Check Your Privilege

Garbage thoughts for garbage girls

Hello everyone,

Today some things I think you should read around the web, musings on internet things, a bunch of cartoons that made people mad, to see if that still stands. Cheers! Also subscribers, look out for a second email for overdue thoughts on Obama’s memoir, another playlist, and some thoughts on Instagram account “Diet Prada,” which tbh really haunts me.

Another reminder to please feel free to email me if you need a sliding scale, I’m really friendly and nice via email I promise! (awardsforgoodboys@gmail.com).

If you’re feeling creatively stuck (I am) let this be an inspiration:

JJ Abrams story time:

I once saw him in a restaurant and I was reading the Wheel of Time. I very performatively read—it was just me and him—in hopes that the exact exchange would follow:

“Oh hello miss, that cover looks interesting, what are you reading?”

“Hey JJ! This is Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. But Robert Jordan died and entrusted the series to my favorite person, Brandon Sanderson. There are 14 books. Would you wanna learn more?”

“Yes actually, I’d like to develop it into a series and hire you to explain the plot to me. Are you interested in helping me make my next mystery box? It’ll be just like Lost but you’re in charge.”

“Sounds good J!”

Ok then, on to my favorite subject, i.e. stop. being so horny for people doing the least especially if they are extremely powerful. Here’s a good life motto for us all:

Mini Covid break:

This:

Things to attend, read, sign up for:

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Two newsletters I’m excited about:

  • Zeynep Tufekci (I plug her work a lot she’s super smart! You may remember from the “tech highlight” — she wrote Twitter and Teargas which is a great book on how networked communication shaped / influenced the Arab Spring and other recent movements.

  • Coming next year, a newsletter about America’s broken healthcare system from Libby Watson. Should be awesome.

Rina, generally. Just Rina!!!!!!!

Cartoons that made people angry, with some thoughts, I have a lot of Sagittarius in my chart

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IDK give or take whether wearing things to give them visibility means anything but, you gotta admit, the very small embroidered names were fucking hilarious.

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Ahead of my time. It’s hard being THE zeitgeist, yes.

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Online is the real world and matters, and some people primarily connect to their community online. Real, valid, all legit. But the idea that the correct infographic, the right way of posting, the Perfectly Phrased Rebuttal, is going to unlock everyone’s imaginations which have been deliberately tamped down in this hell world — feels wrong. Keep pushing, yes. But also, I think perspective is good for all of us: i.e., online can feel super important, and is, but there are obvious limits. It’s not indicative of anything universal. It’s a very small percentage of very vocal people who think in a specific way, continually shaped by each other and what is acceptable on a given day. Very popular things online can begin to feel like The Truth, the Correct Take. no, no no nonononono. No. Popularity does not equal expertise.

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Whoops this one made people mad. But I stand by it, the white guilt flagellation silo that liberals predominantly love to reside in is, in my opinion, extremely self-centered and ego-driven and not the bold anti-racism work many think it is. Self reflection on how we move through the world is important work—lifelong work—I just don’t think it needs to be so public for others to believe you’re “doing the work.” Perchance move some money and invest in your community instead of policing how other white women aren’t correctly “checking their privilege” today. Just a thought.

Case in point, I had to turn comments off that post because people were upset I put “privilege” in quotation marks. White women specifically seem to be the malleable ones—works in progress, say many social justice adjacent bios—treated as a public experiment in how to best present solidarity. To be clear, obviously white women have Shit To Deal With. I’m just saying that there is a dramatic difference between who is asked to attend to the public declaration of caring, and how they seem to never get it right, a sentiment almost always voiced solely by other white women. It feels very specifically gendered, the expectation that women are emotionally available to receive feedback, even in their attempts at solidarity to be further told how they fail. And yes, we do fail. Very often, very hard, very publicly. There doesn’t need to be “boo hoo poor white women” to recognize that, quite simply, white men are not asked to atone in the same way, not asked to make solidarity so personal, and yet widely celebrated when they vague tweet once a year about something other than themselves.

It’s all quite gross in the space of social media, because it becomes (IMO) so far removed from the actual substance—i.e., standing in solidarity with our most marginalized neighbors and listening to what they need—and instead becomes a routine to rehearse, a How Well Can You Articulate Your Goodness Today, Your Career Actually Depends On It. It’s a very specific 2020 vibe I think, to be extremely unclear on why you don’t like something or someone, usually a woman, but try to drape that in a veneer of proxy social justice language, so that you can feel better than, so you can bully and call it a “call in.” Just, what?

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There are probably a bunch more that made people mad / very just actually very bad! I love it!

Oh, in other news, this rules:

And then of course, my dog.

Wash your hands, wear a mask, please don’t travel, please don’t eat indoors or go to bars, get tested as often as you can, and take a deep breath, everyone!

With love,
Shelby + Clem