The Truth About School Indoctrination by Jessica Valenti
Writing for her own newsletter, All in Her Head, Jessica Valenti addresses the latest manufactured outrage of the political right, which at its most dramatic has led to genuine book burnings. More often, it’s manifested as equally insidious erasure of any voices that, often by their very existence, don’t ratify the singular importance and pristine morality of straight, white people throughout the entirety of human history. Valenti is justly unstinting in highlighting the vicious cruelty of these stances. I’m especially grateful that she includes the too uncommonly voiced observation that most of these addled citizens professing care and concern for the fragile innocence of students have zero problem with the regularly revisited trauma of live shooter drills as a necessary price of a nonsense interpretation of the second bullet point in the Bill of Rights.
Coincidentally, the same day the NYPD posted a tweet brimming with pride over officers who brought the hammer down on desperate people shoplifting diapers and medicine, their top hometown paper printed this news story, reported by Lola Fadulu, about the routine lack of concern for murdered Black women by law enforcement agencies across the country. There are other examples cited, but the main focus is on the case of Lauren Smith-Fields, a twenty-four-year-old Connecticut woman found dead in her apartment whose case wasn’t given even the most cursory attention by the police until her friends took to social media for justice advocacy campaigns. Meanwhile, governments continue shoveling money into police departments.
Some Thoughts About Writing About Love While The World Falls Apart by Sasha Fletcher
This piece opens with the following perfectly calibrated statement of exhausted resignation: “If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t know what else to do.” And it continues, briefly and piquantly, in the same mode for four fine paragraphs that can serve as a treatise for all who salve the futility of modern living with the bricklaying of diversionary language. Sasha Fletcher’s article is published by Joyland.
All in Color for a Dime (1970) edited by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson
Back when funny books were disposable entertainment that kids rolled up and shoved in their back pockets (instead of, you know, source material for the the only movies guaranteed to sell tickets any more), Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson edited this collection that had the audacity to treat comics and their offshoots as worthy of attention. As early works of comic scholarship, many of the essays get by on simply recounting the particular of characters and storylines, which can make the pieces on more familiar characters feel a little rudimentary, especially when Harlan Ellison strides in for the closing piece and demonstrates how a recap can actually have a whole lot of zing when rendered in particularly passionate and periphrastic prose.