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Weekly Roundup, October 4, 2015

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What I Wrote, What I’m Working On, Or Was Mentioned In


October 2: I published this piece, “Matt Damon and the Case Against Coming Out,” on The Daily Dot.


I’m working on a few other pieces which have allowed me to do what I love best: researchresearchresearch. They include one on Hillary Clinton and carceral feminism and another on queer theory and the neoliberal university. I’m also working on something about this presidential election season, using recent controversies about Bernie Sanders and race as a starting point. It’s ultimately about much more, and I’m excited about it because I think I can make a more complicated case about what all of the chatter really says or doesn’t say about “Race in America.”


These past few weeks were suddenly and unexpectedly filled with outside assigned pieces and while that’s always a delight (I actually like being edited, and being able to write for different audiences), I also know that’s ultimately not as stable a source of income as my subscription plan can be and my primary commitment is to my subscribers. And there’s lots there I need to catch up on.


I’ll be returning to my long-languishing subscriber pieces, starting with one on the the utterly brilliant and ill-fated series Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer. It’s titled, “My Kingdom for Your Ears” — fans of the show will know what I’m referring to.  Also coming up: a piece about Pope Francis, abortion, and inequality.

Still, writing for the “outside,” as I call it, keeps me on my toes and my writing fresh because I have to turn outwards and learn new ways of making my points to others, besides being a welcome source of income. So, if you’ve got a project you think I’d be good for and don’t expect me to work for peanuts, hit me up! I’m especially keen on book reviews.


I’m also keen to get back to one of my first loves, on-the-ground long-form reporting but at least for the next few months, I’m saving my energy on that for the subscription. I’ve got a couple of Chicago-based stories brewing, so keep an eye out for those.


What I’m Reading


I’m generally irritable about WBEZ/NPR programs, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Marketplace segments on the 27th of September. You can hear one of them here, about the La Tropicana bodega in northeast Los Angeles.  Listening to the story reminded me of very similar changes in my old neighbourhood of Uptown, Chicago. I still miss La Primera and Kenny, who runs it along with members of his immediate and extended family.


Speaking of gentrification: here’s an... interesting story about public crochet and gentrification in Bushwick, New York. It involved Wes Anderson-style characters crocheted and plastered on outside walls. This was truly unfortunate for crocheters (among whom I occasionally count myself), who already struggle with the perception that theirs is an ugly craft.  

Margot Weiss and Amber Hollibaugh wrote this, about “Queer Precarity and the Myth of Gay Affluence,” for New Labor Forum.


Narendra Modi is touring and, apparently, wooing leaders everywhere. Here’s a report on the protests that greeted him.


Against Equality published our report on how we’re doing.


Steven Salaita wrote this, in the Chicago Tribune, about his harrowing experience at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His new book, Uncivil Rites is just out.


Elizabeth Nolan Brown has an exhaustive report out in Reason, about how “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs.

Canada’s Conservatives have “pledged to set up a police hotline to report what it called ‘barbaric cultural practices.’” Predictably, Twitter has unleashed a backlash with the hashtag #BarbaricCulturalPractices, which is both hilarious and sobering.


There’s a new exhibit, “Making Niggers: Demonizing and Distorting Blackness,”  curated by Mariame Kaba, Rachel Caidor, and Essence McDowell at Art In These Times (2040 N. Milwaukee, Chicago). It runs through January, but you should call the gallery to find out what the exact dates are. You can read more here. It’s Mariame Kaba’s last big project before she leaves Chicago for good, a fact I’m not quite reconciled to. Based on what I’ve seen of other work she’s been involved in, I’m sure this will be excellent.


From the Archives


My ongoing project on Queer Theory and the neoliberal university reminded me of this earlier piece of mine, on “Angelina Jolie, Queer Theory, and the Gods of Neoliberalism.”


October 11 is Coming Out Day, as I mention in the Matt Damon Piece. Here’s what I wrote in 2008, about “Why I won’t Come Out on National Coming Out Day.”


Regarding crochet, knitting, and yarn-bombing: I wrote this, “Looking for the Math and Science in Everything, and Failing to See the Arts.”


Debbie Nathan’s “Oversexed” is an excellent reminder that the sex trafficking hysteria has been a long time in the making.


The night of the 27th brought us the Blood Moon.  I only got to see bits of it through a lot of cloud cover, but here is a lovely gif of the event.


And, of course, here is Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.”   

In case you missed it, here’s last week’s Weekly Roundup.

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