Here are Storyboard’s three picks for your reading, viewing and dancing pleasure this weekend:
In an essay entitled “Difference Maker: The childless, the parentless, and the Central Sadness,” Meghan Daum writes in the Sept. 29 issue of The New Yorker about her decision not to have children and her related involvement in what she calls “kid-related do-goodism.” It’s a tricky subject but not a smudge of sentimentality or righteousness mars her keen-eyed reflection, which includes this powerful passage:
From that moment on, a third party was introduced into our marriage. It was not a corporal party but an amorphous one, a ghoulish presence that functioned as both cause and effect of the absence of a child. It had even, in the back of my mind, come to have a name. It was the Central Sadness. It collected around our marriage like soft, stinky moss. It rooted our arguments and dampened our good times. It taunted us from the sidelines of our social life (the barbecues with toddlers underfoot; a friend’s child interrupting conversations mid-sentence; the clubby comparing of notes about Ritalin and dance lessons and college tuition, which prompted us to feign interest lest we come across like overgrown children ourselves).
You rarely see a newspaper editorial cartoonist tackle a subject as personal as his childhood abuse but the Chicago Tribune’s Scott Stantis creates a moving cartoon essay about the difficult legacy of being beaten by his father. Click through the essay before reading the accompanying text draft (and try to ignore the intrusive intermittent advertisements.)
For a lighter note to start any September weekend, revisit NPR’s delightful story about the making of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” What makes the piece by Dan Charnas shine — aside from the music, of course — is the strength of the interviews, particularly with songwriter Allee Willis, who tells this story:
WILLIS: The kind of go-to phrase that Maurice used in every song he wrote was ba-dee-ya. Right from the beginning, he was singing, you know, ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember? Ba-dee-ya, dancing in September. And I said, we are going to change ba-dee-ya to real words, right?
WILLIS: I remember at the final vocal session pretty much being down on my knees next to him begging, please change ba-dee-ya. And finally, when it was so obvious he was not going to do it, I just said, what the [bleep] does ba-dee-ya mean? And he essentially said, who the [bleep] cares?
Now, just try to get that song out of your head.