How some well-meaning nonprofits perpetuate poverty:
We all began speaking in her language: protective factors, asset based organizing, personal resilience. We started to absorb this woman’s idea that changing people’s behavior was the solution to their problems, which meant absorbing the idea that people’s behavior was thesource of their problems. But I knew at the core of me this was false. The problem had never been that I didn’t know the right number to call. It’s a lack of resources that produces a lack of resilience, not the other way around.
But the work of the initiative said otherwise. This is what we did: we gathered residents in the community and pointed out what their individual and community assets were. Nothing else. We didn’t provide services, or even find a way to coordinate between the different service providers.
On having relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis:
The illness touches the body and the brain. It undermines the bridge between them. The nature of this relationship, not to mention the unpredictability with which MS works its nasty magic, also brings the mind itself into play, however, and the mind can cause all kinds of additional trouble. I should remember the body because physical problems, although frightening, allow me to give this wayward collection of symptoms a kind of shape – and because everything beyond the body involves the tricky intrusion of judgement. I have had MS for a little over a year and this has been the surprising, sometimes embarrassing challenge in my particular case: where does the disease end and where do I begin? What is the illness and what is just my maddening response to it?
On the other hand, Seek hadn’t foreseen the emotional landscape she found herself in after adoption. The huge amount of variation between adoptions, and the gamble of entering an unenforceable agreement, involving profoundly complex human relationships, makes it almost impossible to plan for how the aftermath of an adoption will feel. After her son was born, she agonized over her choice, angering her ex-boyfriend and family, and weeping with the prospective adoptive mother, Paula, over the old zero-sum game of adoption, when two families love a child, but only one party “wins.” With characteristic beauty, Seek writes, “We stood like tired boxers, clinging to each other to stop the beating. I could end her suffering, some of it, but only at my own expense.” In the end, as we know, she lets her son go. And in so doing, she becomes a member of the sad club of birthmothers, invisible “collateral damage” in a world where adoption is thought of primarily as “a means of getting children … not [losing] them.” Though she’d decided on adoption to protect the future she planned for herself, her new motherhood convinces her immediately that she’s made a mistake. “I wished I hadn’t made such good plans,” she writes.
Here is a fine review of TNC’s new book, and another one, and here is a person who has not read it, but imagines he will like it less than you do. And then we all made fun of the third person on Twitter and it was the MOST fun bc he didn’t think white dude book list was funny but it was sooooooooooooooooooooo funny!
lol this guy:
So much of the Internet is garbage, and much of its infrastructure and many man-hours are devoted to taking out the garbage. For the most part, this labor is hidden from plain sight. But in recent years, the garbage disposal has broken down. The social media companies have a harassment problem, the pundits have declared.
Two interesting and thoughtful pieces in The Advocate! This one is about the intersection of sex work and queer liberation, and this other one is about whether there is truly a unified trans movement:
Other trans people, however — those who did not benefit from such privilege — are not only in need of much more, they are dying from a lack of it.The trans movement isn’t just a convenient narrative, it is a dangerous lie.There isn’t a trans movement, or a trans community, but rather multiple movements and communities, divided not only by race and class but also distinct histories, leaders, resources, and needs. There are of course some goals, challenges, and victories shared by all. And though there are many exceptions, the lived experiences of most trans people fall into broad camps.
ssssshhhh you’re disturbing the whales:
In fact, Parks discovered, modern North Atlantic right whales have shifted their calls up an entire octave over the past half century or so, in an attempt to be heard over the unending, and steadily growing, low-frequency drone of commercial shipping. Where right-whale song once carried 20 to 100 miles, today those calls travel only five miles before dissolving into the din. Under the right conditions, fin- and blue‑whale song can carry thousands of miles, as Clark realised while listening in on the oceans using the US Navy’s global submarine detection network. He was stunned to hear a blue whale singer on the Grand Banks of Canada all the way from Puerto Rico, 1,600 miles away. However, it’s an open question whether these performers are actually trying to be heard by their audiences across the ocean.
The Nib has a Kickstarter (I backed it):
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.