Showing up late to my own blog in a thrifted fur is, at the very least, on brand, so that’s one way to ring in my birthday. Apologies for the tone—the week that was exhausted and frustrated me to the bone, although my birthday weekend was the best I’ve had in the city since I moved here. I’m still recovering.
As you may have gathered from the spotty service and our shared experience of living in this world, there’s too much garbage happening too fast for me to continue linking at my previous rate. Making it work rather than… well, whatever this evolved into last November defeats the whole purpose of switching to this format, you know? So, in the interests of keeping me engaged and awake, I’m going to try to winnow down to three. It’s traditionally a good number for me. We’ll see how it goes. After all, this is for me and for no one else. I’m trying to be better about being selfish.
In these troubled times, I am very glad to be represented by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. This New York profile of her by Rebecca Traister contains a moment that I find quite telling and compelling about the senator, although Traister paints it as a flop. Gillibrand, talking about her views on immigration (which used to be quite conservative), admits to her privilege and embarrassment over her previous myopia. And that’s something I need in my leaders; the ability to acknowledge their mistakes, grow from them, and own them, instead of seeing them as weaknesses. I think Traister’s right to point out that such an evolution in thought was majorly beneficial for Gillibrand politically, but I find it heartening instead of cynical.
Anne Helen Petersen tears into Ivanka Trump attempting to define “acceptable” ways of advocacy and redefine the word complicit. I think Ivanka’s position fills me with a very particular kind of rage, because November showed us that we need to speak louder. Having Ivanka attempt to sell the value of “lack of public denouncement” (i.e., silence) as the appealing, appropriate way to temper the vices and harebrained policies of those in power instead of, you know, political action just infuriates me.
Terri Kapsalis’ “Hysteria, Witches, and The Wandering Uterus: A Brief History” is about Kapsalis teaching “The Yellow Wallpaper” in the fall of 2016. It’s far-reaching and heartbreaking, especially when Kapsalis’ students tell her how some of their previous teachers have misused “The Yellow Wallpaper” to promote, intentionally or not, misogynistic views. November felt like a sudden shock out of left field for those of us too privileged and sheltered to imagine we could go backwards. But, as Kapsalis points out, much of this is nothing new:
We know that the social toxins of living in a racist, misogynist, homophobic, and otherwise economically unjust society can literally make us sick, and that sickness is no less real than one brought on by polluted air or water. In actuality, both social and environmental toxins are inextricably intertwined as the very people subject to systemic social toxins (oppression, poverty) are usually the same folks impacted by the most extreme environmental toxins. And the people who point fingers and label others “hysterical” are the ones least directly impacted by said toxins.