There’s a little picture going around – again – asking if you could invite any 8 people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Reading the comments on this, I see quite a number of people wanting to invite historical figures like Shakespeare, Einstein and – now historical, – Hawking. One guy, who is either an idiot or more honest than most, wanted to include on his list Hitler. For the most part, the afterlife is hopping with invitations for these people. Quite a few people also included the queen of England.
Now I’ve finally given this some thought, and, personally, I don’t want someone at the table making me feel dumb. I suppose the scientists would be intelligent conversationalists, but I’m not a scientist and wouldn’t be able to understand half of what they’re saying. In fact, seeing as Hawking and Einstein weren’t contemporaries, I can just imagine dinner conversation devolving into a heated debate between the two of them – that is, before one of them pulls some kind of juvenile trick and then having the conversation devolve into a brawl. Hawking would have to name a champion, but right now he’s still uninvited to my dinner.
For a similar reason I don’t want the world’s greatest writer – or just any even kind-of successful writer at my table, for I don’t need to be reminded that already 99 agents have turned me down (I’m starting to develop a Tommy Wiseau-complex about the entire thing. I need some kind of validation and money, and unlike the disaster artist, I don’t have unlimited vampire-funds lying around to do my own thing).
Besides, I’m not that pretentious to want an invite-list that would impress others. This is my dinner and I want people there I think I might be able to talk to without being the one that ends up in the kitchen, talking to the dog.
Which brings me to my first guest: Hubby. With my social skills, I need back-up. Hubby is my ultimate back-up. If he can’t make it, nobody else is invited, either.
Second and third guests: Seeing as the original question mentioned I can invite anyone living or dead, I would like to make my two post-humus invites. Though I’ve only really learned about the background, I’ve always fully embraced a Roddenberrian world-view. I started out as a Trekkie with Captain Picard and the gang, but in the late 90’s seriously upgraded to Star Trek: Voyager and still live my life by the motto: ‘What would Janeway do?’ So, for my first two non-hubby invites, I would like the pioneer and first lady of Star Trek to attend: Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett.
Now, with five places to fill, I probably need to admit that, for the most part, I’m probably rather shallow. I’ve already admitted I don’t want famous smart people at the dinner, but in all honesty, if I’m going to have to put up with people for the evening, they’re going to have to be someone I actually want to talk to. Which would probably be characters in books, movies and series, above all else, but as those don’t count, I’ll probably settle for someone related in some way to those characters. So my fourth invite would go to Kate Mulgrew. Remember: ‘What would Janeway do?’
I’d like to add that I’m an arch-feminist: a fighter for equal rights, starting with equality among the sexes. And though Roddenberry was the pioneer, it was Mulgrew’s portrayal of Janeway that really set me on this course of feminism. Let me put it this way: Picard couldn’t get rid of Q, no matter how much he tried. Sisco punched Q and he went away, but that might not be the way to go about making friends with a super-powerful being. Janeway, on the other hand, called him out on all of his bovine manure and still ended up being his kid’s godmother! And it had always seemed to me that, had Star Trek been real life, Muglrew would probably have ended up doing the same thing!
Okay, Star Trek envisions a world where one day we can be better. And if Janeway is who I could aspire to be someday, there are two characters whom I could wish to be today: Sam Carter and Elizabeth Weir from Stargate. But then again, the person who brought Carter alive, Amanda Tapping, seems like someone one could have dinner with as well. Though I’m not really one to do much research (fan-talk for stalking, I suppose) on the actors, it still seems that Tapping is a huge fangirl – including of her role as Carter – and yet she never compromised the character’s feminism. The same goes for Torri Higginson, the actress who brought Weir to life. That was a character who lead a bunch of whiney scientists and mucho marines to another galaxy! But in the non-Stargate photos I’ve seen of Higginson (usually at conventions and stuff), she almost always looks slightly uncomfortable. Probably an introvert among a bunch of super-extroverts and probably then the person I’d end up chatting to the entire night. Or at least, joining in the kitchen and talking to the dog together.
That leaves two places at the table, and I’m going to unashamedly return to Star Trek. But more important: Sir Patrick Stewart. Besides being the captain of the starship that convinced me to be a Trekkie, there’s also the fact that there’s that photo of him claiming to be the ‘old white guy that supports feminism.’ As far as I can tell his best friend is also Sir Ian McKellin and the two of them make a formidable team in the fight for equality. It’s like they took Star Trek to heart and now they want to prove it is possible to live by those dreams. And having them there would at least go a long way to reassure me that people can be better in this very scary and broken world. So in thiss pretend-world where I can invite people to dinner, the last two invites would have gone to these two sirs.
(Note: I wanted to set a nice, candle-lit, food-and-wine-covered table as featured image, but this leaf-shaped table is so very very pretty, so I went with it instead!)