I love you Rebecca Solnit.

REBECCA SOLNIT ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN, HILLARY CLINTON, AND BLAMING WOMEN FOR THE ACTS OF MEN

OR, AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF THINGS THAT ARE NOT MEN’S FAULT

Why are you not Matt Damon yourself? This is your fault. Perhaps you could also choose to be Jason Bourne, which would guarantee your safety every time? Take it from me: the Bourne option. After all I have read in Wikipedia that Bourne these days is “isolating himself from the world and making a living by taking part in savage, bareknuckle fighting bouts,” which is what everyone should have done if they saw Harvey Weinstein rising like a great scary potato over the horizon. It appears that Clinton was in Washington pushing to get the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorized while the reports broke about Weinstein’s alleged creepitude, but it’s her fault if she can’t multitask. Likewise it is the fault of young actresses for not speaking just because they were threatened by a terrifying bully, and it’s their fault that if they spoke up no one would have believed them, and of course you can now blame them for what happened, because in Shakespeare’s day there were no actresses, but these women insisted on entering the field, where there were men, and even entering the production facility, where there was this man.

Remember that every time a man commits a violent act it only takes one or two steps to figure out how it’s a woman’s fault, and that these dance steps are widely known and practiced and quite a bit of fun. There are things men do that are the fault of women who are too sexy, and other things men do that are the fault of women who are not sexy enough, but women only come in those two flavors: not enough, too much, and it is the fate of heterosexual men to endure this affliction. Wives are responsible for their husbands, especially if their husbands are supremely powerful and terrifying figures leading double lives and accountable to no one. But women are now also in the workforce, where they have so many opportunities to be responsible for other men as well.

It is Anita Hill’s fault that Clarence Thomas is a creep, and it’s also her fault that he’s on the Supreme Court, and it’s her fault she didn’t speak up about his sexual harassment, and also her fault that she did speak up about it, ruffling important waters when men were trying to fly-fish them, as women do when men try. To fly-fish that is, and the trout that are not biting are the fault of the woman who did not smile at you on the bus this morning, though it is a gospel truth that lady strangers owe you smiles. If we study up, it may be possible to figure out which parts of everything are Anita Hill’s fault. Mary Todd Lincoln: perhaps her faults linger on, and it would be fun to blame her for something, and why did Michelle Obama choose to exercise her right to bare arms? Perhaps that makes her responsible for some mass shootings, which tend to be carried out by men, but not their fault. Someone made them do it, and every time a man does something awful we can all pause for a moment of respectful silence while we figure out who to blame.

It is possible, as I study the situation, that I personally am responsible for the sack of Rome and for Attila the Hun and the Black Death (I wore a lot of black back in the day, still do), but more research is needed. It may also be that my friends Conchita and Amy are responsible for ebola and the holes in the socks of our great men that so afflict their heels when they would rather be thinking of how to serve our fatherland. If I were a man perhaps I would understand why a man just explained to me that Trump is Clinton’s fault and not be baffled about why no one ever said in my hearing that Bush II was Al Gore’s and then John Kerry’s  fault or Ronald Reagan was Jimmy Carter’s fault for that matter.

Evidently it is the fault of Hillary Clinton that there is Donald Trump, and it was wrong of her to put Harvey Weinstein’s donation to work on to her attempt to beat Trump and protect reproductive rights and stuff, instead of donating the money to a cause that benefited women, and it’s her fault that a lot of Americans wanted to vote for, as Laurie Penny put it, the Hog-Emperor of Rape Culture who hunted her onstage in the second debate like Sherman going after Atlanta, only with snorting. After all the Civil War was her fault.

I have spoken. Which I do. Which is one of my faults; I am crafting an apology for that out of dynamite and backhoes which will be ready presently.

 

Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit

San Francisco writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit is the author of twenty books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism and the author, most recently of The Mother of All Questions and (with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and a cast of thousands) of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column (founded in 1851).

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What Happened When Frank Died: The Evaluation

I absolutely LOVE this flash fiction writer and the artist who illustrates every story, every day, as part of a 365 day challenge. The work is, well just read it. You’ll fall in love.

FLASH-365

bubbles

Frank died.

Someone handed him a folder. That someone had a face, but Frank didn’t catch it. He finally found his bearings at a desk. It was wooden, too small for him. He hunched over the folder, opened it. He looked at the first page.

SELF EVALUATION

it said, at the top. Frank looked around. Everyone else in the room was hunched over their desks, scribbling away. There couldn’t have been more than ten others though the room might have fit fifteen. Frank looked back down at the paper, at the top:

Rate yourself from 1-5 in each category, be as honest as possible.

Down the right hand side there were five little rows of bubbles that went down the page. On the left, there were questions.

“How good of a person were you?”

Frank filled in the 1 bubble with a no.2 pencil he found sitting at the…

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Building a New Society for Black Americans, First in Mississippi

Wow. THIS.

Longreads

As Southern novelist William Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In racially divided America, this is as true as ever. James Baldwin would recognize his era in ours, where police routinely kill unarmed people of color and the Klan still marches past their beloved Confederate statues, unobstructed by police. When it comes to racism and violence, America still looks much like it always has. But the past holds certain ideas whose potential has thankfully never passed either.

In the Oxford American, Katie Gilbert reports from Jackson, Mississippi, where a coalition is working to empower black communities through economic and political independence. After trying to help create a majority-black nation in the Deep South in the 1970s, mayor Chokwe Lumumba pursued a similar goal on a smaller scale: turning Jackson into a model of a new, more equitable autonomous society driven by cooperative economics

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PO Box Nowhere

He struggled his eyes open, gently pulling his lashes.  Dear, sweet blessed fucking land. He massaged his eyes with bath-tub wrinkled fingers. His second thought was rolling Jimmy, last night the last passenger in the boat, overboard and he’d felt only relief.  Then he’d stretched his body into an X, and now, here.

Sun high, cheek against sand, he watched a coconut zigzag sea-ward, stopped short of its course by island debris. Clothes stiff with salt, he sat up, groaning. The sea broke and pulled and broke. He croaked out a laugh.  He was alone. He tried some scales. Mi mi mi miiii mi mi miiii. Was he alone? Could he live on an island alone? He didn’t even have a mailbox.

Now That I’m Old

i know poets that became poets

to work with despair, one so big

they’re lucky to find themselves

in the same room with it.

 

the same room with it at

dark, with heavy curtains,

or light, too much light, and spotless.

they’d die happy then

 

to say all is forgiven,

and if they’re really brave

they could tell the truth,

that they were so small.