hi!! it’s been a minute — longer than usual. i’m sorry! basically i’m moving across the country and freaking out all the time and also leaving my current role at my day job so i can hopefully start getting enough sleep and so my brain will finally work well enough to actually write essays. i have literally 4 of them all half-finished but i’m totally paralyzed about publishing them because i’ve gained 15,000 subscribers since my last big essay and i now get 1-2 emails a day telling me that i’m a total hack and sometimes also a slut (to which i’m always like, so you think i’m pretty??? <3). if you are my literary agent reading this, i will send you my proposal SO SOON!! to everyone else, i hope you enjoy all the things i read this week. and thank you for reading, as always. my life is changing too fast for me to keep up (in a good way) and it’s all thanks to you!
this week, we have a stunning criticism of the #metoo landscape in the context of the amber heard trial, the definitive analysis of esoteric catholic-posting, the cruelest, juiciest takedown of blake lively you will ever read, a fiery criticism of the democrats’ “sentimentality politics”, and more. as usual, would LOVE to hear your thoughts on any and all of the pieces in the comments below. i miss our talks!!!
We Don’t Want To Believe by Caroline Walsh-King
my darkest and most useless impulse, always, is to languish in meta-analysis — to criticize the criticisms of the criticisms rather than gather the gumption to criticize the thing itself — and i appreciate deeply that caroline calls bullshit on that impulse in this very necessary piece on the amber heard trial. the piece is sharp and evocative and crystallizes in a damning thesis: that, behind the facade of change and the few individual men made into ritual sacrifices for the survival of the status quo, the culture at large has never, ever had the slightest interest in protecting, defending, or least of all “believing” women. it’s studded with insights — i’ve read it three times already. “…Even people who recognize that “observation” as complete bullshit will wonder how we could have fallen so far from the glorious heights of fall 2017, a time when we actually took women seriously. Let me be crystal clear. As a culture we have never ever given victims of assault, abuse, or harassment even a fraction of the support and restitution that they deserve and need. Not during #MeToo, not now, not ever. We’ve given them plenty of media coverage. We interview them and we watch them and we make movies and TV shows about them. We put them onstage at the Oscars so that we can publicly absolve ourselves of our complicity in their suffering. We make jokes about how evil Harvey Weinstein is, even if our dad was one of his accomplices. But the victims are not people we want to help, they are people we want to use.”
Godposting – or: New Internet Esotericism by Biz Sherbert
i love biz. she analyzes internet subcultures with precision & elegance without ever sounding like she’s looking down on them, which is a skill i’m still desperately trying to hone (i typically don’t look down on anything i criticize, because i think the best criticism comes from love, but sometimes i think i can sound snarkier than i ever mean to). this piece is beautifully written and would be worth reading as a crash course on prose in and of itself, and it’s also the most definitive piece i’ve ever read about godposting & the urge to confess. must-read! “At the heart of all this motion is a lust for crawling through someone else’s ambiguity, in staring at a post or profile for longer than the machine’s trained you to, in the toothsome frustration of trying to figure out what’s a revelation, what’s a dark joke, and what’s just the result of a chemically imbalanced brain and an eternally available keyboard. The screen light bouncing off the highest points of your face as you try to make sense of someone is addictive, though exhausting.”
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