TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT

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The deportation of the first DREAMer, passing a “healthcare” bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and create countless uninsured citizens, convicting a woman who dared laugh at Jeff Sessions, complete silence regarding the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards . . .  Every day it gets worse.  It’s getting hard not to think of these men as pure evil.

This is a comic isn’t perfect, I know.  But it’s a question that I’ve been asking myself a lot these days as I try to stay human.

Below are two articles that I’ve been thinking about like crazy as I try to figure out how to make work that focuses on the very real suffering caused by those in power, even when that suffering is not specifically my own. I admit that I’m unsure which imagery is ok for me (a white, straight, North American woman) to share. My answer in this comic was to reference images that have been widely circulated, have become a part of our collective consciousness and, for me, epitomize the calls to “not look away.” That said, I’m not sure that I got this right. Your thoughts are more than welcome.

Here are the articles:

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/04/how-should-art-address-human-rights/521520/

https://hyperallergic.com/367012/protesters-block-demand-removal-of-a-painting-of-emmett-till-at-the-whitney-biennial/

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Ghost Ship

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Like so many of you, I’m absolutely heartbroken about the fire in Oakland.  I met my husband almost exactly 14 years ago during a show at a similar warehouse in the same city. These spaces, though inadequate, are vital for musicians and artists trying to make and share art in a culture that does not value them  (unless, of course, what they create can make a whole lot of money).  For more, I highly recommend this article by Danielle Thys

Ghost Ship

Don’t Give Up

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I wrote most of this list in 2003 during the lead up to the Iraq War.  At the time, we were already engaged in the war in Afghanistan, a war which would become the longest in our history.  I was living in the Bay Area and participating in direct actions and demonstrations opposed to the impending military invasion.  More than 100,000 people joined marches that flooded the streets of San Francisco every other week.  100,000+ people!  Every other week!  We got next to no media coverage.  On March 20th, the war began.  You know the rest.

It was a helpless feeling.  It was hard not to let the anger and depression take over.  So, one night, I wrote down a list of things I could do each day, things that made me feel alive and connected and capable of moving forward.  It helped.  I’ve referred to this list many, many times since 2003.  I’ve thought about it a lot since the election.

We have a steep road ahead of us, one that will require vigilance and strength and commitment.  I hope this list might help you (as it continues to help me) stay on that road.

Don’t Give Up

One week later

Extra big thanks to The Huffington Post for running this today.  It was a hard one to make. How it Felt

The response to this comic has been overwhelming.  Thank you to everyone who has shared it and commented.  Thanks to all of the women who have written me.  It’s meant the world.

To be honest, I was initially too embarrassed to share this post myself.  I realize that my embarrassment is a part of the problem.  It’s a byproduct of living in a culture that objectifies and normalizes violence against women and then makes us feel shame for sharing our stories about that violence.  While those experiences don’t define us, they do inform how we see the world.  It informed how I experienced the election.  

Rest assured, I will pick myself up and join the front lines of every struggle we face under a Trump presidency.  But for a moment, I wanted to acknowledge all of the women who felt cast away, who felt isolated on their icebergs these past weeks. You are not alone. 

One week later