Showing posts from August, 2021

Canceling Oedipus or a New Oedipus Complex?

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes First off, no, I'm not calling to cancel Oedipus, though I do feel like Freud should be canceled for the Oedipus complex, but that's another thought for another time and one to which I am like 87% joking.  So if you're reading this hoping or fearing that I'm taking down a fictional character from millennia-old mythology, you probably want to move on right now.  It's ok--I'll wait.   Last year, before the pandemic (so, like 29 years ago in "pandemic time"), I wrote a blog post where I shared a video by Contrapoints on "Cancelling"  (100 minutes).  Since then, there have been two other pieces of media that I feel have meaningfully build up Wynn's arguments about the nuance of how Cancel Culture is understood and discussed within the US culture at this time.  The first is Lindsay Ellis's episode, "Mask Off"  (100 minutes) where she explores how there was a push to cancel her and she very syst

Review: Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy

Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts My rating: 4 of 5 stars Rickett's delivers a powerful and thought-provoking meditation on understanding the insection of spiritualism, activism, and anti-racism primarily directed towards folks who present or pass as white women. She takes this angle, explaining it is for them on behalf of Black people and other racially marginalized groups and that it has been white women who have done her personally the most harm, often while claiming to be doing the work.  Regardless of the primary audience, there's much to get out of her work by all readers. Those who face white supremacy and marginalization can find meditative practices to help reinfuse their strength and community as well as clear language that may put words more directly to their experiences.  Others will find what it means to practice allyship in ways that will both push them and hold

Review: The Secret to Superhuman Strength

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this memoir of body, mind, and relationships, Bechdel explores how she's come to better understand herself and her close relationships through her pursuit of physical excellence. The narrative moves chronologically through the decades of her life and is filled with a mixture of general themes and specific scenes that often focus on her latest physical pursuit, recent relationship challenges with parents or partners, her coping mechanisms, and increasingly unhealthy work habits. Interspersed, Bechdel calls upon a mixture of Buddhist writings, Enlightenment poets (Wordsworth & Coleridge), Transcendental thinkers (Emerson and Fuller), and Beat poets (namely, Kerouac) to frame and connect her own narrative as well as highlight the intellectual giants who have guided her in this deep reflection of her life. In many ways, Bechdel outdoes her previous accomplishment (Fun Home) a

Review: Ariadne

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ariadne of Greek mythology, the daughter who betrayed her father and helped Theseus find his way through the labyrinth and kill the minotaur (her brother), gains a rich and layered narrative through the skillful prose of Jennifer Saint. But it is not just Ariadne's story but her sister, Phaedra as well and Saint weaves a story to which both the readers and the two protagonists discover the ways in which the Gods and the men acted with all egos and little consideration for others. The result is that women inevitably suffered; particularly, those women who resisted the status quo. Indeed, Saint reminds readers of Ariadne's family line which includes women such as Medea and other women who were seen as subversive. In this retelling, Ariadne and Phaedra both regal their stories through their own points of view, trying to find strength and power in the situations they find themselves in: Phaedra unwilling

Review: 1919

1919 by Eve L. Ewing My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ewing's poetry serves as a wonderfully nuanced call and response to a work from 1922, The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot by the Chicago Commission on Race Relations . Ewing reproduces excerpts from this book and other relevant texts of the time and beyond. Then, she provides a poem that is in dialogue (or even argument, one might say) with the way official records represent, re-present, and misrepresent Black identity and agency. Ewing uses rhythm, wordplay, and rich cultural cues to draw out larger meaning and feeling throughout the works to create a tapestry of vibrant life and experiences of Black people who are wiped from the historical record or presented in a way that can feel caricatured.  Her knack for drawing out what is not said within the report or for reconfiguring the voice from being about Black people to by Black people will resonate with many while al