Thursday, April 30, 2009



I was going through a file and found this letter from the U.K, in response to a newspaper essay I'd written. Not doing a lot to dispel stereotypes of people who compose angry letters to newspapers, it is printed entirely in red ink. All punctuation as is, I know it may as well read "Dear Emma, I am insane. Please ignore me." But I'm reprinting it here as I meditate on how hate is often brushed aside thanks to the place it frequently meets, on the cultural venn diagram, with comedy (see also Bill O'Reilly, James Dobson, Pat Buchanan etc). Here's the fan mail:

"Emma Forrest. A Jew girl.

“The reason I’m a Journalist lies in the last syllable”
May we suggest it also lies in your evil, but evil wicked crafty eyes, dear God, those eyes, and the nose? What a wonderful Yiddish snout is it, well done Jew girl, and your dreadful arrogance? So awfully Jewish, so awfully Jewish dear?

But darling, why have you failed to mention the most IMPORTANT group of Jews, we have in mind, the fantastic FIRST HUNDRED, never mind about the other thousands of swindling Jews and TRAITORS, just take the first hundred of course the Jews invented EVERYTHING, so clever, so awfully clever, they even invented Communism didn’t they darling?

The Jews, the vile evil Jews, never, but never has such a “race” existed on this earth, hated and loathed, the cause of all the worlds problems, all the world wars and strife, the filth on our T.V screens, our films, the wicked filthy hated Jews. Can you wonder darling that this country is slowly awakening to the true state of our country under the complete domination of just 300,000 thousand Jews? Who own this country LOCK, STOCK and Barrel, utterly control the so much that we stupid Gentiles thought belonged to them, the wicked shocking power of the “Chosen Ones” in this country called ENGLAND far, but far outweighs even their powers in the U.S.A. BUT, darling, your days are numbered, rest assured of the fact, THEY ARE NUMBERED, THAT’S A FACT.

The wrath and anger of so many Gentiles at the insidious power of the Jews in this country is daily becoming more obvious, what a slang the “Labour” Party recently when we were informed of the “Backers” of that party, what a shock, even for the wicked Jews, this was too much, too much for MILLIONS of Gentiles to stomach, what a shock, and what a NATIONAL bloody disgrace. The “ALL TIME GREATS” dear? You vile Jewish cow, we’ll give you all time greats before very long, just watch, just wait, we are simply sick and tired of the fucking Jews running OUR COUNTRY, WE WILL SMASH YOUR POWER and domination over ENGLAND. SMASH IT and send you Jews where you came from. Eastern Europe. OR the Illegal state of Israel and let the Arabs slit your vile filthy throats."

(note from Emma: It's interesting how anti-semites will never fail, in one breath, to chastise Jews for their inherent capitalist money greed, and...the simultaneous invention of Communism.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Poetry In Motion

...that was the name of a program sponsored by the London Underground when I was growing up. Riding the district line back and forth to school, I came to automatically memorize the poems posted in the subway car. I miss it. On foot in L.A, often staring into space at bus stops, my mind has become its own subway car and I've started memorizing poems again. When I speak them out loud, the only witnesses are generally wild flowers and crisp wrappers. Most recent:

No one
has lots of them
Lays or friends or anything
That can make a little light in all
that darkness
There is a cigarette you can
hold for a minute
In your weak mouth
And then the light goes out,
Rival, honey, friend
And then you stub it out.

Jack Spicer, 1957

I don't know what it says about me that the legendarily melancholic Spicer was my way back into poetry recital (except I do know) and I've tried it with several intonations. My favourite is to read the unspeakably bleak words with the joy and zeal of a Pastor preaching the light.

ps: just saw 'State of Play'. Bloody fantastic, Kevin McDonald is such a gifted director. Throughout the film, Russell Crowe looks like Lemmy from Motorhead if he took a job as a geography teacher, plus he is seriously the fattest person I've ever seen cast as a dramatic lead. It's as if, sometime around 'Gladiator', his attractiveness level became a national concern and there was a court mandated order that he should start gaining weight. And he's STILL so attractive, charisma in action, and just brilliant (can you imagine an actress ever being given a shot like that? Fat as total irrelevancy rather than plot point?)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Eyes On The Prize

We are living in extraordinary times. I have spells when I forget that and moments when it comes back to me like a thunderclap. I know that the optimism generated by Obama's election will likely puncture. But, for now, I do have the feeling that anything is possible (in a cultural context, but also in every corner of our personal lives.)

If you don't know Mavis Staples, trust me, she is a national treasure. This is from her 2007 album, 'We'll Never Turn Back'.

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