Abuse Ranking

From the wonderful Melissa McEwan:

My go-to strategy as a younger woman was always to turn incidents of sexual harassment and/or assault into “humorous” anecdotes, which allowed me to talk about what happened without really talking about what happened.

This instinct is the result of, in part, policing women’s lived experiences, a central piece of which is inevitably abuse ranking. 

It goes like this: Your harassment wasn’t as bad as being hit and your being hit wasn’t as bad as being raped and being raped by a boyfriend isn’t as bad as being raped by a relative and being raped by a relative isn’t as bad as genital cutting…

Until many of us feel as though we aren’t allowed to say anything, unless it’s in the context of saying “I didn’t have it that bad” — to express our “good luck” if our suffering hasn’t passed some arbitrary threshold past which survivors will allegedly be allowed to express that we were affected by abuse.

This idea can be expanded: I’ve seen lots of “pain ranking” and “poverty ranking” in my day.

Holidays

Safekeeping

In this amusing piece on book “acknowledgments,” New York Times writer Jennifer Senior includes this bit of real wisdom:

Family members often make the best editors, because they can speak most bluntly to authors, and they have the next-highest stakes. Guess who has to live with you if your book gets savaged?

An editor needs to protect his or her author from ignominy.

Two thoughts on 2017

Contempt – even at its most hateful – is a form of *audacity* – and it can animate the creative imagination as truly as any other form.

That person over there doesn’t need to speak in order to beat you in an argument, only spit. You overvalue nuance and number in your vocabulary.

And one from 2015, apropos:

Liberals loathe the political Right’s hypocrisy and unfairness. Conservatives loathe the Left’s immorality and weakness. The groups’ estimations of their own qualities, though, are less precise.

The question of “hypocrisy” is particularly interesting. La Rochefoucauld noted that “hypocrisy is the respect vice pays to virtue.” One can’t be a hypocrite without recognizing that virtue – that morality – exists. This recognition it itself makes hypocrites superior (in their minds) even to decent, noble liberals who discount “morality” as dogmatic and unrealistic. Think of fundamentalist Christians who think that belief in Jesus is the sole criterion to enter heaven; one’s behaviour is beside the point. So, to the Right hypocrisy is a good thing, though they don’t say so.

“Writer navigates tech’s male culture in Seattle with acerbic wit”

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My friend and Ellavon alum Kristi Coulter made the cover of today’s Seattle Times. I can’t remember ever feeling so great witnessing a friend’s growing fame and success.

I have spent the entirety of my adulthood as a professional editor, and can’t even count how many published writers I have worked with. It’s got to be at least a thousand. Kristi is probably the best pure writer of them all. (Maybe tied with Robin Plan, a very different writer!)

(Her FB page is a total gas.)

Alpha and Omega

SafeThatWay

Safe that way, West End.

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