There should be an app for party invites that keeps track of people who hate each other and won’t let you invite them both to the same party. Or like, an anti-Foursquare that won’t let two people who hate each other check in at the same bar. Or something. I’m currently trying to mentally manage like 30 of these relationships (and as with probably all industries, people in NY media who hate each other usually do so because one of them met the other “Nine times” and still didn’t remember who they were on the tenth time. Seriously, it’s always exactly nine times. Nobody knows why. Or because one of them is a book author and the other one has ever written for Gawker.) Anyway, this would at least be very useful for publicists.
Actually, you know, nevermind, who gives a shit? I’ll just keep inviting everyone and letting them sort it out. I don’t even exclude the people *I* don’t like anymore, mainly because if someone likes me enough to attend my party, then we’re fine. But this app would still be pretty useful. For people who still care. One of the great things about gradually losing one’s memory is that the reasons you’re supposed to hate random people are the first things to go. (Love, Erma Bombeck.)
That big story in The New Yorker this week, Trial By Fire, was gripping, excellent, and slightly familiar. For an earlier version of some of the same events, with some details that weren’t included, see Michael Hall’s Texas Monthly 2002 ASME-finalist story “Death Isn’t Fair,” about Ernest Willis (the other accused arsonist in the New Yorker story): “As Ernest Willis tells it, he woke up in a house on fire.…”
I knew there had to be a reason I was spending Labor Day afternoon re-reading The Best American Magazine Writing 2003. Who’s the loser now??? (Okay, still me, by a lot. But that thing looks kind of like the other thing! At least the Wild Turkey and Everclear detail will be of interest to anyone whose imagination was captured by the New Yorker story. It’s basically just “further reading.”)