Dodging huge grilles we walk on, pulled by ugliness toward a gentrified retail strip. Here the violence of the new ugliness comes more fully into focus. The ruling class seized cities and chose to turn them into . . . this?
The Intellectual Situation
The fact that most doctors like me—my colleagues in obstetrics and gynecology very much included—don’t know how to perform abortions is one of the greatest scandals of contemporary medicine in the US.
One was OK: a mistake. But two was a pattern. I knew at an early age that I never wanted to have kids but I didn’t think I was the type of girl who would have an abortion, certainly not more than one. Not because of adherence to a religious or natalist ideology but because I was too educated, too responsible—which is an ideology, too.
When I hear the calls to “cancel” Russian culture, I think: Go ahead and kill me, too. I have no other path, no other identity besides being an artist. I can’t change my blood, and you’ll never grant me any citizenship.
As I plunged into the squall of messages, the landmarks of my own world receded. I was no longer a person but a great, universal ear receiving the worries and doubts of those in search of housing—that inescapable circumstance all of us, at one point or another, are bound to endure.
By 1967 public nakedness is not uncommon. In fact, it’s hard to turn around without coming face-to-nipple with an unclothed body.
Fiction and Drama
So much of life is spent not having sex. Put the kitchen in order, clean the bathroom, print the report, return the call, keep the dental appointment, get the car out of the shop. But this isn’t about us at all: it’s about some deal. So let it happen, see what it really is. Watch the ball go up, up over the formalized landscape, lost in bright overcast.
I can’t give you what you need. Look around you. Everything around us shouts your fertility. Points toward it. The whole palace is waiting on your womb. It’s the organizing principle of this entire operation. You think you can hold out against it?
Dead People Rule
For better or worse, dead people do rule. They rule because we love them, and they rule because, like many people over 65 today, they were late to retire and reluctant to surrender their reign.
Ehrenreich’s work has always acknowledged that power operates at the intimate level, which is part of what makes it difficult to resist. To engage in political struggle is not only frightening, it is painful, because power is not just out there: it is also a voice in your own head — projection, inner fear. This is a distinctively feminist insight and not by coincidence.
Godard always seemed to be asking What is a movie? What can it do? knowing that he would never find a satisfying answer, forever in pursuit of what was still beyond the grasp of his own prodigious powers.
Yesterday’s Pleats are in tomorrow’s seafood (microplastics, it seems, tend to concentrate in mollusks like scallops, mussels, and oysters, fancy girl food and treif alike). Of all the myriad toxicities of microplastics, I was most tickled to learn that they are estrogenic and can lower sperm count; the red-pilled among us might argue that the Pleats themselves made me trans.
n+1’s heroes (despite occasional attempts to diversify things) were often drawn from this Carveresque ethos — which seems to have also doomed the magazine to repeat the false binary of sellouts v. masochism. My point here isn’t that “selling out” is OK, but that the binary itself proved unsustainable and almost always led, as in Carver’s own case, to some form of seriously shitty, uncritical surrender to one of these strands or the other, or to both.