February 15, 2010

"I'm doing fairly well for a grandmother who had a monkey tangled up in her hair last month on a ghat in Varanasi at sunset."

"Back home again now, I can report that in the midst of the zap that is India, with its heartbreaking, gorgeous, hallucinatory, dazzling, kaleidoscopic, mind-blowing grandeur and loud reality -- a place where having a monkey's hand trapped in your dreadlocks is pretty par for the course -- I came to three decisions about my own country."

I didn't know Americans were still trekking to India to learn about themselves and attain enlightenment and so forth, but let's see what 3 things Ann Lamott figured out. It's not: 1. India does not exist for the purpose of providing psychedelic experiences to Baby Boomers, 2. White ladies should not affect dreadlocks, and 3. I have had it with these motherfucking monkeys in my motherfucking hair.

It's:

1. "If the people on the streets of India can keep their humor and good nature, I can keep mine."

2. "[F]orgive John Edwards."

3. "I am going to trust this guy Obama."

I kid you not. Those are the 3 things Anne Lamott discovered in India, and I am definitely — without even going to India — keeping my sense of humor about that.

124 comments:

Synova said...

My daughter got her corn snake stuck in her dreadlocks and she didn't even have to leave the house.

(I do like #1.)

(I'm still working on "white ladies shouldn't affect dreadlocks..." but compared to some other things, at least the dreads can be shaved off some day and no harm done.)

MadisonMan said...

At least she's not embarrassing her kid with her stories any more.

ironrailsironweights said...

Did out blog hostess actually use the m.f. word? Oh my.

Peter

Laurie said...

I know the year is young, but this is post of the year so far for me!

RigelDog said...

So funny...as soon as I read the part of the quote about dreadlocks I figured it was Ann Lamott. She is obsessed with her dreadlocks. She is a great writer but I can't read her anymore because her politics are so intrusive and it's like running into a wall. Makes me feel really discouraged that if I were to ever have a chance to talk to her, she wouldn't be able to get past the fact that I don't think George Bush is the devil. Last thing I read by her, she was describing HER despair at having attended a religious gathering where the speakers, while totally supporting the right to obtain an abortion, ventured that it would also be a good idea to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. She thought that this was self-evidently an horrible proposition.

Pogo said...

Typo: Anne Lamott

"Operating Instructions: A Journal Of My Son’s First Year. " was funny.

"Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith."
The first of her religious books, on her conversion. it pales beside Mary Karr.

I tried reading her novels. But I hate most novels, and hers were hard to get beyond the first 3 pages.

ironrailsironweights said...

I'm still working on "white ladies shouldn't affect dreadlocks..." but compared to some other things, at least the dreads can be shaved off some day and no harm done.

Tragically, most women find some other thing to shave off :(

Peter

Kev said...

(the other kev)

I'm glad she forgives John Edwards. I was on pins and needles about that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

White ladies should not affect dreadlocks

And cornrows. Especially cornrows.

RigelDog said...

Oh crap I went and read the article after I posted...see what I mean about her politics? Almost everything she says is dense with pro-left assumptions and anti-anything-not-left judgments that it would be exhausting to unpack all of it in order to have the simplest conversation with her.
To pick out one of dozens from this article: has she considered forgiving Palin (for what exactly, anyway?) because Palin has young, innocent children? Would her head explode if you asked her?

Monkeyboy said...

Are you linking to "Stuff White Poeple Like" again?

#20 Being an epert in your culture
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/23/20-being-an-expert-on-your-culture/

#19 Travelling
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/23/19-travelling/

#71 Being the only white person around
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/20/71-being-the-only-white-person-around/

See brown people are only a backdrop to your own life.

DADvocate said...

I'm glad she forgives John Edwards. I was on pins and needles about that.

You're right. It's impossible to get on with one's life without forgiving John Edwards, let alone attain nirvana.

Some people express themselves well but under it all have shit for brains.

EDH said...

Sounds like...

Thank U

How about getting off of these antibiotics
How about stopping eating when I'm filled up
How about them transparent dangling carrots
How about that ever elusive kudo

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How about me not blaming you for everything
How about me enjoying the moment for once
How about how good it feels to finally forgive you
How about grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

The moment I let go of it was
The moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was
The moment I touched down

How about no longer being masochistic
How about remembering your divinity
How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How about not equating death with stopping

Thank you India
Thank you providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence

yeah yeah
ahh ohhh
ahhh ho oh
ahhh ho ohhhhhh
yeaahhhh yeahh

PatCA said...

Of course she goes to India! For people like her, the '60s never ended.

I would be a lot more impressed with her ability to forgive if she could come to forgive someone she didn't love in the first place--say, a Republican.

Spiritual vanity is a hallmark of the left.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Last year I was mowing the lawn and this jogger came running by; white guy with dreadlocks and an asshat.

I don't think you can possibly telegraph Loser more graphically than that.

Lem said...

What's going to help America rebound from Bush/Cheney is what saved and saves India -- love, nonviolence, a lot of help, radical playfulness and perspective. I saw Indians living in spaces the size of my bathtub, giddily colorful amid the squalor and deprivation, making themselves beautiful and focusing on what they do have.

What's going to help America is Obama turning this country into India?

Reminds me of what Rush says about liberals; the idea that we should always redefine success downward.

Identify the SUV for example as a safety hazard for people in smaller cars - liberals would ban the SUV so that everybody has to drive the less safe smaller cars, instead of trusting markets to make an affordable safer SUV.

PatHMV said...

Could somebody please explain to me what John Edwards has ever actually done to cause people like this insane woman to like him at all? Seriously, other than winning a lot of personal injury lawsuits, one term as a U.S. Senator, and looking like a pretty boy, how is he in the remotest way an important person, such that it is imperative to forgive him for cheating on his dying wife, making a sex tape, lying to the American public, and taking advantage of an obsequious, sycophantic personal aide by having him claim a baby that wasn't his?

t-man said...

That editorial really inspired me. I too forgive John Edwards. Elizabeth, though? No chance in hell.

t-man said...

Also, when I get home tonight, I'm going to dress up in my most colorful clothes and sit in the bathtub.

k*thy said...

I'm usually a fan, but boy, that piece was all over the place. Her political writing has never, I've thought, been her strong suit.

Pogo, I too enjoyed 'Operating Instructions' (and 'Traveling Mercies', for that matter). Am looking forward to Mary Karr's latest, once it hits paperback. Two very different articulations of conversion (and recovery).

Paddy O. said...

I strongly suspect the only one that was actually in question was the first one.

The third one is a secondary source of identity by this time. The second one is assumed, as it relates to both aspects of her identity.

The first one, however, is the important one. So many in facing the conflicts and disappointments of the actions of the second two, and the responses of perceived enemies against those two, could turn to anger and cynicism. Moving out and away from her echo circle seems like a great temporary escape.

I went to a book reading she gave a few years ago here in Pasadena. She was very funny, very engaging, very personable, and very political in that assuming everyone agrees wholeheartedly with me sort of way.

I disagree with her politics, but at the same time I think she represents a very good expression of Christian faith that is needed in a society where far too often only right wing expressions are seen as valid.

MnMark said...

When these types go to India, is there any way we could lock the door so they can't come back?

Irene said...

@Hoosier Daddy cornrows are okay when they are on Bo Derek.

PatHMV said, "Could somebody please explain to me what John Edwards has ever actually done to cause people like this insane woman to like him at all?

He talked about "two Americas." People who travel to India to discover themselves like that sort of thing.

Freeman Hunt said...

Forgive Edwards. Trust Obama.

Deep, man, deep. Fire up the electric sitar. Let's meditate on American politics.

Crimso said...

I've known many white people with dreadlocks, but I was surprised when I found out that one of these "white" people with dreads had her hair that way as a cultural thing. She's Cherokee, and apparently there were Cherokees that "rolled" their hair.

David said...

The Indians love George W. Bush.

edutcher said...

The "zap"??? There's a nice, condescending albeit guilt-ridden, multi-culti way of looking not only at another country, but another culture. And these people have the gall to tell everybody else how to engage the world?

If she's decided to "trust this guy Obama.", she's about 2 years late and going in the wrong direction.

If she's forgiving Edwards, does that make him a bigamist? Unless, of course, he did something else to her (like ruin the stock of a company in which she was heavily invested with his ambulance chasing).

Synova said...

...

(I do like #1.)


Me, too. It sounds coherent thing she got out of the trip.

PS If the monkeys and her hair are having intercourse with her mother, she needs to go to the same clinic as Tiger Woods.

Guilt-obsessed white people trying to do everything they can to "identify with the struggles of African-Americans", like affecting dreadlocks and trash talking, don't come off as friends, they come off as phony.

Scott said...

AA: Correct spelling is "Lamott" not "Lamont". Oh, Pogo already flagged it. Nevah minds.

What a great article. Does writing novels give you a ticket to have your vacuous navel gazing published in the Los Angeles Times? I need to finish that novel then.

If I was black and had hair, I would opt for twists instead of dreds. Dreds are scary. Twists look perky. :)

Monkeys are nasty and bite. Most rational people who see them in the wild will generally stay away from them.

Hoosier Daddy said...

@Hoosier Daddy cornrows are okay when they are on Bo Derek.

Sorry I just prefere hair that doesn't feel like a berber rug.

That's just me.

Pogo said...

"I think she represents a very good expression of Christian faith that is needed in a society where far too often only right wing expressions are seen as valid."

Good point, Paddy O.
Among Catholics, however, her views caused many to fall into a great sin: the Liberation Theology bullshit of the 70s and 80s.

Life would be very much less interesting without people like Ann Lamott, but I wish she would have even 20% of the humility towards her political beliefs as she exhibits about faith.

The Crack Emcee said...

Come ON, people, India is there so white women can "learn about themselves and attain enlightenment and so forth", and the 3 things they can figure out about themselves are:

1. "If the people on the streets of India can be allowed to starve to death, so can misguided feminists."

2. "Find a 'soulmate' just like John Edwards."

3. "In that vein, I am going to trust this guy, Crack."


We're actually quite fond of #1 and 3 at The Macho Response.

Kevin said...

You wacky, exotic brown people, serving as a colorful backdrop for my exciting adventures!

Don't ever change now - I like you just the way you are: impoverished, and willing to do things for me for just a few rupees, without any backtalk...

Scott said...

There are worse things than having monkeys in your hair.

= = =

The novitiates are asking Mother Superior about her mission to Africa.

"Yes," the old woman said. "It was quite difficult at times. Why, once I was walking the convent grounds, and a gorilla leapt over the fence. He ran over, grabbed me under his arm, and took me to his treetop lair. And then ... he had his way with me!"

The girls listening to her were shocked. From the stunned silence, a novitiate asked, "Mother Superior! How terrible! Did it hurt?"

"Gracious yes, child, After that, he never wrote, never phoned, never sent flowers..."

Lynne said...

She's a grandmother already? I didn't really her son was that old.

The Crack Emcee said...

EDH,

"How about remembering your divinity"

I do that on the crapper, every-single-day,....

ricpic said...

Even on Bo Derek cornrows aren't right. Her awesomeness doesn't cancel the fact that she's mangled her hair into that ugly affectation, it just makes her not guilty because all 10s are not guilty no matter their crime.

Pogo said...

"What's going to help America rebound from Bush/Cheney is what saved and saves India -- love, nonviolence, a lot of help, radical playfulness and perspective."

India? Nonviolence?
Does the writer never read?

Radical playfulness?
What in hell does that even mean?

"I saw Indians living in spaces the size of my bathtub, giddily colorful amid the squalor and deprivation, making themselves beautiful and focusing on what they do have."
Somehow the abject poverty means the US will get national healthcare?
Riiiight.

And aren't they precious, the poor from India, living in bathtub spaces, deprived but beautiful?
Really cute!
So giddy about their lack of money!

ricpic said...

A sari on Michelle. No! My eyes my eyes.

ricpic said...

India makes my skin crawl. But that's just unenlightened me.

pm317 said...

1. "If the people on the streets of India can keep their humor and good nature, I can keep mine."

I am not even going to comment on her 2 and 3. But 1 requires my reaction. It is the usual pseudo-chivalrous but condescending attitude from a first world white person sitting in her MacMansion with her 4-lane roads and monster SUVs.

Life sitting on the patio of Coffee Day in 70s degree weather in Dec or eating a superb Masala Dose across the street at Adiga's is priceless (this is what I did a month ago) -- why wouldn't you have a sense of humor? BTW, the owner of Coffee Day was so brilliant he chased away Star Bucks from even setting up one shop in Bangalore and its surroundings. His coffee is any day better than Star Bucks'.

Lem said...

What happened during the George W. Bush years was in its way as devastating as the earthquake in Haiti, or daily life for much of India -- just as many dead, and a constitution nearly destroyed. Suffering is suffering.

Bushhatementus ad absurdum.

I was scorned the other day for suggesting a comparison btwng the hatred towards Palin and the hatred towards Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I said - Two women equally feared, hated and admired.

I retreated somewhat then at the suggestion that unlike Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Palin doesn't have liberals pursuing her for the purposes of killing her.

However, after reading this now, I think I was not that far off.

Some liberals do think the worst things about conservatives.

Hoosier Daddy said...

What happened during the George W. Bush years was in its way as devastating as the earthquake in Haiti, or daily life for much of India

Evidently this is what happens to your intelligence when you neglect your hair.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Of all the countries in the world, India is number two on my never fucking want to go there list. Especially the southern areas.

It is a creepy country with creepy culture. Suttee? Bride burning? Anyone think that is good? The food sucks. The smells are horrible. The colors are jarring. The hygiene is terrible. Disease is rampant. The place gives me nightmares (literally, I mean real sweat inducing nightmares). The only thing good is the architecture of the Mogul era.

Oh. And of course THIS VIDEO which makes me smile all the time for no reason. The artist is a Sikh, not Hindu.

The people that I have met who have immigrated from India are nice, intelligent, educated and never want to go back.

Sorry. No one can change my mind on this. You couldn't pay me enough money to travel to India.

Invest in the companies....yes. Travel....no.

Beth said...

There are things I like about Lamott, mostly her writing about her faith. But just as I tire here, reading comments that stretch to connect even the most banal events to a political context, I dislike that about her work as well.

I'm also dubious about her trip to India. No one I know who's gone to India - it's only a few people, so this is no more than anecdotal - have come back enthused, or at least without some perspective about how relative one nation's poverty is to another's.

Beth said...

Suttee? Bride burning? Anyone think that is good?

No. And India has outlawed it.

michael farris said...

I made the mistake of reading the article ... brrrr

My new greatest fear (surpassing old greatest fears a) having dreadlocks b) getting monkeys entangled in them) is being stuck in an elevator when it breaks down with this woman and her monkey infested faux dreadlocks.

wv: perwor, obscure Hindu deity of sacred hair monkeys

Left Coast said...

that's the best headline - Evah!

traditionalguy said...

So she has gone over the hill to surrender to the stronger side, and now she refuses to fight anymore. To her that means peace come from the easy act of surrendering. Don't tell her, but POWs tend to die very quickly when their old side is not fighting anymore.

Scott said...

"Of all the countries in the world, India is number two on my never fucking want to go there list. Especially the southern areas.

"It is a creepy country with creepy culture. Suttee? Bride burning? Anyone think that is good? The food sucks. The smells are horrible. The colors are jarring. The hygiene is terrible. Disease is rampant. The place gives me nightmares (literally, I mean real sweat inducing nightmares)."


Nobody could ever accuse you of having too much class. Exhibit A.

Lem said...

..the George W. Bush years was in its way as devastating as the earthquake in Haiti..

If anything the opposite is true.

Bob Geldof wrote..

It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"No. And India has outlawed it."

Oh...right. That'll put an immediate stop to it. Uh huh

India makes my skin crawl. But that's just unenlightened me.

Ditto.

1. "If the people on the streets of India can keep their humor and good nature, I can keep mine."

Really?

Well, why doesn't she try living on the streets of India and come back and tell us how much good humor she can retain. It's easy to be consescending and cavilier about abject poverty when you don't have to participate in it.

Peter V. Bella said...

The article was nothing more than progressive activist comedy.

Kensington said...

I've don't think I've ever encountered another author who tries so hard to pass herself off as peaceful whilst simultaneously indulging in constant, vicious ad hominem attacks on her political opposites.

Several times I've picked up her seemingly apolitical books hoping to forget about politics for awhile. Pity she won't.

William said...

The Althouse post was very, very funny. It really takes a fine imagination to go over the top of Ms. Lamont's over the top musings. It's like squaring infinity.....After independence, Nehru and his followers adapted the policies of the Fabian Socialists and the London School of Economics. These policies gave India several generations more of poverty. The current free market policies have lifted millions in India out of poverty. Nehru wasn't as bad as Mao, but his body count was rather higher than that of Bush. At what point does an ideological slant become rabid prejudice?

Michael said...

Dreadlocks on white people make me laugh out loud. I wonder how they do it. Mostly the men seem pampered, tanned just so and with a hidden, shameful, source of income. This article made me pretty happy actually. I love to see pretentious twits reciting each and every enlightened talking point, especially the part about GWB and the nearly broken constitution. George made these people so incredibly happy and fulfilled they now are reduced to going to India to find the same kind of powerful elixir of superiority disguised as enlightenment. HaHaHa Excellent vindaloos however.

Ari Tai said...

Was in Delhi a few years ago and visited some of the outlying towns. News of the day in one district was two toughs beating a shopkeeper and taking his money. The outcry spread instantaneously, people filled the streets and dragged the two off their motorcycles as they fled then beat them to death.

No discussion of the thugs save obscenities, but customers were passing the hat for the shopkeeper's medical bills. And these were all very poor people. Nearly the poorest of the poor I met. Reminds me that civilization fights with the humanity it can afford. They can't afford much, thus the immediate punishment.

They have a remarkably civil society and a respect for personal property I did not expect (given their history and elites' fascination with communism).

The Crack Emcee said...

Lem,

"What's going to help America is Obama turning this country into India?"

Of course. Don't you know you're only going to be happy when you're sitting in a pile of your own shit and calling it gold?

Maguro said...

Dreadlocks on white people make me laugh out loud.

Usually, yes. But somehow this guy made it work.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...I am going to get my head out of the darkest place on Earth...

I will be very surprised if she ever manages to pull her head out from where the sun doesn't shine.

mrs whatsit said...

There's nothing Christian about Lamott's unapologetic hatred for Bush, Republicans, and anybody else with whom she disagrees. As for India, her babble about the joyful natives in colorful poverty reminds me of nothing so much as these lyrics from the Fantasticks:

We'll be in Bengasi or maybe Bombay.
I understand Indja is terribly gay.
The natives assemble on feast day and play
With their snakes?
What a racket it makes!

We'll
Just
Dance!

We'll kick up our heels to music and dance!
Until my head reels with music.
Just like a lovely real romance.
All we'll do is just --
I can see the friendly natives!
[But that lady -- she's burning -- it's terrible --
Don't look! just dance!]
All we'll do is just dance.
All we'll do is just dance.

Paddy O. said...

"I wish she would have even 20% of the humility towards her political beliefs as she exhibits about faith."

Amen to that. I wish so many on the religious Right would find that humility for both as well.

I'll quibble with you on Liberation theology, which teetered on the edge of Marxism a wee too much, and some authors went way out of bounds, but writers like Gutierrez and Comblin show a very strong faithfulness to orthodox theology and the church. I think the criticism against Liberation theology helped steer some back, and I still think some of the core message is a very worthwhile correction to the apparent historical teaching to poor people that they should be happy to be poor and abused by their betters. That's anti-poor and anti-capitalist all at once. But, this is a much longer discussion...

"I've don't think I've ever encountered another author who tries so hard to pass herself off as peaceful whilst simultaneously indulging in constant, vicious ad hominem attacks on her political opposites."

Kensington, I heartily recommend you don't read John Dear's autobiography then.

I've long noticed among Peace activists there's a lot of anger and personal malice, a very strong lack of inner peace reflected in outer hate/anger trying to fight for some ideal of peace for others. Not all of them, to be sure, but I think the movement has been long characterized by such.

Inconsistency, though, is a marker on all sides of the political spectrum.

t-man said...

How can Lamott romanticize India's poverty? Didn't she see Slumdog Millionaire?

This post cries out for commentary by Victoria. Where is she?

WV: covetom - be be jealous of another's yoga practice

Kensington said...

Paddy O:
"Kensington, I heartily recommend you don't read John Dear's autobiography then."

Oh, dear, he's a Jesuit priest, right? Oy, I can only imagine. I've only met one in my entire life who wasn't insufferable.

And I say that as a deeply flawed Catholic.

Scott said...

"This post cries out for commentary by Victoria. Where is she?"

She eloped with Bissage

Big Mike said...

I seem to be posing a lot of questions today that no one seems to want to answer (or am I being rude -- perhaps it's only the blog hostess who is allowed to pose questions?) but I'll risk another question anyway.

Why in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea does India put up with wealthy white folks who keep coming in to be "enlightened"? You'd think they'd start surreptitiously dropping them on their heads or something.

Kensington said...

Big Mike:
"Why in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea does India put up with wealthy white folks who keep coming in to be "enlightened"? You'd think they'd start surreptitiously dropping them on their heads or something."

They could drop Ann Lamott on her head a thousand times, and we'd never be able to tell the difference.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

"Life would be very much less interesting without people like Ann Lamott,..."

I'm more-than-willing to test that theory.

edutcher said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Of all the countries in the world, India is number two on my never fucking want to go there list. Especially the southern areas.

It is a creepy country with creepy culture. Suttee? Bride burning? Anyone think that is good? The food sucks. The smells are horrible. The colors are jarring. The hygiene is terrible. Disease is rampant. The place gives me nightmares (literally, I mean real sweat inducing nightmares). The only thing good is the architecture of the Mogul era.


I think it would be interesting, but you sound as if you've been there.

Beth said...

Suttee? Bride burning? Anyone think that is good?

No. And India has outlawed it.


Dust Bunny Queen said...

"No. And India has outlawed it."

Oh...right. That'll put an immediate stop to it. Uh huh


Another reason why FDR's insistence that the British Empire be dismantled was a lousy idea. The Limeys were very specific about this sort of thing. When the brahmins explained that suttee was an old, honored custom, the officer commanding would reply that Britain had an old, honored custom called hanged by the neck until dead and that, if the rajahs practiced their custom, Britain would practice hers.

dbp said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Of all the countries in the world, India is number two on my never fucking want to go there list. Especially the southern areas.

Actually, the South is richer, cleaner and generally more lush than the North. At least the West coastal areas--we didn't go the the East coast...

dbp said...

As for Suttee: I met plenty of widows while there--all of them quite living and apparently unsinged.

Kensington said...

"Life would be very much less interesting without people like Ann Lamott..."

I'm looking forward to it. She can't hold out forever.

Michael said...

India this and India that!! India is a huge country and despite its colorful and amusing people, so interesting, it is a country willing to kill over cricket or Kashmir. I always make a habit of asking the owner of my favorite Indian restaurant his opinion on Pakistan and its tendency to cheat at cricket. It is always good for a heartwarming twenty minutes of vitriol aimed at their neighbor and often complimentary papadam.

This is probably not the India our Lamott wishes to see, but it would be an India unsympathetic to the idea of forgiveness for fudging at cricket or getting down with the blabber as dipolmacy riff of B. Obama.
I, for one, am delighted that the Indians can rip off a seeker like Lamott and leave her feeling full for having given away that bit of string to keep the car moving. I would have made him pay me for the string and then stiffed him on the tip. All it takes is one person like Lamott afoot and the next thing you know every one of these little brown people will be expecting a bit of green string.

Lawgiver said...

what saved and saves India...

I didn't know India was saved or even being saved. I thought they had out-of-control population growth, per capita gdp of about $2,800,rampant ethnic/religious violence, slums the size of Utah, and squalor that would make a Tauren shutter. If that's being saved, I don't wanna be saved

Jen said...

When did Annie Lamott become a grandmother? How old is her son?? I missed that..

dbp said...

As to Anne Lamott's first point:

1. "If the people on the streets of India can keep their humor and good nature, I can keep mine."

It is sound only on a superficial level. Sure, most Americans would fall into despair if our fortunes fell to anything like that of "...the people on the streets of India...", but they have not fallen to this level. The way they live is the way they have always lived--if anything, they are better off than they have ever been.

Kensington said...

By the way, I apologize for being so terribly obvious, but is it really column worthy that a Lefty loon like Ann Lamott found some new rationale for cozying up to Democrats?

She's going to trust this guy Obama? Really?

I'm stunned.

Big Mike said...

@edutcher, I think suttee is gone for good, but according to this article in National Geographic some 5000 women lose their lives annually in India to "honor killings." That was published in 2002, but more recent articles suggest that, if anything, honor killings are on the rise, are fully supported by women(!) who may even participate in the murder of the bride, and, certainly, it's at least as common among Hindus as among Moslems.

So maybe if the Brits were still there, they could stamp this out?

Of course, the Brits aren't even able to stamp out honor killings in their home islands, where it's claimed that a dozen or so women are murdered annually in the UK due to honor killings.

Paul Zrimsek said...

4. Deprivation is cool, so long as what you're being deprived of isn't health care.

El Pollo Real said...

"Now I am become Dearth, the destroyer of Wealth",

Barack Obama misquoting verse 32 from Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Monkeyboy said...

FWIW the Sikh half a couple we're friends with refuses to bring her daughter to India for a visit.

The problem with 3rd worlders as Noble Savage is that you see the bright colors and happy smiles of a backdrop, but miss the violence, Muslim/Hindu/Sikh issues, corruption and the horrible caste issues.

Who killed Mahatma Ghandi? Who killed Indira Ghandi?

Indians are poeple, goods and bad combined.

Bob From Ohio said...

I thought she was going to say

"She was an old Adlai Stevenson/Jack Kennedy liberal, and I am too. Of course, she also had Alzheimer's, and I do too."

That would explain this column.

bagoh20 said...

If a carpenter built attractive houses that often collapsed under their own weight, I doubt that people would buy many of their houses.

Many writers discussed on this blog remind me of such a carpenter, and I find it hard to understand why they get read by people just because they fashion English sentences well.

It is a skill I respect, but if the ideas expressed are vapid, then that author just wasted your time. I would never read such a person twice.

JAL said...

They have a remarkably civil society and a respect for personal property I did not expect (given their history and elites' fascination with communism).

Errr ....

Love India. Love some of the people. My Muslim vegetable man cheated me with no compunction.

Ever heard of what happened at partition?

Ever heard about the cyclical Hindu - Muslim riots? (That scene in Slum Dog is not someone's ugly fantasy.) If a cow gets in a mosque? Duck and hide.

Recent changes in economic policies have opened up vast areas of India to growth and development and personal wealth building which had been hindered in the previous decades.

Like much of the left though, it seems their value is staying charming and mystical and impoverished and needy.

But be happy! (And yes, actually the South is somewhat "nicer." The east coast is really some of the poorest of the poor.)

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

My brother-in-law is Indian. Most of his people live in the slums of Mumbai. He spends a month or two each year there. His dream is to buy land for his family. His stories and pictures and videos are amazing. I don't have time for helicopter enlightenment.

Okay, I read the first paragraph of Lamott's nonsense and my only question for her is "who is this 'we' you keep talking about, Anne?"

Iapetus said...

A short Anne Lamott in the LAT: To my fans, I am still alive. I have a new book coming out in April. Please buy it so I can continue to live in monkey-less comfort. Thank you very much.

Joan said...

squalor that would make a Tauren shudder

Is that a Caprica reference? If not, I'm not getting it. If so, wouldn't it be Tauron?

Apologies for the digression.

DBQ -- I'm with you. Absolutely no desire to ever visit India. I disagree on the food, however -- I haven't had lots but I do like lots of what I've had, the breads especially. We're all addicted to naan here.

Pogo said...

"It is a skill I respect, but if the ideas expressed are vapid, then that author just wasted your time. I would never read such a person twice."

Her book about her baby was a real hoot, LOL funny.

Her first book about religion was quite well done.
The rest weren't good enough to finish.

She's a goofball.
Probably great to eat dinner with, fascinating and all that.

I'd prefer she never ever voted or spoke about politics or economics or anything except the arts.

Some people only have one or two good books in them, but that's still something. It doesn't give them a lifetime pass, though.

Lawgiver said...

Is that a Caprica reference? If not, I'm not getting it. If so, wouldn't it be Tauron?

Lol, that was a dig at DBQ. She has a Tauren avatar in the on-line game World of Warcraft. Taurens are nasty looking cow-like creatures, considered by many to be just a step above a pig in slop.

John Burgess said...

Unfortunately, thousands of Americans go to India every year in the quest for enlightenment.

And sad to dash PatCA's stereotypes, most of them are in their late teens and early 20s. The BB bunch already went there.

The US Embassy is required to ID the bodies of Americans found in various ashrams and on the streets of India. Then it has to contact family back in the US to ask what they want done (at their expense) with the remains.

The Embassy also spends considerable time contacting family in the US to pay for the repatriation of those enlightened by finding that their guru was only interested in their money/body/passport.

Kensington said...

Pogo:
"[Lamott]'s a goofball.
Probably great to eat dinner with, fascinating and all that.

I'd prefer she never ever voted or spoke about politics or economics or anything except the arts."


The central problem, unfortunately, is that there's no evidence she's capable of setting politics aside long enough to get through an appetizer, much less a full meal.

There aren't enough Tumms in the world to get me through it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Lol, that was a dig at DBQ. She has a Tauren avatar in the on-line game World of Warcraft. Taurens are nasty looking cow-like creatures, considered by many to be just a step above a pig in slop

War Stomp on Lawgiver.

:-D

Synova said...

We did the beta and my husband had a cow character named Moosario. The girls would do this fan-girl squee in unison: "Oh, Moosario... you're so dreamy!"

Too cute.

chuckR said...

India?

The book A Crime So Monstrous has an account of current day chattel slavery - people who break rocks to gravel for highways as a result of a $1 debt three generations back. Lovely. Mischievous. Whatever.

My company let an expat Indian use some office space while he was awaiting the conferring of his doctorate. One time at lunch, he pointed out the window at some low bushes and commented that you'd never see intentional landscaping like that in his part of India - it gives the cobras a place to hide. Its been several years - I think he goes back out of family obligation, but he has stated he'll not go back to live there. Engineering PhD in optimization - our gain, their loss.

wv - manti - lots of mantiseseses

PatCA said...

John Burgess,
The 60s haven't ended yet either for the 20-somethings who wear tie dye shirts, strum guitars, and hold up peace symbol placards. Boomer culture lives on, the good and the bad, in the next generation.

John Lynch said...

I guess you can go all the way around the world and still end up with exactly what you left with.

Daniel Fielding said...

Hey, I am an Indian immigrant, live in Althouse's hometown now. Anne Lamott is full of it, if she thinks the poor in India are living lives of grace and enlightenment.
I was norn in Europe, but my very traditionally Indian parents returned to North-East India to be with family. What a hell-hole it was. I escaped when I was 18,and havent been back since.

And Lamott ought to have figured this out- outside the effete, literary and journalism elites in New Delhi/Mumbai/Kolkata, the majority of indians admired Pres George W. Bush,and they do not trust Pres Obama.
Partially that is due to racism, and partially the ydont trust his leftist politics.

And DustBunny- I agree with mostfo what you said except that "Indian food sucks". WTF? have you ever eaten good Indian food? Why else would you make a statement that daft?

stoqboy said...

I didn't quite understand what she was getting at at the beginning so I have edited it - "But after a few days on the subcontinent, I came to the unshakable belief that we will have decent enough healthcare reform, and soon. What's going to help America rebound from Bush/Cheney is what saved and saves India -- I saw
Indians living in spaces the size of my bathtub, giddily colorful amid the squalor and deprivation, making themselves beautiful and focusing on what they do have, which is not health insurance."

Sorry, it still doesn't make sense.

LordSomber said...

Reminds me of the story about the Counting Crows singer flailing about and one of his fake dreads flew off and bounced off the snare drum.

High comedy.

MadisonMan said...

I love the comment at the LA Times site. Paraphrasing: Maybe the monkey was trying to get at the peanut that is her brain. LOL!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And DustBunny- I agree with mostfo what you said except that "Indian food sucks". WTF? have you ever eaten good Indian food? Why else would you make a statement that daft?


Evidently not on the good food. Enlighten me.

I'm all about cooking interesting food. One of my favorites is Japanese and I like Thai, so I'm open to trying it. I'm sure there are many varieties similar to Chinese. Schezhwan is nothing like Mandarin or like Cantonese.

All I've ever exprienceded are heavy handed curries with so much curry that there was no other flavor or any other smell: just orange and yellow sauce.

Pogo said...

There are quite a few folks who have Post-Traumatic Bush Disorder, and at random times will have Bush flashbacks, resulting in flashes of rage and inappropriately inserting well-rehearsed diatribes into completely unrelated discussions.

Clinton did that to some, leaving them sputtering at the mere sight of him.

I understand that cognitive behavioral therapy can work wonders.

knox said...

All I've ever exprienceded are heavy handed curries with so much curry that there was no other flavor or any other smell: just orange and yellow sauce.

DBQ, that was my first experience--overwhelmiing, smelly curry--and I swore off it for a long time. I have since had some very good Indian food. It's worth a try if you can find a good restaurant.

knox said...

Post-Traumatic Bush Disorder

LOL. Hadn't heard this one yet. Even better than BDS.

I know someone who was that way about the Clintons ... her bookshelf is lined with anti-Clinton stuff. When Obama beat out Hillary, she lost all interest in the 2008 election.

kentuckyliz said...

I had an aunt and uncle who liked to travel to India.

I don't think I could stand the smell.

They could, they were British and naturally stinky. You know, older Brits don't bathe or launder very frequently.

That's probably the purpose of Anne Lamott's dreads...get used to the stink.

I hate the stink of dreads.

I am a soapy, perfumed, daily showering, frequent laundering, air scented American.

God bless America.

SMGalbraith said...

It is odd - perhaps more revealing - how "progressives" will excuse or apologize or ignore behavior in non-western cultures that they would never accept in a western one.

Liberal guilt has it limits, I guess.

kentuckyliz said...

The title is just so effin' pretentious.

"I'm doing fairly well for a spinster who had cockroaches nesting in her hair last month in a tenement in southside Chicago after dark."

Oh so glamorous.

Pogo said...

PTBD

knox ..It's my own poysonal invention!

kcom said...

"...on a ghat in Varanasi at sunset"

I'm reminded of a probelm we had in a physics book in college or high school, the wording of which I've never forgotten. It began:

Ricardo and Carmelita were enjoying Lake Merced at dusk in a 30kg canoe.

wv: bilyzen - Billy Zane's long lost cousin

Henry said...

The poet Wendell Berry once admonished those Christians who feel compelled to define Heaven in terms of how few people will make it there.

Anne Lamott appears compelled to define forgiveness in terms of the people she prefers to hate.

From the article: But where does Edwards even rank on the scale of loathsomeness when compared with, say, Dick Cheney? Not very high. Oh sure, and yada yada yada. You all know the list.

She'd like to think that she -- and Mother Theresa -- offer evidence against Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

Lady, in your banality, hypocrisy, and tribalism, you make their case.

* * *

Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo
Ambrose Bierce

MC said...

I have had it with these motherfucking monkeys in my motherfucking hair
Hahahahah. Did not expect that, very funny!

Charlie said...

How did poor old Susan Collins get dragged into this?

Joan said...

As I said, I like a lot of Indian food. Tandoori anything is (usually) yum. I also like saag paneer: spinach that's achieved its eternal reward and gone to ghee heaven.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Post-Traumatic Bush Disorder

I suspect this has a lot to do with Peter's obsession.

Henry said...

Indian food is wonderful. Judging Indian food by bad takeout curry is like judging beef by takeout McDonalds.

You can make good Indian at home.

Daniel Fielding said...

Dust Bunny- Henry is correct. Most Indian restaurants in theuS, Canada and UK are run by Indians from the lower middle or lower classesof Indian society, who wouldnt even begin to know what sophisticated Indian cusine. They over spice everything, drown everything in heavy whipping cream, and then add tons of cheap-assed cayenne pepper to give it "flavor".
Check out a cookbook titled "660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer. Mr Iyeris a chef trained in the Western tradition,and he has streamlined the recipies, os you dont have to spend 3 days prepping for an evening meal. Also do a search for his name on YouTube- there are at least 12 videos of him doing cooking demos.
Also, do you have any Indian friends or neighbors? figure out what their social background is,and convince them to invite you for an Indian dinner.
Heck, if you lives in SE Michigan, I'd feed you some good Indian food that would change your mind in an instant.
oh, also check out cookbooks by Maya Kaimal.

kentuckyliz said...

You can make good Indian at home.

cue: Titus.....

WV rawsm

LOL!!!!! I schichyoooonaught!!!

atlharp said...

White baby boomer with dread-locks. That's like Bob Hope dressing up like the Fonz. Useless...

The Crack Emcee said...

DBQ,

I, too, love Indian food. Eaten tons of it. Now, I'll eat anything Indian just because it is, but to eat "good" Indian food is to enjoy a meal that's taste bends like (cliche) a sitar string, or (bad image, I know) cigarette smoke, or the swirls of oil and water. It doesn't stand still, that's for sure, and can be quite an incredible experience.

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Kirk Parker said...

Paddy O,

"I disagree with her politics, but at the same time I think she represents a very good expression of Christian faith that is needed in a society where far too often only right wing expressions are seen as valid."

I could hardly disagree more. She's the very last thing we need: Christians in support of left-wing statism. Bleah.

But reading Kensington maybe it's not her positions I'm reacting to so much as it is her animosity to the "other":

"'ve don't think I've ever encountered another author who tries so hard to pass herself off as peaceful whilst simultaneously indulging in constant, vicious ad hominem attacks on her political opposites."

You got that right.

Synova said...

I love Indian cooking, naan bread and tika masala and tandoori chicken.

What I can't do is manage to cook it. I buy the spices and they're repulsive. Everything comes out disgusting.

And you know, I can manage sushi at home, and spicy Korean and just about any odd thing.

Just not Indian.

Daniel Fielding said...

Synova and Dust Bunny - please contact me back channel,and I will get you cooking Chicken Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala in no time. And you guys wont be repulsed
One o f the keys to getting Indian food taste right is to never use pre-made spice mixes.

joe4 philip said...

Established in 1997, St. Gregorious Edu-Guidance is a leading education consultancy services providing exemplary service to students all over India. We deal in Admissions to all major professional courses in Premier Institutes across India. We are your one step solution for all career related needs, it may be MD, MBBS BE, BTech (ALL BRANCHES), , MDS, BDS, BPharm, BArch, MBA, MTech, MS, , PhD or any other courses. We provide personalized career solutions on an individual basis keeping in mind the aspirations of our client as well as the affordability factor.
FOR ALL CAREER RELATED NEEDS CONTACT US :
St. Gregorious Edu-Guidance,
#2, 2nd Floor,
J J Complex, Above Chemmannur Jewellers,
Marthahalli - P O,
Bangalore - 560037
Karnataka
e-mail :jojishpaily@gmail.com
Contact: +919448516637
+91 9886089896, +91 9449009983
080-32416570, 41719562