HEWN, No. 285

"Stay angry, Little Meg," Mrs. Whatsit whispered. "You will need all your anger now." -- Madeleine L'Engle

This has been another terrible week, particularly for those of us who are survivors of rape and sexual assault (and even for those of us who are not) and for those of us who have spent the past few days in a haze of nausea and numbness. I am at once so full of rage and fury and so utterly exhausted.

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I don’t much like to think back on my 80s junior high and high school experience, but it’s been unavoidable this week. It’s one of the things that has long made Facebook enormously unpleasant, I’d say — being reminded of people whose existence one’s brain has, to lessen the trauma, carefully scrubbed from ever having to think about. I first joined Facebook around the time of my 20th high school reunion (which I did not attend), and I was genuinely confused by the friend-requests I received from certain people — particularly the “popular kids,” the jocks and the cheerleaders — who were most assuredly never my friends back in the day. Had they forgotten? Or more likely, had they never bothered to notice, never bothered to remember?

What role, I do wonder, did Facebook play in “How 65 women came to Kavanaugh’s defense in a matter of hours”? What role, I do wonder, did the powerful social networks of private school students play in the code and culture of Facebook in the first place?

We are all living in some rich young man’s private school yearbook now.

Lili Loofbourow is brilliant and necessary: “Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding.” I’m deeply grateful for her writing (this week and always), along with many other women journalists who worked this beat: a shout-out to Jessica Luther, Jane Mayer, and Emma Brown, in particular. (You cannot convince me that they’re not all, in some way, education journalists. And again, all this should prompt us to think about how power and money and trauma are so intertwined with how we experience education. Most students are not coddled, for crying out loud.)

Look. A pigeon:

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Other histories: “The Last Man to Know Everything” — Troy Vettese reviews Mike Davis’s latest book. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor argues “We Really Still Need Howard Zinn.” Maria Bustillos on C. P. Snow, “The Two Cultures,” and “Jam Tomorrow.”

Other futures: “Your DNA Is Not Your Culture” — Sarah Zhang on Spotify’s plans to offer playlists personalized to your genetic ancestry test. (I worry that this sort of “personalization” is coming for education. “Precision education” and such. And god knows how people like to cheer the inevitability of tech.)

Resist. Rest. Reset.

Yours in struggle,