On July 14th, the Prime Minister and First Lady of Malaysia had a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. The Prime Minister, Najib Razak, wore a dark suit; the First Lady, Rosmah Mansor, wore a pale blue baju kebaya, a traditional Malay women’s garment that harks back to a time before Malay culture was as heavily Islamised/Arabised as it is today. The Queen herself wore a daffodil yellow dress. In the room, there were at least two vases full of yellow flowers, perhaps more.
I’ve recently gotten into the habit of tuning into AM radio while getting ready in the morning — sometimes listening specifically for the news; other times just enjoying the voices and occasional musical interludes that make for relaxing background noise. The other day, to my initial delight, I heard a guy mention one of my favorite literary protagonists: Emma Bovary, passionate and tempestuous heroine in Gustave Flaubert’s mid-19th century classic, Madame Bovary. But as the young man on the radio continued, it appeared that he didn’t share my admiration–instead calling Emma Bovary a “heartless, superficial (_insert your favorite expletive_),” who deserved to “burn in hell for her selfishness.” Zoinks! Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this guy seemed a little too riled up. Let’s be honest, Emma was no angel, but the woman had her reasons.
So there I was: a Mormon girl in Republican Orange County during the Reagan years of the Cold War, watching the jets and helicopters traverse the skies over the orange groves, witnessing with my bodily and spiritual eyes the last hurrah of the Southern California military-industrial complex.
Joanna Brooks on the Mormon apocalypse, Amy Butcher on living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Bryon Edwards and Jeffrey Meyers on Paul and Jane Bowles, Roger Porter on the return of the exile, William Miller on losing it, Pearl Abraham on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Molly Patterson on culture, language, and belonging.
Poetry by Thomas Lynch, Theodore Worozbyt, G. C. Waldrep, Janet Kauffman, and Georges Perros.