Friday, January 30, 2009

Beleaguered and besieged

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have got us down. Our dear Dr. Faust, like the other game-changing President, is cool under pressure, loves sinking her teeth into tough problems, putting her shoulder to the wheel, and forging on. But like Mr. Obama, after a long strenuous day gnawing over intractable dilemmas and deflecting more unpleasant surprises, she finds herself flat on her back in the bed staring at the ceiling wondering Whatever happened to the Future in Future Farmers of America?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Road to Elmwood

Miss Grimke: Is Faust the Obama of Harvard?

DGF: I refuse to engage in such grandiosities. You are the fan club president--I'm just its innocent victim.

Miss Grimke: Would Larry be the W?

DGF: You know I don't traffic in trash talk about my predecessor. Is this so-called conversation going anywhere interesting? Larry was competent. He's more than competent. He's brilliant. Ask Obama for heaven's sake! W was something else--we don't know what. At least I don't know what.

Miss Grimke: As W paved the way for Obama, Larry paved the way for Drewdie.

DGF: I paved my own damn way Miss Grimke!

Miss Grimke: Okay okay okay, don't get all testy on me!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Harvard of Fan Clubs

Stuff White People Like, #98: The Ivy League (see

Of course the comments deteriorated into the usual blah blah around whether Harvard is or isn't over-rated. One poster of the "isn't" persuasion noted that colleges not in the northeast tend to promote themselves by saying they are the "Harvard of Where-ever." True, that. But what if "Harvard" were used to mean "widely perceived as being the best but often challenged as over-rated, also the oldest and very expensive and maybe the most prestigious but tainted with a wee (sometimes not so wee) bit of pretension?"

Then "the Harvard of" could be applied to a vast array of subjects. Here we give it a try:

The Daily Show is the Harvard of Comedy Central.
The black lab is the Harvard of dogs.
Slow-cook oatmeal is the Harvard of breakfast.
The American beech is the Harvard of trees.
The cello is the Harvard of instruments.
The Maine coon cat is the Harvard of cats.
The peony is the Harvard of perennials.
The quiche is the Harvard of brunch.
Alex Beam is the Harvard of Boston Globe "g" columnists.
The butterfly is the Harvard of swimming strokes.
The duck boot is the Harvard of wet cold winter footwear.
The Boston rocker is the Harvard of chairs.
Ikea is the Harvard of discount shopping.
Trader Joe's is the Harvard of grocery stores.
The turkey is the Harvard of fowl.
The cable-knit pullover is the Harvard of sweaters
The almond is the Harvard of nuts.
Lobster is the Harvard of seafood.
Cheesecake is the Harvard of desserts.
The latte is the Harvard of coffee drinks

DGF is the Harvard of Civil War scholars (except there is no doubt she is the best and she isn't even the wee-est bit pretentious).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Ice Age

I can barely see out my windows now, the frost is so thick. The hum of Route 2 is muffled by snow drifts that must be eight feet high, or higher. I can't get out to measure so I only can guess by high it hits on the trees, trees that I can see by squinting through the small opening left in my window. What's worse, my dears, is that my Champagne is frozen. Also the battery on my phone has died and the garrett has no outlets for electricity. I wonder how long the battery on my laptop will last? It is my only source of warmth, and I'm nearly out of chocolate-covered espresso beans. My door is locked from the outside. I think Drew has forgotten me, or worse. Do you think? No, that's not possible. She is just very very busy. Plus, she might have the flu, too.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Letter

Darlings, First of all let me thank you for all the support you have given me over the past year as we have tried to keep up with our dear Dr. Faust and at the same time make her life a teensy bit easier. I must say I believe we have achieved our goals. And I can state with confidence that Drew appreciates our contribution to her quality of life and our success in clarifying her greatness to the world at large.

Evidence of her gratitude: I’m writing to you from the garrett Dr. Faust has assigned me at Elmwood. It is quite chilly here, as we do our part to minimize our carbon footprint. Thoughtfully, Drew gave me for Christmas a cunning pair of mittens that convert into fingerless gloves. So no matter how cold it gets I can still type and play the lute. Well, I could play the lute if I could play the lute, but that’s neither here nor there.

Here I have a tiny window overlooking Route 2 where the constant swirl of traffic keeps me focused on the ineffable passage of time. From time to time I descend the stairs to the tertiary kitchen from which I fetch a fresh bottle of Champagne. At least I did until yesterday when it became apparent that my charming garrett is chilly enough to serve as a refrigerator! Ensconced here I feel just like Emily Dickinson or Louisa May Alcott or even my great great aunt thrice removed Angelina Weld Grimke, with whom I was fortunate enough to meet as a small, very very small, a very very very small, child.

As you know this is a blog so I don't have to account for our activities of the past 12 months or so. You may simply read the entries to stroll through our year of advances and retreats, our digressions and diversions, our agonies and our ecstacies.

This letter instead will focus on something far more important — for we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club have made a fundamental shift in our perception of the role and function of our club in the life of Drewdie. This shift began when we read the powerful “Vision for the Arts at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club” that formed the core of the report from the task force we charged to study said subject. This shift will continue over months and years ahead as we engage in a dialogue that will, I hope, ultimately see the arts assume their rightful place in the life of the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club.

Especially in difficult times, when ways of thinking and doing that we have taken for granted are challenged on a daily and weekly basis, we must encourage ourselves to ask fundamental questions and to solve problems in the inventive and collaborative ways exemplified by the making of art. Art produces experiences and objects that are carefully constructed and intricate reflections of the world, including the world of our dear Dr. Faust. Empathy, imagination, and creativity are forms of knowledge that our club must foster in its members. Moreover, the arts have the power to bring us together as a community in the present, but also to provide powerful connections to those who have come before us and to those who will follow us. In times of uncertainty, the arts remind us of our humanity and provide the reassuring proof that we, along with the Grecian urn, the Colbert Report, and the Dixie Chicks, have endured and will continue to do so. Now is the time to embrace, not retreat from the arts.

The actions recommended by the task force will not happen overnight and will require, over time, significant investments of both energy and Champagne on the part of myself, your President. In the near term, I look forward to working with the good people at Trader Joe's as they begin the process of upgrading their sparkling Tubuque Chucque as an economical alternative to the Champagne that fuels this blog. I hope to define, as well, some concrete actions to enhance support of this club in the larger world as we require more resources, such as chocolate covered espresso beans, with which to support the work of our beloved Drew.

I am personally grateful to the task force for their enormous investment of time and erudition in leading these efforts, and for their thoughtfulness and hard work in pointing us forward on this important set of issues. The report affirms the value of the arts in the life of our fan club and reminds us that we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club are both privileged and obligated to provide a comprehensive fandom experience as well as enhance the daily existence and reputation of Drew Faust.

Fondly, with eager anticipation of a peaceful and productive New Year,
Miss Grimke