Archive | Country Matters

Who You Gonna Call?

The world is absolutely on fire right now. We feel dumb talking about our petty problems, and, frankly, we should. Yet in our private, off-line worlds we will seek entertainment as relief because we are human and this is how humans behave. To that end, I recommend seeing the new “Ghostbusters” this weekend. My reason is actually political, as I do not think this CGI-addled, badly paced film is worthy of its very fine cast, though the irresistible Kate McKinnon is like a hilarious silent movie unto herself, and Leslie Jones wisecracks with the best of them. (I blame its failings on writer/director Paul Feig, the kind of affable white dude who keeps “failing up” despite his string of unfunny comedies.) My reason is this is one of the first all-female comedies ever bankrolled by a major studio, and big grosses on an opening weekend will mean that other all-female projects will be bankrolled in the future. More than almost ever, paying to see this Hollywood movie will be an act of activism—one you can commit while eating fatty, sugary foods and sitting on your ass in a climate-controlled environment. So go. I ain’t afraid of no ghost but I am terrified of cockocracies.

Summer of Reckoning, Summer of Love

kehinde wiley Astrologically, the heavens right now resemble those of 1969. So why is this the opposite of the Summer of Love? Is everything wicked in our culture–everything rotten that’s been simmering like the worst witch’s stew—coming to a boil so we can recognize it, expel it, brew something better? I incant, I pray, I roll up my sleeves to make it so.

The day after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I was riding on a rush hour subway to a Black Lives Matter march to be followed by a screening of the Ghostbusters remake. (An incongruity that underscores how irrelevant I find my work lately.) Around me, shoulder to shoulder, elbow to face, stood the rainbow of New Yorkers that you can find on any MTA subway car at any minute of the day. Everyone looked worn, weary, wary. It wasn’t just me, I was sure of it. If there’s ever been a moment on a New York City subway uninformed by centuries of financial inequities, gender politics, religious wars, and, yes, slavery–and I highly doubt it–this most definitely was not it. Continue Reading →

The Luxury of Discomfort

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.23.47 AMMy heartbreak over Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s murders means nothing at all. It does not bring these men–all the people of color slayed by officials falsely claiming to enforce the law–back their lives; it does not return them to their families and friends. Once again I find myself–this middle-aged white lady in a boiling-over, messed-up major metropolitan area–at a loss about a country that so fiercely protects its right to bear arms and then slays people of color even when they don’t practice that right. God help them when they do. Drastic measures are the only sensible response. The question is: Which ones? When I was young I marched and whined and boycotted all the time. I still honor these actions (except for the whining) but see that something more is required. If the corruption is big–and it is monolithic–we must be so much bigger. We must be as uncomfortable as is required to effect true change. Discomfort is a luxury, for it means we are still alive.

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