Black Children Matter

I basically inhaled Toni Morrison’s new novel God Help the Child because it left me breathless. It’s a short novel, but it  is so rich in everything: Language, narrative perspectives, themes, settings, characters. The prose is poetic, not as in lovely-beautiful but as in dense with emotional and intellectual heft. Characters and themes are true Morrison: Racism, colorism, lives of Black women, violence, abuse, love, hurt. 

Particularly the main character, Bride, and her mother Sweetness are both modern and timeless. Their story is not only one of racism and colorism (the main character is “blue black”) but also of abuse, adolescence, growing up, woman- and motherhood.  Bride answers the resentment towards her based on her skin with power based her beauty. 

Morrison manages to tell so many stories of fleshed out characters, with so few words. Even the conception of characters makes an interesting statement – I believe the darker the skin tone of a character, the richer the qualities and flaws of the character.  If I listed all stories told you’d never believe they’re all found within 178 pages. But Morrison makes it work, by not using one superfluous word. A truly amazing book.

Beverly Johnson: Bill Cosby Drugged Me.

Top model Beverly Johnson is among the now countless women Bill Cosby lured in with his charismatic superstar persona and then drugged in order to sexually assault them. Her piece for Vanity Fair is a really important read (if you have the stomach for it: she describes the drugging in detail; discusses sexual assault.) Her story shows that Cosby was acting out complex plans in order to abuse women. These weren’t “heat of the moment” actions. Allegedly, I guess, but there are now really too many accounts of women – including rich and famous women – to not believe their collective stories.

Johnson’s article is also really good at explaining why she did not come forward earlier. Given the issues with Black masculinity, this passage stood out:

Finally, I reached the conclusion that the current attack on African American men has absolutely nothing to do at all with Bill Cosby. He brought this on himself when he decided he had the right to have his way with who knows how many women over the last four decades. If anything, Cosby is distinguished from the majority of black men in this country because he could depend on the powers that be for support and protection.

Like many, I grew up loving the Huxtables. But that love for Bill Cosby’s work is now overshadowed by his personal malicious actions, and the women bravely telling their stories aren’t the ones ruining that influential, wonderful show. Cosby did. “Allegedly.”

Beverly Johnson: Bill Cosby Drugged Me.

mlyrstte:

inkchalk:

aurevoir-mes-amis-deactivated20:

Sam Pepper Exposed. 

Laci Green and many other young women have placed themselves in an extremely vulnerable position to shed some light on sexual abuse in the Youtube community and some extremely disturbing incidents directly involving Sam Pepper. Please share this video to support Laci and the victims.

For fucks sake. This is horrible. Spread this around and take a stand in protecting each other.

[…]

I hadn’t heard of “Sam Pepper” until the day before yesterday, and I’d really prefer it if he could fall off the face of the world. What an asshat. Also, this isn’t the first “youtube community abuse” case. 

Also, his “defense” that “ the prank and subsequent videos are a social experiment to promote awareness of male victims of domestic abuse” is bullshit. For once, it’s obviously a way to maneuver his way out of this, and even if that was his plan from the start, he failed miserably at that. Harassing women to call attention to male victims of domestic abuse (even if staged) is a terrible idea, and it doesn’t work. The video, in context of his work, obviously makes light of street harassment. The only thing drawn attention to is his infamy. 

Content note: All kinds of abuse in the examples Laci Green gives in the video. 

The Book Is Always Better Than The Film (Game of Thrones Edition)

(I guess this contains GoT spoilers, but I do not talk about any plot points that haven’t happened in the HBO series yet, and only about a few plot points from the series.)

I recently got megaspoiled about the plot development of George R.R. Martin’s books by a good friend. The series is not spoiled because I know what’s going to happen, but because I now know how boringly simplified the plot and character development is in the series. The series is tremendously well produced and especially acted, but the books sound so much more interesting. And every single thing that sucked in the series is of the series writer’s creation. Take the Jaime – Cersei-beside-their-child’s-corpse-scene. The book version is shocking and terrible, but fits with plot and character arcs. The series version is gratuitously extra terrible and obviously shocking without any subtlety in a way that does not fit into the general narrative, especially of Jaime. Jaime is a horrible person, but for different reasons. I cannot stand the sight of him any longer. 

I just stumbled upon another way in which the series is, well, needlessly less complex and interesting. It’s dumbed down for TV. At least from my point of view:

By ofhouseadama:

Here’s the thing about why Sansa slapping Sweetrobin on the show is so gross:

In the books, Sansa deliberately avoids continuing the cycle of abuse, because she realizes the dangerous situation Sweetrobin is in, and why he has become the child he is, how his illness and Lysa’s mothering has affected him, and is able to relate his circumstance to her own. In the show, D&D have blithely had a victim of physical abuse continue it by slapping someone with much less power — due to illness and familial power structure — than she does. I’m 99% certain they have no idea what they did by writing that, but there it is. And we shouldn’t be using that moment to point out Sansa as a “badass,” because on top of it being a sign of continuing the cycle of abuse, there are dozens of other things about Sansa to celebrate. 

New White House Sexual Assault PSA

The White House released a pretty good PSA against sexual assault featuring some preyy big names besides the two top men at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Daniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers, and Steve Carell.

I like it when famous men, especially men famous for being “macho,” speak out in this way. We men need to teach other men not to rape. Statistically, we all know and maybe value someone who has committed some form of sexual abuse.

I want to note, however, that the video uses the common but problematic rhetorical device of framing the terribleness of abuse by stressing that the affected are “our” mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc. Which is sadly accurate; statistically we all know and probably love someone who has experienced sexual abuse. I know why they use it, but still – women* deserve to be free from abuse regardless of their relationship to men, they deserve it as people. This (culture of) abuse needs to be fought regardless of who is hurt.

Brainwashing Woody       

In the great write-up linked above Lili Loofbourow makes a concise, convincing argument: Woody Allen’s own defense narrative is not only inconsistent but shows predatory behavior and the type of manipulation he accuses Mia Farrow of. As a commenter points out, Allen’s actions against Farrow and kids could be called gaslighting.

Brainwashing Woody