Read These Essays Please
by Alexandra Molotkow
…The “please” stands for Canada! Hazlitt has been next-level good lately. I have a bias here, but I call ’em as I see ’em, and I call on you to read these if you have not.
To pick three:
First and foremost, Andray Domise — who has very quickly become one of the best essayists and commentators working in Canada (he also ran against Rob Ford in the last Toronto city council election) — on why white supremacy is not a black problem:
Back in April, a few days after cellphone footage was released showing North Charleston police officer Michael Slager murdering a black man named Walter Scott during a traffic stop, I met up for beers with a friend whom I’ll call “Jason.” After Jason had spoken out on social media against Toronto police’s carding policy, his white friends began to flood his Facebook wall with videos and comments every time another dead black person became the center of the news cycle. They wanted to know his thoughts, whether he was as outraged as they were, and what should be done to stop this rash of violence against black bodies. When the YouTube footage of Scott’s execution reached his wall, Jason had enough and temporarily deactivated his profile.
The evening we met, I noticed the new creases between his brows, and on the corners of his lips. When I asked if he’d been sleeping well, he responded, “You know deep down they don’t care. I thought I knew my friends.” I said I didn’t follow. He picked up his beer, took a deep drink, and sighed. “To them, we’re nothing but videos to share on Facebook and hashtags to boost on Twitter. Then when they put their phones back in their pockets, and go on about their lives, they feel like they’ve done something that matters. And after people are done talking about this guy getting shot, or that guy getting choked out on the street, we’re still the ones carrying this weight.”
Then there’s Anshuman Iddamsetty on fatness:
On my best days I feel like a tank, or tank adjacent. Tank-ly. My body thrumming, lumbering. I’ve always wanted to lumber. On my worse days — fuck it — I’m gorgeous. Enough to ignore the Nth time I’ve caught a colleague staring at my belly before meeting my eyes, a comic inversion of the way people would speak to my forehead as my hairline started to give.
Which is why I’d like to go a step further: My waistline expanding, I yearn to be swole in concert. As desires go, that’s fairly pedestrian. Expected, even. But I’m taking it further than that. I want to be fatter. Significantly fatter, for no other reason than that it feels right. To me.
And this essay by Sasha Chapin, on being an artist with a mental illness, has some wildly beautiful moments:
I’m diagnosed with Bipolar II, which is less fun to look at than Bipolar I, the disease that leads a competent young woman to, one day, be spoken to by an angel in the shape of a blue balloon who commands her to empty her savings account into a heavy diamond ring so she can propose to a dog. She drops to one knee and, an hour later, learns that psychiatric hospitals almost always smell like piss. By contrast… we just find ourselves alone, staring at our phones, longing for company even though all our friends suddenly seem revolting. We buy a car we don’t have money for in May’s mania, and drive it off a cliff when we come down in June.
Image by Håkan Dahlström