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The Establishment
Letter sent on Sep 1, 2017

What A Long, Strange Season It’s Been

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Happy Friday friends.

I moved to Oakland from Brooklyn more than five years ago now. For a while I was a bit self-deluded about my love for California; I kept a storage unit in NYC for three years before admitting to myself I was never going back.

By the time I returned, Jeff — the man I’d moved out to Oakland with — was no longer my partner (although we remain the best of friends). We met in the bitter December cold to empty our once mutual possessions, piling cassette tapes and paintings and books into the trunk and drove most of it to the Salvation Army.

I tried to cry; it felt so strange to stare into the empty concrete room that once held our promise to return. But as I scanned my body I realized I didn’t want to cry at all. I was happy. And so was he. Our happiness in California was so much bigger than whether our romantic relationship worked out.

There is a lingering thorn in my west coast life however; I sorely miss real seasons. I find myself semi-arbitrarily putting away corduroy pants in the “summer” or giving myself haircuts so I can demarcate time in photographs.

The different seasons always surfaced different sensations and moods inside my mind. The giddy long days of summer — sticky with bodies and bare feet — gave way to the somber introspection of autumn and so on.

What I’ve realized recently is that seasons traverse even the space-time continuum. New York and I had our season. Jeff and I had our season. Right now? Things have felt hard for more than a year. We’re wrestling with how to make The Establishment sustainable, I’m worried — a lot — about my parents, and of course, there’s the whole pesky socio-political landscape which increasingly resembles a dystopian fiction with a sickening laugh-track.

It’s been a long, rough season.

But it’s but one season. And I feel it shifting. The next season might be harder, but it very well might not be. I’m trying to be Janus; I’m trying to foster a longer field of vision that takes into account where I’ve been — where we’ve all been — and to get excited for what’s next.

For as hard as these seasons have been, they’re also all we get.

With love + rage,

Katie Tandy
Co-founder | Creative Director

White People — We Can’t Dismantle Trump And Racism Without You

By Sa’iyda Shabazz

White people, know this: It is easy to “choose love” when your way of life isn’t being threatened. And when you retreat to this simplistic reasoning, you place the blame on people of color for trying to dismantle a system that hates us. White women can love everyone because “everyone” theoretically loves them back; this is not true for people of color (POC).

And if a POC says they don’t love white people? They could lose their lives. There is a difference between empathy for others and using “love” as a way to shirk your responsibility to say something when faced with the opportunity to stand up for what you allegedly believe in.

‘Life After Life’ Documentary Takes Aims At America’s Racist Criminal Justice System

By Katie Tandy

Trauma, addiction, violence, poverty, and racism intersect in a twisted kaleidoscope that has rendered these men — like millions of others — “murderers and monsters” in the eyes of society, when in reality they were mere children suffering under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

“America places people into poverty and then criminalizes them,” says filmmaker Tamara Perkins matter of factly. “Our current system does not help the victim. It’s all about punishment with no care for cost. We’ve got to ask ourselves, what kind of force do we want to be as a country? Do we want people to thrive? What is our end goal as a society?”

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Why Are People Into Femme Dominance?!

By Tina Horn

My heroes had always been men, because I associated the qualities I wanted to embody with masculinity. But when I decided I wanted to become a dominatrix, I needed to learn what aspects of femininity I could project. The Power Femme exercise helped me to realize the qualities I already possessed, and to identify those I wanted to practice.

Femme Dommes are hips bulging in latex pants, impossibly cinched corsets, lashes like alien wildflowers. They are waves and curls and claws and gloss. They are the juice of women compressed and expressed. They look like they smell: like a gourmet vanilla birthday cake, ripe for gorging, on a pedestal behind glass.

Social Media And PTSD In The Age Of Trump

By Michele Leavitt

My compulsive checking had reached a level that felt familiar; I was behaving the same way I did as a child in an abusive home, and as a teenager in an abusive intimate relationship. Walking on eggshells. Staying alert to mood changes in the abusers. Exercising hypervigilance.

Back then, I hung on to the fantasy that if I could predict violence, I could prevent the next black eye, broken nose, split lip. Now, I was on alert for all the ways the government planned to abuse me and other women and marginalized people.

Can post-election anxiety end for anyone when the president keeps the hits coming as fast as he has?

Writer Of The Week: Casey Quinlan

If I could give the amazing people who sponsor stories anything in the world to express my gratitude, it would be a gin and tonic and conversation about their interests.

The story I’m working on now is about Democrats who are supporting a litmus test for abortion.

The story I want to write next is about what middle and high schools could do to protect students against sexual assault.

Writing means this to me: I write to better understand how our culture and government institutions fail marginalized groups of people and bring attention to people who are working on mitigating these issues and looking for solutions. I hope my writing will call people to action who otherwise wouldn’t be aware of these problems.

Let’s partner, shall we?

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