Tag Archives: The New Yorker

On the Other Hand

Reading the news still feels too much like reading Harry Potter books 6 & 7, in which Voldemort consolidates his power as a racist dictator supported by a puppet bureaucracy and by a few chosen favorites forever squabbling with each other.

However, unlike our current figurehead, Voldemort is capable of choosing words sequenced in an order that effects a generally understood and accepted meaning. 

 

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Dystopia and American Individualism

Today I learned the word “centi-millionaire.” I did not want to know this word. I did not require a vocabulary for gradations of unimaginable wealth. I did not want to imagine billionaires benevolently sharing social theories, real estate tips, and 60-year-old wine with their scrappy li’l neighbors in the soundless, glinting moneyscape of the topmost fraction of a percent. But now I know, and I cannot un-know.

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Reading Women’s Anger

Highlights from what I’ve been reading:

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

This novel launches auspiciously with a rant by a self-identified middle-aged angry woman, about the nature and depth of her anger. Methought “yes, please!” And I enjoyed it. Lovely sentences, interesting characters. But the symbolism was too on the nose. An unfulfilled, meticulous, self-contained woman artist making meticulous, self-contained dioramas of famously unfulfilled women artists. Her foil, a fulfilled, vaguely exploitative, worldly woman artist making room-sized joyful worlds out of “trash” and, it turns out, exploitation. Didn’t you hear? The Art Machine grinds people up! OTOH, Alice Munro said that all the women she knew upended their lives between 36 and 45. This is a decent story about that.

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LGBTQ Homelessness

First off, you may be amused to learn that I’ve been relaxing before bed with a 1976 Dr. Who serial in which a disembodied hand threatens to destroy the entire Earth.

For real.

That’s what’s known as an ice-breaker, before I get down to the dark business of today’s blog post.

You know those stats about LGBTQ youth? And how much greater their risk is for homelessness? HIV? Abuse?

“Netherland,” by Rachel Aviv, brings those abstract, distancing numbers to vivid life. But it’s hahssenfrassenpaywalled.

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Opinion Journalists On Fire

Seriously, folks. I’ve been reading so much great stuff today that I feel like the excitable, sycophantic Chester in the old cartoons about big ol’ bulldog Spike and Sylvester the cat.

Woudja like that, Spike!?!?

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Sex and the Single Girl Movies

Did the 60s Ever End?

True confession: I was not alive in the 60s. I know! But I know and love several people who were. And I’m pretty sure they would say that the 60s ended.

They would also probably agree that our culture’s fixation on that era is a product of both boomer narcissism (oy!) and a kind of national Freudian compulsive returning to the point of trauma. Reliving that time in order to understand it, to make peace with it, to stop it from hurting us. Culturally. What?

Except the 60s were ultimately good. They gave us the Civil Rights Movement, which in turn gave use the feminist and gay rights movements. And I am grateful for color-blocking, which I was doing before I knew it was a thing.

So here is an Official Blog Announcement: I am more obsessed with the 60s every year. This blog will feed my obsession. I have many exciting 60s-themed posts planned. None of them will have any paisley. At all. No paisley.

Today’s installment is about this stunning piece on movie interpretations of Helen Gurley Brown’s ambiguously proto-feminist hit Sex and the Single Girl.

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