Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Murmuration: The sound of many voices speaking, quietly alone but deafeningly together. The sight of multitudes in flight coming abruptly into sync. An emergence into visibility; a rising up. An uprising.
Lacy M. Johnson on speaking out about sexual assault. In addition to her own story — of finding her tongue, and the hostile backlash from male peers, the discomfort of other women — she reminds us of what boys-will-be-boys looks like to women who are violated privately, then publicly, by their assaulters.
All across the country this situation is replicated with slight variations: a woman reports rape, is told that boys will be boys; a woman reports rape, is not believed. She is shamed. She is ostracized, traumatized, and retraumatized. At best, the woman’s life is forever and irrevocably changed. At worst, she self-destructs. Men, however, seem to thrive in a culture in which they can rape women with near impunity.
I know, I know. Not all men.
Jessica Shortall remembers the men in her life.
This week, a man sent me a private message on twitter. I told him I did not want to talk to him. He persisted. I told him to fuck off. He replied that he would “teach” me “what sexual assault means.”
Rebecca Solnit on having the power to choose not to know.
What has in the past been subtle is now obvious: this is a battle over whether this will be a country for all of us, a democracy in which everyone matters and all are equal, or a citadel of white male privilege. They are a minority — including babies and boys, white males make up a third of this country — but have majority party and are in a rageful panic about its ebb. This nomination is a power grab for the party committed to representing them at everyone else’s expense. That’s out in the open now; that clarity may mean that even if they win this battle, they’ve committed themselves to losing the war.
Rebecca Traister with more on power and how it's preserved, through fear and subjugation.
The lesson of the United States in this moment is that misogyny and racism aren’t disqualifiers. They are the qualities the right wing considers key to their larger project — perhaps, in fact, main selling points. (Especially for their president, who today was reported to have loved Kavanaugh’s blustering, aggressive attitude toward his questioners).
After all, the reason that Republicans want to jam through Kavanaugh’s nomination is that as a member of the Supreme Court he’ll be able to help create the mechanisms that determine which kinds of Americans have rights, protections, autonomy, and power.
Emily Jane Fox talks to Holton-Arms alums, women who attended the same private school as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, women whose experiences have an eerie familiarity. A blunt article, whose force grows directly from its straightforward, unemotional reporting.
Many witnessed moments like the one Ford described, or heard about them, or experienced them firsthand. “When I first read the story on Sunday, I said, ‘Of course this happened,’” a woman who graduated from Holton in the early 2000s told me. “This happened so much that there was nothing difficult to believe about what she’s saying. How could anyone doubt this? It felt personal to a lot of us, because her story is so similar to a lot of ours, and so the attacks on her felt personal.”
Finally, a flashback to 1993, to Joan Didion, to Lakewood, California, to the tactics so readily used by certain men to discredit and disarm women who have been brutally harmed.
One of the ugliest and most revelatory of the many ugly and revelatory moments that characterized the television appearances of Spur Posse members this spring occurred on “Jane Whitney,” when a nineteen-year-old Lakewood High graduate named Chris Albert (“Boasts He Has 44 ‘Points’ for Having Sex with Girls”) turned mean with a member of the audience, a young black woman who had tried to suggest that the Spurs on view were not exhibiting what she considered native intelligence.
“I don’t get—I don’t understand what she’s saying,” Chris Albert at first said, letting his jaw go slack, as these boys tended to do when confronted with an unwelcome, or in fact any, idea.
Another Spur interpreted: “We’re dumb. She’s saying we’re dumb.”
"What education does she have?" Chris Albert then snarled, and tensed against his chair, as if trying to shake himself alert. "Where do you work at? McDonald's? Burger King?" A third Spur tried to interrupt, but Chris Albert, once roused, could not be deflected: "$5.25? $5.50?" And then there it was, the piton, driven in this case into not granite but shale: "I go to college."
Murmuration. A rising up of many voices. An emergence into visibility.