Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

Society’s Child

Posted May 3rd, 2013 by Tom

JanisAutographWhen I closed the cover after finishing Janis Ian’s autobiography, Society’s Child, I took a deep breath, sighed, and wished there were more. It was a walk through her life, and by extension, my own… a walk through the music and history of Janis Ian, other musicians I’ve listened to all my life, our country during the turbulent last half century as we’ve grown and changed our perceptions of each other in terms of race, gender, sexual identity and so much more.

I first saw Janis Ian in concert in the early 1980’s. My significant memory from that show was some guy shouting out, “Play Society’s Child! I insist!” Janis waved dismissively at him. She didn’t play the song; didn’t play it for years. Reading her autobiography, I now understand why.

I next saw her in concert in 2009 when she played with Joan Baez. I was thrilled to be Janis’s “front row guy” and wrote about the experience here. When my daughter Emily and I went to see Janis together recently at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, I brought along the photo above of Janis and me taken after that 2009 show. And though I was already part way through reading Society’s Child, I bought the audio version at the concert. Hearing her stories again, in her voice, with her music accompanying them, will be a real treat. After all, she won the 2013 Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album” when her competition was Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ellen Degeneres, and Rachel Maddow, for crying out loud!

The way Janis described it, “There must be a joke in there somewhere. An ex-president, a first lady, and three lesbians walk into a bar…” Read the rest of this entry »

“About time we get a first lady… that looks like a first lady”

Posted August 30th, 2012 by Tom

Racism in politics is nothing new. But over the past half century it has been pushed more and more into the closet, so to speak. Now, with a black man in the white house, racism is on full display. Sure, a lot of racist statements are still couched in coded language that allows the speaker to deny being in any way racist. But more and more often we see blatant racism peeking out from behind that closet door.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney flew to Indianapolis to speak at an American Legion convention. NPR interviewed Bobbie Lucier from Manassas, Virginia regarding the upcoming election. Approximately one minute into this recording, you can hear her say,

I don’t like him. Can’t stand to look at him. I don’t like his wife. She’s far from the first lady. It’s about time we get a first lady in there that acts like a first lady and looks like a first lady.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is America ready for a white First Lady?

Posted March 20th, 2012 by Tom


Oh, puh-lease, Mr. Gingrich!

For those who haven’t heard the latest political kerfuffle, actor Robert DeNiro spoke at an Obama fundraiser at which Michelle Obama was the featured headliner. He led off with a joke…

Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?

De Niro asked to cheers from the crowd.

Too soon, right?

Now that’s funny!

Newt Gingrich, always the model of decorum and respect, said that President Obama should be held accountable “when someone at his event says something as utterly and totally unacceptable as Robert De Niro said last night. And I call on the president to apologize for him.” Read the rest of this entry »

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry