Recently, Rod posted an interesting conundrum about a fantasy dinner party for you, your spouse, and six other well-known people (living or dead, but in separate groups.) Here is my list, which took me a couple of days of hemming and hawing to complete and a couple of weeks to write about:
Rod noted that your list wouldn’t necessarily be the people you’d most like to meet or even the people you most admire; they should be people you really think would make good dinner guests. I like diversity, so I tried for an even mix of occupations, religions and gender (classic dinner-party etiquette mandates boy-girl seating, anyway.)
- Bono (Musician and Activist) He can make me weak-kneed with one soaring descant, and his occupation as a rock musician would certainly make for some interesting stories, but I’m actually most interested in his take on African politics and hearing about what it was like growing up under the specter of the IRA.
- Carla Bruni (Model and Musician) No fantasy dinner party is complete without a French presence. She’s stylish, talented and completely classy, and the fact that she’s married to the President of France helps lend an air of political importance to the gathering. (The air is the important thing; actual politicians couldn’t possibly be interesting dinner companions.)
- Atom Egoyan (Filmmaker) I want to know where his ideas come from (I wrote my senior thesis on The Sweet Hereafter) and I want to hear about Armenia — what it means to him and what he thinks its future will be like.
- Peter Eisenman (Architect) Believe it or not, this pompous philosopher was one of the first on my list. Back in my undergraduate days, we’d all drag ourselves to Tuesday crit, sleep-deprived and nearly suicidal, only to hear about his latest dinner party. They included the most unusual guests (German philosophers and rock musicians) and he always had something interesting to say about the zeitgeist that inspired them. So I guess I’m taking a gamble that he’s more fun over a bottle of wine than in front of a wall full of blood, sweat and Rapidographs.
- Sharon Astyk (Writer, Activist, Mother) I respect Sharon more than almost any person I know [of.] Her deep faith, commitment to traditional ideals, and desire to create a better world for her children are amazing. I also think she could hold her own against Eisenman in a debate (and could certainly make him feel like a bad Jew.)
- Mother Aemeliane (Scholar, Nun) I couldn’t feel right hosting a dinner party without at least one Orthodox Christian guest, and I can’t think of anyone else who would be a better addition to this one. You may have heard the story of her miraculous rescue from a collapsed building, but unless you have been in her presence you can’t understand the tremendous force of spirit, combined with an even greater humility, that enables her to guide so many people with such grace.
- C. S. Lewis (Writer) He should be a required guest for any Christian taking part in this exercise. Brilliant, creative, thoughtful, funny, likes to smoke after dinner. Yes, please!
- St. Brigid of Kildare (Nun) She’s my patron saint, a disciple of St. Patrick. And she once turned an entire bathtub of water into beer, so she’d be a handy person to have around!
- Frederic Chopin (Musician) The token Frenchman: he lived a short life, filled with suffering, but bequeathed oceans of beauty to the generations that followed.
- Anne Frank (Martyr) Another short, painful life, but one which inspired many. I worried about her young age at first but then remembered: teenage girls always have plenty to say.
- e. e. cummings (Writer) Many poets are accused of being artists with words, but he really was one. The way he saw the world was truly unique.
- Hester Prynne (Seamstress, Outcast) I was really stuck on this last one until I remembered there had been no injunction against fictional characters. Considering how thoughtful and introspective this group is, I think she would have a lot to add to the conversation.
Your lists, please! Answer or link below.