“If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal…”

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

People revolt when their lives are unbearable. Sometimes material reality creates that unbearableness: droughts, plagues, storms, floods. But food and medical care, health and well-being, access to housing and education – these things are also governed by economic means and government policy.[…]

That’s a tired phrase, the destruction of the Earth, but translate it into the face of a starving child and a barren field – and then multiply that a few million times. Or just picture the tiny bivalves: scallops, oysters, Arctic sea snails that can’t form shells in acidifying oceans right now. Or another superstorm tearing apart another city. Climate change is global-scale violence, against places and species as well as against human beings. Once we call it by name, we can start having a real conversation about our priorities and values. Because the revolt against brutality begins with a revolt against the language that hides that brutality.

Call Climate Change What It Is: Violence, Rebecca Solnit.
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“I’m about to be more sexually explicit than I normally am on Twitter … This NYT story about girls…”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

I’m about to be more sexually explicit than I normally am on Twitter …
This NYT story about girls and sex made me wish I’d put masturbation scenes into all my YA books. Normally my authorial lens doesn’t focus on sex, and I don’t think it HAS to or SHOULD – but girls need women to talk about sex more.

In a review for Eleanor & Park, some guy wrote that Park wasn’t a convincing 16-year-old boy because he doesn’t think about his penis enough. And I thought, one: I’m pretty sure male authors aren’t required to make male characters talk constantly about the D just to prove something. And two: It didn’t bother this guy (or the guys in the comments) AT ALL that Eleanor never thinks/talks about her CLITORIS. (Like, maybe these guys don’t know about the clitoris?) (It’s possible.) I mean, also, I think 16-year-old boys do lots of thinking/feeling above the belt. But the assumption that girls do NOTHING below theirs …

People frequently ask me whether Eleanor and Park, or Cath and Levi, or Simon and Baz have sex within their books – and the answer is no. I really want all three of those couples to be mature and ready and emotionally safe with each other before they have sex. (My headcanon.) But I also want all of those characters to feel great about sex and themselves, and to masturbate and know their own bodies … I’m really not sure how much of that I’ll ever get into a book, or what my responsibility is.

Rainbow Rowell, twitter: March 27th 2016

Link to the NYT article mentioned

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