Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity—Does?

“An open hand
and open heart
there’s no need to be afraid
open up, this is a raid
I want to get it through to you:
you’re not alone.”
-Mavis Staples

This has been a particularly good month to write a blog about happiness—between Dan Savage and Jon Stewart, there’s a lot of reason (ha!) to feel like artists, writers in particular, can change things for the better.

Yesterday was a cartoonishly beautiful day. We had so much fun at the rally. Here are some highlights and thoughts.

1. Spending the day exemplifying reason with 200,000 people was very spiritually fulfilling. In the crush of the crowd, I never heard a mean word or even really saw anyone get annoyed, except the lovable curmudgeon guy next to me who kept saying “Isn’t this supposed to be about sanity? This is crazy!” (I kept giving him updates on my leaping serotonin levels. :) You wouldn’t think mass politeness would be euphoric, but it was. (But I still harbored violent thoughts against anyone with a “Wag more, bark less” poster. Man I hate that slogan. Like you are as transcendent as a dog!)
2. Unsurprisingly, Comedy Central fans seem to err on the side of attractive.
3. I sure do love seeing The Roots play a Rally. They played pretty much a full set, bringing John Legend in as a surprise guest. I’ve never really noticed John Legend before (except, come to think of it, in A Colbert Christmas.) but I really liked him singing the M.O.F. part of “Dear God.” and the Bill Withers cover was enough to inspire me to give Wake Up! a listen.
4. Standing in a crowd of cute liberals listening to Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy sing “You are Not Alone” should also be filed under “Religious Experiences.” My church’s theme is belonging this month and I feel like I’m really doing the homework...
5. I really appreciated the point that Colbert and Stewart made about the left reclaiming patriotism, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to sing along with “We’re the biggest, strongest country in the world.” It felt too scary-nationalistic to sing that in such a huge group, no matter WHO it was.
6. I really loved the part where the Mythbusters guys came out and did experiments on the crowd, seeing how long it would take for The Wave to get to the back, seeing if we could cause an earthquake by jumping up and down, etc. It was the first time I’ve ever gone “Woo!” for a seismologist.
7. Sheryl Crow sucks the life out of me no matter the circumstances. She should never be in things.
8. Although I would’ve liked to see “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train” become a true mashup, seeing the O’Jays sing “Love Train” was pretty badass.
9. For a while I’ve been a fan of Jon Stewart’s assertion that every-ther-car merging is proof that people are basically civil. It was so moving to hear it there with everyone. I loved his sincere speech so, so much.
10. I’m a little sad that Steven Slater apologized.
11. The best thing about the day was that it was a massive writing exercise. You can see more of my favorite signs here.
12. I’m glad that my favorite podcast, Too Beautiful to Live keeps me up to speed on internet memes so that I could get all of the “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife” and double rainbow themed signs. (But, sadly, no “Kittens! Inspired by...kittens!” ones)
I did wake up this morning worried that none of my rally-mates were going to vote, but even if it has no political impact, it was such a gratifying work of mass-art. We shared a wonderful, sincere, ridiculous experience with our fellow humans. So much happiness created in one afternoon. So much good has already been done.


  1. you are phenomenal. and amen. and sheryl crow has the same effect on me.

  2. Yes, yes, yes to #4 and no, no, no to #7. I think we have greatly divergent musical taste, but I think we knew that.

    and I have mixed feelings about Cheryl, but I think drinking beer at noon on Tuesday is an overwhelmingly redeeming quality.

    Aside from that, another giant AMEN to all. Thanks for the recap :)