June 29, 2016
Yes, it has been a while since I last posted an update. I’ve been busy in the meantime, and I’m also happy to report that I now have an actual agent, William Callahan of InkWell Management (so all inquiries should go to him). I’m ecstatic because having William (who is wonderful in a million ways) in my corner makes me feel much more secure about my place in the publishing world.
An agent does not mean I have magically become financially secure, of course, so please continue to send your support and subscribe to my site if you’re able. Resources are scarce, and I value the fact that my subscribers have chosen to support my work and donate when they could send their money elsewhere. I can assure you that as soon as I am more steady in my circumstances (finding a stable home and steady work is paramount), I will cease the subscription plans. Until then, please do subscribe if you haven’t already. Your support ensures everything from groceries to kitty food to my ability to occasionally just take off to a coffee shop to get writing done in a different location. It also means that the kind of work and analysis I produce and which you've grown to appreciate, the sort you won't find in mainstream media, can continue to flourish.
I’ll have a separate post next week on several things going on and how they’ve affected my writing, in different ways, as well as a list of projects I’m working on. But for now, here’s the mother of all updates. As usual, a list of of my work, followed by links to what I’m reading and some items from the archive.
But first: If you’re in Chicago on Thursday, June 30, please try to make it to the Chicago book launch of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton, edited by Liza Featherstone. The event will be at the In These Times location, 2040 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. My chapter in the book is titled, "Marry the State, Jail the People: Hillary Clinton and the Rise of Carceral Feminism." Liza Featherstone will be there, along with Chicago’s Kathleen Geier, me, and possibly Donna Murch. Doug Henwood will also be there, presenting on his book My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency. This is the Facebook event page.
In other news: my dear friend and colleague Eli Massey, just recently an intern at In These Times, has a fundraiser to get him to Doha, Quatar for an internship at Al Jazeera. Yes, it's an unpaid internship at Al Jazeera and yes, if you're wondering, given my politics on working for free, this is hardly an ideal situation.
HOWEVER: please note that the situation in internships is very different from that of writers. While writers who work for free are people who can afford to do so, interns in journalism who are compelled to take on such internships usually have to in order to gain experience and be more competitive. The situation for journalists who need internship experience is grim: If they don't do what they can to gain experience in the most competitive places, they inevitably lose out to those whose family resources enable them to travel to such places and develop networks.
I have known Eli since he was an undergraduate, and I firmly believe that we need more up-and-coming journalists like him. He is genuinely and passionately interested in Middle East politics and has a tremendous grasp of the issues. We've spoken at length about the matter of internships. I'm not one of those who thinks everyone should "work from the inside," but I am fully confident that he's going to be one of those who resists perpetuating these systems as he moves forward. I believe in him, and I hope you can support him. In doing so, you will be making it that much easier for an exceptional talent to make his way ahead in a career he has been passionate about for a relatively long time, given how young he is.
What I’ve Written or Appeared In
My work on immigration was quoted in the Spring 2016 issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, in “Dreaming, Telling, Occupying, and Destroying: Interest Convergence between Militarism and Social Justice in the DREAM Act and the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by Gabriel Arkles and Pooja Gehi.
April 6: My review of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear appeared in the inaugural issue of Current Affairs.
May 11: I wrote this profile of my friend and prison abolitionist comrade Mariame Kaba for Windy City Times as she prepared to leave Chicago to return to her beloved New York City.
May 25: I reviewed Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East by Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar, for one of my favourite publications, Electronic Intifada.
May 29: My review of Timothy Stewart-Winter’s book, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics appeared in the second issue of Current Affairs.
May 31: Nico Lang interviewed me for a Quartz piece on “The Hidden Downside to Corporate America’s Fight for LGBT Equality.”
After Orlando, I appeared on several radio shows, sometimes with comrades, to talk about the effects on the LGBTQ community. We attempted, successfully, to broaden the conversation to questions of migration and to contest the idea of “safety,” pointing out that many queers of colour and immigrants never feel safe anywhere, given the regime of surveillance and deportation under which they live.
June 10: Freddie deBoer, always one of my biggest supporters, generously quoted me in this piece, “what would you share with the entire internet?”
June 13: The delightful, excellent, and always spot-on Helen Razer, my Australian twin, reviewed False Choices and kindly mentioned my work.
June 13: I appeared on KPFA Berkeley, on the UpFront program hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert.
June 13: I appeared on the Real News Network, and talked about how Omar Mateen was (initially) framed as a “Radical Islamist” rather than as a homophobe (and the problems with such framings overall).
June 14: I fulfilled a long-held dream of mine, of appearing with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. We were together on the KPFA “Flashpoints” show with Dennis Bernstein (no relation to Mattilda), and talked extensively about the larger context of radical queer politics surrounding the Orlando shooting.
June 15: I appeared on The Wednesday Show, hosted by Mimi Rosenberg, on WBAI 99.5 FM, NYC, which starts at 6:00 a.m. To listen to the segment, go to the archives, go to June 15, and look for the 6:00 a.m show. My segment starts at the 1:46:20 mark.
June 18: I appeared on the Chicago-based podcast “This Is Hell!” to talk about my chapter on Hillary Clinton, “Marry the State, Jail the People: Hillary Clinton and the Rise of Carceral Feminism,” which appears in Liza Featherstone’s edited anthology, False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton. My thanks to Nathan Cedric Tankus for helping get this out there.
June 22: I appeared again on The Wednesday Show, hosted by Mimi Rosenberg, on WBAI 99.5 FM, NYC, which starts at 6:a.m. This time I was with my friend and comrade Karma Chávez, and we talked about the connections between Orlando and immigration patterns and the US war machine. To listen, go to the archives here, go to June 22, and look for the 6 a.m show. My segment starts at the 1:11:22 mark.
June 23: Sam Smith and Ben Mabie wrote a blog based on the KPFA Flashpoints interviews, “The State of Bigoted Violence: Radical Perspectives on Orlando.”
What I’m Reading
The Chicago Police Department unceremoniously shut down Black Pride at Montrose.
The Globe and Mail produced this interesting long-form article on Chinese -Canadian restaurants.
The internet set about giving alternative names to sometimes deadly animals, and the results are hilarious.
Bill Cunningham, the New York Times photographer who saw fashion in the everyday, is dead.
Black Lives Matter pulled out of the San Francisco Pride parade, citing an expanded police presence as a threat to its membership.
Brexit won, and my friend Jeff wittily posted this, by the Pet Shop Boys, as a response.
Also on Brexit: As might be expected from our overlords, it turns out that cats would vote to leave the EU and then refuse to go out.
The Orlando shooting was often referred to as the biggest mass shooting, and this, focusing on Wounded Knee, points out that the story is a lot more complicated.
The writer Sarah Madison is sick and tired or readers who think they’re entitled to read all her work (and that of others) for free. I’ve frequently tangled with pseudo-Marxist/Anarchist thieves online on the matter, and I could not agree more with her.
Some good news from Chicago: Trans people will no longer be required to show i.d just to use the bathroom.
My friend and former Chicago Reader editor Samuel Worley wrote this lovely, short piece on how kale is, well, the new kale.
Freddie deBoer wrote this great piece, “entirely too many points of entirely unsolicited advice for young writers from someone running out the door,” and it’s necessary reading for anyone interested in writing as a career.
On World Refugee Day (June 20), some awkward truths about US asylum.
Greg Howard writes about why “transcending race” is a lie.
Antwan Herron wondered “Why Is No One Coming For The Parents Of Toddler For Death of 5 Alligators?”
Christina Hanhardt writes about “Broken Windows at Blue’s: A Queer History of Gentrification and Policing.”
The NYC Police Commissioner was shouted down by mourners for Orlando, with cries of “You kill people!”
The Daily Beast writes about how amateurs play doctors for the world’s poorest.
It turns out that “Tutankhamun's knife was 'made from meteorite iron.’” Which, you have to admit, is pretty cool.
Lori Gruen points out that “The Cincinnati Zoo’s problem wasn’t that it killed its gorilla. It’s that it’s a zoo.”
Octupuses are taking over the oceans and, possibly, the world. Luckily for me, I’ve been circumspect in not eating any so I will, hopefully, be safe during the coming Octocalypse.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown uncovers, again, inflated numbers on sex trafficking, this time around children in Ohio.
A gay man now runs the U.S. army. We can all feel so much safer and more inclusive now.
Why do all those classical statues of giant, muscle-bound men have such teeny-tiny penises? This article explains it all.
Miri (only the first name is available) explains why employers love advocating self-care.
And Adam Kostko succinctly explains why, no, it’s not hypocritical for a Marxist to participate in Capitalism.
Hyperallergenic writes about Hilda af Klint, the woman who found abstraction before the modernists.
bell hooks wrote critically about Beyonce’s Lemonade, and the internet promptly gave her hell. But here is her piece anyway. Next month, I'll have my own piece on the "visual album" that's caused such a stir.
Doctors without Borders gave up hope in the World Humanitarian Summit.
Jessa Crispin points out the many problems with contemporary literary magazines.
I have awful handwriting, but this piece gives me something to aim for.
People in Gary, Indiana and allies (some of whom I'm proud to know as friends and comrades) said no to a new GEO detention centre.
From the Archives
The issue of trigger warnings will never go away, so here’s a reminder of a really good piece that’s critical of the idea.
My older piece, on Class Shock and adjuncts, still seems relevant in light of the tumult in the neoliberal university
I’m still irritated by all the talk about how precious introverts are.