Quote for the Day: December 9th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

If we are going to continue to make progress on issues of race and gender, and if liberal white men want to be on the right side of history, they have to address their personal issues with race and gender.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 7th, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

…[Bernie] Sanders has always carried his white male privilege into his politics, even when discussing issues of race and class.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Like many other progressive white men, I was initially enamored with Bernie Sanders when he catapulted onto the scene ahead of the 2016 Democratic primaries. Unlike many other progressive white men, my infatuation did not last long. He had big ideas, yes, which he championed vociferously at every turn. I agreed with the majority of his policy platforms. But every time another candidate challenged him or asked him to explain how he would enact his grandiose visions for a newer and greater America, he simply shouted over them.

I wanted someone with a plan, a real plan with achievable goals and clearly delineated steps toward completion. I didn’t like the screaming and the fist-pumping. While that’s all well and good if you’re at a WWE wrestling match or cheering on the Minnesota Vikings, that kind of rabble-rousing has no place (or at least it shouldn’t) at a venue where the American people are deciding who they want to represent them as the leader of the free world in the nation’s highest office.

White dudes love a red-faced screamer.

White dudes love a red-faced screamer. Irrespective of content, if you can get someone to shout it out over loudspeakers to the rest of the world, it has to be pretty great, right? The Bernie Bros wanted an iconoclast, a progressive populist. I wanted the whip-smart tactician who could face down the bullies and remain calm the entire time.

I wanted the whip-smart tactician who could face down the bullies and remain calm the entire time.

Another major problem with the Bernie Bros was that they were so in love with Bernie that they ignored the concerns of more marginalized Democratic contingents, especially Black women and other BIPOC. No candidate is or should be considered beyond scrutiny or reproach, and if you’re looking for that sort of Christ figure, you needn’t look in politics.

No candidate is or should be considered beyond scrutiny or reproach, and if you’re looking for that sort of Christ figure, you needn’t look in politics.

Before I start fielding comments, I want to say that I’m not saying every single white man who supported Bernie Sanders was a Bernie Bro or of their ilk. But there was a major race problem within that contingent of voters, and there will be when the next Bernie makes his move.

Further Reading: Bernie Sanders and the Lies We Tell White Voters by Zak Cheney-Rice (November 11th, 2018) (New York Magazine)

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: October 6th, 2021

Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood

In the Secular Night by Margaret Atwood

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It’s two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it’s baby lima beans.
It’s necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You’d be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn’t now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on.

© 1995 Margaret Atwood. “In the Secular Night” first appeared in Atwood’s collection Morning in the Burned House, which was published in 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. It is available to buy wherever books are sold.

There is also this exactitude, this precision, bound up in elegance and wit, which seems impossible to replicate. At the very least, I have never seen it outside of her work.

First and foremost, let me state here unequivocally that it is a travesty Margaret Atwood has yet to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. That’s first. Next, I’d like to say that very few writers can scare me like Atwood can. She imbues every work of hers, be it novel, poem, or otherwise, with an otherworldly terror which is simply too close to reality for comfort. There is also this exactitude, this precision, bound up in elegance and wit, which seems impossible to replicate. At the very least, I have never seen it outside of her work.

Though her oeuvre is substantial, history will remember her primarily for her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Published in 1985, it tells the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, which has succeeded the United States’ government via violent overthrow and which treats women with viable uteruses like cattle, meant to be silent, acquiescent, and obedient in discharging their only purpose in life, which is to bare children for their Commanders. They are deprived of all agency and ruled over with an iron fist.

With a conservative-majority SCOTUS waiting like a salivating bloodhound to overturn Roe v. Wade and states like Texas rolling back reproductive rights and severely limiting abortion access, we are just a stone’s throw away from the world Atwood envisioned.

One could say Gilead is patriarchy on steroids, and they’d be right. Gilead looks too much like America in 2021 for my liking. With a conservative-majority SCOTUS waiting like a salivating bloodhound to overturn Roe v. Wade and states like Texas rolling back reproductive rights and severely limiting abortion access, we are just a stone’s throw away from the world Atwood envisioned. Let’s hope there are enough of us left in the world who stand for a woman’s right to choose.

Wow, I started off with a poem and ended up talking about The Handmaid’s Tale. You can certainly see my ADHD at work here, but what the heck? This is my blog and I’ll go off on whatever tangent I darn well please. Mazel tov, my friends.

To learn about how you can help support reproductive justice advocacy work, go to https://www.plannedparenthood.org.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.