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Comments: Week of November 27, 2017

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1. In a profile by Allison P. Davis, rapper Cardi B (“Regular, Degular, Shmegular Girl From the Bronx,” November 13–26) waxed lyrical on fame, and her thoughts elicited ecstatic responses — especially for her take on feminism. The rapper’s resistance to the “feminist” label and her succinct characterization of what that term means (“Being a feminist is being equal to do what a man do”) prompted Megan Reynolds at Jezebel to write that Cardi “pokes a hole in the inflated balloon of theory and hand-wringing that accompanies most of the contemporary feminist movement and breaks it down to its very core … Cardi nailed it.” Added Bustle’s Alexis Rhiannon, it “certainly sounds like Cardi B may have gotten the message in the past that feminism wasn’t for her — at least white feminism. But the positive side of that is that she’s embraced the definition, if not the word.” But the interview left others feeling uneasy about the star’s state of mind. Michael Arceneaux tweeted, “A very good profile of Cardi from Allison P. Davis that makes me once again a lil’ worried. She searches her name on Twitter and beefs with people who criticize her. I kinda expected this, but hoped she would shake it off.” Commenter lemonsherry had similar concerns: “I hope she doesn’t get chewed up by the ‘shave your head’ craziness of fame … she’s ruminating those type of thoughts and doubting her ability to live up to the heights of ‘Bodak Yellow.’ ”


2. “Trumpism predates Trump and Pence by decades, and is a more powerful, enduring, and scary force than either of them,” Frank Rich wrote in his warning to liberals heartened by this November’s elections (“After Trump,” November 13–26). Rich examined the “uncanny parallels” between Trump and his southern forebear, Alabama governor George Wallace. Victor Devinatz, a professor at Illinois State University who has published on just those parallels, noted that “in 1968, Wallace initially received more than one-third of white union members’ support, which the AFL-CIO whittled down to 22 percent by Election Day. However, approximately 67 percent of white workers voted for Trump. The difference? Fifty years ago, the relatively strong industrial unions delivered good wages and benefits to many white union members in the unionized manufacturing industries. These jobs had largely vanished by 2016.” Historian Dan Carter, author of the Wallace biography The Politics of Rage, added that “despite Franklin Roosevelt’s great popularity, a secret poll taken before Huey Long’s assassination in September of 1935 estimated that 10 percent of voters preferred the Louisiana strongman for President. Only six weeks before the 1968 presidential election, polls showed 24 percent of white voters preferred third-party racist George Wallace over Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. And none of earlier generations of would-be Donald Trumps had the backing of today’s right-wing social, print and television media, today’s (staggeringly) wealthy plutocracy, and a political culture dominated by a lack of trust in our civic institutions. Geena Davis’s somber warning in the 1986 sci-fi film The Fly, ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid,’ is often said in a mocking tone. But Rich is correct. There is much to fear.”

3. In the post-Weinstein era, we are forced to think about all the culprits in our lives, Rebecca Traister wrote (“Your Reckoning. And Mine,” November 13–26). Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, responded: “Imagine how much more women could accomplish if we spent less time defending our basic needs to skeptical male leaders! As Traister’s friend warns, the men now forced into hiding will likely reemerge in a year, maybe two, thinking they’ve displayed enough remorse to reclaim their positions of power. Let’s tell them it’s too late; they’ve been replaced — by the women they preyed on for so long.” Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shared the article on Facebook, posting, “This article is so beautifully done. Honest. Important. (And articulates many of my own thoughts.)” A more tart reading came from Twitter user @gmmmmnnxk, who called out Traister for failing to name a onetime colleague and offender: “I must admit, I quit reading when she didn’t name The Harasser. She pulled her punch.” But the prevailing spirit was one of solidarity. Sarah Jeong at the Verge posted, “This is brilliant, peppered with dozens of insights that cut to the heart of my own anxieties.” Irin Carmon summed it up: “Pretty lucky to be living at a time when Traister can break it all down.”


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