Tag Archives: Anxiety

Bookishness Roundup

I wrote about whether or not Jewish people feel more anxious than others (they don’t, but don’t they?) (This mommyblog post does not refer to my dissertation, which argued that anxiety = contemporary culture and gimme a cookie. For my feelings.)

I recently enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife. Obreht’s magical realist novel uses the horror of ethnic violence to rip apart all the boundaries: between nations, ethnicities, and religions, between animal and human, between life and death. As editors are legit assigning stories about potential nuclear war not even a fucking year into this administration, it’s worth thinking about the senseless dehumanization of violent tribalism. Also, while I’m no expert in Balkan culture, the novel seemed to conspicuously, uncritically, surprisingly (given its investments) marginalize its Muslim characters.

I coulda written this about how the afterword in The Handmaid’s Tale (a bunch of historibros debating whether or not the account is valid) is the most important part of the book, by reinforcing the sexism that persisted before and after the Gilead period. Gendered knowledge practices delegitimate women’s experiences and silence their voices. But also: Gilead ended. Political eras end.

This story of Kathy Acker’s last year breaks my heart.

“Surrounded by friends, she began to stop breathing, intermittently. She asked Viegener to look for the list. What list?

The list to call the animals. Kathy, we didn’t make a list. It’s the list to call the animals back home.”


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We Are Now Less Free

Our president-elect ripped fistfuls of hair out of his wife’s skull because his plastic surgery operation hurt. Then he raped her. He mocked her pain the next morning.

He will outsource most presidential duties to a man who thinks of me as a walking uterus. In his ecstasy about reducing me to my reproductive capacity, he shut down Indiana health care clinics and gave hundreds of people HIV.

His chief of staff believes that schoolchildren who are Jewish, like me, are ‘whiny brats.” That is his nicest description of Jews, as far as I can tell.

I am among the least threatened by this election. I’m white, straight, employed, not Muslim, and not an immigrant. I fear for my physical safety only a little bit more than usual. But that little bit.  And my dear friends, colleagues, and compatriots who are scared for their life: We are all less free now.

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