In a characteristically brilliant essay, historian, activist and writer Rebecca Solnit connects the dots between the sexual abuses of Jeffrey Epstein, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Brett Kavanaugh, Harvey Weinstein, and the unnamed 16-year-old boy whose admitted rape was excused because the judge said that This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well: in each case, there was an elaborate scheme to silence and discredit the survivors of sexual violence, abetted by networks of (mostly) men who treat the disclosure of sexual assaults as a worse offense than committing the assaults themselves.
It's early days in the Trump trainwreck, but Rebecca Solnit's astonishing, beautiful, visceral essay "The Loneliness of Donald Trump" may well end up being the defining moment of the Trump presidency, in which Solnit uses the incisive wit that gave us the term "mansplaining" to explain Trump.
Rebecca Solnit (previously), one of my favorite writers, has published an open letter to Donald Trump, "New York City Is a Book Conservatives Should Read," which celebrates the city's teeming, messy, multicultural vigor — something she delves into deeply with Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, a book about the "innumerable unbound experiences of New York City [with] twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays" (just ordered mine).
When I was at the Clarion Writer's Workshop, my cohort encouraged me to stop writing short stories that were clever, and try writing something more personal. So naturally, I wrote a story about a robot who dies by suicide in hopes of feeling more alive. — Read the rest
San Francisco: It's time again for the always-outstanding annual Kronos Festival, several days of fantastic global and experimental music curated by the seminal avant/classical/global Kronos Quartet. Every Kronos Festival I've attended has turned me on to a spectrum of new sounds, artists, scenes, and regions. — Read the rest
Rebecca Solnit's 2008 essay "Men who explain things" popularized the concept and the general awareness of this gentlemanly practice, but the word itself was not used therein. Instead, "Mansplain" was apparently first uttered on Livejournal a few weeks later by phosfate, a now-vanished psuedonymous user. — Read the rest
My latest Locus column is "Be the First One to Not Do Something that No One Else Has Ever Not Thought of Doing Before," and it's about science fiction's addiction to certain harmful fallacies, like the idea that you can sideline the actual capabilities and constraints of computers in order to advance the plot of a thriller.
Kirkus Reviews is one of the publishing industry's toughest gauntlets, used by librarians and bookstore buyers to help sort through the avalanche of new titles, and its reviews often have a sting in their tails aimed at this audience, a pitiless rehearsal of the reasons you wouldn't want to stock this book — vital intelligence for people making hard choices.
In "A Letter to My Allies on the Left," Rebecca Solnit — one of my literary and political heroes — asks the left to give up the practice of reflexively dismissing the good that politicians do, because those politicians also do terrible things.
Rebecca Solnit's brilliant, scathing critique of Esquire's "The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read" (a list with 79 male authors in it) earned her a mailbag full of mansplaining letters in which dudes explained to an eminent, brilliant author how to read a book.
Rebecca Solnit is a brilliant writer whose essay Men Explain Things to Me sparked the discourse about "mansplaining" and whose 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell is one of the best history books I've ever read — so why do so many interviewers want to talk to her about the fact that she chose not to have babies?
Charlie Stross's "Different Cluetrain" is a set of theses describing the future we live in, where capitalism not only doesn't need democracy — it actually works better where democracy is set aside in favor of a kind of authoritarian, investor-friendly state.
Here's a quote on "Elite Panic" from Rebecca Solnit, It's an idea I'm fascinated by, particularly the notion that if you believe that people are fundamentally a mob waiting to rise up and loot but for the security state, you will build a security state that turns people into a mob of would-be looters. — Read the rest
If you expect a massive earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis to lead to panic in the streets and every-man-for-himself struggles, then you've probably been surprised by the Japanese response to their country's woes. But, before you start waxing philosophical about how different the Japanese are from your home country, consider what's known about how people—people all over the world—actually behave in disasters. — Read the rest
One unmissable snip from Rebecca Solnit's op-ed that appeared in the Los Angeles Times this weekend, which spoke to state bankruptcy here in California but is just as relevant to the USA as a whole:
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Speaking of poor children reminds me of Sitting Bull, as good an authority on our economy as anyone, even if he wasn't an economist and even though he died in 1890.
Luke Mitchell of Harpers says: "We have excerpts from a great essay by Rebecca Solnit up at Harper's right now, about how authorities deal with disaster, and I am hoping I can get it as well distributed as humanly possible, because it might help to build a counter-narrative to the story that is being constructed this very minute about what is going on in New Orleans. — Read the rest
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books in our house was this gigantic collection of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. I used to scan my eyes across each page really fast, left to right, trying to form movies in my head out of the sequential rows of stop-action stills. — Read the rest