Since I committed to writing and posting a song at the beginning of every week about current events, it’s been an interesting experiment in creativity and inspiration. There are hundreds of books, courses, websites and experts who purport to know the secret to writing, but it seems like the advice usually boils down to two things: write about what you care about, and write regularly whether or not you feel inspired. Which all sounds great, until you’re staring at a blank screen (or blank piece of paper, in the pre-computer days) and thinking, “What now?”
By Friday or Saturday, I’m usually poking around various political websites (particularly this one!) and watching Daily Show monologues to see what topic has caught people’s attention. This was really easy during the election, with a surfeit of fabulous memes like killing Big Bird, “Binders of Women,” or “47 Percent.” But current events don’t always skew so colorfully, and frequently I feel like I’m scrambling to find anything to write – anyone who’s ever coped with a deadline knows that feeling of, Oh well, even Dorothy Parker wasn’t brilliant every time. (Or Ellen DeGeneres, or Weird Al Yankovic, or Michele Bachmann, or whoever your favorite humorist is”¦)
However, this past week was chock full of big news stories, so much so that I had a hard time deciding. Scalia’s dissent in the DOMA case was tempting – his rant about the rationale being “legalistic argle-bargle” sounded like a temper tantrum in a Dr. Seuss book. And living in the San Francisco area, I loved the fun, colorful way the city celebrated – literally so, with City Hall bathed in rainbow lighting. (My suburban girlfriend met her GBF – gay best friend, just in case – in the Castro the night after the decision. She couldn’t figure out why there were so many Ikea signs and flags around, til someone pointed out that the blue & yellow signs were actually Equal Rights emblems, not Ikea logos.)
But there was something so irresistible about the news from the Texas Legislature last week, which had all the elements of a great story: noisy crowds, valiant efforts by an outnumbered heroine, iconic pink sneakers, and even a few idiotic rape comments thrown in for good measure. (See Texas Rep. Jodie Laubenberg’s curious explanation that a rape exception to her abortion ban wasn’t necessary because rape kits “clean everything out.”) Plus I love Wendy Davis’ backstory, a teenage single mom from a trailer park, working her way up to Harvard Law School and a state Senate seat, while still maintaining the proud Texas tradition of big hair.
Since Rick Perry immediately convened another emergency session, the ultimate outcome is up in the air, but last week’s filibuster is one moment in Texas politics the whole country won’t forget very soon – so to commemorate it, here’s The Ballad Of Wendy (“She Shut That Whole Thing Down”).