Letters to Holly

Tuesday, March 6

Un Petit Dîner

To support the annual school trip to France, we bought dinner at one of Mayberry's swankiest restaurants. We had coq au vin and pate, which tastes a bit like flaky sausage. We sat with school folks and enjoyed good conversation. I tipped with leftover poker money. The wine was strong stuff, and though I wanted to get myself pickled, I had to work on the comic afterward. I had some decaf coffee to keep me going (caffeinated java would have made me sleep) and plugged away at the art until midnight. I think -- think -- all the penciling is done. Tonight I'll start inking. It was surprisingly not that difficult to draw a pig head in the viking style. These are things you don't expect to draw when you start a comic about apples.

Picture of the Day
The teacher who hosts the trip is a fluent French speaker. Her husband officiated our wedding, and we like the couple a lot. He asked last night if we wanted to go with the group. I can't do it this summer, but I'd love to go another year. It's been almost 17 years since I was there.

In the News
Ann Coulter makes her living saying stupid things and then claims she's pointedly using satire. What she's really doing is desperately trying to get attention with insult shtick. During a conservative convention this weekend, she called democrat candidate John Edwards a faggot. Out loud. On stage. This has not gone over so well, and it's led to hand-wringing over political discourse. But Ann wasn't engaging in discourse. She was doing a routine, and she was sharing the stage with GOP candidates, including Mitt Romney. Those candidates tripped over themselves to create distance from her remarks. This is what Ann does. When she's not calling for a scorched-earth crusade against Muslims or race-baiting, she gets no press. She's similar to radio host Michael Savage whose rantings are so childish and juvenile that I think he's actually doing performance art.

But what's lost in this debate of sensitivity and humor is that no one uses "faggot" once they leave high school. We outgrow it, like "cooties" and "doddiehead." Or at least most of us do. I know it's still chucked around here in the South by people who can't think of a stronger insult. Which means it's used by the dim and surly. I expect Ann to say something stupid and offensive, but this just sounds pathetic. Really? That's the best you can come up with? He's a lawyer with a hair helmet. How does that target escape your notice? She's lost some national advertisers from her website because of this. Gay columnist Dan Savage spoke on the word a few weeks back, declaring it devoid of any power and suggested it be used by gay people to insult and terrify homophobes with campy, shrill taunting.

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