This week I gently suggest you readers switch over to the podcast.
Why? My guest Erica Jong is so fascinating, and has a singular take on the world, the world as it is. Her use of language is also singular. For the few of you who don’t know her, Erica Jong has been not only at the forefront of feminist literature since the 1970s, she is still one of its most prominent voices. A poet, a novelist, an essayist, she has been chronicling her life and times in the most sensuous and what the kids call “sex-positive” of ways. From Fear of Flying, published in 1973 to Fear of Dying, published in 2015, Erica creates fully formed realistic plots and characters who take life by its throat.
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Just when you thought this summer couldn’t get weirder or more dystopian, we got Jeffrey Epstein. I don’t want to pollute our show with him, but I have to confess I am riveted by the sordid story: the amount of truly horrible things that he was alleged to have done, the brilliant and influential people he was able to bring into his messed up orbit. I’m incredulous that he was able to get away with just a slap on the wrist in Florida. I hurt for all his victims and their loved ones. I don’t believe we’ll ever really know the full extent of what happened in his life and death, but for now, thanks for showing us how depraved people can be.
I’m going to have to take a virtual shower now.
Now I’m ready for the five things that made my life better this week:
1. Eating outdoors. When it’s not pouring or excruciatingly hot and sunny, it’s so much nicer to sit outside. Especially if you go out to dinner. And as noisy as NY’s streets are, it’s usually quieter than the restaurants themselves.
2. The knowledge of and anticipation for the “Downton Abbey” movie. It’s keeping me going. It’s kind of my Robert Mueller replacement. Something to feel good about.
3. Lemon is really the perfect seasoning. I love lemon on most anything – chicken, pasta, blueberries, roasted potatoes, melon…...
4. Last night I saw a screening of “Knock Down the House,” a documentary by Rachel Lears, which follows four political races waged by women who came from outside the system to represent working class people. Not one of them had a chance in hell. Not Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Watching the unexpected victory of AOC is thrilling in the film – no one was more surprised than she, but watching the losses of the others was as emotional too, and crushing. It’s a film with highs and lows, and most interesting is the low tech opportunities to enter politics from small town America. No matter what your politics, this is a film about humanity, and it’s on NETFLIX.
5. When comedian John Mulaney praises something/someone as funny, I pay attention, and that is how I discovered number 5, the comedian Jacqueline Novak’s one woman show, Get On Your Knees. With the most extraordinary uses of language, the show is essentially about sex, the oral kind. I’m going to urge my guest today, Erica Jong, to see it. And all of you if you can. Jacqueline Novak does an hour or so about oral sex and includes references to great books, her youth in Chappaqua, New York, and her love of the paranormal. After a sold out run at the Cherry Lane Theater, it is moving to the Lucille Lortel for at least another month. She is breathtaking.
And now, here are Erica Jong’s 5 Things:
1. WRITING is her meditation and keeps her from going mad.
2. Her GRANDCHILDREN remind her to be playful.
3. Going to ITALY reminds her that she is allowed to be human.
4. NEVER COOKING allows her to find men who are good cooks, including her dear husband, Ken (who seems to have gone on strike!)
5. BUYING DESIGNER CLOTHES and living through the panic attacks of the charge bills reminds her that she will always be an Ashkenazic Jew.
Erica’s BONUS ITEM
6. HER DAUGHTER MOLLY reminds her that she will never really be the boss.