Monday, November 17, 2008

you get what you pay for


Last Saturday afternoon was cultural day for Crissy and me. The WWInterweb told us that Matt Taibbi would be engaging in a free political discourse with David Rees at the Brooklyn public library. No clue who these people are, you say? Don’t feel bad. Nobody really does.

Matt Taibbi is a political correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, who I only discovered because I happen to have a subscription. If you’ve never heard of this guy, please do yourself a favor and read this essay he wrote called, “Jesus Made Me Puke,” a hilarious/terrifying account of infiltrating a Christian Zionist “Encounter Weekend.” Parts of this essay made me shake with laughter. Parts of it made me weep for our country. All of it was awesome. (Amy, this is a great lunch read).

The other guy, David Rees, is a political cartoonist who is most well known for a cartoon called “Get Your War On,” another Rolling Stone staple. I’m not quite as into this dude’s work, but I think I’ll give it another try now that I’ve seen how funny he is in person.

Now, I know many of you are saying, “Ooooh, look at Kevin, mister political pants all of the sudden. Now that Barack Obama’s president-elect, did you buy a stiff new Obama cap and Obama foam finger and say you loved him back when he was a community organizer?”

No, and for the record, Matt Taibbi doesn’t only write political stuff. He’s also a very funny normal writer. So back off!

Anyway, Crissy and I hopped on the 2 train to the Grand Army Plaza stop in Brooklyn, a trip that took us roughly 30 minutes. When we actually got to the library (a huge, stodgy building that could easily double as a prison), we weren’t sure exactly where we were going, so we headed over to the "information" counter, where the English language was butchered so mercilessly I wasn’t sure if I was being insulted or given directions. I still don’t know what the hell the woman said, but she pointed at the floor, so we figured she was either saying down with American swine, or the auditorium is downstairs.

When we got down to the tiny auditorium, Crissy and I were both shocked to discover that Taibbi, a writer who’s work is infused with healthy doses of rage and fury, was a smiley, quiet, friendly guy. The other guy actually did all the talking. Well, most of the talking. The rest was covered by the completely insane dude who sat right in front of us.

The insane dude was built like a mailbox, with brooding delirium in his eyes and steel wool for eyebrows. He was wearing a ratty Sarasota, FL cap, which was fastened on the very last notch. Since he was sitting right in front of us, we had an unobstructed view of his strange and grotesque balding pattern, which caused his hair to cease growing about halfway down the back of his scalp, so there was plenty of red, meaty flesh for him to scratch vigorously as he shifted in his seat, grunting.

Soon after sitting down, he turned to a 40 something bookish lady sitting next to him, and loudly asked,
“WHO’S THAT?”

“Matt Taibbi,” the woman whispered.

“WHO’S HE?”

“He’s a writer.”

“WHO’S THAT?”

“David Reese.”

“WHO’S HE?”

“A political cartoonist. Shh.”

“AND HOW ARE YOU?” he asked, extending a hand.

“I’m trying to listen.”

A few minutes later, someone on stage mentioned something about John McCain having spent time as a prisoner of war.

“HE DESERVED IT!!”

This caused a dreadlocked black dude to whip around in his seat and hiss, “Why would you say that!!”

Moments later, a female library administrator walked up the aisle. The insane dude extended a hand.

“AND HOW ARE YOU?”

"I'm...looking for someone."

Clearly, things were getting dicey, and Crissy informed me that it was time to move seats.

Once we relocated, everything seemed to calm down a bit. Until the Q&A session. As one of the library administrators was fiddling with the cordless microphone for audience questions, the insane dude belted out a long blathering tirade that started with a question about the media, and ended with a declaration that he was proud not to have fought in the Vietnam War. We decided it was time to go.

Anyway, I caught Taibbi on the way out and awkwardly asked him to take a picture with me.

His half smile says, “How many insane people were at this thing, anyway?”

My double chin says, “Isn’t food good?”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

awww babe it's just a bad angle - blame it on the photographer

amy said...

thanks for the shout out and for the company during what sometimes seems to be the longest hour of my day.