- Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars – I think Pryor’s quote is the perfect counterpoint to this poorly argued article. If people can’t vent on Twitter, lest it scare the establishment, where would they have them do it?
Yet even as online feminism has proved itself a real force for change, many of the most avid digital feminists will tell you that it’s become toxic. Indeed, there’s a nascent genre of essays by people who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in it—not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists. On January 3, for example, Katherine Cross, a Puerto Rican trans woman working on a PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center, wrote about how often she hesitates to publish articles or blog posts out of fear of inadvertently stepping on an ideological land mine and bringing down the wrath of the online enforcers. “I fear being cast suddenly as one of the ‘bad guys’ for being insufficiently radical, too nuanced or too forgiving, or for simply writing something whose offensive dimensions would be unknown to me at the time of publication,” she wrote.
- Seeing All of Us: Diversity in European History – I’ve been seeing lots of posts about Europe’s racial diversity lately, and I really hope this leads to some interesting historical fiction in the future.
It’s sad that any of this is seen as revolutionary or controversial, but the Western world’s exaltation of fair skin and frantic need to portray POC as “exotic Other” has effectively erased its colorful past. Now many people think that portraying POC in Western history as anything other than slaves is anachronistic.
Travelers, traders, invaders, and nomadic peoples from all over the world have always carried their cultures and genes back and forth across constantly-changing borders. It is nothing new. And this extends to Europe’s royal families.
- Even Strength – So, this long-form piece on a NCAA Div. 1 hockey goalie with one hand is kind of one ableist framing cliche after another, but hidden under all the “Such inspire. So brave. Wow.” is a story of a disabled kid who worked his ass off to get higher up the hockey ranks than thousands of other players.
“I never thought about it, but I didn’t just want to be the goalie with one hand,” Joe said. “I wanted to be that guy who anytime you played against me, you knew you were going to lose. Really anything I did, I wanted to be known for those things, I didn’t just want to be known for having one hand … if you let your personality show through, those things overshadow the fact that you only have one hand.”
- Amanda Palmer Compares Macklemore Backlash to ’12 Years a Slave,’ Is Wrong as Usual – This probably petty of me, but I’m just always here for mocking Amanda Palmer. I hope you’ll join me.
Walking, talking think-piece Amanda Palmer has a knack for insinuating herself into the cultural conversation: just when you think she might have finally gone away, she returns like a persistent odor. Her latest trick, if you missed it last night, was to conflate the message of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave with, um, the reaction to Macklemore winning a bunch of Grammys. If this makes no sense to you, well, you’re not the only one — but, loath as I am to give Palmer any more attention than she already has, it’s worth looking at this further, because it demonstrates some wider points about the way we approach questions of race and identity politics in America.
- Drugs vs. the drug war: A response to Michael Gerson – This doesn’t have much to do with what we do here, but it’s a thorough critique of the “War On Drugs” and I’m all about it.
It’s undoubtedly true that in some instances drug addiction by itself has “deprive[d] the nation of competent, self-governing citizens.” But there are legions of former drug users who have gone on to lead successful lives, including Nobel laureates, Olympic champions, our last three presidents, Supreme Court justices, and even a few prominent, anti-legalization opinion columnists. They were merely fortunate enough to be of a class, in a place, or of a time where such use didn’t result in arrests and criminal charges that prevented their later success. Those unlucky enough to have been caught—or even merely arrested—can face diminished education opportunities, employment discrimination, significant loss of lifetime earnings, loss of voting rights, and access to the social safety net.
All of which makes for a strong argument that the way we treat drug users is doing far more to rob us of competent, self-governing citizens than the drugs they’re using.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.