Rebecca Solnit, giving ZERO FUCKS, on the 80 books no women should read:
Norman Mailer and William Burroughs would go high up on my no-list, because there are so many writers we can read who didn’t stab or shoot their wives (and because one writer everyone should read, Luc Sante, wrote an astonishingly good piece about Burroughs’s appalling gender politics 30 years ago that was a big influence on me). All those novels by men that seem to believe that size is everything, the 900-page monsters that, had a woman written them, would be called overweight and told to go on a diet. All those prurient books about violent crimes against women, especially the Black Dahlia murder case, which is a horrible reminder of how much violence against women is eroticized by some men, for other men, and how it makes women internalize the hatred. As Jacqueline Rose noted recently in the London Review of Books, “Patriarchy thrives by encouraging women to feel contempt for themselves.”
Chirlane McCray on maternal depression (so important, and also, Chirlane is everything.)
Fay Wells on the experience of having a white neighbor call the cops on her for getting locked out (nineteen cops came, because OF COURSE that makes sense):
Later, I learned that the Santa Monica Police Department had dispatched 19 officers after one of my neighbors reported a burglary at my apartment. It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. It didn’t matter that I went to Duke, that I have an MBA from Dartmouth, that I’m a vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation. It didn’t matter that I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. It didn’t matter that I calmly, continually asked them what was happening. It also didn’t matter that I didn’t match the description of the person they were looking for — my neighbor described me as Hispanic when he called 911. What mattered was that I was a woman of color trying to get into her apartment — in an almost entirely white apartment complex in a mostly white city — and a white man who lived in another building called the cops because he’d never seen me before.
Cool women writing about the pieces of lesbian cultural history that resonate most for them (I used to work in a womyn’s bookstore, so I have read literally all of these and love them):
Shockproof Sydney Skate by Marijane Meaker, 1972
I wish my first glimpse of lesbian culture had come from this hilarious, glamorous, and aspirational novel about a teenager who, unbeknownst to his mother, has unlocked the secrets of the coded language she uses when gossiping with her lesbian circle. Those witty, beautifully attired, hard-drinking New Yorkers sometimes found true love and sometimes got their hearts broken, but they always seemed glad to be gay. (Instead, it was Going Down With Janis, a biography of Janis Joplin that had been passed around school so many times the pages featuring lesbian sex scenes were almost transparent.) —June Thomas, editor, Outward at Slate
The immigration iliad (this is a great look at how impossible the barriers to legal immigration can be, even for people with a lot of educational and legal advantages on their side):
Although my family and I were as broke as broke can be and could not afford a lawyer, an administrator at the non-profit where I was volunteering that summer put me in touch with a well-regarded immigration attorney for a series of pro-bono consultations. The attorney patiently explained to me that returning to Santo Domingo was far too risky. Because I’d overstayed my tourist visa as a child, I’d be subject to a ban on reentry; it was also extremely likely that I’d be denied a student visa. I was told that my two main options were to hope for immigration reform — the very first version of the DREAM Act had been introduced in 2001 — or to marry a U.S. citizen.
Even at 17, I knew a fraudulent marriage could land me in serious hot water, so I wasn’t on board with the second option; all I had was hope. I enrolled at Princeton in the fall of 2002, and administrators reworked my financial aid by extending a university-backed loan to cover what I would have earned working.
Tom and Lorenzo do a deep dive on Clueless fashion:
This is Dionne’s second style mode: wearing slightly parodic, ramped-up versions of African-American-inspired styles. The hair and beret are Reggae-inspired and the animal prints and low-slung tight pants are straight out of contemporaraneous hip hop. There’s this constant sense that she and her boyfriend Murray, who is always portrayed in slightly exaggerated (but not much) versions of ’90s rap-inspired styles (Timberland boots, Kangol hats, and pants falling off), are quite deliberately asserting themselves as representatives of black culture in this mostly lily-white and highly privileged setting. So is her crazy hat in the first scene just a crazy hat? Or is it another in a line of subtle ways she’s interpreting her cultural background in a place that’s somewhat bereft of it?
Rolling Stone talked to Bernie:
To address America’s economic imbalance, you’re proposing a platform of democratic socialism – what does that mean to you?
Our goal should be a society in which all people have a decent standard of living, not a society in which a few people have incredible wealth while 47 million live in poverty. What it means to me in English is a national health care program that guarantees health care to all people. It means high-quality public education from preschool through graduate school – and one of the important points of the platform that we’re running on is to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Anybody in this country, regardless of their income, should be able to go get a higher education.
It means dealing with the fact that significant numbers of people in this country are paying a very large proportion of their incomes in housing. It means that if you’re gonna work 40 hours a week, you don’t live in poverty; that we raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
Our beloved Jaya on hair products, mixed girls, and standing too long in the drugstore aisle wondering what to buy:
The first time I saw Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner, it knocked me on my ass. I had that moment marketers spend countless hours and dollars to engineer, where a consumer is struck with the thought “Finally, a product that was made for me!” As the child of an Indian father and a white mother with a head of curls, I spent my adolescence as a bathroom chemist, mixing products to create something that would keep my hair from frizzing while also avoiding the greased wig look. It worked sometimes, but mostly I spent high school in braided pigtails to avoid the whole thing. Mixed Chicks called to me in a way nothing had.
I learned more about colorblindness today, and it was fascinating:
A common misconception is that colorblindness has to do with an insufficient supply of rod and cone cells in the eye. It’s actually only the cones that play a part in colorblindness, and the issue isn’t with quantity—even severe sufferers boast the standard 6 or 7 million—but of these cells’ behavior.
All cone cells are armed with molecules called photopigments, which absorb light particles, i.e. photons, allowing for the interpretation of color. The cones in the eye of a typical viewer separate into three types, each responsible for taking in different lengths of light waves: L-cones perceive long-wavelength light, which translates chiefly to the color red; M-cones perceive medium-wavelength light, which translates chiefly to green; and S-cones perceive small-wavelength light, which translates chiefly to blue. The countless combinations of these kinds of waves hitting the eye at different volumes result in the million different colors that the average person observes over the span of his or her life—or even in a single day.
The cones in someone with colorblindness don’t distinguish between light waves quite as well. For most, the problem is one of egregious overlap of wave absorption within a single cone. When an L-cone takes in too much green light, or an M-cone too much red, the eye will have problems differentiating between these colors. This results in a number of difficulties, including the classification of certain objects’ colors and the distinction between disparately colored objects as just that.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.