I Have Thoughts on “Cat Person”

Some New Yorker fiction about a bad date went viral, in part because many content-absorbers thought it was non-fiction.

Much of the online fretting about the story focuses on the morality of the characters, the nature of the “consensual but unwanted” sex, the relative relatability of the characters (women relate to the woman, many men hate her, and also hate the man, inversely relating to them both, enraged as if she were a real woman person who dissed their dicks, as if they were Weinstein destroying Mira Sorvino’s career), the backlash about how relatability isn’t the point of fiction, and then defensiveness about how, actually, relatability is quite difficult to accomplish. Continue reading

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I Believe Dylan Farrow

Dylan Farrow wrote another op ed, this time in the LA Times. Please read it.

Even bad reviews of this man’s movies are press. Get Wonder Wheel off of all screens. Delete all references to it. Cancel his production deals. Replace him with one of any number of visionary women directors whose talents have gone too long ignored.

Sever him from our collective consciousness.

As I said, rape culture is rapists making our culture.

Get Woody Allen out of our culture.

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Peter Thiel’s Herpes Problem

A medical researcher dying of cancer, William Halford, couldn’t get institutional approval to run trials on a herpes vaccine that he designed. So he got cash from anti-government bully Peter Thiel to run rogue experiments in St Kitts. A year later, many participants in these trials are sick, possibly from the experimental vaccine. One participant believes that instead of curing the herpes he had, he contracted an entirely new strain of the disease. But they have no clear legal recourse because the experiment happened outside any system of regulation. And Halford died in June.  Continue reading

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Tis the Season, The #metoo Season

Just about all women I know have gone about their dailies, walking down the street, talking to a colleague at a conference bar, filing some paperwork, and had an anvil fall on their heads: I am not a person. I’m a collection of parts to be used by others. I am breasts and a vagina, and sometimes also an ass.

My deepest wish for this chaotic #metoo season is that our culture finally understands the depth of trauma sexual harassment incurs. That we stop making women feel like they should, if they’re strong and good and right enough, shake it off, suck it up, and hold it in. That their violation wasn’t as bad as other women’s, so they don’t need to demand their right to bodily autonomy, nor loudly protest its abrogation. Continue reading

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Roxane Gay Believes in Love

Readers may already be familiar with Roxane Gay’s primal story: A bookish, awkward 12 year-old girl, obedient daughter of Haitian immigrants, biked with her sexy, controlling, popular boyfriend to a deserted cabin in the woods where he and his friends raped her. She hid this trauma from her family for years and protected herself by doggedly making herself huge, maintaining her size through fat camps, parental distress, and professional peregrination.

She has told and retold this story through her increasingly prominent books, both fiction and nonfiction: An Untamed State, about a Haitian-American woman kidnapped by Haitian dissidents; Bad Feminist, a collection of cultural and political criticism; short story collection Difficult Women; and, most recently Hunger, a memoir that only ostensibly addresses her trauma and its lifelong effects more directly than her other work. Continue reading

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Facticity Plasticity

The New York Times has apparently told its reporters they can’t tweet anything partisan.

If only the Times had called me (hey Baquet! call me!). I’d have reminded them that, as they surely know, facts themselves are now partisan. The fact of transgender/genderqueer/nonbinary children and adults. The fact of climate change. The fact of resurgent neo-Nazi rhetoric. The fact of white privilege. The fact of the legacy of slavery persistently restricting opportunity for black people.

Lefties tend to refer to these phenomena as factual because they are. And righties tend to dispute the nature of such facts. Because anything from a liberal is biased and therefore untrue. Continue reading

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