Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We were in Congee Village on Allen Street, eating porridge, Dungeness crab, and stir-fried frog legs. Viola said that the food reminded her of the movie The Wedding Banquet. All four of us at the table had seen movies of An Lee, so we talked about them, going through each one. Yang questioned whether there was a unifying theme in An Lee's movies. What did "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman", and "Brokeback Mountain" have in common?

"Tolerance", I said. In his movies, An Lee showed the audience how much grief intolerance could afflict.

All agreed. Amelie lamented that today people were no more tolerant than they were two hundred years ago. We might seem a bit more accommodating toward our neighbors, but we remained hostile toward foreign regimes with different ideologies. Half of the people still detested homosexuality.

"Why can't all the people in the world be like us?" one of us asked. We were all liberals educated in Columbia University. Then we laughed. We had found the source of all intolerance.