This speech by Sarah Schulman is a must-read for queer writers
As we make our work, we also have to model behaviors and ways of having personal and social relationships that can facilitate a whole new and completely different way of living, a kind of – to be old-fashioned – liberation way of living. And you know that for me, as I expressed in my most recent book, Conflict Is Not Abuse, part of liberation means a community ethic to stop shunning, pick up the phone and talk about your differences, get together in person with the people you’re in conflict with instead of enlisting your clique or community or religion or corporate shield or race or nation to obliterate them. Stop being mean to a person or a group because someone you identity with told you to hurt them. Instead, ask the contested person what they think it going on. Why do they think this is happening? And whether that is your friend’s ex-friend, or people excluded by the Muslim ban, hear what the excluded person is experiencing. And we have to stop calling the police as a way to cover up our own unjust anxieties. Because what we have got in America right now is a system that is just cruel, in which the people in power are criminals, and people’s basic needs are ignored, and lives are ruined at whims of political game playing. So, any queer individual making it in that system is not a signifier of actual change. It’s great for that person, which has its own value, but it’s not enough.
Sarah Schulman, Publishing Triangle Award Speech
Blistering critique followed by uplifting hope.
Read the whole thing!
Album of the Week
LP has been around for ages. My girlfriend saw her play live about twelve years ago. She finally seems to be getting some traction as a purveyor of upbeat, lesbian pop/rock. I’ve been listening to this all week. It’s more bluesy than her last album and is full of catchy tunes like ‘Muddy Waters’, ‘Lost on You’, ‘Other People’ and ‘Strange’. A lot of fun.
Top Track, ‘No Witness’
Nice piece from BBC Witness about the moment a group of lesbian activists stormed the Six O’Clock news to protest about Section 28.
I was eleven years’ old when this happened and I remember it vividly. I wasn’t the kind of kid who always knew they were gay, but the protest really affected me and stuck in my mind. On some level, I seemed to know that it mattered and it had something to do with me.
I’m constantly amazed by just how different the world has been for LGBTQ people who grew up in the UK after the repeal of Section 28.
The Pixies, Complete ‘B’ Sides (2001)
This is a great compilation, which includes the first Pixies song I ever heard, ‘Wave of Mutilation’ (UK Surf). Top tracks for me are ‘Into the White‘ (oh my god, those drums at the beginning before Kim Deal starts intoning “And there ain’t no light”), and this fantastically ominous cover of Neil Young’s ‘I’ve been waiting for you‘.
Tindersticks, Curtains (1997)
I probably never would have come across this band, but my college housemate, who was into them, used to put songs on mixtapes for us. They have since established a place in my music collection with their lush, romantic, and slightly seedy dirges. Top track, ‘Rented Rooms’.
REM, Murmur (1983)
Still sounds amazing (and incomprehensible). Top track ‘Talk about the Passion’
The great science fiction and mystery writer Kate Wilhelm died this week at the age of 89
I have never forgotten her stories ‘The Infinity Box’ and ‘Naming the Flowers’.
You can find a full list of her works here