books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Here are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.  It’s a weird hodge-podge of stuff today, guys.

Being Counted: Reporting My Rape at a School Under Title IX Investigation (The Toast)

This is a really amazing piece of creative nonfiction, and is well worth your time.  In it, a professor at UNC prepares her notes about her experience being raped when she was a student at the school.  She struggles with how to prepare the notes, and how she will be seen when she provides the notes to the office she’s reporting the rape to:

The rape reporting people on campus will want details (details I won’t have.) They will want to tell me what to do with my report (and I will have to resist them.) They will quickly form ideas about what kind of person I am the minute I walk through the door (and those ideas will likely be wrong.)

The entire thing is moving and amazing.  Go read it.

Disrupters, Disconnectionists, and Dicks (The Hairpin)

This excellent, funny, searing piece about Nev Shulman, creator of MTV docu-series Catfish, is well worth your time.  In it, Emma Healey takes on Nev’s bizarre public persona and contrasts it with anecdotes from people who have experienced him in real life.  It’s also a review of his new book, which is, by most accounts, pretty terrible:

Tone-wise, this book is the literary equivalent of a clean-cut guy in a leather jacket sauntering into your classroom, turning a chair around so he can sit on it the cool way, and telling you he wants to have a serious rap sesh about the problems we all face, because he’s been there, man. In terms of genre, it’s either a memoir by someone who hasn’t had a particularly engaging life, or a self-help book by someone who has no idea what he’s talking about.

Healey has a lot of interesting things to say about Shulman (who is maybe the worst?) and about his “message” and what a complete douche canoe he is.  There’s a lot to unpack here, and I think I’ll be back to re-examine this piece again.

The Bechdel Test is Only a Small Part of Bechdel’s Genius (Vox)

This week, Alison Bechdel was one of the MacArthur Grant winners, which is awesome.  If you haven’t read Fun Home yet, go rectify that right now.  This short primer talks about Bechdel’s contributions to culture, and is really awesome.  Go read it, too.

A Brief History of White Privilege (Daily Dot)

I’m working to understand my own privilege every day and to more fully understand intersectional feminism.  I’m working to be a white ally to people of color.  It’s a lot of work, and I’m happy to put in the time.  This piece explores the concept of white privilege and how it’s gone from being an academic theory to a cross-cultural meme.  It’s worth your time.

Despite O’Reilly’s calls for personal responsibility, white privilege is our social responsibility because no one person created it, and no one person can defeat it. It is a persistent reality. It’s historical and remains a pernicious problem, one that eviscerates any hope of ethnicequality in America.

I’m sure this may surprise some, but I don’t blame white people for American racism. I singularly blame white privilege. It’s the idea—not the people—that affects everything. You can forgive a person, but how do you forgive a racist ideology?

Go read it.

What got you thinking this week?

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