The Rumpus

“There is a quality that certain historic figures are said to share, a nearly indescribable feeling—not that these figures embody, but that they bring out in whoever they meet. The quality has been called intense charm, and magnetism, but these are both insufficient. Former president Bill Clinton is said to possess it. Mu Sochua, the Cambodian women’s rights leader, does as well. Successful cult leaders, I assume, get by on it almost exclusively. An ex-boyfriend once told me that Ann Magnuson, actor and frontwoman of Bongwater, was the same. ‘She’s one of those people that, when you meet them, you want to marry them, immediately, and devote your whole life to making them happy,’ he told me. I didn’t understand what he meant until I met Lynda Barry.”—The Lynda Barry Interview (April, 2012)

“Before I go on, fair friends, allow me to state decidedly that I am aware how much be on your minds. As one who is also in maintenance of a vagina, I submit that its upkeep sometimes leaves me with little time for much else in the way of memorial planning or public participation. Therefore it is with deference to your neglected children, should you have them, and I do not, because I think they are boring and not for any other reason, that I must raise the question of the necessity of your town claiming three such notable events in the history of our national development? It is excessive, no? And showy.” —An Open Letter to the Women’s Travel Auxiliary of Seneca Falls, New York (December, 2012)

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