Reading List: OMG, That Mask Makes Your Tush Look Great And Spotlights How Cute And Thoughtful You Are!

My dearests! It has indeed been, as the kids say, A WEEK, so I didn’t even have time yesterday to say HAPPY CANADA DAY! I’ve been online early and working late, so cannot wait for three days of no alarms and reading. I was hoping to get up to Marin to walk on a beach, but since California is undergoing a resurgence in cases, state beaches were re-closed. And guess what? They should be in a state that reported the most per-day new cases since the crisis began! It’s good that state leaders are putting on the breaks in the face of a resurgence of cases, because this is a damned crafty virus that doesn’t care how cooped up I feel, how much I’d kill for the chance to walk around the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the DeYoung, how much I miss getting to a party and finding the home’s dog and planting myself in the kitchen.

And this is what is causing me anxiety right now. We’ve been staying at home since March, we shut down the country and the economy, we put everyone’s lives on hold, we banded together to stop the spread, all in the hopes that we wouldn’t overwhelm our health system, buying us time to figure out a national testing system that would allow us to track cases. Instead, we’ve got a “commander in chief” who thinks that the virus will magically disappear. We could have gotten ahead of this, and we didn’t.

We know it could have been done because other countries have done it. I have a daily video call check-in with my extended family up in Canada, so I’ve seen how restaurants and other public spaces in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria are reopening. They’re doing it carefully, they’re listening to scientists and public health professionals, and the public (seems) to be behind these measures. And so I get to hear stories about workout classes in parking lots and socially distanced tea parties and my cousins getting to see their parents for the first time in months.

And then there’s the US. 

A despair-inducing thought that runs through my brain is that if, at the moment the Surgeon General had announced everyone should wear masks, the Trump campaign had started selling a MAGA mask, we wouldn’t be in this terrifying situation. They could raise millions of dollars, and his supporters would have another way to show their support for the Dear Leader. Instead, we got dithering and dangerous rhetoric, and now wearing a mask has become a front in our political war, further dividing the country between liberals and “real” Americans. And that terrifies me. 

As I’ve mentioned enough times to have a few of you ask me if I’m OK, Spillover is one of my favorite books, and was the reason I ended up reading And The Band Played On and How To Survive A Plague to learn more about how the LGBTQ community rallied together to demand that the public health crisis that was devastating their communities was addressed. A virulent pandemic is not a new thing, and we’ve got whole professions dedicated to getting us prepared for when the big one hits.

I often wonder if those professionals who develop pandemic models, the scientists and epidemiologists and doctors and public health officials who’ve spent their lives and careers planning for the worst to protect the rest of us, do those professionals factor in willful ignorance and spiteful politicization of the very actions that can protect the populace? Is there someone in every one of those meetings that says “yea sure, we know that both parties wearing masks and practicing responsible social distancing can greatly reduce risk of transmission, but how can we factor in those who just must own the libs?” 

This craven political entrenchment is so baffling, and so dangerous.

In case you’re wondering, which I am sure you are, I’m sticking my head in the sand on all this by (failing at) avoiding Twitter, and by leaning into masks. My collection is expanding nicely, and I’m waiting on a shipment of five more in various colors and patterns. Cuz if I’m gonna cover up this smile my parents paid to have straightened when I was younger, you’d best believe I’m going to look fabulous while doing it.

Anyhoo, here’s what I’m reading this weekend! And I don’t have much to say about them because I haven’t had time to read them this week :) The Missive is off tomorrow because of the 4th of July observed, so PLEASE SEND BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS.

Caroline Randall Williams, You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument (The New York Times) - This piece begins with “I have rape-colored skin” and only gets more gutting from there. 

Terry Nguyen, Yes, you can travel this summer. But should you? (The Goods by Vox) - The new hotness is planning, and you know what? I am here for it.

Ben Sales, How the ADL went from working with Facebook to leading a boycott against it (JTA) - So much to read on the Facebook issues, but this is one story of a broken down partnership that I find fascinating.

Maris Kreizman, Where Did My Ambition Go? (Medium Gen) - Ever read a story that you think was written directly at you? Anyone?

Connie Schultz, Loneliness Begats Hope (Creators) - This is such a beautiful and melancholy piece, and Schultz is a great writer.

Missed y’all. Be kind to each other, won’t you?

xoxo Amy