Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who Are We, Anyway?

Will this avalanche, this deluge, this inundation of paradigm shifts never stop? How much of this can we take?
Now we learn that Julia Child was a spy! I'm still reeling from the discovery that she was born in Pasadena instead of in some country kitchen in Europe. Just when I regain minimal equilibrium over that, my world is once again tossed into turmoil with today's revelation.
On what, I'm forced to ask, did she spy?
Picture Julia sneaking into the kitchens of communists and other threats to world peace and human survival and peeking at their spice racks. What reports would she deliver at great risk to her own safety into the hands of her superiors?
She worked overseas doing the spy thing for the Office of Strategic Services and there she met Paul Child who she later married. Come to find out, he was also a spy. Perhaps times were simpler back then and becoming a spy was similar to joining the secretary pool at the Automobile Association or climbing the career ladder at Sears Roebuck.
Oh, but wait a second. This Julia Child spy thing isn't new news. The New York Times, in her obituary, mentioned that she was a spy.
Now I get it.
Years ago public discovery of Billie Jean King's sexual orientation rocked the world of professional tennis. Up until then the world apparently had never considered the notion that lesbians could play tennis. Her career pretty much ended when her closet door was kicked off its hinges. During that time I wondered why her peers -- all of the professional women tennis players who became rich and famous because of her skill and personality and courage -- didn't simply say, "I'm one too."
Surely if that had happened at least some careers would have survived the public and press self righteous scrutiny. But professional tennis put a gag order on itself and Billie Jean King left the courts.
So today we learned that a whole bunch of people were spies who we thought were baseball players and judges and writers and, yes, secretaries. That leaves us wondering who else might have been or might still be a spy until ultimately it becomes too convoluted to matter. And with the passage of time no one cares anyway.
Except that between the discovery and the acceptance lives are destroyed and hearts are broken.
Unless, of course, you become a celebrity chef.


Leslie said...

Can't help but notice that your last three posts are about artifice; things being not what they seem.
Is there a theme here?

MaryWalkerBaron said...

There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.

Anonymous said...'re right - there's a lot of that going on.

Miss Crabby Pants said...

I'm astounded each and every day at how different people are from our expectations of them, at how much of people's lives and motivations remains hidden. And I wonder how much of this is a product of perception and assumption and how much is the product of artifice and deception...
It's scary to consider in either case.