Tuesday, October 3, 2023

"More beer and bosoms"


     Attention is addictive, as addictive as any drug. As the years go by, and I see what a bit of notoriety does to people who receive even the slightest taste, I've come to view obscurity — so dreaded in my younger years — as my lance and shield. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. The lauded destroy themselves, or become parody of themselves, or grow regal. Their fame lights up the sky for a moment, then dulls. I look up from tending my potatoes in my lonely midwestern field, note the flash, then return to tapping my hoe on the loamy soil. 
     That said, I do smile when something I've written years ago actually resonates with someone, despite having been written by me. Reader Lee Goodman, who I've mentioned here from time to time, wrote to me a few days back:

I hope you didn't miss that you were quoted in the recent Smithsonian
article on Renaissance Fairs:

"Writing in 2007, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg perhaps
summarized Renaissance festivals’ appeal best: “If theme parks, with
their pasteboard main streets, reek of a bland, safe, homogenized,
white-bread America, the Renaissance fair is at the other end of the
social spectrum, a whiff of the occult, a flash of danger and a hint of
the erotic. Here, they let you throw axes. Here are more beer and bosoms
than you’ll find in all of Disney World.”

     And he provides a link to the story, here.
     I did miss it; between The New Yorker and The Economist and Consumer Reports, plus writing this stuff, I never get to the Smithsonian. I could be on the cover and I wouldn't know it unless somebody told me.
     Thanks Lee. Good line. You can read the original piece here. I haven't been to the Bristol Ren Faire in years — a pal who participates in it tells me it's gone downhill, so I don't feel as if I'm missing much.



  1. In the November 2017 issue, a Smithsonian article predicted the next pandemic would start in China. Two & a half years later Covid started in China. Pretty good track record

    1. Is one lucky guess a track record? "One swallow does not a summer make."

    2. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day...

  2. Cool! Not only was that in Smithsonian, but the Smithsonian article itself was promoted via a link on Pocket on the Firefox browser homepage yesterday. I don't really know what Pocket even is, but it presents graphics with links to 21 different articles that change every day or so; I see it when I open a new tab on the browser.

    I actually saw the link to the article there and almost clicked on it, but ended up not doing so. I don't know, but I imagine millions of people who don't read Smithsonian had a little shout-out for that piece presented to them.

    I can certainly understand why they chose your pithy quote from 2007 to conclude it.


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