Hi, guys. We’re stripping the schedule down a bit today. Moved some goofier stuff out, added an open thread for noon. I thought about pushing out “How To Tell If You’re In a Maeve Binchy Novel,” but I personally find Maeve Binchy VERY comforting, so you’ll have that at 1pm, ideally with tea and toast.
Here is what we know about Beirut, here is what we know about Paris. I hope all of your friends and family are well, and accounted-for. Please share what you’re reading and thinking about in the comments. I’d request you not share gross stuff to point out how gross it is. People will always take the worst opportunities to show their asses, we can talk about it later.
I stepped away from social media on Friday (not as A Big Statement Thing, just for a little personal break to be more present in my actual life and IRL relationships during a time I had nothing to contribute to Twitter that would make the world or me better) and I have not yet returned, and I can heartily recommend it to any of you who have a similar urge at this time. I can also recommend Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson’s most autobiographical novel. What are you reading? And what do you re-read when the wrongness of the world presses more heavily upon you than usual?
Roxane wrote something really nuanced and lovely about safe spaces:
All good ideas can be exploited. There are some extreme, ill-advised and simply absurd manifestations of the idea of safe space. And there are and should be limits to the boundaries of safe space. Safe space is not a place where dissent is discouraged, where dissent is seen as harmful. And yet. I understand where safe space extremism comes from. When you are marginalized and always unsafe, your skin thins, leaving your blood and bone exposed. You live at the breaking point. In such circumstances, of course you might be inclined to fiercely protect yourself, at any cost. Of course you might become intolerant. Of course you might perceive dissent as danger.
There is also this. Those who mock the idea of safe space are most likely the same people who are able to take safety for granted. That’s what makes discussions of safety and safe spaces so difficult. We are also talking about privilege. As with everything else in life, there is no equality when it comes to safety.
RH Reality Check has a good primer on the (terrifying, awful) Texas anti-abortion bill headed to the Supreme Court:
If the Roberts Court rules against abortion providers and their patients, it could leave Texas with only ten clinics, forcing more than 75 percent of the clinics in the state to close. Mississippi will lose its only clinic, and anti-abortion lawmakers in states that have not yet passed similar requirements will no doubt be emboldened to push for them.
Abortion access nationwide quite literally hangs in the balance.
Our collective vision of the bad cop in America is chilling, sobering and totally driven by Hollywood. The bad cop takes bribes from the mob in “The Departed” or is part of some conspiracy like in “Better Call Saul.” In the worst case scenario he’s Denzel from “Training Day”, some diabolical gangster with a badge.
But what former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is accused of wouldn’t dare be shown in a neighborhood theatre.
Those tiny little Bronte books!
Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.
Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.
The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.
Kent Blake is one of the LGBT Mormons reacting with sorrow and hurt to the church’s new policies surrounding the kids of gay parents (#sufferthechildren is collecting a lot of similar stories, from people impacted, from people making the decision to leave):
I devoted two years of my life to telling people about Mormonism as a missionary. And for all my doctrinal qualms, I find myself drawn into the Latter-day Saint community at Stanford because of the insightful, compassionate, and giving people that I find there. I come to church because, despite all its issues, it’s my home.
Ironically, I find myself in the borderlands of Mormonism in part because I believe what it taught me about families. I agree that “it is not good that the man [or woman] should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), that in the long-term relationship of marriage we can learn how to love unconditionally, serve and nurture others, and grow into better versions of ourselves. That’s part of the reason I hope to settle down and build a life with a husband to whom I am wonderfully attracted and committed and who I can learn to love fully as God loves me. After my own personal contemplation and prayer and wrestling with this issue, I believe that this is the right path for me.
On a related note, that assclown judge reversed his decision and gave the lesbian couple back the foster baby in their care.
Ella and Caroline on their friendship and the spanner that John’s cancer threw into the works, and how we serve each other and our human frailties:
But, then, this is what no one talks about: how cancer affects everything else, and the weird third-hand emotions that happen as a result. Like, we became closer than I had ever dreamt possible – I never imagined a situation where I would be sitting in your kitchen at 8am on a Tuesday morning, trying to make you eat Marmite toast. And you can’t eat the Marmite toast, but you know I won’t leave until you do, and you don’t want to make me late for work. So, we’re just sat there, glowering at one another and loving one another, and wondering how the fuck we got here.
Speaking of John, his most recent piece includes a very welcome, full-throated defense of the NHS, and his refusal to be used as a talking point to ward off the potential for strikes:
As a patient who will most likely be directly affected by the industrial action planned for next month, I think it’s worth really nailing my colours to the mast. I fully support whatever action the BMA feels justified in taking in the face of this, the latest and most shameless in a series of capricious, underhand attacks on the majesty of the welfare state. What’s more, I think it’s extremely telling that the first junior doctors’ strike in our history will likely take place during the first months of the first Conservative government in 18 years. Like the National Minimum Wage, like tax credits, like the institution of the fucking weekend, the NHS is an achievement to which the Tories can lay absolutely no claim – as with all policies designed to support the many rather than the few, it is the exclusive work of the labour, and Labour, movement.
So when that festering zealot Jeremy Hunt has the gall, the absolute fucking brass neck to suggest that the proposed strikes will erode patients’ faith in the NHS and its dedicated, underappreciated workforce, I would like to respond thus: not in my name, you conniving fucking hypocritical management consultancy ideologue cunt. And if the incredible men and women in this hospital manage to cure me before you’ve driven them all overseas or out of the public sector, I will never forget that they did it against a backdrop of constant abuse and misrepresentation from your department. The continuing efficacy of the NHS in these trying times is a testament to its superhuman staff; your willingness to attack it in pursuit of short-sighted savings and the prospect of a political legacy is your lasting shame. Get fucked.
Take care of yourselves.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.