My Weekly Roundup this week comes to you from within a flu-induced haze. Here are a few tips for dealing with the flu: Don’t drink caffeine, because that gives you an artificial high and convinces you that you can and should walk around and try to do “normal” things. This is a terrible mistake, and will result in your body crashing and taking much longer to heal. This particular strain is horrible, and will kick your ass. Resign yourself to how horrible it will be.
The only thing that really works is to rest, a lot. Watch bad or good Netflix, whatever gets you through. Listen to a soothing audio book. You will be bored out of your mind, but you will get better. Or so I’m told. Two weeks in and I still feel like I’m emerging, every day, from a spin in the dryer. So, please forgive me if some of what is below does not actually make sense; it took longer than usual to write because I’m literally trying to put one word in front of the other.
As always, thanks to all my current and new subscribers: You make it possible for me to keep writing.
What I’ve Written Or Was Mentioned In
November 7: 2016: I wrote this, “The World Will Still Need Your Attention: Beyond Election 2016.”
I tend to be superstitious about announcing work before it’s actually out there, but given the topic and the day (Election Day in the United States): The most recent issue of Baffler is going out on Friday, and It includes an essay by me, “Mother Knows Best: The Dystopian Undertow of Hillary Clinton’s Rights Rhetoric.” Many thanks to Chris Lehman, Emily Carroll, Lindsey Gilbert, and everyone else at the magazine. I’m one of those writers who loves being edited, so it was a pleasure to write for a place that takes editing seriously. If I sound smarter than usual, all credit goes to this crew; any problems are entirely my own fault.
What I’m Reading
Rolling Stone lost its defamation case for its story about the rape case at the University of Virginia, the one that never actually happened. The magazine and its reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely have been order to pay $3 million in damages. Don’t waste any tears over this and please, please don’t follow any of those who might wring their hands about all this as part of some conspiracy against brave journalism. I still remember reading that story when it came out and I knew, by the time I was done with the first few (utterly ridiculous and clearly fictional) paragraphs that it was either completely fake or at least greatly fabricated. And, I think many, many people who read that story felt the same way but, hey, who wants to be the first to dispute a story about campus assault?
Yes, by many accounts, UVA is hardly blameless in terms of its history of dealing sexual assault cases, but the way to critique and expose a university’s lousy track record on such is to go about it methodically and scrupulously, not make up stories that you hope will bring millions of eyeballs to your site. I’ll have much, much more about all this in the coming months: I think this reporting disaster had to do with a combination of complicated factors, including the rise of a faux feminism born in the womb of entities like Everyday Feminism, which depends on very particular narratives about a brand — and it really is, in many cases, an actual brand — of feminism. I’m not going to bother pitching this to anyone because I really don’t think there’s a single entity in media today that would want to or can actually produce the kind of complicated combination of investigative and analytic reporting this story demands, because everyone’s too terrified — rightly so — of being torn apart by online trolls and self-righteous Twitterati.
Anyway, I’ll stop there for now: More later.
The Learned Fangirl, the brainchild of fellow Make/Shift alum Keidra Chaney and someone whom I trust on these matters, just announced its list of Contributors for 2017. Check them out, and TLF. As you know, I’ve often written about the problems with media outlets demanding (and academics and writers providing) work for free or very little. But I’m also always on the lookout for places that treat writers well, and TLF is going about things with great integrity. I spoke to Keidra over email (whom I know as a trusted comrade, hence my use of her first name) and she added: “I'll just say that we had a goal years ago to grow the publication enough to be able to compensate our contributors for their labor. especially in a digital publishing environment that's ravenous for content but doesn't want to pay creators for it, we decided we'd rather publish less often, put out good stuff and pay people for it.” I can think of several publishers, too focused on generating content too often, who could learn from this.
A turkey is terrorising downtown Davis. Hey, it’s the month of Thanksgiving: What do you expect? It’s really worth watching the accompanying video here, to see the reporter trying to be dead serious and finally just explode in laughter at the end.
The Awl published a great satirical piece which nails all those, “Who are Trump Voters?” pieces. It’s titled, “The Only Article You Need To Read About Why Trump Voters Are Angry: Because it’s the only article people are writing about Trump voters.”
One of my attempts at recovery involved watching Black Mirror. I’ll confess I found the first season (which I watched only to watch Jon Hamm in Episode 7 because, really, who, I ask you, who can resist watching something with Jon Hamm simply because it features Jon Hamm?) somewhat preachy and a bit tired in its message about how bad technology and social media are for our precious human souls. But the later seasons are mostly a pleasant surprise, and Season 3, Episode 4, “Hated in the Nation” especially resonated for me, in terms of my work on Suey Park.
From the Archives
In case you missed it, here’s my review of Ghostbusters and Hillary Clinton.
I also watched The Crown and, alas, it excited me too much as in, incited all kinds of strong feelings and made it impossible to rest. I’ll articulate my response later, but for now, here’s an older piece I wrote about Kate Middleton and the pustule that is the British Monarchy, “Her Royal Hymen: Kate Middleton Drops Top, Finds Modesty, Helps Brand Britain.”
And, finally, in honour of all the friends who’ve been fetching and carrying for me, and satisfying my weird cravings for weird food, here’s my “Friendship in the Time of Love.”