Claire Vaye Watkins wrote a powerful meditation on pandering, privilege, and the patriarchy for Tin House: “If you like my book I’m grateful. But I remind you that people at the periphery will travel to accept and even love things not made for or toward them: we have been trained to do so our entire lives. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of their readerly response, only to confess to what went on in my mind when I made the book, to assemble an honest inventory of people I have not been writing toward (though I thought I was): women, young women, people of color, the rural poor, the American West, my dead mother.”
Alison Herman wrote about the wider conversation possible in light of Watkins’s essay: “‘On Pandering’ is the hopeful starting point of a conversation that will expand outward from Watkins. It’s neither her job nor her probable desire to speak for all writers outside the establishment. But by striking a nerve, she’s accomplished something remarkable.”
And Jia Tolentino penned a powerful response for Jezebel: “It’s difficult to introduce an essay about authorship, popular/critical reception and the idea of writing “towards” in 2015, via a medium (the internet) that has complicated authorship and popular/critical reception and “towards” immensely. What’s positioned as a continuum to me seems more like a large plane, governed capriciously. Let’s say writing “towards” any given audience is a vector: there are a dozen vectors that add up into it, a series of positions that determine the point you start from as well as your voice’s angle, its force, its reach.”
Five Black Lives Matter activists protesting the death of Jamar Clark were shot by alleged white supremacists in Minneapolis on Monday. None of the shootings was life-threatening. In the aftermath, BLM-Minn. posted that they “will not be intimidated” on their Facebook page and went ahead with a scheduled Justice4Jamar march Tuesday afternoon. You can donate to the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis chapter’s legal fund here.
If you are in New York City today, there will be a #BLACKLIVESMATTER NOT BLACK FRIDAY march beginning at 1 PM in Zuccotti Park.
Poet Fatimah Asghar talks about identity, the realities of being a poet of color in 2015, and much more in an interview for Bitch: “When we’re talking about decolonizing our minds, then what does it mean to be a writer who is writing in English? What does it mean to be a writer whose writing in English who is against systems of colonizing, of racism, of imperialism, of oppression in those systematic ways. I think that’s why I’m trying to teach myself how to speak Urdu. It’s not just to be able to write in Urdu, but it’s to be able to communicate with my people in some ways. To be able to preserve that part of myself and my identity, rather than letting it be assimilated away.”
Tommy Pico writes about his Thanksgiving plans for Lit Hub:
“Do I celebrate a day that amplifies historical propaganda, that celebrates genocide and a manufactured moment of harmony between an occupying force and its subjugated resistance? That elides generations of torture, rape, and cultural erasure?
You’re goddamn right I do.
But maybe not in the way you suspect. However amplified your sense of colonizer’s guilt is today, for me it’s deafening. In my grandmother’s generation, our traditions, language, religion, and culture became extinct. I have to do something today both productive and intensely fun with people I love, otherwise the feedback would be too much. I have to create new traditions.”
Also over at Lit Hub, Kathleen Alcott’s family Thanksgiving tradition is steeped in ghosts: “It was sometime in my teenage years that I began to resent this peculiar kind of tourism, that I began to worry we were seen as objects of pity, that I began to hate the anecdotes that may as well have been told in another language. All my mother’s explanations—that Thanksgiving was a grotesque revision of the vicious imperialism that fashioned our country, that meals were better when shared with many—were not enough. I couldn’t hear the answer hiding inside her answer, which was that she did not want either of us to endure the quiet that is a meal for two.”
Watch the trailer and check out the arrestingly beautiful set photos for Happy Birthday, Marsha!, an upcoming film about trans activist Marsha P. Johnson. If you would like to help raise money for this movie, visit their Indiegogo page.
What did we miss this week? Let us know in the comments! <3