Discover more from Stacked Thoughts from Kelly Jensen
Links to Click: October 27, 2023
My inner child hates me this week, hbu?
As I sat at school drop off this week, I started taking stock of the last handful of days and had a realization just how bizarre life is right now. There’s everything you can imagine on the global scale, but it’s in the every day, too. This week, I listened to people too quickly accept a major corporation’s apology for capitulating to book banners–they owned the entire story, start to finish, but still got applause from folks for it? Absolutely damn wild. I listened to 23 people speak up at a local school board meeting on behalf of queer kids doing a spring musical at their school, including several people with whom I am one degree separated and it brought me to tears. I spent 45 minutes dealing with a toddler tantrum at gymnastics, which is one of her favorite activities and one that required me to carry her over and over–it’s hard when she’s more than half my height and 30some pounds. I had an annual gyn appointment with a doctor for whom I am technically a new patient but she delivered my child, and the nurse actually laughed at my joke when she asked if I’d had depressive or worrying thoughts over the last two weeks (“no more than you’d expect in today’s hellscape, thanks to meds!”). I spent four days recovering from the COVID booster, which is the longest on record so far and, as the above nurse told me, is not abnormal. I also went to a class on potty training. For the child, not me.
It’ll give you whiplash, honestly, going from super adult stuff to super kid stuff and back again and again and again. It’s also gotten up to 80 degrees this week in the upper midwest at the end of October.
All of this lengthy introduction is to say if you’re in the throes of hell, I see you. We can sometimes only laugh at the absurdity of it because otherwise we’d cry…and I don’t know about you, but I’ve released more tears this week than in the last several months combined. This weekend, let’s all make a pact to take our shoes off and put them somewhere on the bare earth. Even if it’s gross and cold or wet.
If Britney can do it and still own and embrace how absolutely weird she is, so, too, can we.
Onto the links.
My Work This Week
Over on, I talk about the 86% of books you likely don’t hear about when it comes to the books being banned. The statistics are sobering and frustrating. That, plus a lengthy roundup.
All of the public libraries in the US offering free access to banned books. This will be a living document.
Hampshire High School down the road from me was all set to offer The Prom for its spring musical, until district administration said the community wasn’t ready for it and canceled the show. Canceled, not postponed, as they’ve backtracked to say. Here’s the link to the school board meeting recording, and I urge you to watch the public comments beginning at minute 30. It’s worth it.
Scholastic walked back their decision to offer a separate diversity case of books at book fairs, beginning in January. Why people are cheering this without giving it a critical thought is absolutely mind-boggling. Don’t cheer for corporations who have done bad things and offered what passes as an apology in words but not in actions or steps forward. Not to mention they did not even address the fact they put the onus of all this on the librarians themselves.
What I’ve Consumed This Week
If you’re not a Patreon subscriber to “If Books Could Kill,” this episode might be one worth encouraging you to become a patron, even if for a month. It’s an exploration of the “organized retail crime” panic happening right now and so, so good. One of the things that blew my mind was how one of the major arguments around the panic is the difference in misdemeanor and felony crimes and how many places have become “soft on crime.” Meanwhile, it’s Texas that has the highest threshold when it comes to differentiating the two types of crime when it comes to retail theft, not the so-called “soft on crime” places like San Francisco.
This story about how Americans are bad at getting better made the rounds this week. But, like, not once is the word “capitalism” used, so perhaps the arguments are not grounded in American reality. Look, I couldn’t take 4 days off my job to recover from getting a vaccine to help me build immunity to a potentially life-altering virus. Actually, I might be in a weird position because I could–I’ve got a nice PTO offering from my company–but why would I do that when I might need those 4 days if I’m really sick or, like, to have a few days off because I would like to not work?
Have you seen those new (imo, obnoxious) reactions on virtual calls? They’re making therapy incredibly awkward.
Did you know there is a line of quarters honoring historic women right now? Check out the latest offering, Maria Tallchief.
This one came from my pal Toni, who writes: there are now Lisa Frank crocs. I popped into Five Blow this week to pick up a couple of Bluey items for my kid’s Christmas gift, and I regret that I did not buy the Lisa Frank 300-piece puzzle I carried around for myself. I justified leaving it by saying 300 pieces would be too easy. But man, my inner child hates me this week a LOT.
See you on Sunday.