a toddler in the cart. He wasn't crying or anything, just sitting there lumpily with a vacant expression in his eyes. And here's what I thought: "I am so glad I didn't notice before that she had a little child with her, because I totally would have let her go first. And now I see how undeserving she was." Wasn't that foul? It just shows how smallness of spirit can be catching like a nasty virus.


athena said...

i can't wait to hear the podcast! bummer about the incident at the checkout line. but you know those sorts of things happen all the time. i've done them myself. now when i come to a similar situation (not necessarily in the checkout line but in the car, at home, etc) i tell myself, i am above this! well at least i am most of the time. ;-)

Michelle said...

Last night, I listened to a recording of her at a book store in DC on her book tour for this book. She was very fluent in just talking and talking, some about the book, but mostly about other interesting things. It's on the NPR Book Tour podcast, if you're interested in hearing more of her.

Dave Thurston said...

When my Dad was in the hospital a couple of years ago, he would forget that he had Morphine available at the push of a button. Then, when he would remember it, he was quickly satiated.

Wouldn't it be great if we had some type of button to push to us back to living, thinking, and feeling well?

Or at a minimum to consider that maybe the lady was getting ready to have a diarrhea attack. Yep, I'm going to use that from now on, I'm going to say, "You don't look like you have diarrhea, but since you're in such a hurry, please go ahead . . . I'll wait back here."

Ave said...

hahahahha! I am sitting here laughing my butt off at Dave's comment. Thank you for that!

Calandria said...

Dave, that is hilarious! I'll have to keep that in the back of my mind for next time. Though, like I said, rarely ever happens here in Niceville.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to hear that podcast since I can't watch any American tv anyway (not that that's a bad thing sometimes-I certainly do NOT miss the commercials..hee hee).

That shopping thing happens here all the time. I like it when it happens in Amsterdam though. Amsterdammers always have a smartass comeback and don't put up with it at all.

Mama Ava said...

i loved "reading lolita". i know so many people who are avid readers and passionate about books, but there was such a....fierceness...about reading that i think only comes from not having access to books. not a lack of access, but a denial of something that so many of us consider a fundamental aspect of life--that access to knowledge and information.

we always whisper to each other, "wow, that must be a really really important person to be in such a hurry" and then we imagine what kind of life they have--secret spy, emergency diaper purchaser, etc. whenever we are confronted with a person like that.

i have commnented on my blog my thoughts about line budgers and a front-of-the-line taker would rank right up there. the chinese are no better at queuing up than tanzanians were. and there's so many more of them!

Brenda said...

I loved "reading Lolita" too. Guess you don't have to do the recommending, those of us that like that found it. I was drawn to it on two levels, the ideas she(not of my culture) would have re: the literature and what her life is/was like. I would like to hear her as well.
Some people are just poor sports and that's just the way it is!