I wonder if I’d read this last year what my take would have been. Lindy West is a bitingly funny author–there were parts of this where I was LITERALLY laughing so hard that my stomach hurt–but a decent portion of her book is a reaction to the election of DJTrump to the presidency. And, now that the aforementioned (and will no longer be mentioned) man is gone, spending my hard earned leisure time reading about the whys and wherefores that led us to him seems like giving him another win. And I so very much hope he doesn’t have another one of those, ever.
But in order to cook two full meals from scratch every day, I had to take hours out of the middle of my workday to chop, essentially, one of every vegetable, and then clean my entire kitchen three times a day
This books reads a bit like it was a compilation of essays that West workshopped in the pages of a liberal zine or a culture blog or maybe even a newsletter. They’re only loosely connected by a thread of “remember that the world is white patriarchial capitalist nonsense” and don’t particularly need to be read in any specific order. If it weren’t for the dual time goal posts (44 and the filming/airing of her TV series Shrill) this book could possibly be set in any number of recent years back or forward. It’s about #MeToo, and the man-pearl-clutching response that we saw in response, but it’s also generally about the terrible ways in which we as rapacious members of modern society seek to find the path of least resistance and promise to do better next time.
My husband plays the trumpet, which is a sort of loud pretzel originally invented to blow down the walls of fucking Jericho and, later, to let Civil War soldiers know it was time to kill each other in a river while you chilled eating pigeon in your officer’s tent twenty miles away, yet somehow, in modern times, it has become socially acceptable to toot the bad cone inside your house before 10:00 a.m. because it’s “your job” and your wife should “get up.”
West is angry, and I wanted to take from her anger more things for my simmering arsenal of energy that propels me onwards in a world that makes you rage. I got that, but I also had to spend some of said energy running away from meditations on what was, at the time, a front seat view to the slow collapse of American democracy.
One of the subtlest and most pervasive is social ostracism: coding empathy as the fun killer, consideration for others as an embarrassing weakness, and dissenting voices as out-of-touch, bleeding-heart dweebs (at best). Coolness is a fierce disciplinarian.