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The dominant feelings during this Coronapocalypse, at least for me, are existential anxiety, the hunch that the end times are nigh, and fear for the people in my midst who are older or less healthy than I am. As a college teacher, I’m also feeling disoriented by campus closures, concerned for my students, and unmoored by having to transfer to online teaching platforms. And I’m feeling lonely for my friends and for city life as I normally know it. There are many people out there experiencing much more severe hardships than I am — including battling for their lives. And yet there are some interesting new configurations emerging amidst all this fear and anxiety, and they provide a few glimmers of hope in this dark night of the virus. …


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In December 2017, the novelist Ann Patchett wrote an op-ed in the New York Times called “My Year of No Shopping.” I read it, then my husband, Will, read it, and then we looked at each other, and with a shrug, decided to do it. We would not shop in 2018. We took a pledge. There was no discussion of the pros and cons, no parsing of the reasons we might take this step or what we hoped to gain. We both just liked the sound of it.


This object you worship exists for one reason: to bring death to living things and people. It’s hard for me to understand why this killing machine invites your reverence and total devotion, but, ok, I’m willing to admit there are things I don’t understand in the world. So let’s say this killing machine is your great passion in life. It makes you feel safe and powerful at the same time. You enjoy the great satisfaction of pulling the trigger. You feel you’re communing with nature when you take it out for the hunt. …


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Setting aside for a moment the question of whether Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth (to me, it’s obvious that she is) and the perhaps even more important question of whether Brett Kavanaugh belongs on the Supreme Court (to me, it’s obvious that he doesn’t), the biggest reveal of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings on Thursday was the insidious way that patriarchy invades every level of our society. I shouldn’t call this a reveal, really, since it is a thing that I have always known — intellectually and deep in my bones. …


When you learn about the Holocaust as a post-World-War-II child, it sounds inconceivable. How can people in an otherwise civilized and cultured country have become such monsters? How could these events have happened so recently — in the middle of the 20th century? How can little Jewish children growing up in the world now understand that they were so despised, so dehumanized? That the leaders in Europe ordered their annihilation and the people followed? You know it’s true, but you relate to it like a nightmarish fairy tale. …

About

Pamela Newton

Pamela Newton is a freelance writer and college writing teacher living in Brooklyn.

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