Alt Delete

Today at the coffee shop, the mansplainers who always hold court while I roll my eyes– three left-ish, bearded dudes who’d rather be heard than be just–effortlessly folded the term “alt left” into their discourse. Jesus it all happens so fast. Obstensibly they were using 45’s latest malapropism to blame the actions of the alt right (read: Nazis) on the left, as they so often do. But really these dudes seized this term, jumped on this bandwagon, because it resonated with something fetid in them even here in Brooklyn.

It’s always such mishegos when Northerners act like white supremacy is relegated to the South. With the men in this story, I used my traditional weapon of mockery. If people are laughing at not with hipsters, it does embarrass them into watching their words; their brand may be nonconformity but they’re self-conscious conformists at heart. But this worked only because of context. There, I had enough social capital to be the bullies’ bully. G-d knows this is not always the case in these alleged united states.

My family is small on my dad’s side because we were Polish Jews and everyone knows how few of us survived World War II. Those of us who could fled to America and thus inherited its complex story of liberty and oppression. Today the past is so painfully present. After all, Hitler didn’t create the third reich in a vaccuum. He tapped into an evil already lurking–an ugly entitlement rotting at the core. Nothing untreated ever heals.

Fur People Books

Check out anyone’s social media feed, and chances are good it’s as full of pets as it is of kids. In the last few decades, we have developed an unprecedented intimacy with our domesticated animals; we give them human names as opposed to the Smoky and Spot of yesteryear, and their diets are often as organic and carb-conscious as our own. As an unabashed cat lady – though I prefer the sultrier title of “cat woman” – I see no problem with this trend. Animals provide unconditional love; animals remind us to stay present; animals never ignore our text messages. Judging from these wonderful books about the relationships between humans and animals, I’m not alone in my animal passions.

My Dog Tulip–J.R. Ackerley, Introduction by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
British writer and editor J. R. Ackerley didn’t even like dogs much until he found himself the kept man of Tulip, a German shepherd with tastes as particular as his own. Droll, dry, and tenderhearted (aka eminently British), this memoir will hurt the heart of anyone who’s lived alone with a dear pet.

Flush–Virginia Woolf
A well-known animal lover (her friends called her Goat), Virginia Woolf was so charmed by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel Flush that she wrote an autobiography about him. Yep, you read that right. The author of Orlando and A Room of One’s Own wrote a whole book from a pup’s perspective. Whimsical and warmhearted, this is easily Woolf’s most loose-limbed literary effort. Continue Reading →

The Church of American Ashes

We’re at the point where the American dystopia is so real and so raw that it’s as if this country’s core uglinesss is erupting inside my guts–which of course it is, me being the literal Crapicorn that I am.

Really, it is living inside all of us.

White supremacy is and always has been terrorism. Not recognizing this means you have blinded yourself because it suits you. Because you think your part is greater than the whole. And because—g-d help us—it is the American way. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy