No country for good men

Blues Buzz

The queers are not here for Kevin Spacey. Probably don't go to Notre Dame. Texas wants to attract doctors to its public universities in the hopes that they'll stay and help stem the state's doctor shortage. The horrors of Tuam. Domestic extremism is an American problem. A new narrative of Appalachia. New York City's Uzbeks are afraid. More men are trash. Sarah Polley is a gift. Hell of a way to go out. Climate gentrification in Miami. Images from America's forgotten "third coast." The Southerners fighting white supremacy. Humans are definitely causing climate change. Local news is SO important -- and it's dying.


Great Falls, Virginia. © E.A. Crunden

Great Falls, Virginia. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. Kenya's president won re-election in a controversial re-do. Anti-poaching efforts in Mali are working. Eritrean forces killed 28 protesters in Asmara, the nation's capital. Protesters abroad rallied against the Eritrean regime. An American citizen is being charged over a tweet criticizing Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe. 

Americas. Hundreds of armed men attacked Brazil's environmental agencies. Cuba-U.S. relations are back to suckingManafort Monday. Eight people were killed when a man drove a truck into them and then pulled out two handguns in New York City. The Virgin Islands are still facing a crisis. A billionaire shut down a number of local news sites after they voted to unionize, taking down DCist and Gothamist in the process. No prison for Bowe Bergdahl. 

Asia & Australia. As Australia moves to shutdown its brutal detention centers, refugees are calling for an end to mistreatment and assurances about their futures. Australia cracked down on Uluru climbing. The Iraqi Kurdish president stepped down following a failed independence bid. Saudi bombs continue to strike Yemen.

Europe. Madrid took over Catalonia following a failed bid for independence. Sexual harassment scandals are rocking Britain's parliament. France's state of emergency finally ended, but many are worried replacement measures aren't much better. 


Spoken & Written

“In many species, males tend to do somewhat stupid things that end up getting them killed in silly ways, and it appears that may have been true for mammoths also.” -- Love Dalén, an evolutionary biologist



Journalism: The Whitefish scandal is only the latest mess linked to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The Trump administration doesn't want a new AUMF vote. After NYC, Trump is calling for extreme policy measures -- but they won't work. The shooting you probably missed. A DACA deal could come at the expense of diversity visas. "Good guys with guns" only made things worse in Colorado.

Anything goes:

There are a lot of things I know to be true of myself, but here's one I conveniently like to forget: I'm overly sensitive and I take things very personally. That is to say, thesis revisions have been a struggle for me. I began my program planning to focus on journalism and related nonfiction writing -- I was trying to become a reporter, writing for free for an online publication, blogging, and plugging away on this newsletter, and my masters program seemed like a potential solution. Part-time, entirely covered by loans, and over in two years. Then, I thought, I could head to a publication where my words would met with payment, and all the work would be worth it.

Things went differently -- I went to work for a publication full-time only four months into my masters program, which turned out to be very memoir-heavy. I'm a contrarian but I'm also a people-pleaser; my professors and classmates wanted words about me, not really so much about the world, and so I gave them myself. I've regretted that a lot but that's neither here nor there -- I'm just over a month away from the end of all this and a much-dreaded thesis reading and then I'll be done and this will be behind me. But the weeks between me and that time are looming large, made no better by the feedback on the stories. Criticism is valuable; I balk at it, but it's definitely made me a better writer. But how can you really assess difference of opinion? Life experience? 

One of my essays for this nightmare hell project deals a lot with good and bad, with Austin and Texas, with perceptions and prejudices and stereotypes and the pitfalls stemming from all these things. That was hurdle one; I've overhauled it several times and it seems more convincing than it was before, although I still feel 'misunderstood' for lack of a better complaint. (To be clear: I am someone who feels 'misunderstood' a lot, whether true or not.) The other thorn in my side is the essay I knew would cause problems -- a running, warbling rant about families and my exhaustion with people who refuse to acknowledge the flaws inherent within the structures they consider integral. I knew no one would like this essay (I'm a person in the world with virtually no family ties; I am WELL aware how other people react to that situation) but I wasn't expecting quite the level of defensiveness and pushback. I don't know that anyone reacts well to being told they're condescending and unforgiving but I've had a disproportionately bad reaction -- I've spent the past two days in an ongoing sulk, with my #2 looking anxiously at me and offering tentative shoulder squeezes.

This will pass, of course. Living with high anxiety and intense depression means my world seems on the verge of ending once a week on average, several times a day during particularly bad spells. Feeling on the verge isn't really new for me. I just want it to be over, to accelerate to a time where my thoughts and memories aren't subject to people with pens and their own opinions, telling me how well and convincingly I've articulated experiences I shouldn't have to defend. But time passes, blink and it will be January. In this instance, at least, that's comforting to me.