Dear Lew: 03/20/2017

Lew,

You wrote back. I can’t believe you wrote me back. I’m sure anyone else peering in on our correspondences will think the five month gap between my last missive and your response is somewhat strange, but I don’t care; I’m just grateful you thought enough of me to say anything at all. Pardon me while I recover from my disbelief. And from my joy. 

Not that I’d qualify most of what you have to say as “joyful,” of course. Not that I was taken aback to hear about your split from your beau, either. Word travels fast. This is the world we live in. Everyone knows because nobody can help talking about it. I don’t know if I’m more sorry about the split than I am about the wanton and unrepentant gossipmongering that’s erupted since the two of you parted ways in January. Regardless, let me say that I’m here to listen if you need a friend, though these days, couldn’t we all.

What’s it like to read about, to hear about, your own relationship when you wake up in the morning and check your phone, or crack open your laptop, or turn on the television? May I ask? Your relationship with him is of interest to the entire nation, and hell, the entire world, for good reason, I suppose, but there’s a level of entitlement, of perversion, really, in people’s insistence on possessing access to your privacy; you would think that a population composed of fundamentally decent human beings would cut you some slack and allow you your space, but the entertainment and media industries have seen to it that one’s personal life is no longer quite so personal.

Maybe you can tell me for certain, but what really bothers me about our cultural obsession with your comings and goings, with your husband’s comings and goings (husband? I’m not even sure what term to use to acknowledge him of late), aside from how much that obsession violates your right to solitude, is the unshakable sense that this is what the people in charge want: They want us to drive ourselves into frenzies of fixation so that we’re too distracted to notice all what else is happening around us. Being as we’re an easily distracted people, this seems like a goal that’s easily accomplished. Look what happened at the Oscars. Moonlight won, but all anyone talked about the next day was fucking Jordan Horowitz.

I know that’s a bit of sideways shuffle from the subject at hand, but it’s more proof of how little effort one need expend to confuse or divert our attentions away from more serious matters, like the direction the country is heading in as you and he continue along the grim downward spiral he has led you both on. It’s saddening. It’s sickening. If I had any tool at my disposal to help you other than my words, I’d use it. Hopefully my words are enough. (In the interest of anti-vanity I will note that they rarely are.) 

You’re busy, I realize, so I don’t expect a hasty reply – but I do expect to hear more about your circumstances through the push notifications NPR sends me on my phone before the next time you write me. What a time to be alive. Be well. I worry for you, though a little less now that I’ve heard back from you. (A thousand thank you, and a thousand more, for that.)

~A

 

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