Good morning! October is drawing to a close, and we hope your costumes are in order and you’ve got some good horror queued up on Netflix or in your podcasts! Coming up in November: Some U.S. political retrospective as we look back over the last year, and ahead to what comes next.
In case you missed it, our most popular post last week was Ghost Gab with Louise, a story about a family, an apartment hunt, and the things that haunt us.
‘Wackadoodles, Establishment Hacks, And The Big, Ugly, Local Battle For The Heart Of The GOP‘ (Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed)
A sea change is happening in North Idaho, and it’s shifting the state’s politics. This remarkable dive into the heart of a community isn’t just striking as a profile of one political moment — it also says a great deal about the larger political moment that the United States is caught up in.
Who was moving? White middle-class people. Religious people. And lots of retired police officers. As Sierra Crane-Murdoch notes in her history of right-wing immigration to the area, people moved based on word of mouth: Whole evangelical ministries came en masse; one man told the Coeur d’Alene Press that he’d convinced half of his Orange County neighborhood to relocate. Over 500 California police officers, including the infamous O.J. Simpson detective Mark Fuhrman, moved here by the end of the ’90s. Today, that number has multiplied to the point that some call it “LAPD North.”
‘The Wonder Drug for Aging (Made From One of the Deadliest Toxins on Earth)‘ (Cynthia Koons for Bloomberg)
Have you ever longed for a deep dive into the history of botox, and the pharmaceutical culture that surrounds this blockbuster wonder drug? Your desires have been answered with this fabulous, in-depth, thought-provoking piece on the drug everyone loves to hate…that shows up in some surprising places.
Allergan never set out to become a neurotoxin powerhouse. It got its start in the 1950s mixing batches of anti-allergy nose drops, called Allergan, in a family-run pharmacy in Los Angeles. The co-founder, Gavin Herbert Sr., had also tried and failed to develop a solution to stop thumb-sucking. A friend suggested the company formulate drops to treat allergic conjunctivitis, and Herbert developed the first antihistamine eyedrop in the U.S. It was Allergan’s first big success.
‘Motherhood Is Hard to Get Wrong. So Why Do So Many Moms Feel So Bad About Themselves?‘ (Claire Howorth for Time)
Modern society applies a tremendous amount of pressure to mothers, from the moment they announce their pregnancy on forward. They’re expected to do this, don’t do that, be perfect, and yet somehow be effortlessly natural — after all, women have been doing this for millennia! This creates an impossible standard that harms women who are simply doing their best.
You could argue that Nichols set herself up, that nobody should expect babies or bodies to adhere to best-laid plans. But like millions of other American moms, she had been bombarded by a powerful message: that she is built to build a human, that she will feel all the more empowered for doing so as nature supposedly intended and that the baby’s future depends on it. Call it the Goddess Myth, spun with a little help from basically everyone–doctors, activists, other moms. It tells us that breast is best; that if there is a choice between a vaginal birth and major surgery, you should want to push; that your body is a temple and what you put in it should be holy; that sending your baby to the hospital nursery for a few hours after giving birth is a dereliction of duty. Oh, and that you will feel–and look–radiant.
‘On Safari in Trump’s America‘ (Molly Ball for The Atlantic)
Many earnest people have spilled reams of ink on ‘Trump’s America’ in recent months, and some have even taken their dog and pony show on the road. But are they really prepared to engage with a part of the United States that’s unfamiliar to them? Or are they hoping to affirm their own preconceived notions?
I wondered if any of the tourists from the coasts would be open-minded enough to absorb a reality that might cut against their preconceptions. Did Third Way and Zuckerberg and Huffpo and all the rest want to confront an angry and divided nation head-on, or would they settle for a series of earnest exchanges that left their core assumptions intact?
‘We’re Going Through Hell, and Men Need to Join Us There‘ (Danielle Tcholakian for Longreads)
If men are starting to feel fatigued by the flood of testimony from women tired of remaining silent about sexual assault, imagine how women feel. This is the moment to maintain focus and refuse to allow the conversation to die, not to turn your backs.
I know it’s tempting to look away, and it’s fine if you have to; please take care of yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad feminist. But it’s important the stories keep coming out, that the issue remains in the public discourse. It feels like we are in a moment of momentum, working our way towards something better, however clumsy, messy, and painful the process can be. It’s a little cheesy, but I keep thinking of the quote often misattributed to Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” This momentum feels like hell, and we have to keep going.
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Photo credit: Richard Ashurst/Creative Commons