I am making macaroni and cheese and drinking red wine and trying not to cry. The macaroni and cheese is more likely to be a successful venture. I wish I were watching a 70s crime movie with the Legend. I wish I were sharing my fattening carbs with him. I wish he loved me enough to be here. I wish I wish I wish I wish. Most of all I wish I still had the faith to believe my wishes came true. I cried all last night—cold sad loveless endless November Venus Retrograde nights have that effect on a girl—and when I woke I still couldn’t stop. From Boston Rachel said: All you have to do in the next hour is wash your face and get a coffee. The fresh air and sun on your face will make you feel better—not a lot, but a little. As always, my dear friend was right. I wish that hadn’t been the highlight of this sadsack of a day.
Tonight I attended a screening of “Crime + Punishment,” Stephen Maing’s Sundance-winning doc about the NYPD’s illegal quotas system, under which officers are retaliated against if they don’t meet a certain number of summonses and arrests per month. I’ll be honest. The Tree of Life shootings already had me so down that I didn’t know if I’d make it through the night; as a Jew, a queer, a woman, and a fan of humanity-at-large, I’ve never felt more scared and sad about living under the shadow of a hate-speechifying president who proudly calls himself a nationalist. But something happened that I didn’t expect: I started to feel hope.
This film about a NYC-wide economy dependent on institutionalized racism focuses on the brave efforts of the NYPD12, a group of police whistleblowers who’ve filed a related class-action lawsuit; on the many NYC males of color, aged 14-21, who are targeted and brutalized by quotas; and on the families, activists, lawyers, and criminal investigators who support them. That these brave men and women still have the audacity to battle corruption when everything seems so relentlessly uphill reminds us that there always have been fucked-up power hierarchies, and we have no business giving up until they’re gone. In a profoundly moving Q&A at the Crosby Street Hotel screening attended by many of the doc’s key players, police sergeant Edwin Raymond spoke about how the struggles of the ancestors embolden him to fight today. “This is my turn,” he said calmly before going on to describe how he is being targeted within his department for speaking out on behalf of his community. In the face of evil, we all must serve as clear-hearted, clear-headed officers of love. Thank you, cousins from other mothers, for your example. And thank you, brilliant investigator and former cop Manuel Gomez, for providing us not only with your brilliant proposed legislative reform–go to his website for the details!–but for your delicious “lobster tail” pastries. Sweets to counter the bitterness is not just the Jewish way. It’s the way forward for us all.
Crime + Punishment is now streaming on Hulu.
Tonight I’m moderating a chat with Mary Elizabeth Winstead about All About Nina, a woman-directed indie that couldn’t be more culturally relevant if Rachel Mitchell were grilling it at a senate hearing. Starring the brilliant Winstead, it focuses on a sexually traumatized female comedian who is as searingly funny as she is self-destructive. Women like this don’t get put on big screens, and they should. Because, as we were painfully reminded this week, that’s how most of us move through life— afraid we’ll never heal but too strong to fall apart completely. We’ll be discussing all this at a 7:30pm screening at 42nd Street’s AMC25 theater and would be so grateful if you joined us. Honestly? Everyone could use the support right now.
Tickets are still available; join us!