The Gilded Age with Hangers

Can I eat this? Will I survive eating this?

Rihanna in her pregnant glory, aglitter. Hillary Rodham Clinton in a toned-down red satin gown with famous women embroidered along the hem. Say their names: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt. Blake Lively makes a satiny ascent, waterfalls of silk trailing behind her.

And the men! My favorite was the one who looked like a pirate — tall black boots, a string holding up his pants. I can’t think of his name. The young man with lavender hair and ruffled collar was yummy too — setting off discussions about male manicures.

At the very moment Glenn Close exploded onto the red carpet in day-glo pink, someone in the hallowed halls of justice leaked a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

Can I eat dissonance? Will I survive this? Will our daughters?

Repeat after me: a Christo-fascist state. Learn to say it. We now have a court that isn’t even political, it’s fucking religious.

Instead of calling right-wing stunts “performative nonsense,” how about calling them acts of terrorism? Wiping out two districts of Black voters in Florida, letting billions of dollars of food rot at the border just to make his opponent look bad, creating criminal penalties for doctors performing abortions.

I want to go back to an era when watching guests at the Met Gala is an exercise in petty judgment. Who looks fabulous, who looks ridiculous, where do we find the best cleavage and the ritziest jewels?

There wasn’t time for anyone to design a gown out of wire hangers. There wasn’t time for women to attach bloody ribbons to their lace.

If justice exists in the sky, can we coach her to come lower, to re-establish domains in Appalachia, in Houston, Miami, and the Ozarks? The fact that they surrounded the pillared halls of justice with fencing this morning tells you something.

But maybe we should skip the pink hats this time and work the phones instead. Waltham, the next town over, is sponsoring a protest tonight and I feel tired just thinking about it. I’ve been to two there already — one in support of releasing the Mueller Report and I can’t remember the other.

She can’t remember all the protests she went to under trump’s reign.

Can our hunger for justice outweigh every roadblock? Can it blow like Hurricane Andrew, taking out entire neighborhoods of anti-women strategies and policies, moods and feelings? I hope maintaining majorities in the House and Senate isn’t too much to ask for.

I turned twenty in Dublin. At the time, contraception was illegal there, abortion was outlawed, of course, and homophobia institutionalized. How Catholic, I thought. How medieval. Never in a million years did I think the day would come when Ireland was more progressive than America.

And what about the now-fully-ensconced Justices’ lies before Congress — and yes, that’s Justices’ with an “s apostrophe” because three of them lied to get their seats. Oh yes, Roe is established precedent. Oh yes, we follow precedent.

Riz Ahmed — that’s the actor’s name. One booted foot on the step above, crotch to the camera — pure, natural swagger. Unlike that other pirate, bloated and lacking his eyeliner. I can’t even absorb the story about the latter, but it infiltrates everywhere. The formerly gorgeous Johnny Depp looking like a bad batch of muffins in a suit. That dumb pony tail.

We all get old, but did we have to witness a time when our daughters have fewer rights than we did? I was in high school in 1973, on the verge of so much bed-hopping — maniacal about birth control as I was careless about everything else. I was spared the need for a procedure, but almost everyone I knew in college — or let’s say 2/3’s of everyone I knew — had a pregnancy terminated. Safely. Not without trauma, mind, but none of what was difficult arose from infection or fear of dying.

The Gilded Age was the Met Gala’s theme this year. The idea of robber barons is particularly hard to take at this moment in history. Five white American men possess more wealth than the bottom 60%. Or is it 80%? I don’t know — ask Robert Reich. Whatever it is, it’s obscene.

But we want our celebrities. Sparkling stilettos and borrowed diamonds on bodies lovely and distant, unattainable and yet, due to the nature of film, also somehow ours. Belonging to us.

Is God punishing us? If so, for what crime? What sin?

*. *. *.

PS I cannot figure out how to turn off comments for a single post so let’s just act as though I have? The topic has already taken enough out of me for now.

16 thoughts on “The Gilded Age with Hangers

  1. Jen NyBlom

    There aren’t enough adjectives to describe my anger, sadness and utter disgust at all of it.

  2. Tina

    So grateful that you are able to put into words what so many of us are thinking … feeling.

  3. RainSluice

    Thank you, Dee! You have brought me to all those places that I’ve consciously been unable to look at, head on. I am angry. I had an abortion when I was 22 so I could be free and I was grateful I could do it. Was it fun, no. It was terrifying, but it was my choice and I survived. If I hadn’t been able to have that abortion, I think I might have killed myself. I’ve maintained my freedom. I want to fight, to continue to hold on to the gains of generations of women and leave *more* freedom to our daughters, not less. I too will continue to live my life without the needed energy to attend even one of the protests against this horrible revocation of the slightest progress for women by women. We are in for a miserable war against religious zealots, sociopaths and misogynists. It is medieval. It may be worse than the crusades?

      1. Mag

        You have been there for me when I didn’t even know I needed help. That time was an especially important one.🧡💙

  4. Dog Star (Betsy)

    Bravo Dee! Thank you for expressing the outrage & sadness so many of us feel, with a dash of humor. Donating when I can, and sending my Indiana anti-rights senators monthly missives. They waste my tax money on hateful laws, and I’ll waste their (staff minions) time with reply requests.

  5. Saskia van Herwaarden

    OMG F*CK, I cried after I read your post, anger frustration sadness….I had an abortion in my twenties, it was not an ‘easy’ decision but it is MY body, MINE! I am grateful The Netherlands is not turning back time…..
    thank you for this post Dee, know that you and the others here are not alone xXx

  6. Marti

    Wanting to respect your comment about turning off comments, I tired, i really tried not to respond but today is another day:

    When our twins were three, my husband was changing jobs and I was going full bore back to college to complete my degree. it was a busy and hard time for us. Then I thought I was pregnant and our world just imploded…we went round and round. could we care for another child when we already had two? Could we afford another child at this time? Would I have to give up my education? After a long, soul searching night, my husband held me and said, it was my decision and he fully supported whatever I decided. The next morning I decided that if I was pregnant, I would have an abortion. Two days later the decision was taken out of my hands when I found out that I was not pregnant…

    To know that women, will not have a choice, when faced with a similar situation is simply beyond my comprehension but not beyond my anger…I lost the fire in my belly after the 4 years of Trump but let me tell you, a spark is igniting…

    1. deemallon Post author

      Turns out I really appreciate the comments. I mean I always do but I sometimes feel like a laggard for not responding to everyone.

      People have been sharing very personal and sometimes agonizing memories, you included. So thank you.

      I was much more annoyed that despite multiple google searches I couldn’t figure out how to turn off comments than I was at the prospect of hearing from people and responding.

  7. Anonymous

    I am equally outraged. And similarly getting tired of protesting. To what end? I’m wearing my 50-year old pin again: “Anti-abortion? Then don’t have one “

    1. deemallon Post author

      Hi Nancy! Not sure why your name shows up in my notifications but not here. To think we knew each other in the early days of Roe. 1976? I have yet to go out in the streets about this. But I probably will.

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