Actress Reese Witherspoon posted a new photo to Instagram yesterday in which she was seen “musing over caftans”—musing upon caftans as the darkness encroaches, violence breeds yet more violence, fear triumphs over reason, and the world calcifies along its myriad fractious divides into a bitter, terrified place on the brink of handing its entire future to the squawking manifestation of its primordial lizard brain. The caftan had lemons on it.
According to the caption, the photo was taken at the headquarters of Witherspoon’s Draper James boutique, which offers clothing and accessories inspired by Witherspoon’s Southern heritage—a long lineage of grace, openness, and love for one’s neighbor that is slowly being swept under a roiling tide of enmity, paranoid suspicion, and outright hostility toward anything that smacks of difference or change. It also sells stuff for your dog.
As Witherspoon mused upon her caftan, gazed deep upon its flowy silhouette, pondered its flirty hemline—measuring tape slung ever so casually about her shoulders, should it come to that—and contemplated its carefree summer afternoon spirit, her face was similarly untroubled by thoughts of the widening chasm between all people, as the wedge is driven ever deeper by dangerous demagogues who preach hatred as a means of crumbling the world into smaller, brittle fragments that are more easily controlled.
Reese Witherspoon mused upon her caftan and saw only an easy, breezy garment you could throw on before slipping out to the porch of a charmingly rustic country home to sip lemonade and listen to the soft buzz of cicadas. She did not hear the rising drumbeat of tyranny, or see the panic in the eyes of people who have been indoctrinated and beaten with the conviction that evil men lurk on every street corner plotting to kill and rape them, so they must naturally take up automatic weapons, surrender their compassion to persecution, and bury themselves behind the sort of protective armor that is the exact goddamn opposite of a fun, casual caftan.
Reese Witherspoon mused upon her caftan and thought of nothing. The caftan hung there as an empty promise, lightly stirred by the hot wind surrounding it, its fabric as sheer as the separation between civilization and madness.
When life gives you lemons, make a lemon caftan, she reflected, a complete and utter fool.