A link roundup for learning and healing: the past few days have been heavy and gruesome. This week I kept saying to myself “this is the best thing I’ve read in weeks” and then days or hours later thinking the same thing all over again.
I have a very strong sense of there being troves of critical insight and compassion and nuance for me to learn from many of the people these articles are written by and about. There is also some very charming and funny stuff here.
On Thursday I picked up Annie Baker’s The Vermont Plays, the first of several works by contemporary playwrights that I have convinced the St. Louis Public Library to purchase for their collection. I was very excited.
Image description: a selfie showing me holding up a book of Annie Baker’s plays near my face. I have on aviator glasses, have philtrum and septum piercings, have a light blonde buzzcut, and my mouth is open. The book has a white cover featuring a multicolored line drawing of a snowflake.
Lord Byron’s “Fare Thee Well,” or “I Just Think It’s Funny How” by Mallory Ortberg, The Toast.
The Toast was back for a single day. It is still lovely. The Tosties are still the best people in the world. Mallory is still hilarious. Water is still wet.
The Fallout by Lacy M. Johnson, Guernica.
Living in St. Louis feels like living in a haunted house sometimes. The Weldon Springs nuclear site is literally just across the street from the psychiatric hospital where I spent 41 days last spring. My sense of the haunted-ness of the city certainly pales in comparison to the pain and wisdom of the people who have spent lifetimes and generations with these ghosts, or the people who wrestled with them before they were ever spoken about by people outside their family or neighborhood. The people in this article are regular people – not professional scientists or social service agencies or publicly funded projects – doing work that should be the responsibility of state and federal governments, who have consistently failed to act, to care for and protect their families and neighbors. We have a lot to learn from them.
I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction by Roxane Gay, The New York Times.
I don’t think anything I can say about this would add anything to it; it is that good. Roxane Gay is a genius and her work constantly challenges and excites me, but you already know that.
If you missed it, on Tuesday I highlighted the St. Louis theatre I am most excited about seeing over the coming months.
Comic Jessica Williams On ‘The Daily Show’ And Learning To ‘Never Be Average’ by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR.
This interview, like almost every Fresh Air interview has the power to, made me sit in my car for like at least 25 minutes after pulling into my garage because I didn’t want to stop listening, even though there are only a few hours between the broadcast and the podcast. I love Jessica Williams and I love Terry Gross and I now too want to call her Terr-Terr.
6 Scenarios Where Intentionally Changing Your Weight Doesn’t Make Sense – Even If You Think It Does by Judith Matz, Everyday Feminism
Weight loss is probably impossible and isn’t going to help you. Let’s stop pretending this is false and start treating fat women as human.
No by Sara Ahmed, Feminist Killjoys.
A sharp and compelling feminist analysis of power, position, survival, and “no.” This is more academic than anything I have read in a long time and immediately reminded me how much I loved reading hard but mind-blowing theory for the cultural anthropology classes I took at Beloit. I miss almost nothing about being In College in a four year degree, liberal arts school, live in the dorms way, but I miss getting to read work like this and then wrestle with it in class with brilliant professors and classmates. I need to read more like this.
The Poisoning by Alexander Chee, Tin House.
A really, really lovely personal history of gin.
When I was nonverbal by Peri, girlwithautismblog.
The language of this girl’s account of her relationships with her family as a young, nonverbal autistic child is wonderfully precise and simple and accurate. The intensity and insight with which she recalls her internal experience brings up so much for me. I’ve spent hours of mental energy and time in therapy over the past couple of years thinking about what it was like for me to be a mentally ill child in my family years before any of us had a real understanding of what was going on. There is a lot here about communication and affection and expression and fighting with your own brain.
Snopes Faces an Ugly Legal Battle by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic.
Snopes has been there for me since I was an annoyingly precocious elementary school student debunking the chain forward emails I got from my friends who had gotten them from who knows where. Now accessible, straightforward fact checking of widely shared stories is so much more important.
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