Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dining with the Enemy*

We’ve all played the little getting-to-know-you game in which we take turns naming three famous people we’d like to have dinner with. The idea here is that the choice of dinner companions, and perhaps more importantly, the topic of dinner conversations that would arise, reveals something about a person’s character.

For example, if one were to choose to break bread crumbs with Gandhi, we can assume that this person is a deep-thinking, peace-loving soul. Or a pretentious twit.

On the other hand, someone who wants to smash a fruit and vegetable platter with Gallagher isn’t the least bit pretentious, but probably a twit just the same.

It’s a worthwhile exercise, provided you don’t slip into Mike Lupica-stlye sentimentality. In the interest of stirring up some commentor-generated content, I thought we’d try it here, only with a twist.

Instead of naming three people, you’ll be dining intimately with just one guest. And this person should be your ideological opposite. If you’re a liberal, pick a conservative. If you’re a right winger, pick a leftie.

But the idea here isn’t to provide you an opportunity to throw consommé in their face or jam a chicken bone down their throat.

Instead, pick someone who, for all of your differences, you harbor a quiet respect. Someone whose intelligence you value and whose point-of-view you would like to get a deeper understanding of.

I’ll start it off. Since I’m a moderate who votes both sides of the aisle, I’ll be dining with two others.

Now if Amanda Peet were a white separatist and Angelina Jolie were out blowing up Humvee dealerships, then my choices would be clear and you can be darned sure I’d be asking to look at a dessert menu.** But since they both probably share a lot of the same political views and I wouldn’t want to offend by choosing one over the other, I’ll have to look elsewhere.

With that said, sitting to my left will be none other than William Jefferson Clinton. Yes he disgraced the presidency with his randiness and we’re starting to hear from former Friends of Bill, who have shifted their support to Obama, that the Clinton’s aren’t the most loyal or trustworthy of allies. Still, he is a very intelligent person who certainly doesn’t lack for charisma. If he were candid in his thoughts and wasn’t worried about his comments being leaked to the media, it could make for a fascinating conversation.

To balance out the table, to my right will sit Walter Williams, libertarian/conservative columnist. I admit this is kind of last minute invitation, but I was intrigued by his column in today’s SJ-R***. I use to read Williams quite frequently and although we disagree on many things, in particular on smoking bans, I still enjoy reading his views. He’d make for a delightful dinner companion, provided he didn’t flout the law and light up.

I’d let Bill and Walter do most of the talking while I listened and enjoyed a savory tuna steak accompanied by a nice ale or two. It would be a civil and enlightening affair, and hopefully Bill could charge it all to Hillary’s campaign.

Now your turn. For whom would you cross the political divide to dine with?


*This title was taken from the movie Sleeping With the Enemy, a 1991 Julia Roberts/Patrick Bergin vehicle that was awful in ways too many to mention. Although my wife got to hear them all when we watched it together some years back.

**I’m not sure what this means, but it means something.

***I particularly liked this line: “True compassion for our fellow man requires that we examine not the intentions behind public policy but the effects of that policy.”

12 comments:

ThirtyWhat said...

I'm tempted to make my own blog post about your subject ... cause you know how freakin' long-winded I am.

I'd give my left nut (if I had one) to have dinner with Bill Maher ... but ... that wouldn't be following your guidelines ...

I'd say I'm middle-to-left. The older I get, I find myself drifting a bit to the right ... but I'm still miles away from Rush or O'Reilly. In fact, I'm on another continent ...

WAIT! I got it ... Ted Nugent! I mean, he's a gun-nut conservative ... but how much fun would that dinner be? I might totally disagree with most of what he says ... but I'd be totally willing to have a BBQ with him!

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Thirty,

I agree that the Motor City Madman would make an interesting dinner companion, but you're right in making it a BBQ rather than a fine dining experience.

I'd also like to read your long-winded response if you decide to blog on this topic later.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

John Beck said...

I refuse to comment until I know who is paying for the dinner.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

C'mon John! I'm sure you got a nice signing bonus. Take Nancy Pelosi out for some Thai.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

Anonymous said...

I'll pick Jenna Jameson and WJ Clinton. I figure that will keep WJC off the subject of politics (I am trying to eat here!)

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Anon,

Interesting choices. Although I think it might hurt Hillary in the polls if you leaked your little dinner party to the press.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

spfldnet said...

I would dine with Carl Rove. I know about half of his magic. The other half must be motivation; a seething cauldron of rage from a childhood indiscretion that drives him to take such advantage of those poor believers who voted in 2000 and 2004.

brunettechicagogal said...

I'm afraid Karl Rove would inspire me toward the fork-shoving antics you allude to, Dan, so I'll stick by your criteria and go with Colin Powell.

Marie Carnes said...

I'll go for a big country breakfast at Hardee's with Dan and a smoking, bullet point talking, red hatted person. That will not only be some fine conversation, but we'll get a bunch of shit figured out.

UMRBlog said...

My answer's different every day.

Today it would be Ann Curry, Allison Payne and Charlie Rose.

Yesterday it was Michael Jordan, Donald Trump and Anthony Zinni.

Tomorrow I'm leaning toward Jon Bon Jovi's Dad, John Walsh and Sandra Day O'Connor.

Tookie Williams was on the short list but I understand he doesn't make much conversationa anymore and his digestion is impaired.

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