The Pulpit Presents: Troubling The Times

July Westhale
Feb 7 · 4 min read
// photo by Alex Sar

Hello angels! Happy February! January was approx one million years long.

This week was quite the line up, which is only intuitive to trying to follow up January with all the shit that was thrown our way. We kicked off with Ray Levy-Uyeda’s “The Vital Work And History Of Abortion Doulas”.

“Conventional medicine, as was practiced then, was state-sanctioned and administered. Marking an early lean into the professionalization of the male doctor, hunters sponsored by the Church and King had permission to kill and torture women healers who threatened institutionalized medicine, dispelled bodily knowledge or were perceived as dissident voices. This was, at the time, a deadly dualism: women were killed because they offered medical advice unaligned with Church standards and also simply because they were women.

In other words, the practice of “unconventional” healing was a criminal act, though so too was being a woman: in attending to their peer’s bodies, witches put their own in harm’s way.”

Next up, we had a series/roundup by three writers on the complex nature of Kobe Bryant’s untimely death, and his ensuing legacy.

From co-founding editor Katie Tandy’s “Why We Have To Keep Talking About Kobe”:

“But death seems to be one of the great equalizers. One of the great we agree uponers — an untimely death is one of the “worst things” that can happen.

The unexpected death of a hero is a Tragedy and becomes a kind of liminal public square where we can gather and process larger themes of our collective lives. We use these deaths of celebrities (Health Ledger, Carrie Fisher, Aaliyah, Robin Williams) to lance sprawling societal psychological blisters on everything from mental health and addiction to fame itself and sexual assault.”

Previous contributor Zuva Seven makes the case for bringing race to the forefront, in “When Discussing Black Role Models, You Can’t Neglect Mentioning Race”:

“It is impossible to discuss Kobe’s legacy without mentioning race. In the Black community, he was more than just a basketball player but a beacon of hope and a role model. He transcended the game, which is why even I am upset at his death and I’m either a basketball fan or an American.

He was and is an icon for our community as he demonstrated that nothing is impossible, which is why I am angered by the wave of white feminists calling Black women “rape apologists” for mourning his death. It’s why I am conflicted when reading articles by these very same women, who lack the nuance and range for the discussions they are opening.”

Lastly, another PULPista, Ryan Fan, brought decorum and mourning into the room in “Kobe Bryant, Race, And A Complex Legacy In The #MeeToo Era”:

“In my classroom of inner-city kids in Baltimore, I can’t count how many times a day kids will roll up a ball of paper and shout “Kobe!” as they shoot it into a trash can. Kobe’s prowess is so legendary he’s been transfigured into a beacon of hope, especially for kids of color that grew up idolizing his game and legacy.

I was inspired to write this article after reading ZUVA’s article, “When Discussing Black Role Models, You Can’t Neglect Mentioning Race.” ZUVA talks about that, even though she didn’t follow basketball and even though she wasn’t American, Kobe was still an icon of hope for the Black community. ZUVA discussed frustration that white feminists were calling black women “rape apologists” for mourning Kobe’s death.”

Then, for a bit of levity, a piece from our PULP IT LIKE IT’S HOT- Embarrassing Stories vertical: Tara Elsen’s “An Art Exhibition Turns Into The Spa of Your Nightmares

“In one corner of the room, a girl is getting a facial while sitting in a zipped-up tent, which she described as “a misty, moist sauna”. Only her head emerges out of it; someone has applied scrubs to her face: happily and helplessly she looked out at the room.

We stand by the tables with tiny beauty bottles on them and we read the instructions to get our free facial. I enthusiastically follow the arduous steps: sanitizing my hands with the gel, applying a face mask, then taking it off with the moist cotton pads; then, applying another layer of scrub, and taking that one off, squirting a very fragrant mist over my face, and then applying a fatty lotion to my hands and face, all exactly as instructed.”

And lastly, to round the week off, we’ve got a new contributor to PULP: Dipyaman Sungupta, “Breaking Free In A Country Of Caged Desires: Ethical Non-Monogamy And Indian Queerness”:

Brahmins occupy the top most bracket of this social pyramid and as a result, had historically enjoyed the power and privileges that come with it.

Perhaps, it was my naivety and innocence of youth which made me believe that the Indian LGBTQ community would be immune from the discriminatory and heteronormative philosophy of Brahminical Patriarchy, an ideology that has been rampant in this region for thousands of years (shocked Pikachu face, right?).

As usual, I’ve put together a smokin’ playlist to accompany your reads, filled to the brim with jams (including an artist we’re about to feature — stay tuned! Pun always intended).


PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

July Westhale

Written by

co-founding executive editor of Writer, translator, professor, media roustabout. Gender queer (she/they).



PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

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