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  • I Told You So
  • Written by Kate Clinton
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  • I Told You So
  • Written by Kate Clinton
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Published by: Beacon Press


On Sale: May 01, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8070-4451-3
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

I Told You So is a hilarious, bittersweet, and politically acute survival guide. In collected columns and routines, Kate Clinton gleefully details personal coping techniques tested over a lifetime. They're perfectly suited for political and cultural upheaval: wildcatting for democracy, curbing your cynicism, and changing the climate. Read them and you'll never be voted off the island.

Excerpt

I Told You So was completed at the end of July 2008. This book is a
collection of columns from magazines, essays translated from earlycentury
Bloggerean, and material written especially for this compilation.
After I sent the document file of my book to my editor just by
warily pressing Send, I made a big flourish of checking off the last day
of my six-month writing schedule. I cleaned off my desk, filed two
trees’ worth of hard-copy rewrites, and turned my full attention to
writing for my summer show in Provincetown.
 
For more than twenty years I have performed in July and August
in Provincetown. I write something new every day, especially if the
weather is bad; I ride my bike down to the club and try the lines out
at night. My audience knows that a lot of the material is being workshopped
for the show I will take on the road in the fall. They know
because generally I tell them.
 
Some weeks a brilliant three pages of newly minted material becomes
an aside after only three shows. But other times a throwaway
line gets a surprising response and over a few performances grows to
a brand-new ten minutes. My audiences like being part of the process.
They often talk to me after a show: “When you said that, I thought
you were going to go this way,” as if the show were on MapQuest, but
then they finish with the perfect punch line that had eluded me. Since
I have joke dyslexia, they kindly point out when I have reversed setup
and punch line altogether. Or they tell me their stories. I take notes. I
promise them royalties.
 
My partner of twenty years has said to me after almost every show
she has seen, “Well, that was too long, but you need to do more political
stuff.” Over the years, and because of the world, I have become
more political. Actually I am a full-blown junkie. My shows reflect
that. On the Provincetown entertainment menu of drag shows, piano
bars, Broadway adaptations, theater, and comedy, I am the entrée
known as “that political one.”
 
In the past, doing a lot of political material for people on their
precious one- or two-week vacation in a resort town could be dicey.
They have been at the beach all day reading trashy beach books or
boogie boarding. They have not kept up. Some nights I felt that I was
anchoring a news show, not so much doing a comedy show. Instead of
laughter, I would hear, “I wish she had this on PowerPoint.”
The summer of 2008 was like nothing I had ever witnessed. It
was not just because critical mass had been reached in the possession
of personal handheld devices. Nor was it because the town mothers
and fathers had finally gotten some decent radio transmitters and
fewer people had to stand out in parking lots screaming into their
cell phones, “I can’t hear you!” That summer Wi-Fi was the preferred
guesthouse amenity. More than a private bath. No one wanted off the
grid. No one wanted to miss anything. Even on vacation.
 
Would the Hillary supporters get over themselves and make the
change to Obama? Could Obama really beat McCain? The town slept
fitfully, waiting for a text message about Obama’s choice for vice president.
Would he pick Hillary? In the line at the Grand Union, strangers
would say, “Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about Palin.”
Increasingly panicked mass e-mails from California warned of the
passage of Prop Hate, the anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative. Everyone
bemoaned high gas prices. Bear Stearns Week trumped the fun
of Bear Week. International tourists crowded town during Carnival
Week. Some shops accepted euros. In one ominous sign, the store
called Don’t Panic was shuttered.
 
When your situation room is a resort town in August, it is difficult
to convey the seriousness of some developments to vacationers. It is
also perhaps cruel. In one late August show I joked about George W.,
back stateside from the Chinese Olympics, which had been brought
to us by our own credit card debt. With not one little toenail left on
his moral footprint, and still president-erect from cruising the Olympic
volleyball babes and hectoring China on its human rights abuses,
our spectator in chief excoriated Russia for its preemptive strike on
Georgia. You could practically hear the world snorting, or maybe it
was me.
 
After the show, I was talking to one very sunburned woman and
realized she thought Russia had invaded the state of Georgia. (No, it
was not Sarah Palin.) She confided, “If they can fix the Atlanta airport,
I’m all for it. They should give them Florida while they’re at it.” But
even at half-attention, people were more politically and passionately
interested in politics than I could recall.
 
After Labor Day and before my tomatoes had ripened, dammit,
I finished my summer-long run and returned to Manhattan with a
shiny new show for fall touring. But every day brought such dizzying
change, I wrote new material and eased out pieces that seemed dated
with just a week’s shelf life, because the show was getting as long as a
Bruce Springsteen show. I felt like an embedded war correspondent
just a sentence or two ahead of breaking news.
 
Whenever I thought back to some sections of the book I had had
to turn in at the end of July, they seemed like all setup without punch
line, cruel foreplay. I regretted not being able to finish the Clinton-
Obama/McCain-Palin/Prop Hate/campaign/election story lines. It
seemed unfair, unfinished.
 
As we who wanted a woman president almost learned from Sarah
Palin, be careful what you wish for. In early September, I received a
call from my editor at Beacon Press requesting an additional chapter
to conclude the political dramas I had been following. Though I had
a busy fall tour schedule, it was like receiving a reprieve from the governor.
And at sixty, I find I work well on deadlines.
 
The stay of publication also allowed me to move on. This time,
when I finished the last chapter, the book felt finished. I felt finished.
Eight long years of being Kate the Designated Bush Watcher can
make you very cynical. Yes it can. I am finished living in I-told-youso.
The schaden is off my freude. I am eager to transition into my new
job: Kate the Happy Chronicler of the Successes of the Bush Toxic
Cleanup Committee, the Great Restoration Hardware Voting Rights
Act, the International War Crimes Tribunal, the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, the Actual Intelligent Design Project, the Stepping
Aside of the Baby Boomer Ritual, and the Cynicism Abatement
Task Force.

Table of Contents

Introduction
 
 MSM
 Democracy Diet
 
 I Want My Gay TV
 
 We’re Back in Kansas, Toto
 
 The Passion of the Penguins
 
 Why You’ll Never Hear “Heeeeeeere’s Katie!”
 
 Hikikomori
 
 Mashups and Me
 
 He-Who
 
 The Body Politic
 
 Hairspray
 
 Dog Days of Summer
 
 See Alice?
 
 Crabby Putinesca
 
 Sister Friends
 Feeling Potlucky
 
 King of My Heart
 
 Desperate Housewiles
 
 Tant P.U.
 
 Kiss My Benchmark
 
 You Logo, Girl!
 
 This One’s for You, Mildred
 
 Argh, O’Mateys!
 
 Big Love Trumps Mr. Big
 
 Ptown GPS
 
 Bawdy Politics
 An American Impressionist
 
 Not Full Citizens
 
 Happy Returns
 
 Stupor Bowl
 
 Amazing Grace
 
 B Is for Benchmark
 
 TGI /
 
 Rudimentary
 
 Our State of Affairs Is a Great State Fair
 
 Curb Your Cynicism
 
 Late Adopters
 
 Fighting Weight
 
 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit
 Why Not Hillary?
 
 “If you go down to the woods today . . .”
 
 Hillaphobic Blowback
 
 Hillary’s My Guy
 
 Sitting Shiva on She
 
 It Ain’t Over
 
 Hubble, Hubble
 
 Carpooling on the Straight Talk Express
 
 Do You Have to Go?
 
 The Itch to Hitch
 
 Faith-Based Comedy
 The Sistine Shusher
 
 Reading Between the Holy Lines
 
 Ding-Dong
 
 Ordained Comic
 
 M’Kay?
 
 St. Alf’s Science Fair
 
 The Closet and the Confessional
 
 Moral Footprints
 Gayvolution Theory
 
 I Wish I Could Quit Ewe
 
 Just Rehab Those Slurs Away!
 
 Edible Equality
 
 Incoming!
 
 The Month Formerly Known as June
 
 Friends of Bill and Dorothy
 
 ENDA, Don’t MENDA
 
 Power Is Sexy! Action Is Hot!
 
 Go, Golden Staters! Go, Buckeyes!
 
 The Perfect Heterostorm
 
 He Sees Gay People
 
 Citizen Arrests
 Third Term
 
 Peace of My Mind
 
 The UN Goes to Junior High
 
 I Don’t Heart Huckabee
 
 Happy International Women’s Day!
 
 DC
 
 Buzzkill
 
 Lights Out on Bush
 
 Curb Your Mitt!
 
 Hypocrites Galore
 
 Precollision Intelligence
 
 Bush as Belichick
 
 PBTSD
 
 The Unconflicted White Man
 
 On the GLAAD Rag
 
 Wii the People
 
 Come On, Rogue
 Project Runaway
 
 Civic Tempura
 
 Even Covergirls Get the Blues
 
 The Palin Effect
 
 The Right to Comfort
 
 The Big Gay Slowdown
 
 Afterword
Praise

Praise

I Told You So is true, terrifying, and coffee-out-yournose funny. I love Kate Clinton. Buy the book, or I'll sic the NSA on your ass.—Rachel Maddow

"Kate Clinton makes our world bigger by sharing hers. With her laser-beam wit, she offers up a series of bittersweet, twisted, tart and tangy, honest, and from-the-heart essays. I enjoyed every minute of viewing the world through her eyes. All that and she is funny."—Lewis Black, The Daily Show

"A hilarious, jam-packed, and fun-filled collection of thoughts from the mind of an American original."—Lily Tomlin

"Clinton proves in these essays—which cover topics from the inherent lesbianism of Sex and the City to three-dimensional thesauri—that she still ranks among the sharpest, funniest working comedians."—Ms.

"[Clinton] throws just as many ingredients into the pot—she riffs on Hillary Clinton and waterboarding, baptism and Provincetown—but comedic license and her own wicked sense of humor allow Clinton a kind of thematic ADD that fiction would not afford."—Kathi Wolfe, Washington Blade

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