Sunday, November 15th, 2009...3:29 pm

Thrilling Dispatch from the Land of the Young

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Sometimes I think the young live in a different world from you and me. Not just, you know, one with lots more sex and lots less confusion over how to turn on the television, but a land where they watch, listen to, and know about people and things hidden to the rest of us.

For instance, I just got an email from my daughter with the subject line “Beth ditto” and this picture:


I was confused. At first I thought those people on the left were on treadmills in some Parisian version of a gym, following the lead of or perhaps getting inspiration from a very hefty workout instructor.

Because rock stars, especially female rock stars, aren’t allowed to be that fat, are they? Perhaps this photo was taken at a circus? Or at some kind of strip club for fetishists?

The one thing I couldn’t do was admit my cluelessness to my daughter, so I googled Beth Ditto, and discovered that she is a self-identified fat feminist lesbian punk rocker, lead singer of a group called The Gossip, from Arkansas. Being a lover of Arkansas, feminists, girl rockers, fat people in tight dresses, gossip, and — why not — even lesbians, I needed to know more.

I found some slightly off-putting photos.


But I also found this video in which Beth Ditto talks very intelligently about her style inspiration and her life. There’s also some great singing in there. And judging from the size of her audience, Ms. Ditto is actually quite well-known outside of suburban middle-aged New Jersey.

So now I feel like an explorer newly returned from the Land of the Young, where, like Dorothy Gale confronting the flying monkeys, I saw and heard things I maybe wasn’t supposed to see and hear. But instead of feeling scared, all I want is more.

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