Monday, April 10, 2006
Shoot The Women First
In this picture, I'm holding my favorite gift from my friend Hank, a book of interviews with female terrorists. Shoot the Women First was published in the early 90s and has all the famous cases of the last twenty years, women from the IRA and PLO, talking about why they did what they did. The title of the book comes from an expert in the field of political revolutionaries who commented: "For anyone who loves his life, it is a very clever idea to shoot the women first. From my experience, women have much stronger characters, more power, more energy." (The book is written by a British journalist named Eileen MacDonald.) Of course, men do their share of bad things, but sometimes it's nice to see something about the times when women take on some of the complication of the world.
MacDonald never simplifies the motives or villifies the women, although she clearly did not like the Palestinian fighter Leila Khaled. Due to one spectacular (meaning no one died, but a lot of people were terrified) and much-photographed highjacking mission, Khaled became a pin-up girl for the movement, so much so that she had her face redone so she would could continue to work without recognition and then done again to look like herself once more by a reluctant but cowed plastic surgeon. To quote Khaled: "It was very painful because I did not have anesthetic. The operations had to be done secretly and there were no facilities for giving an anesthetic. I could feel everything that was happening." It does make one think that there might be something to the imperative in the title.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"As a lonely woman I had a particular relationship with weapons." Susanna Ronconi
Molotov Cocktail for Girls
1 part Stoli Vodka
1 part white grape juice
Served chilled in a martini glass.
Benedictions and Maledictions
First published in Long Shot and dedicated to my dear friend Phyllis for letting me use her story and laughing when she read it, saying "It seems way worse on paper!"
The Way You Look Tonight
My first date post-divorce was a set-up
with a friend of a friend who'd seen me sing
at a night club and thought I was pretty. He
took me to dinner and frowned when I
ordered a beer. Don't you want something
a little more ladylike? I didn't, so he
started to talk about a woman he'd broken
up with the week before. She was great.
I mean, she'd make me talk to her while
she was in the bathroom taking a dump.
She'd say, 'Everything else is fucking
fantasy. It doesn't get any realer than
this.'" The waiter sat down our drinks,
and I downed mine before the food came.
I couldn't wait to get home and drink
some more without having to get someone's
attention. My date paid for both of us, and I
asked him to stop at a party store on the way
home so I could finish what I started. "You're
not as pretty as I remembered,"he said. I paid
at the store before he had a chance to offer. He
fiddled with the radio on the way home, but I got out
of his car before he could find a song that he liked
well enough to listen to for more than a few seconds.