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July 16, 2013

11:04
A.M.

ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Total Responses: 46

About the hosts

About the host

Alexandra Petri

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week, Newsweek.com, Businessweek.com, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)

About the topic

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

Past ComPost Live Chats

Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

What ho what ho everyone! Happy Tuesday! Let's get to questions!

Q.

What's the worst food to be discovered holding while asleep?

I say a tub of ice cream, but my co-worker says ice cream might indicate a tragic breakup, while a box of doughnuts is just piggy.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I think there's a certain poignancy in allowing a container of ice cream to melt as you sleep around it, so my vote's with you.

– July 16, 2013 11:05 AM
Q.

McCarthyism

I have an idea. How about we don't take advice from people dumber than we are?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

There are definitely exceptions, but this strikes me as a good rule. It's of a piece with my belief that you should never wear a t-shirt that has someone more attractive than you are on it.

– July 16, 2013 11:07 AM
Q.

Anti-Vaxxers

Hi Alexandra! Thanks so much for your post on Jenny McCarthy and the dangers of Anti-Vaxxers. As the mom of a 9 month old, I have to justify my choice to FOLLOW the recommended schedule for vaccines to friends, family members and even complete strangers. My question is this-Why do intelligent, knowledgeable folks listen to someone like her? What can I do about it? They don't want to be bothered by FACTS :( Thanks for trying though!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I'm so sorry you have to justify it -- that's both annoying and awful!

I often wonder what to do about getting people who are making objectively wrongbad decisions to listen. The difficulty with a lot of this is that while the Internet contains large swaths of people who will agree with you, and share whatever you have said about it with their friends, who also agree with you, until Angry Dave Who Is Always Just About To Unfriend You After He Types This All-Caps Screed catches sight of it on Facebook, you haven't actually done anything to change anybody's mind. And what's even worse is that even though your bubble can be objectively right, it is often hard to convince someone from another bubble that this is the case. (Generally the worse the fonts and the fewer the pictures in your bubble, the harder to convince you are.)

This can also be a problem with the, say, anti-pick-up-artist movement -- people who don't think that pick-up artistry is at all a sound or wise approach will nod back and forth and share articles with each other, when the people you actually need to get the information to are all off lining up outside CVS for the next edition of AXE Bodyspray, or something.

TL;DR -- I wish I knew!

– July 16, 2013 11:14 AM
Q.

What Ho Jeeves!

Besides P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett, is there another novelist that's such a joy to read?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, Thurber's more of an essayist than a novelist (except his wonderful children's works) but I always put in a plug for him.

Waugh can be enjoyable but I wouldn't go so far as to describe him as a joy.

Oh -- Stella Gibbons! Cold Comfort Farm. Seriously, it's up there. Audible plane chuckles.

Oh, and Douglas Adams, too.

– July 16, 2013 11:16 AM
Q.

Should I buy this book?

I am so tempted by the opening pages of 'William Shakespeare's Star Wars" -- but the blurb for "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies" turned out to be the one brilliant paragraph in a meh kind of book. http://www.amazon.com/William-Shakespeares-Star-Wars-Doescher/dp/1594746370#reader_1594746370
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Winston Churchill said that there was a rule that whenever a new book comes out, you should buy an old one. He added, "As an author myself I would not recommend too strict an adherence to this rule."

I think that sounds like bacon and chocolate -- both excellent together or separate, but not really enhanced when combined.

– July 16, 2013 11:18 AM
Q.

Playwriting

As one playwright to another, your opening reminded me of Mel Brooks's 2000 year old man, who said he had attended the opening of Shakespeare's 38th play--"Queen Cleopatra and Murray." "What ho, Murray?" "What are you shouting about--you'll wake up the whole neighborhood!" It was so bad, he said, it closed in Cairo.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank you for coming!

I wish I'd seen Cleopatra and Murray those thousand-odd years ago; it sounds up my alley.

– July 16, 2013 11:20 AM
Q.

Axe Body Spray

Oh. My Gawd. Is that Axe stuff horrid or what? Why oh why do people wear these dopey - and WAY too strong - colognes/scents/whatever? So offiensive in a public space.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Really is. Then again, I have the keen sense of smell of a dead bloodhound, so it never really bothers me.

 

– July 16, 2013 11:22 AM
Q.

Ice Cream

Is a good choice. Keeps you cool In other keeping cool news, should I buy a Chillow?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Can we talk, also, about the weather right now?

For anyone not in DC, it is somehow managing to be feels-like-100-but-it's-also-somehow-humid? this week. Planet, please, if this is because of something I did, can we talk about it? I'll go plant an ozone tree.

– July 16, 2013 11:26 AM
Q.

Don't take advice from stupid people

A follow-on is don't take legal advice from stupid people. With the riots and protests and marches, don't people realize that our legal system "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" was created such that it's better than 10 guilty men go free rather than 1 innocent man goes to jail. I wasn't on the jury and therefore I don't know all the facts so I can't opine on Zimmerman's guilt or innocence but in a civilized society we don't destroy buildings when we don't agree with the outcome. That's life and you move on or follow proper channels to change the laws.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ruth Marcus wrote an excellent piece saying just that. Sometimes the system works and you get an outcome that makes you unhappy. That doesn't mean the system didn't work. I think a large number of people realize that, though.

Although, it seemed to me that most of the protests and marches I read about were disappointed but peaceable, not riotous and building-destroying -- where were you hearing this?

– July 16, 2013 11:33 AM
Q.

Easynet.com

This morning, while reading the news, I saw an article about a website called Easynet.com: save money by sharing your hotel room with a stranger. I just don't know.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hurm.

– July 16, 2013 11:34 AM
Q.

Fringe Festival

I loved the Young Republicans show last year. What should I see this year?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, if you liked it because it was a show by me, you should totally come see Tragedy Averted, which is also a show by me (although parts of it are by a guy named William Shakespeare who is pretty okay.)

– July 16, 2013 11:35 AM
Q.

What Ho, Jeeves

Try Hugh Laurie's "The Gunseller." As Bertie Wooster for a long time, he also has a warped sense of humor.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ooh, I'll have to look that up!

– July 16, 2013 11:35 AM
Q.

Axe

is for young men who are sure women will never notice them unless they are reeking the place up. REALLY unconfident.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It's such a specific type, too.

My favorite was the other spray called "BOD" -- is that still around? It was like an AXE knock-off, and that, to me, was the saddest phrase of tongue and pen, bar none, beating even "It might have been."

– July 16, 2013 11:37 AM
Q.

Ice Cream

I'm in Ottawa, Canada. It is 92 degrees ioutside. It is 90 degrees in my apartment. This is about the fourth day of this and I am melting. Fast. Tomorrow is supposed to be slightly better. I wait with bated breath.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I'm going to set a Google calendar alert for myself for the winter so we can look back on this with perspective and feel -- something.

– July 16, 2013 11:37 AM
Q.

Bacon & Chocolate

Is anyone besides me dying to have this Over With? Bacon in sweets, salt in caramel & chocolate desserts, etc. I even encountered "pear and blue cheese ice cream" in an otherwise terrific ice cream place in Portland, Oregon.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Okay, I have a weird analogy for this.

So Salted Caramel was great, right? Depending on how you feel about it, Bacon Chocolate is the "No Strings Attached" (Natalie and Ashton! Sounds good, right?) to the "Friends With Benefits" (Mila and Justin, actually quality!) of salted caramel. Or bacon chocolate is The Illusionist to Salted Caramel's The Prestige.

Or something?

– July 16, 2013 11:40 AM
Q.

Zimmerman Protests

It doesn't help my reaction to hear the "diligent" juror blathering her way through the media. And I hear she has a book deal in the works, too? Lovely.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

She might still, but her agent has been Discouraged By The Internet from doing it.

Diligent jurors (see 12 Angry Men) can be serious thorns. But I don't understand why we are trying to discourage her from the book. I'd be interested to see what she had to say, even if I disagreed.

– July 16, 2013 11:41 AM
Q.

Axe

As a former teenage boy, myself, I should point out that they, as a race, are not known for subtlety fragrance-wise, noise-wise, any-wise.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Surely you jest!

– July 16, 2013 11:42 AM
Q.

Try Hugh Laurie's "The Gunseller."

Better still, read Stephen Fry's novels.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

"Moab is My Washpot" wins title-wise.

– July 16, 2013 11:42 AM
Q.

Zimmerman riots

Zimmerman verdict protest turns violent - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-zimmerman-protests-arrests-20130716,0,412940.story Zimmerman protests in Oakland turn violent - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-trayvon-martin-protest-violence-sweeps-through-oakland-waiter-hurt-20130716,0,296050.story?sdfsdggffggfsdf
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank you for the links. I saw that bubbling up on Twitter last night but wasn't sure of the extent. Ugh.

 

– July 16, 2013 11:47 AM
Q.

(No) Riots

A few people got arrested in Oakland last night, but nothing that rises to "rioting." (There was, however, a right-wing website that falsely reported on riots in Miami, except that its "footage" was of hockey fans rioting in Vancouver. Which is pretty funny, if you think about it.)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

For post-Zimmerman trial anger, there seemed to be a lot of shouting about "CANUCKS" and "PLAYOFFS."

– July 16, 2013 11:48 AM
Q.

So Salted Caramel was great, right?

No. It's not great. It's as bad as bacon & chocolate.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Okay, see, we differ.

– July 16, 2013 11:49 AM
Q.

"Moab is My Washpot" wins title-wise.

That's a Fry memoir, though, not a Fry novel. Just sayin.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Right-oh, good catch.

– July 16, 2013 11:49 AM
Q.

BOD

Oh, my gosh, I remember BOD. It had these terrible commercials, too: "I want your BOD. I need your BOD. Gotta get that BOD." *gag* Had a 12-y-o cousin who got into it for a time. Let's just say you could smell him before you saw him.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

And the shirtless men with bad hair jogging up and down bleachers...

– July 16, 2013 11:49 AM
Q.

more Ice Cream

Actually, I prefer Winter over Summer. At least then you can put more clothes on and turn up the heat and snuggle in front of the TV. In summer, there is a limit to what you can take off and it still isn't good enough.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

But there are pools.

– July 16, 2013 11:50 AM
Q.

Ask a playwright...

about "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf." So. I'm not a literary person at all. I like to read and picked up this play recently. But I go to the end and I had no idea what happened. So, uh, what happened?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Virginia Woolf blew down the straw house!

Spoiler ahead:

Basically, George and Martha are having some marital problems, and they coped with them ("coped" might be the wrong word) by making up a fake son, whom they in the course of the play fight over and George kills off? Also, Honey and Nick are there. Never go to a party hosted by a couple with made-up children, is I guess the lesson there.

– July 16, 2013 11:53 AM
Q.

resub without link to zim non-riots

In happier news, I think pear+bleu ice cream sounds delish. In Oxford the marvelous G&D's has a port+stilton ice cream that has to be tasted to be believed.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ooh, stilton! That is happier news!

– July 16, 2013 11:54 AM
Q.

Virginia Woolf

I still remember fondly the Mad magazine parody of that movie, in which the shocker at the end was their son actually showing up and being a clean-cut college boy saying things like, 'Gosh, it's jolly to see you. Can I have some milk and cookies?"
A.
Alexandra Petri :

HAHAHAHAHA

This sounds amazing.

– July 16, 2013 11:58 AM
Q.

Virginia Woolf

Two things: Note George and Martha are the names of our first president and his wife; and no matter what Albee says, they're all gay men.
A.
Alexandra Petri :
– July 16, 2013 12:02 PM
Q.

But there are pools.

You can't spend all your time in pools. And getting there and back again, plus washing the chlorine out of your hair, obviates the benefits. It's like saying, 'but you can put on your warm clothes for half an hour and turn the heat on for half an hour, and then go back outside into the snow for the rest of the day."
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That's what I say about winter!

– July 16, 2013 12:02 PM
Q.

Bat Girl OP

What I found most amusing about last week's chat was the number of people who felt compelled to inform me that my night vision and supersonic hearing weren't REALLY superpowers. Gee, ya think?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank God the French invented that sarcasm detector! (That was going to be my superpower, but I can barely detect it 50 percent of the time.)

– July 16, 2013 12:04 PM
Q.

THANK YOU

For your post about Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaccine crowd. I have a sister on immunosuppressant drugs, which makes her more vulnerable to some of these diseases that she legitimately CAN'T be vaccinated against. If she ever gets something because of one of these parents that chooses not to vaccinate their child... I'd better not find out who that person is. I'm all for doing your own research and not 100% relying on doctors for your own health, but even doing your own research on this topic brings up nothing but a bunch of bunk, most of which has been publicly refuted. Grr.... I get fired up, obviously :) Anyway, thanks for bringing attention to it!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Happy to! There are some science "questions" that just aren't questions -- no matter what the Flat Earth Society says -- and it really gets my goat when people treat them as though suggesting there was controversy about them were anything other than actively hurtful. And I only have one goat and I'm very attached to him.

– July 16, 2013 12:08 PM
Q.

In summer you can walk around your backyard in your underwear

And people assume you're wearing a bathing suit. In winter, not so much.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Meh, depends on the underwear. I assume there's some giant puffy Michelin-Man-style gear out there that looks like it was purchased at Victoria's Total Enigma.

– July 16, 2013 12:09 PM
Q.

Winter Rulz

Summer is loud, obnoxious, and way over rated. Winter is so superior in its quiet calm. I never have gotten the "wheee its summer" sentiment in adults, I assume a lot of it is the built in clock of childhood telling us the Summer is better. Sorry, give me Fall and Winter any day!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ah, but as Nick Carraway says, something something summer something about life starting over again. 

(Look, it's too hot to Google.)

 

– July 16, 2013 12:10 PM
Q.

Anti-vaxxers

People seem to forget that the basis for the alleged vaccine-autism connection was faked research by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield, who perpetrated the hoax because he was planning to found a business that would profit from new medical tests, based on the fear of vaccine that he himself had fomented, and a bunch of gullible people believed his claims. Wakefield's fraud has been utterly discredited, but the Jenny McCarthys of the world won't let go, and now she's going to have a larger audience to whom she can spew her nonsense.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yup, pretty much, which is why my goat is so upset.

– July 16, 2013 12:11 PM
Q.

summer in SF

I am essentially dressed for winter today in a sweater and leather jacket (i'm wearing pants too). I am originally from the Philadelphia area, however, so I have a hazy (no pun intended) memory of the awful humidity. Not sure what my point is except: good luck with that.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, er, thank you.

*shakes fist at SF and its hip weather and plentiful hills and all my cool Google employee friends whom I never get to see because why would you ever leave SF for the aforementioned 100-degrees-yet-humid District, lovely as its personality kind of is sometimes*

– July 16, 2013 12:14 PM
Q.

jenny mccarthy

she also just signed on as a celeb endorser of Carls Jr. So, yeah, plenty of reasons to question her ideas about health choices.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

– July 16, 2013 12:14 PM
Q.

"There are some science "questions" that just aren't questions -- no matter what the Flat Earth Society says"

It's like on "The Big Bang Theory" when Sheldon states a scientific fact to his super-religious mother, and she replies that that's just his opinion.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Exactly. No, no it's not.

– July 16, 2013 12:16 PM
Q.

Bieber

I have never smelled Justin Bieber, but I assume he smells like Axe.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That's just his natural aroma, in fact.

– July 16, 2013 12:17 PM
Q.

For us old timers

According to Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan is releasing a new version of Self Portrait, very possibly the worst use of vinyl since that Barcalounger I bought in 1982.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yeeergh! That does sound like an awful use of vinyl, although among us friends I have to admit that I have never seen a Barcalounger. I assume it is an eyesore made of vinyl from the context clues, possibly a chair of some kind? (It is this kind of raw context skill that got me through the SAT!)

– July 16, 2013 12:20 PM
Q.

Oscar winning documentary in 2025

Smelling Justin Bieber
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank you for that indelible image. I'm going to wrap up now...

– July 16, 2013 12:22 PM
Q.

Funny how the anti-vaxxers never seem to remember

smallpox being eliminated by vaccination.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Don't have a cow about it!

– July 16, 2013 12:22 PM
Q.

I never have gotten the "wheee its summer" sentiment in adults,

Yes. It makes me foam at the mouth when forecasters blithely announce that "it's going to be a beautiful day, sunny and 85." "Sunny and 85" to me means I have to spend the day in the air-conditioned house.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I tried to convince myself mind-over-matter-style that it was actually cool and pleasant at 85, because 85 was the "low" temperature, but it worked about as well as mind-over-matter ever works in my case.

– July 16, 2013 12:23 PM
Q.

"I don't understand why we are trying to discourage her"

I don't think she should be lining her pockets with a dead kid's tragedy. And I don't need a book providing insight into the OJ jury either.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

If she gave the money away, would that change your mind? I think these Big TV Trials are becoming a fact of life, for better or probably for worse, and there is some inherent interest in hearing about them from the inside, although it did feel icky coming so soon on the heels of the verdict.

– July 16, 2013 12:25 PM
Q.

Author

Carl Hiaasen. Pick two word titles. The one word ones are for kids; the two word, well, I wouldn't read to my kids.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Good to know!

– July 16, 2013 12:25 PM
Q.

I have to admit that I have never seen a Barcalounger

It is a close relative of the Nauga. (I just learned that the Linell Smith of the Baltimore Sun is Ogden Nash's daughter, btw.)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Naugahide!

Garfield's Jon was always making jokes about many naugas dying to produce jackets.

– July 16, 2013 12:26 PM
Q.

Dude the humidity is low

It is like 45% right now. Not bad.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Okay, well, I am going to arm myself with that information and head outdoors. Farewell, all. Have a great week! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but nauga to follow me on Twitter!

– July 16, 2013 12:28 PM
Q.

 

A.
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