Speaking very generally, Jewish discussions and feminist discussions are tired, boring and repetitive (sometimes interchangeable) if you don’t count yourself among those labels, or even if you do. What then are my thoughts on Lilith's take on Jewish feminism? Better than n+1. (Note to Keith: have you ever considered an auction? I’d bid $50 on a telephone hypnosis session with Mark Greif for sure.)
In August, President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, saying, “[T]here is nothing more sobering than signing a letter of condolence to the family of [a] serviceman or -woman who has given their life for our country.” To their surprise, Jannett and Gregg Keesling, Chance’s parents, won’t be getting such a letter. Obama does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat. [After making inquiries, the Keeslings discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.]
Jannett told me: “Chancellor was recruited right out of high school, and this was something he was passionate about, joining the military. I wanted him to go to college, but he said that he wanted to be a soldier.” Gregg added: “We had doubts about him joining. … When the war broke out in 2003, when many of us were trying to retreat, Chancy decided, ‘This is my duty.’ … But once he did his first tour … his marriage broke up during that deployment.”
Chance was very troubled during his first tour of duty in Iraq, although he performed admirably by all accounts. At one point he was put on a suicide watch and had his ammunition taken away for a week. After Iraq, Chance declined a $27,000 reenlistment bonus and transitioned to the U.S. Army Reserves, hoping to avoid another deployment. He sought and was receiving treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility. Gregg said, “We sat down as a family, and we said, ‘President Obama is going to be elected, and President Obama will end this war, and you won’t have to go.’ ” But then his son’s orders to deploy came again.
Current laws prevent transfer of mental health information from active-duty military to the reserves, so Chance’s commanders did not know of his previous struggles. Last June, troubled again, he sent his parents a dire e-mail, mentioning suicide. Jannett recalled: “I spoke to Chancellor the night before he died for about four minutes. And as always, he wore a really tough exterior. … But what he did tell me that night is that he was going to have a very long, difficult day. His conversation was quite brief. Normally he would say that he loves me, and he would say goodbye. But this time he simply hung up.”
The next morning, Gregg said, Chance “locked himself in the latrine and took his own life, with his M-4 … our grief is deep. The letter won’t stop [our pain]—we’ll still be hollow inside for the rest of our lives, but the acknowledgment from the president that our son gave his life in service to the causes of the United States is important to us.”
In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?
I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?
I’ve certainly never heard that take on the story before.
First, I was in the middle of all that. Back then, we all were. Everybody knew everybody else. There was a totally different story at the time that doesn’t resemble anything that we’re now being told.
What do you mean?
The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.
(1) I can honestly claim not to get it, which is a rare stance for me to take. Am I that oblivious or (2) is this the creepiest Krucoff has ever gotten? Too Insidery, or Too Molestery? Take your pick, try not to get skeeved out.