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An Open Letter to My Friend Who Voted for Donald Trump

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As someone who is deeply troubled and fearful about the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, I find myself–as so many of us do–in a position of wondering about the motives and intents of those who voted differently than I did. I find myself feeling angry and outraged at the 26.3% of Americans who decided to vote for Donald Trump. But, as this long and painful election season has shown us, shaming people, telling them they’re racists and hateful, telling them they are stupid, is simply not working. I mean, it makes me feel better, but it doesn’t work.  We need to find new and better ways to communicate with one another.

What makes this even harder is that, as the child of a Republican family and the resident of a Republican state, I am surrounded on all sides by people who I care deeply about but with whom I deeply disagree. How do we negotiate this difference? It’s not as simple as turning away–there are too many of them for that. How can I make them see what I see? How can I make them understand why so many of us are afraid?

So even though it has been months since I have blogged, I sat down and wrote a post on my Medium account. This was my small attempt to grapple with the contradictions of this election. Because, no matter what, in January, Trump will be our president and we are going to need everyone in America to hold him accountable for his decisions.

If you are also struggling, maybe you will find this useful. Click here to read.

 

Erasing the Pop Culture Scholar, One Click at a Time

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Hello darlings.

I am super pleased to have this piece published over at The Chronicle of Higher Education on the need for well-researched pop culture writing. Yes, even in thinkpieces. Also pleased to have co-authored this with my dear pal, Kristen Warner, who is a big smartypants.

Read, enjoy, make snarky comments about how this article means we are elitists [shrugs]:

Click here to read.

Thirty Seasons of THE REAL WORLD

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I know. I know. I haven’t written anything here in many months. But here’s the thing: work is busy. Also, no one pays me to write for this blog.

But you know who does pay me to write? The New Yorker. God bless them.

Here is my latest essay tied to my larger project on MTV and youth identities, “Thirty Seasons of The Real World.” Please read and share so maybe I can make more money writing and then can write some shit for free for you fine folks.

Click here to read the full piece.

 

When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat

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Last night, I had a rather disturbing conversation with my 8yo daughter. I was in the middle of doing the laundry and she walked into the room and asked me if I thought she looked fat. I’ve been dreading this question since I became pregnant with her. This is how women destroy themselves.

I decided to write about it over at Medium’s Human Parts.


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You can head over there to read it by clicking HERE.

“THE BREAKFAST CLUB”, 30 YEARS LATER: A CONVERSATION ACROSS GENERATIONS

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THE BREAKFAST CLUB just turned 30! I wrote a short piece about the experience of teaching a film I adored in my youth to a brand new generation of students. The big surprise? They loved it as much as I do:

“It’s a hard thing, teaching students of another generation about a movie you loved as a child. Indeed, whenever I teach a film that I loved passionately in my youth—”E.T.”, “Star Wars,” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”—I try to divorce my affective attachment to it from my pedagogy. It’s not that I don’t let students know when I truly love a film—I gush about “Breathless” and “Double Indemnity” and “Killer of Sheep.” It’s just that I don’t trust the tastes I cultivated during my youth, back when my raw, hormonal heart dictated the music I listened to and the movies I watched. My undeveloped cinematic palate is somehow less authentic, at least to the teacher in me, than the tastes I formed post-college, when I began to study the cinema as a critical object. So I overcompensate for the love object. I try to point out its flaws ahead of time, to prepare myself for disappointment. I am sure they will find “The Breakfast Club” racist, close-minded, and unsatisfying. They will surely shit on my youth.”

Read the full piece here.

After the Second One Comes

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I don’t normally cross post between my blogs, as the readers shift for each. But today I very much want to share a story I wrote to illustrate a series of photographs my then-3-year-old daughter took just after the birth of her baby brother. If such things interest you, I encourage you to head over to Tell Us A Story and give it a read.

Here is how it begins:

“Only years later did I think to upload any of the hundreds of photos my daughter took with her brand new Fisher Price “Kid Tough” digital camera during the first few months of 2010. In addition to her burgeoning interest in amateur photography, it was during this time that my daughter learned what it meant to have a sibling, a brother who arrived, angry and red, late in the evening on that January 13th.”

 

Read the rest by clicking here.

 

2014 in Review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 99,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.