Candles Always Cry

And Other Stories

Month: May, 2012

The Case of the Missing Mrs. Clinton

Originally posted as a Facebook note on May 11, 2011

Di Tzeitung, a Hasidic newspaper, published an article last week with a picture of the White House situation room. 

They photoshopped Hilary Clinton out of it because of their policy not to publish any images of women. 

The story went viral when it was published first on blogs, then in the Jerusalem Post, and then acoss all major and minor media outlets in the US and internationally. The two major complaints: 1. Violateion of White House copyright (aka religious Jews don’t give a d* about this country) 2. Sexism (aka religious Jews are just like the Taliban).

Di Tzeitung put out a statement Monday. A longer, less formal, response can be read here in the original Yiddish

Synopsis: In response to 1. White House images are property of the nation and can be used and abused as desired (i.e. you will not be sued if you add horns and a mustache to any of those in the photo and publish it on your blog). 2. They are a religious newspaper and are free to follow the policies that adhere to their values.

An additional point they made was that they were not contacted by any of the myriad of blogs and internet sites that published the story before Monday. By that time the story had already been told and retold, accusations had been made, and conclusions had been reached. That says something about the state of today’s journalism.

As an orthodox Jewish woman this has forced me to ask a few questions: Do I agree with what Di Tzeitung did? Or do I believe that the cries of ‘sexist-mysogynist-taliban’ are an infringement of my religious freedom?

What it forces all of us to conclude is: not only have the ghetto walls been breached, they have turned to glass, at least from the outside in. What we do is no longer a private matter.


Bus Stop

The very old tiles still have color, but the sun on the corner is foreign today and doesn’t translate well.

It’s the nomenclature of the poor and the rich don’t speak it, they who own the hills, and weep at their bacchanal lifestyle.

They gorge themselves on the daily dose of opprobrium served on day-old paper. This we share.

The odor of humanity follows  by fiat after the day’s wanderings. To the dismay of anti-septics everywhere.

There is still the illusion of ephemera as comfort, but alas, it is not the case.

The bolded words are vocabulary I’ve found and learned in the last few weeks. If you’re a word nerd, here are the definitions, and where I found them.

Poets and rain and death were meant for each other

Megan, when you drive, leave more space than usual. The roads are wet, and the night is dark. Watch yourself.

Okay, mumbled. If I must.

Door closes. Car drives off. Only the blond hair visible through the streaked window.

The steady rhythm of the windshield wipers. Back and forth. Back and forth.

The light in the kitchen the only one still on. The dishes still drying on the rack on the counter.

A red light is smeared across the windshield. The green lights aging ghosts that smother the eyes for a briefest moment.

The vastness of the cars so far down the road the lights so bright the children so tired and whining a soft whimper.

In the shop an old man with his chess game and green army pants and memories and a bottle.

It will bring them together the sudden despair of the old man, the freshness of the night’s wind in the creases of his skin, the father prowling in the house looking for a day when the camera was new and the children were young, and the blond girl in the car driving under the watchful green and red eyes of the traffic lights.

He foretold it, the father, and when the blue Prius halted before the old man in the headlights, and the Black suburban with the girl braked too suddenly, the sirens and the gawkers came quickly, and the father was roused from staring at himself in the mirror, looking for an earlier version.

The man in the army pants and the bottle cried and hiccoughed and no one told him that silence was the only acceptable answer right now. The police chief took off his cap and wiped his bare and wet head, and wrote words down on the white pad he was holding, and was conscious of his pot belly and thought that he needed to exercise more. The first cop on the scene was blond and pimply and he did nothing until the captain stuffed the soggy notepad into his hands and told him, go.

The girl from the Prius stood at the corner, near the closed restaurant where hundreds of people ate brunch each day with aged wine and french pressed coffee, but now the windows yawned black, and there were no silver tables or chairs, and she stood there and smiled.

The cop with the pad came to her. She smiled and offered him a smoke. Her hand shook so bad the flame sizzled  in the rain and died right before she lit up.

He apologized.

She said things to him then about angels and energies and fate and life meeting at this corner with death and how she wanted to learn how to surf and that she lived in Los Angeles but never saw the beach, and that poets and death and rain were meant for each other. Then she started to cry and the cop lifted an orphaned hand to her and then turned his back to her and walked under the awning to escape the rain.