You can blame SOF for this post. She said I should think about my dream dinner party (where you can invite any famous people you want--hell the rules are up to you as it is a fantasy dinner party) and write a post about it. And then I couldn't stop thinking about it. Obsessing. Looking at teevee saying, "should you be at my dinner party?" Sigh. So here goes at least an attempt.
For mine, I am limiting the guests to 6 because we have a small place and I find a smaller group better for the talking and ranting. Plus, I am not catering this fake event, so want a fake group size I can fake-cook for.
And the invites are harder to come up with than I thought. And some people have acted in ways to get themselves uninvited. Bill Clinton, for example, would have been a shoo-in on this list. He is smart, and well-read. I have always wondered what he would think of my own research and teaching areas and suspect he would have something smart to say. But Bill has been such a jerk lately, that I don't think any of my other guests would want him around either. And no one wants a dinner party with that kind of setup. (Plus, the secret service would probably drive on my lawn.)
Another difficulty, of course, is managing the strong personality ratio so you don't have too many people who take the air out of the room. Of course, since this fantasy party includes famous people, that will be difficult. But we will see what we can do.
1) Jon Stewart. I went back and forth between him, Colbert, and Keith Olbermann. I like all three. But for some reason, I think Jon might be the better guest. I share his outrage at our country's decline and just think it would be interesting to share a meal with him as well.
2) Emmylou Harris. I have loved her music for 30 years and have loved the times I heard her harmony on other albums. What I have seen of her personal side suggests she would be a lot of fun at the party and would have a lot of stories to tell. If Emmy is busy, I might invite Kasey Chambers or Kathleen Edwards. Kathleen swears a lot, which could be cool. I was thinking of inviting Steve Earle (and he would always be welcome) and I don't think he can finish a sentence without dropping the f-bomb. That guy can swear. He makes me feel rather amateurish about it.
3) Jeff Tweedy. Any dinner party of mine is going to be music heavy, and I am even now trying to decide if I can invite one more. But Tweedy's music is most intriguing to me right now, and interviews with him reveal a thoughtful person. Not only has he battled with addiction, but he thinks deeply about his own celebrity and does not take himself too seriously. Or so it seems. Who knows, he might be a pain, but I also thought I could get him and Emmylou to sing later. With me, of course.
4) Anne Lamott. I need to read more of her stuff, but really miss her regular column. I remember a few from around 2004 that made me feel just a tiny bit better that someone else felt as awful as I did about the Bush admin. She writes thoughtfully about faith and life and I think would be wonderful company at this little meal. I would also invite Barbara Kingsolver here. I remember crying while reading her book Animal Dreams, which isn't normally a problem, but I was sitting in a Colorado brewpub at the time and I think my waitress was starting to worry about me. According to Faludi, Kingsolver took a lot of grief for writing a thoughtful column after 9-11, and I am positive she would add an intelligent discussion to the party.
5) Paul Newman. Man, I have enjoyed this man's work in films like Hud, The Hustler, The Verdict and Nobody's Fool, and many more. But I have also admired his commitment to helping others. And I love his salad dressing (bring some, eh Paul?) and other causes.
6) Jane Fonda. I went back and forth on this last spot. Susan Sarandon and Madeline Albright were contenders and seem like interesting people. But I could not pass on the opportunity to talk to someone so connected both to the Hollywood of old and the anti-war effort of the 60s. I know conservatives hate her, and that is one reason that I think she would be interesting. She also knew John Wayne and I would be fascinated to talk to her about such a conflicted person.
Ok, that is my list. Anyone want to add or subtract? Then do your own damn fake dinner party!