Things I’m Verbing: Syncretism, solidarity and straight lines

Lots of antisemitism around social media right now, with many people outraged that “no one is talking about this” and “why isn’t this screaming from every headline?” It’s… exhausting to watch. I feel immensely conflicted about it, as someone who has cared and shouted about antisemitism for a long time. My first reaction is Where have you all been? It took bomb threats and grave desecration to bring you in on this? I feel overexposed, especially when I know how hypocritical and toxic conversations about antisemitism can be.

I am trying to let down my guard and not feel suspicious that this is simply an under-mined source of outrage and clicks. At the same time, I’m moved and relieved by how quickly other communities have come to our aid. You can’t understate the trauma of seeing tombstones knocked over — there is a straight line from that act to the Holocaust. It is really, really not weird that Jews and Muslims would get along and support each other, but it is gratifying to see that we truly have each others’ backs, in action and in word.

Folks who have been in this position, do you have any advice for dealing with these feelings? I’d really appreciate any links in the comments or on Twitter.

  • If you’re looking for some Jews not taking this shit lying down, I urge you to read the absolutely delightful and excellently titled “So a Nazi Walks Into an Iron Bar,” about Meyer Lansky, Jewish gangsters and 1930s-style direct action.
  • There’s always plenty to say about the Oscars, but Imran Siddiquee, writing for BuzzFeed, has a point we shouldn’t lose sight of: “What Will It Take for Dev Patel to Be a Leading Man?
  • Only ’80s and ’90s kids will understand this, &c &c &c: “The Melancholy of Don Bluth,” a look at what set films like All Dogs Go to Heaven, An American Tail and The Secret of NIMH apart from all the rest.
  • From Racked, do not miss Laura Turner’s “What Do We Do With the Clothing of Grief?” The dress I wore to my mom’s funeral still hangs in my closet. I haven’t worn it again, but I don’t know if I can give it up.
  • For just some lovely reflection on religion and identity, from Ravishly, take a look at “Finding My Rebel Catholicism in Mexico City” by Michelle Threadgould.

I have another personal essay up at Screwball Heroine, about the weird composite imaginary man I want to find and fall in love with: “To all my future husbands.”

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: FOIAs on hold, fascism on the radio and fangirling the Rockford Peaches

Over the weekend, I fulfilled maybe my dearest movie-related wish: getting to see A League of Their Own on a big screen, in a room full of other people, mostly women, for whom it was also an immensely formative experience as a young kid. I was 7 when it came out, and I think only I saw it on VHS, but because of that movie, I desperately wanted to play baseball, to swing dance, to be on a close-knit team of amazing people who mean the world to me. I’d never seen anything like it before.

I was just the right age for a whole slew of kids movies about sports: The Mighty Ducks, Ladybugs, The Sandlot (which also holds up incredibly well), Rookie of the Year, some of them better than others (let us not speak of Air Bud or Angels in the Outfield), very few of them about girls. I didn’t wind up becoming an athlete, but I don’t think I ever got over the rich female characters and their equally rich relationships. I promise you, A League of Their Own is better than you remember, if you’ve seen it, and better than you can imagine, if you have yet to see it.

  • Speaking of the endlessly admirable Geena Davis, she’s been running a foundation that researches and promotes women and depictions of women in film and TV, in front of and behind the camera. Bloomberg spoke with her last year about her work, how much we have left to accomplish and what simple things scriptwriters can do to achieve accurate gender representation in the most fundamental, unconscious ways.
  • It’s South by Southwest all day, every day for a little bit now, and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty intrigued by City of Gold, a documentary about the only food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. Jonathan Gold and his love affair with Los Angeles look fascinating enough in pictures; he won me over with a 2012 interview in the Believer about how to smell bullshit in the food world.
  • Less delightful — in fact, the opposite of that — you must watch Rachel Maddow’s gut-churning compilation of Donald Trump’s escalating language at his rallies. Today being Super Tuesday II, or Mega Tuesday, or whatever we’re calling it, it’s never too late to see the true face of what we’re dealing with as a nation.
  • There’s always precedent. Esquire published a brief but vivid look at the legacy of Father Coughlin, a one-time progressive in the 1930s whose radio program soon became a hugely popular mouthpiece of racism, antisemitism and straight-up fascism.
  • I’m just as in love with #Bam4Ham, in which the cast of Hamilton spent the day singing and freestyling at the White House, as anyone else. However, we can’t also forget that Barack Obama, like any idealistic president, isn’t flaw-free. ProPublica and the Washington Post have documented their investigation into “the most transparent administration ever” and its troubling record on the Freedom of Information Act.