What is Mr. Kitty's Political Affiliation?
Or: Why you should never have wine at revolutionary study groups
(Part I of a Labor Day weekend series)
I’m not sure if you are planning a revolutionary study group, or any sort of study group, but in an effort to save you from a potentially violent incident at your home, please allow me to give you a piece of advice: do not serve wine.
It was 2004. The cast of characters included a eight people whom I’m won’t describe in detail to preserve their privacy, but let us say all of them except for me and my staff organizer whom I’ll call Fifi had known each other for about thirty years. And been at odds the entire time.
The organizer of this study group was one of those revolutionaries who thinks that study groups can solve everything. The hostess was a wonderful woman and labor leader who did not deserve this blow up at her home. The food was excellent. The book was Politics and the Class Divide by David Croteau (another David! They’re inescapable! I’ve been informed by a reliable source that it was the most popular name for boys in 1972 so I suppose I should be tripping over them.) I like that book very much. It has some excellent points about why the middle and upper middle class Left often don’t understand the working class (all overly broad terms I know but this is a funny post not an in depth political analysis. And there’s a cat picture!)
The participants in the group knew quite a lot about the working class. All of us were either organizers or labor lawyers who had come out of the working class and/or been poor for large parts of our lives. So this should be great… right?
As I said, unbeknownst to Fifi and me, several of these participants had been on opposite sides of one of those arcane and absurd battles that happened either inside or between little Communist spin-offs in the eighties when I was a child and Fifi was either not alive or just starting to be. They don’t even remember what they were arguing about, just that they argued vehemently and still seethe.
Great. Whose idea was this?
The discussion started off fairly well. The food was delicious and everyone complimented the chefs. It seemed like a fun night out. I mean, why go to a movie when you can go to a bizarre Leftist study group?
Then the red wine started to flow. It’s always the red that fires up the blood. It was the favorite of the true alpha male of the group and the hostess and back then my favorite as well so the red wine flowed and everyone became merry…
No. Everyone except me, Fifi and the hostess became angry. Very angry.
Four men arguing over something like should we be Democratic Socialists or Socialist Democrats and one was accusing the other of causing George W. Bush to win because he supported Bernie Sanders and they were getting pretty drunk while Fifi and I tried to make jokes or return to the topic of the book…
Then Mr. Kitty walked in.
Mr. Kitty was an indoor/outdoor big tomcat whom our hostess and her husband (one of the arguing men) had adopted at some point. He was very sweet, black and white, like Sylvester.
Mr. Kitty walked in and languidly took up his perch on top of the couch, right about on top of the head of the actual alpha male of the group.
“What do you think Mr. Kitty’s political affiliation is?” I asked our rapidly devolving into violence group.
Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but that ship sailed long ago.
“He’s a Meowist!”
Everyone laughed, stopped arguing, stopped talking about what we should name ourselves or be or whatever, and just ate the food, drank the wine and had a good time. (I know I’m paraphrasing U2 in “The End of the World”)
I know it was a terrible joke, but drunk people will laugh at anything, and someone had to do something to diffuse this situation before red wine was thrown across our hapless hostess’ beautiful yet appropriately modest for a good labor leader’s home. I do love that woman. A model of what a labor leader should be. For the workers, not for herself, not making money off the thing, supporting and promoting young women instead of accusing us of sleeping our way to the top. She was the best.
Thank you, Mr. Kitty.
Mr. Kitty has long ago crossed the Rainbow Bridge, May he rest in Power.
Don’t serve red wine if you’re going to have a revolutionary study group.
And if you’re going to invite a bunch of people who have hated each other for thirty years, I suggest you don’t serve wine at all.
This is not Mr. Kitty. This is my cat Loviefluffy saying, “Don’t even think about throwing red wine across my beautiful yet appropriately modest home.”
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