Today happens to be Friday the 13th, which according to Wikipedia occurs approximately every 212.35 days on the Gregorian calendar. Friday fell on the 13th day of the month twice in 2017 and will happen again twice this year.
While I am not a superstitious person, I was journaling last night after midnight–so technically on the 13th–and wrote the following entry titled:
One of the most valuable insights I learned from studying sociology is that there is a big difference between what people say and what they do. Humans are complex, contradictory creatures whose behaviors evade simple explanations. Yet, more often than not, we opt for the simplicity of common sense ways of thinking because it’s comforting, and the alternative can be mentally exhausting.
Rembrandt Duran’s recent think piece on gay sex, while seemingly progressive at first glance, commits precisely this type of error by treating socially constructed identities as indisputable truths. A self-professed expert on the matter, Duran begins by informing readers that the time has come to talk about “top privilege.” Extending ideas about race made famous by Peggy McIntosh back in 1989–which have recently gained cultural traction with the rise of Black Lives Matter and other social movements–the author wants to make tops (i.e., insertive partners) aware of their social and cultural advantages in comparison with bottoms (receptive partners). But what exactly he wants tops to do with this political consciousness remains unclear.
Édouard Louis’ The End of Eddyis a gripping first-person account of violence as both a pervasive physical feature of life in rural France and a symbolic marker of working-class reality. Staying true to his intellectual roots in French sociology, Louis turns a sharp analytical eye to the myriad ways violence is manifested within his social milieu. Set in his hometown of Hallencourt–the French equivalent of Trump Country–he begins the novel with the shocking line: “From my childhood I have no happy memories.”
The first thing I noticed when walking to the HERE Art Center in Tribeca last month—besides the fact that I was beginning to break a sweat in February—was a crowd of mostly white, middle-aged, New York literati types. This may seem like an irrelevant detail in the context of a theater review, but given the meta-textual experiment that is Travis Russ’ America is Hard to See, the audience is as much a part of the play as the actors and the set. In his latest production from Life Jacket Theater Company, the plot has a clever way of entangling us into a world we would much rather keep at a safe geographical and mental distance, while simultaneously laying bare our perverse cultural appetite for the spectacle of criminality.
For as long as I can remember, I have been aware that there is something different about me. As a small child, I was uninterested in the world of boys–with their roughhousing, competitive sports, and dirty clothes–and instead gravitated towards my sisters. Girls, it seemed, always got to have all the fun. From a very young age, my older sister and I would spend hours playing dress-up and choreographing dance routines. Serving as a sort of life-size doll she could mold into something more fabulous, I was always more than willing to participate in impromptu performances before an audience of our siblings and pets.