Rebecca Solnit: “Back in the 1970s, when some men were figuring out how their own liberation might parallel women’s liberation, there was a demonstration at which guys held a banner that said, ‘Men are more than just success objects.’ […] A lot of white middle-class men of my era seemed to rebel by failing, because the expectations had been set so very high for them. That had the upside of more support, sometimes, for their endeavours, but the downside of more pressure and higher expectations. They were supposed to grow up to be president, or their mother’s pride and joy, or their family’s sole support, or a hero every day – to somehow do remarkable things; being ordinary, decent and hardworking was often regarded as not enough.”

On viral news: “Classic social psychology experiments have shown that if a group of people stand at the end of a street corner, all looking up at the sky, most passers-by will automatically look up as well, because we process such behaviour as evidence that something important is happening. This behaviour has simply been moved online.”

From Mike Peed’s review of Americanah: “The phrase ‘beautiful woman,’ when enunciated in certain tones by certain haughty white women, undoubtedly means ‘ordinary-looking black woman.'”


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