Welcome to a new batch of Laura’s Links.
Sitting in the comfort of my “home office”, such as it is, with a small amount of sunlight coming in, I’m going to try to take a stab at writing the thing I never wanted to write – the thing I dreaded putting into words because it would make it real. Of course Mark Steyn has set the bar very high with his touching tribute, and my friend Andrew Lawton has some lovely words here as well. But I’m struggling.
How do I get my fingers to type the words that will express my grief about the death of my incredible friend Kathy Shaidle without sounding maudlin or self-serving? How do I muster the strength to describe such a treasured friendship in the past tense? If I can find the right words, perhaps you’ll get a glimpse into the gift we were given, to be one another’s friend over so many years. Can I figure out a way to share that with you right now, when the grief still infiltrates my days and night? I have to try.
“Are you sure you want me to speak there?”. This is what a somewhat bewildered Kathy Shaidle said many years ago when I asked her if she would present a lecture at a “Lunch and Learn” event at a local venue in the heart of liberal Toronto. It was a kind of subversive series I ran for some time for local conservatives. Of course I was sure. Introduced to Kathy online via Mark Steyn when the internet was still fun, I’d already been following her blog for ages when I extended the invitation. I was already ridiculously impressed by her sense of humour and wit. I knew she’d be a perfect match for my series of covert, right-wing social gatherings. She took some convincing, but in the end, she agreed and was a rock star. And from that moment on, a new, adult, kindred spirit friendship was born. When I say “kindred spirit”, I laugh out loud and I bet Kathy would too. Me, the observant Jewish mother from the suburbs and Kathy, the “Relapsed Catholic” firebrand from working-class Hamilton, who regretted (in her self-penned, magnificent obituary), not spending more time at the office. But there you have it in a nutshell.
It could only have been a cosmic force that brought us together as friends. Kathy’s intelligence was matched by her truly wicked and glorious sense of humour. She was unafraid to tell the truth, and some of her best lines – lines to live by – are the very best of the best because they were biting, funny and contained so much unavoidable truth that I bet even her most fervent ideological foes either laughed along for a moment, fumed at the smack of reality that whacked them right in the face through her computer, or both.
Every day (with my breaks for Sabbaths and Jewish holidays) presented a cornucopia of micro-diversions from the trials of everyday life with little email exchanges, in which we earnestly tried to outdo each other with our own brand of outrageous commentary on current events. We’d send each other articles and news stories, each subject line more utterly outrageous than the next, each category another notch on our hilarity belts. Each of us delighted in upping the ante on pithy, sarcastic, bombastic comments. There were puns, inversions of standard folk wisdom and gleefully verbally burning down – pretty much massacring – all the precious, trite pieties and sacred cows of the day. Those one liners – that zing, that was the sound and the Five Feet of Fury of Kathy Shaidle. I know I’ll never have that again.
And beyond the many laughs was a friend who listened, gave sage advice, shared thoughtful and heartfelt insight and walked beside me through many difficult times and I can only hope I was the same for her. She was also, despite her prickly public image, a sucker for emotional human grace stories and particularly passionate about the sanctity of all human lives. Despite not being a parent, and claiming she had no maternal instinct, she was kind and understanding with any matters of disability I discussed with her on my journey of special needs parenting. We celebrated many things together. And as two eclectic yet oddly similar but totally different female writers who, at the core, fundamentally need to express ourselves with words, and oh did we both share a passionate love affair with words. What can I say? We were simply friendship-matched from heaven.
My condolences to her husband Arnie. Rest in peace, my beautiful, dear friend Kathy Shaidle, a.k.a Kathy Draidle, Draidlebaum (seeekrit Jooooo). I hope you are soaring in heaven. This made me think of you, and I cried my eyes out watching it and thinking of you even though I know you hate French and France but c’est la vie, and yours was sadly, way too short.
May Kathy Shaidle’s memory be a blessing.
And now, links from a rather dismal week. It’s said that it’s darkest before the dawn, so don’t lose faith. I’ll see you in the comments.
Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of something Mark Steyn always says: If you surrender the language, you disarm yourself. Here are VDH’s thoughts in A Guide to Wokespeak.
When a fashion model makes the most sense on Twitter…
The new book burners are idea burners, burning books before they are even printed.
Super smart Rabbi Professor Dov Fisher on who is to blame.
Caroline Glick on Trump ushering in the era of total political correctness.
Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald on what’s coming.
The left attacks on all fronts. Always.
Israel and Jews:
The Formerly Great Britain:
Behold: the Sex Gestapo of Britain.
Douglas Murray has some thoughts on Trump and Twitter.
Pathetic. I’ve now seen articles smearing this woman as (GASP!) ‘anti-lockdown’.
The Humourless and Kook Left, Wokestapo and Trans.
Stay angry at China. Never forgive. Never forget.
All cultures are equal. Celebrate them all. Don’t judge, hater.
True, loving friendship is one of the purest earthly expressions of grace. That’s all I’ve got this week. Your regularly scheduled dose will return next week.
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