Open Thread and Link Farm, Catch 22 Subparagraph A Edition

Whoops, there are forty links here. I really should have posted this sooner.

  1. Maybe Voting Before Healthcare? | Noah Berlatsky on Patreon
    Noah argues, and I agree, that voting rights should be the top priority of Democrats, not Medicare For All.
  2. Republican House Majority Whip in the South Dakota legislature calls running over protesters ‘a movement we can all support’ – ThinkProgress
    The article includes another example of an elected politician, and also Fox News, promoting the idea that protestors should be run over.
  3. Forced-To-Penetrate Cases: Lived Experiences of Men (pdf link)
    A British survey of men who have been forced to penetrate (the paper’s term) by women. This is very interesting, although we should keep in mind that it’s a self-selected sample; I’d really like to similar questions asked by a large-scale survey using a more representative sample.
  4. Not Sorry Feminism: Dear Millennial Men
    A study finds that male students in college, in biology class, consistently see their female counterparts as less intelligent and accomplished, even in classes where the grade leaders are female. The female students had no corresponding bias. (Thanks, Grace!)
  5. How Black Women Have Impacted Feminism Over Time | Teen Vogue
  6. Neoliberal academia complex shows its ass: Harvard rejects Manning, Jones, unions
    But the only free speech problem on campus comes from the left. (Thanks, Grace!)
  7. Bernie Sanders Is Changing the Democratic Party’s Priorities – Bloomberg
    It doesn’t matter, for now, that his Medicare for All bill has no funding mechanism; the point is to raise the priority of Medicare for All as a core belief among Democrats. Other, wonkier politicians will work out the details if MFA becomes a central Democratic belief.
  8. Comics – Index of Multi-Panel Pans by Decade | THE PERIODIC FABLE
    I love these sorts of panels (where a background continues across multiple panels). I’ve long contemplated trying to do a full-length comic with a single continuous background.
  9. ICE Is Abusing the ACLU’s Clients Because They are Fighting Deportation | American Civil Liberties Union
    ” ICE appears to have ramped up its efforts to make the lives of Iraqis in custody so unbearable that they will “voluntarily” sign away their rights to reopen their immigration cases or pursue asylum. The Iraqis have been singled out and denied food, water, and access to the restroom.”
  10. The well-meaning harm of “the last acceptable discrimination.”
    An essay by a fat writer about a phrase she’d rather not hear.
  11. Single-payer isn’t the only progressive option on health care – Vox
    The goal should be universal coverage, not single payer.
  12. In Sync We Trust: Pop Music’s History of Lip-Syncing (and Lying About It)
  13. Reflections on Abjection and Fatphobia – Kiva Bay – Medium
    “What does it mean to separate a part of your body from your Self? To look in the mirror and tell yourself you are surrounded by some alien Other thing?”
  14. To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now – The New York Times
    1980s at Kodac versus today at Apple. Alternative link.
  15. The generation game | Inside Story
    Regarding “baby boomers, generation X, and so on”: “I’ve now concluded that generational clichés are the ultimate zombie idea, easy to refute but impossible to kill.”
  16. How I Learned to Love Being a Hairy Lady – by Vreni
    Long-form cartoon, with nice drawings. Mostly autobio, but also some interesting stuff about the history of shaved legs.
  17. A Serf on Google’s Farm – Talking Points Memo
    How Google’s near-monopoly on many aspects of online publishing effects publishing.
  18. Two Circles by Micah Lexier – YouTube.
    “Two Circles” is an attractive but also unimpressive piece of public art, in the photos of it I’ve seen. But this video of the making of it is hypnotic.
  19. Deaf Advocates Call Oklahoma Police Shooting ‘Tragic but Not Surprising’ – NBC News
  20. Antifa Broke My Camera | New Republic
  21. The Resegregation of Jefferson County – The New York Times
  22. Trump supporter tries to get undocumented classmate deported, gets expelled from college
  23. Confessions From The Fattest Person At The Sex Party
    Content warning: Discussion of fax anxiety in an extremely anxiety-producing situation.
  24. Congress prepares to do the bare minimum to stabilize Obamacare – Vox
    And even that level of accomplishment may be a stretch.
  25. (1) The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory – YouTube
    Although honestly, one 20 minute video can barely scratch the surface of the sexism of this show.
  26. How to Distinguish Between Antifa, White Supremacists, and Black Lives Matter
  27. From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones – The New York Times
    Harvard accepts, and then rejects, an applicant who served 20 years in prison for murdering her son – partly out of fear of what Fox News would say. The research Michelle Jones did (in prison!) is really impressive.
  28. David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue – The New York Times
    A long read, but I liked it. (Although I have to admit I was more interested in the story of David than the parallel story of the author’s personal growth.) Indirect link.
  29. Study: Trump fans are much angrier about housing assistance when they see an image of a black man – Vox
  30. I posted a long thread on Twitter about the anger of anti-SJW comics fans, which to my surprise got a LOT of views and responses.
    ETA: Oh, and now someone has made it into a Storify, which may make for easier reading.
  31. Teacher accused of assaulting student who sat for Pledge | MLive.com
  32. Fuck The Pledge of Allegiance – Intelexual Media
  33. Inside The Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns | GQ
    A federal bureau that is legally forbidden to use computer databases tries to track down guns for murder investigations.
  34. Consentacle: A Card Game of Human-Alien Intimacy by Naomi Clark — Kickstarter
    This looks like it could be a fun game. Thanks to Grace for the link.
  35. DACA’s Five-Year Anniversary: More than 100 Law Professors Support Legality of DACA
  36. How the Courts Have Devastated Organized Labor – Lawyers, Guns & Money
  37. Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Re-Coloring Moebius
    Examples and discussion of the horrendous recoloring of a comics classic. Although actually I think in the third example, it actually looks better in the newer colors; but in the first two examples, the recoloring is a travesty. Also, the choice to switch to a much more typical lettering font sucked.
  38. The problem with how men perceive rape
    “While writing this story, I heard from a number of different women who’d had sexual experiences that weren’t quite rape, but didn’t feel completely consensual either.”
  39. Comic strip: What If We Thought Of Gender Like Ice Cream? It Makes Sense, Here’s Why – Everyday Feminism
  40. The Effects of ‘Ban the Box’ on the Employment of Black Men | Econofact
    Research finds that if employers can’t ask if applicants have ever been convicted of a crime, they respond by increasing discrimination against young Black men. But then others argue that that interpretation of the studies is flawed (pdf link). There’s also a in-depth discussion in this paper from the Urban Institute (pdf link).

Posted in Link farms | 14 Comments  

Speculative Poetry Class tomorrow!

Come take my first ever speculative poetry class tomorrow!

Website - 19 (1)

Poetry requires intense linguistic control. Every word matters. Whether you’re a poet who wants to create fantastical verses, or a prose writer who wants to learn the finely tuned narrative power that poetry can teach, you’ll find something in this class.

Over the course of a few brief lectures, peppered with plenty of writing exercises, we’ll discuss some common forms of speculative poetry, and the challenges they represent. I’ll also send you home with market listings, and lists great authors, poems, and books to pick up to continue your journey.

The class is September 16, 9:30-11:30, with $20 off for anyone enrolling.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in cat rambo, classes, speculative poetry, Teaching, verses of sky and stars | 1 Comment  

What should I see in London and Paris?

I’m going on a pleasure trip to London and Paris with my mom. We’ll be spending about five days in each city. (Yes, you’re right, I AM lucky!)

Anyone been? What do you recommend we see? Any restaurants we should definitely try?

(Of course, we’ll be seeing some West End musicals. That goes without saying.)

Posted in About the Bloggers | 22 Comments  

Cartoon: Ten Reasons We Want To Kick Out The Dreamers

If you like these cartoons, please support them at Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters to me.


I do a fair number of cartoons about immigration, because it’s an issue that drives me up the wall; the anti-immigration position seems not only lacking in compassion, but in any connection to pragmatic reality.

But the controversy over the Dreamers – over immigrants who were taken to the US as children and grew up in the US – seems especially mean, and thus especially infuriating. It’s simply cruel to take people who have been in the US virtually all their lives (the average person using the DACA program was five years old when brought to the US) and send them to a “home” country they might not even have memories of.

And the argument from character – “they deserve to be deported because they are bad lawbreaking people” – which I don’t think holds up well in any case – is particularly ridiculous when discussing people brought to the US as minors.


Title: TEN REASONS WE WANT TO KICK OUT THE DREAMERS

Panel 1
This panels shows a white man and woman, who look like a married suburban couple, standing behind a picket fence. The man is speaking angrily.
MAN: Because someone who spends the first year of their life abroad and 20 years here has no real connection to the U.S.!

Panel 2
A white man in a black jacket stands flipping frantically through a book.
MAN: Because the Bible tells us to treat our neighbors like shit! Especially the least well off! (It’s in here somewhere…)

Panel 3
A white woman stands behind a counter with a cash register on it. She is shrugging. Dollar bills are fluttering through the air around her.
WOMAN: Because I have no use for the money dreamers spend at my store! (What’s this stuff even for?)

Panel 4
A white man with a tidy beard stands in a park, giving the viewer the finger.
MAN: Because pissing off the libtards is reason enough!

Panel 5
A white man with hair sticking straight out and huge eyes is yelling, sweat flying from his face, in an extreme close-up.
MAN: Because people born in other countries are evil! EEEVVILLLLL!

Panel 6
Donald Trump, wearing a suit and tie and holding a pen up, speaks.
TRUMP: It’s all about the rule of law! Now excuse me while I pardon Joe Arpaio!

Panel 7
An alien, with inhumanly red skin, four arms, and a triangle shaped head with no nose or ears and only one eye, speaks cheerily. The alien is giving a thumbs up with one hand and holding a coffee mug with a smily face design in the other. The alien’s hands have eight fingers each.
ALIEN: Because like most evil aliens from Neptune, I thrive on the needless suffering of others!

Panel 8
A white woman with a knit hat and a blue shirt stands on a residential street of a city.
WOMAN: Because by adding $400 billion to the economy, they’re leaching off of REAL Americans!

Panel 9
A nice office, with an American flag on a pole, a large desk, and an executive style chair. A bald white man is hiding behind the desk; all we can see of him is his eyes and upper head, peeking out from behind the desk. He’s talking quietly.
MAN: Because my voters frighten me.

Panel 10
Two white men wearing white robes are speaking. One is middle-aged and balding; the other is young and has read hair. Both are trying to hide KKK hoods behind their back.
MAN 1: It’s definitely NOT because most Dreamers are brown!
MAN 2: GOSH no!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Immigration, Migrant Rights, etc, In the news | 64 Comments  

Is Evangelical Support For Trump Alienating Young Christians?

This postscript, from Rod Dreher (who is both anti-gay and pro-evangelical), is anecdotal but interesting:

I just returned from a lunch meeting with a group of conservative Evangelicals, including a few pastors. […] A couple of people in college ministry were at the table. They said that it is impossible to overstate how alienating the enthusiastic support their parents gave to Donald Trump was to their students. A number of college students have left the church entirely over it.

“How is that possible?” I asked one of the campus ministers. “How do you decide to leave Christianity altogether over who your parents voted for? That makes no sense to me.”

He said that in Evangelical circles, it’s common for college students to be skeptical at best of their parents’ theological views. For a lot of them, their parents’ backing of Donald Trump made everything they had been taught as kids about Christianity a lie. Their parents were the primary face of Evangelical Christianity to them, and to see this happen was shattering. They concluded that Christianity must be all about the economy, or tribalism, and so forth. One pastor said that a young man he ministers to in college posted a criticism of Trump on Facebook, and was cut off financially by his parents because of it.

Listening to these pastors and laypeople talking about the Trump effect on younger Christians was quite sobering to me. An older pastor said that it is impossible to separate the Nashville Statement1 from the massive support white Evangelicals gave to Trump. Impossible to separate, I mean, in the mind of the young.

“But Russell Moore signed it, and other Trump critics among Evangelicals,” I said.

“I know, and I’ve tried to tell people that,” said this pastor, a conservative Evangelical. “It doesn’t matter to them. All they see is a bunch of leaders of a movement who voted for a sexually corrupt man like Donald Trump are now trying to take a public stand on sexual morality for gays. It’s totally hypocritical to them.

Young evangelicals are simply more pro-gay than their parents – although less pro-gay than other young people. I haven’t seen any survey contrasting young evangelicals’ attitude about transsexuality to that of their parents, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s trending in a similar direction (although probably not as advanced yet).

  1. What Is The Nashville Statement, And Why Are People Mad About It? – Digg []
Posted in Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues | 14 Comments  

Cartoon: The Democratic Coalition

If you enjoy these cartoons, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 pledge means a lot to me.

This cartoon was originally published by The Nib.


When one of my cartoons is published by a site – in this case by the wonderful folks at The Nib – I don’t have any control over when the cartoon is published. This cartoon, for example, was drawn months ago. But since it’s not connected to anything in the news cycle, The Nib held on to it until they had a hole in their publication schedule (or so I assume). Which is fine with me – the cartoon is seen by many more people this way – but it’s odd to be waiting for my cartoons to show up, like a bus that doesn’t keep to any particular schedule.

Anyhow, they’ve published it now (yay!).

One thing that made this cartoon weird experience is that, a couple of months after selling it, I couldn’t find the email where I’d discussed it with The Nib folks, and I started worrying that I’d just imagined selling it. I finally gave up and emailed my editors at The Nib to ask them if I’d really sold it or if I’d just been having freelancer delusions. That was an odd email to write.

Anyway, about this cartoon: Everyone who I’ve shown this cartoon to has had the same reaction – a rueful nod or chuckle by the time they read the third panel, since by then it’s pretty obvious where this is going, and then they smile and say “yup, exactly” or something like that.

For literally my entire life, there’s been this push/pull between the Democratic party and its constituents from marginalized groups. It’s easy to see the electorial logic behind this – the Democrats want to win, and one way to do that is to go for the marginal voters, that tiny minority of voters who could go for either party. But that alienates the base – and rightly so – and the Democrats can’t win without their base, either. Part of the fight is always fighting to keep the Democratic party from triangulating its base right out of the party.

(Every time I read an interview with a group of could-go-either-way voters I get depressed, because they generally don’t follow politics closely and have virtually no idea of what either candidate’s positions are, and these ignorants are the people who decide who runs the country.)

As far as the art goes, I think it’s all right. At the time I finished this cartoon, I was exhausted from drawing all these tiny figures and decided that adding more detailed coloring (shading and highlights) would take forever and not actually add anything to the gag or the readers’ experience. But looking at it now, months later, I wish I had done the shading. Maybe I’ll go in and add it sometime.

I do like the way that some characters who are barely visible in panel one get gradually revealed as the strip goes on.

Transcript of Cartoon:

Panel 1
This panel shows a diverse group of people, all listening to a smiling white man in a suit and tie. In the background is a light blue curtain.

SUIT DUDE: If the Democrats ever want to win again, we need to focus on core issues, not secondary issues! Let’s start by putting reproductive rights behind that curtain.

Panel 2
The same scene, but now a woman who was in the front of the crowd in panel 1 is now gone.

SUIT: That’s better. Oh, and let’s put immigration issues behind the curtain. Black Lives Matter and all that race stuff better go too.

Panel 3
The same scene, but several more people – including a Latinx family and a Black man – are now out of sight. There’s now only eight people in the much-shrunk crowd (counting a baby held by a man in the crowd).

SUIT: Poverty issues and unions and lgb issues and single parents and definitely trans issues – get behind the curtain.

Panel 4
Now everyone is behind the curtain (which is bulging a bit due to how many people are crowded behind it), except the man in the suit. He turns to the viewer, and with a big grin and an expansive arm gesture, says:

SUIT: See? Now this is a winning coalition!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | 56 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, What Your Gender Studies Professor Told You Edition

  1. Trump’s Awful Afghanistan Speech | The American Conservative
    It’s important to remember that many of Trump’s reality-denying beliefs – such as his conviction there was any legal or pragmatic way to remain in Iraq in 2011 – are completely mainstream, ordinary views among Republicans at every level.
  2. Texas’ congressional delegation famously voted against aiding the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy – and those same folks are now asking for help. And they’ll get it (as they should). But it’s hard not to feel like this is representative of a larger problem – conservative states demand aid when they’re in trouble, but don’t lift a finger to help the rest of us. (And by the way, Cruz’s “the Sandy bill was two-thirds pork” claim is total bullshit.)
  3. Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world | World news | The Guardian
  4. A (Cis) Man Spied on Women in Target; A Christian Group is Blaming Trans People – Friendly Atheist
  5. The truth about “political correctness” is that it doesn’t actually exist – Vox
    This article is a couple of years old, but I was reminded of it on Twitter, and I think it holds up well.
  6. Really fascinating article, by an college professor who emigrated from Iran, about the friendship she struck up with an Iranian hacker who stole her Instagram account.
  7. Arizona Unconstitutionally Banned Mexican-American Studies Classes, Judge Rules | HuffPost
    But only the left is attacking free speech on campus.
  8. Psychedelic drugs ‘as safe as riding a bike or playing soccer’ and could help solve addiction | The Independent
  9. Forbidden love: The WW2 letters between two men – BBC News
    This line is so on the nose that if it were in fiction editors would object: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our letters could be published in the future in a more enlightened time. Then all the world could see how in love we are.”
  10. Federal Judge Clears the Way For Uber and Lyft Drivers to Unionize – Slog – The Stranger
  11. Interesting twitter thread on who is considered “fat” withing the fat-positive community.
  12. Scott Adams’s Nihilistic Defense of Donald Trump
    Highlights of a conversation between Sam Harris and Scott Adams.
  13. Lessons from camels
    A ten-day camel trek through the South Australian outback. With your parents.
  14. Trump Supporters Think White Christians Are The Primary Victims Of Discrimination In America – Public Policy Polling
    Also, “Trump voters say they would rather have Jefferson Davis as President than Barack Obama 45/20.”
  15. Charlottesville Was a Preview of the Future of the Republican Party
    “This is the state of the GOP leadership pipeline. In a decade, state legislatures will start filling up with Gamergaters, MRAs, /pol/ posters, Anime Nazis, and Proud Boys.”
  16. UK Government’s attempt to deport Afghan asylum seeker fails after pilot refuses to take off | The Independent
    Activists spoke to other passengers on the plane, who spoke to the crew, who passed their concerns on to the pilot.
  17. These Women Entrepreneurs Created A Fake Male Cofounder To Dodge Startup Sexism
  18. “Being transgender is a mental illness”: What does the DSM really say? | Gender Analysis
  19. If you’re looking for a smart light comedy to watch, I recommend Submissions Only, a made-for-the-web sitcom about auditioning for Broadway shows, starring, written and co-directed by Kate Wetherhead, an actress I’d previously only known from the Legally Blonde musical. I think that even people who aren’t nerds for musicals could enjoy this show (although if you are such a nerd, you’ll have fun spotting all the well-known Broadway faces doing cameos).
  20. Democrats’ 2018 gerrymandering problem is really bad – Vox
    “A leading forecast says they’ll get 54% of the votes — and only 47% of the seats.”
  21. Houston isn’t flooded because of its land use planning.
  22. Hitting Harmony
    “I am now twenty-three and all I can think about is how that’s the same age Harmony Korine was when I wrote E-N-V-Y on my fist and socked him in the head.” What a bizarre person. Thanks to Ben L. for the link.
  23. “If you reflexively oppose antifa today, you probably would have opposed the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960.”
    I was skeptical when I read this tweet – but persuaded by the time I had read the entire thread. The thread is by Angus Johnson, who I think is a CUNY professor.
  24. 72 Women. 1250 Miles. No GPS.
    “I competed in America’s first all-female endurance road rally. I’d never even changed a tire.”
  25. Climate change did not “cause” Harvey, but it’s a huge part of the story – Vox
    “‘Adaptation’ will mean figuring out who has to leave, who has to pay for resettlement, and who bears the cost of the abandoned city’s infrastructure as it rots, crumbles, and pollutes.”
  26. Federal Judge Blocks Alabama Law That Put Minors Seeking Abortion on Trial – Ms. Magazine Blog
  27. Profile of Danny Rubin, the writer of “Groundhog Day” (both the movie and the musical).
    Very frustrating that he wrote a bunch of screenplays which were turned down for playing with formal elements rather than using standard structure. That’s exactly what makes Groundhog Day great!
  28. North Carolina Passes An Entirely Misguided Restore Campus Free Speech Act | Techdirt
    “The proponents of this law will want to say that this refers to students rioting, or accosting would-be invited speakers, but there are already laws on the books to prosecute those crimes. Instead, this law seeks to punish students that attempt to shut down speaking engagements via peaceful protest, which is a form of speech.”
  29. STUDY: How ‘Status Offenses’ Push Students of Color, Queer Kids Into Criminal Justice System | Colorlines
  30. The First Amendment (Literally) Banned in DC | American Civil Liberties Union
  31. Sentencing Law and Policy: Should and will SCOTUS take up constitutional challenge to Minnesota’s sex offender confinement program?
    Yes, they definitely should. “The core of the case is that the state set up what it said was going to be a civil commitment program. And the core definition of that is people get out, and that’s exactly what is missing in the Minnesota program. It’s not just missing here or there, it’s systemically missing.”
  32. Titleist Tees Up Lawsuit Against Parody Clothier Because Golf Doesn’t Have A Sense Of Humor | Techdirt
    We should see cases like this as free speech issues.
  33. The Disabled Life is a comic strip by and about “two Canadian sisters documenting the jerks and perks of living #TheDisabledLife.” I’ve been enjoying their archives today.
  34. Noah Scalin’s Portraits Made from Piles of Clothes | Hi-Fructose Magazine
  35. Violent no-platforming of Milo and Charles Murray raised both their profiles.
    I feel like I did a cartoon about this.

Posted in Link farms | 52 Comments  

Cartoon: If It Quacks Like A Trump

If you enjoy these cartoons, please support them on Patreon! Even a $1 pledge means a lot to me.

Transcript of Cartoon

The image shows a bunch of ducklings swimming down a small river, following the mother duck. The ducklings are yellow; the mother duck is orange and has big swooping hair and basically is drawn to look a bit like Donald Trump.

DUCKLING 1: I will always say #nevertrump.
DUCKLING 2: As principled conservatives, we can’t follow a man with no principles!
DUCKLING 3: I myself issued a mild rebuke of Trump before I voted for his latest bill.
DUCKLING 4: We will resist!
DUCKLING 5: We are resisting!
TRUMP DUCK (cheerfully): Come along, kids.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc. | 13 Comments  

Trying to Write After Charlottesville

(The beginning of this post has been edited, twice, because I accidentally posted, and then sloppily edited the first time, the wrong draft.)

I’ve been trying to write something in response to Charlottesville for the past two weeks, but I’ve had a hard time finding the words. It’s not that I’ve been unclear about what happened there or who was to blame for the violence of that day or for Heather Heyer’s death, or about not-only-Trump’s moral cowardice in equating those who committed violence against the white supremacists and neo-Nazis—whether that violence was in self-defense or not—of equating those people with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists themselves. It’s that so many people with platforms much, much larger than mine have already said most of what I would have said, and it has been difficult to keep up. Better to amplify those voices in the small ways that I can, it has seemed to me, than to engage in the clamoring for attention that putting my own voice out there would have been. So that’s mostly what I’ve been doing, sharing/forwarding/talking about/planning to teach what have seemed to me the necessary and worthwhile things that other people have said.

I was able to pour some of my outrage into the statement about Charlottesville that I wrote for my faculty union, but that statement is by definition not a personal one, and so, while writing it helped me feel I’d done something worthwhile, it didn’t actually do much to help me figure out what I wanted to say. I’d thought a lot about the intersection of racism and antisemitism in my own life as a white Jew during the summer of 2016, when I wrote a series of letters that Jonathan Penton published as “The Lines That Antisemitism and Racism Draw1 in December of that year in his online journal, Unlikely Stories. (I posted one of those letters to my blog earlier this month.) Again, however—here, here, here and here, for example—others were already writing about being white and Jewish movingly and persuasively, and they were doing so in more or less precisely the terms I would have chosen. What they weren’t writing about, however, was where I ended up in the letters that I wrote last year, and that is perhaps something I can add to the conversation.

“The Lines That Antisemitism and Racism Draw” constitutes my response to a Facebook message Jonathan sent me while he was reading through submissions to a special issue of Unlikely Stories called #BlackArtMatters. Conceived in harmony with the Black Lives Matter movement, #BlackArtMatters was to be, “a celebration of the incredible continuing contributions of Black artists to the global dialogue.” Black artists were welcome to submit their own work. People who were not Black were invited to submit critical articles about or appreciations of Black artists. I had hoped to write an appreciation of June Jordan, my first poetry teacher, but my schedule did not permit it, and so I told Jonathan I would have to pass. Then, in early August of last year, as I was sitting in the airport waiting with my family for our flight to Scotland, where we’d be spending the first of three weeks in Europe, I received a message from Jonathan that said, in part, this:

So [Rosalyn Spencer, the woman who edited #BlackArtMatters, is] going through the [pool of] submissions[.] Lots of fine stuff from black folk, lots of fine stuff from non-black folk. There is, however, only one submission from a Jewish academic, who [in a critical article about James Baldwin] starts talking about how, since he’s Jewish, he knows how black people really feel, except only partially, but totally blackly.

Jonathan’s irony notwithstanding, I trusted his description of that academic’s racist paternalism because it is very familiar to me from when I was younger and finding my way more and more deeply into both the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish youth movements. However, when Jonathan asked me, “one Jewish writer to another,” to submit something, anything, so that academic’s work would not be the only piece in the submissions pool to represent us—Jonathan did not publish it—I had to say no. Still, I couldn’t get what that academic said out of my head, and so, early in the morning of our first day in Edinburgh, while my wife and son were still sleeping, I started what became a series of six letters that I wrote from three different countries—four, if you include the last one, which I wrote after we returned to the US. It’s this last one that I want to share with you now. Not because I think it says anything definitive about racism and antisemitism, but because where it ends, when I wrote it, surprised and even frightened me a little, feelings I have learned to trust as a sign I’ve hit on an idea that needs to be explored further. And because I think the desire for that exploration is something that what happened in Charlottesville, and that everything packed into what happened in Charlottesville—past, present, and future—should compel in us. The letter, slightly edited, is below the fold.

Continue reading

  1. If the white-on-black text of Unlikely Stories is hard on your eyes, I have posted the letters as a single document on Academia.edu. []
Posted in anti-racism, Anti-Semitism, Bigotry & Prejudice, Race, racism and related issues | 54 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Small Angry Dog Edition

  1. Woman Gives Up Teaching To Create Optical Illusions With Makeup, And It’s Messing With Our Minds | Bored Panda
  2. Here’s What Really Happened In Charlottesville
  3. Mama Cass didn’t die of choking on a ham sandwich; she died as a result of dieting.
  4. Trump’s Sensitivity to Being Laughed at Should Alarm Everyone – Rewire
    Grace sent this link to me, saying that it reminded her of our conversation about toxic masculinity.
  5. Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care | The Nation
    Progressives have to start sweating the details of universal health coverage.
  6. Everything About Disney and ABC’s ‘Pink Slime’ Settlement Should Scare the Hell Out of You
    “veggie libel” laws aren’t as sexy as discussing protesters on campus, but they’re much more dangerous to free speech.
  7. Maryland City May Let Noncitizens Vote, a Proposal With Precedent – The New York Times
  8. Voter Suppression in the Mirror and Looking Forward
    A review of some of the voter suppression measures conservatives are pushing.
  9. What Trump gets wrong about Confederate statues, in one chart – Vox
    “Washington was a slave owner, yes, but the meaning of a Washington statue is not necessarily pro-slavery or pro-white supremacy — whereas that’s exactly the point of the vast majority of Confederate memorials in the United States.”
  10. Debate over civil rights center at UNC focuses on advocacy and academic freedom
    Republicans in North Carolina’s congress are shutting down a civil rights center at a law school. Academic freedom, everybody!
  11. Officials say immigration agents showed up at labor dispute proceedings. California wants them out – LA Times
  12. Students say Christian college turned a blind eye to serial rapists – ThinkProgress
  13. The Lost Cause Rides Again
    Ta-Nahisi Coates on HBO’s announced “Confederate” TV series. I’m withholding judgement to small degree – maybe the show itself will be so brilliant as to answer all of Coates’ concerns and change everyone’s minds – but I’m extremely skeptical that it will be that good.
  14. An anti-immigrant group mistook empty bus seats for women wearing burqas – The Washington Post
  15. Doxing isn’t about privacy—it’s about abuse | The Daily Dot
    An interesting and, I think, useful way of redefining how we thing about doxing. “Doxing isn’t about exposure. Instead, it’s a form of weaponized attention. “
  16. Why Trump Invokes ‘Common Sense’ – The Atlantic
    “…for centuries, populist movements in particular have invoked common sense as a justification for policy goals and as an antidote to expert opinion.”
  17. What Jeff Sessions Will Never Understand About Affirmative Action
  18. Affirmative Action and the Myth of Reverse Racism – The Atlantic
  19. “I lied to my wife about liking john mayer; my life now revolves around his music and I’m looking for clarity.”
  20. In ‘Death Wish,’ Jews Gain From White Fascist Fantasies – The Forward
    I don’t agree with everything Noah writes here, but I did find it interesting.
  21. Octopus and squid evolution is officially weirder than we could have ever imagined – ScienceAlert
    “… scientists have discovered that octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species, routinely edit their RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences to adapt to their environment.”
  22. South Carolina town bans saggy pants: Can they do that? – CSMonitor.com
    I hope they get sued and lose badly. And really, are we supposed to think it’s just a big coincidence that it’s a Black fashion they go after?
  23. Could A Bus With Sleep Pods Replace Airplanes? | WBEZ
    Well, maybe for short flights.
  24. Is Jesse Singal a Bigot? | www.splicetoday.com
    An older controversy, about an academic who wrote an article that was widely criticized, and then widely defended.
  25. Sizeism Is Harming Too Many of Us: Fat Shaming Must Stop | Psychology Today
    Focuses on how anti-fat prejudice harms fat patients in the medical system.
  26. Dear Men of The Breakfast Club: Trans Women Aren’t a Joke, Ploy, or Sexual Predators | Allure
    Article by Janet Mock responding to a morning radio show.
  27. In the key 2018 battlegrounds, Trump’s support is as high as ever – Vox
    If this holds up, Trump could win re-election in 2020 while losing the popular vote by an even larger margin.
  28. …Or he could postpone the election, and if he does a lot of Republicans say they’d support him. Poll: Half of GOPers Open to Postponing of 2020 Elections
  29. “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” Is Bad Science | Thing of Things
    I found the end point especially interesting, because I hadn’t considered that before, but the whole thing is good.
  30. Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right supporters. The results are unsettling. – Vox
  31. Cartoon below is by Irma Kniivila.

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