16 Nov 5 Friyays: November 16
Hello everyone! Dr. Donnelly here with five things to think about this week. I’ve been traveling since I last got to share with you – to Michigan and South Carolina – and as I write this I’m in Florida with my beloved siblings for a Disney Adventure. This has given me, as you can imagine, a lot of time for people watching in various airports and train stations. I’m constantly amazed at humanity – our vast differences and distinct similarities all bound together. My Friyays are varied, per usual, but all driven by that observation.
To the Man Who Created Universes
Yesterday, we all got the word that Stan Lee breathed his last at age 95. There are not a whole lot of other folks I can think of off the top of my head who have shaped our understandings of culture in the last 60 years the way Lee has. The outpouring of memories on social media from people who grew up in the worlds he created has been so touching. I did not grow up as a comic book person and only came into these characters through the movies that have been coming at us all fast and furious. However, the line that kept popping up in everyone else’s tributes struck me as so true. He is who taught us that our differences were our superpowers. What a legacy.
Glen Weldon is my favorite thinker about comics and their impact and his retrospective about the beauty of Lee’s gifts to all of us is worth your time.
Becoming Miss Navajo Nation
I stumbled on this story from NPR early this morning about the pageant where Navajo Nation spends one week every year celebrating women’s ways of living in harmony and balance with the earth and each other. The photos are stunning, but so are the quotes. I love learning about pieces of this world I’d never encounter on my own, and I’m grateful to have seen this slice of normal. Enjoy!
Same Song, Different Verse, A Little Bit Faster and a Little Bit Worse
I spend a lot of time researching how societies react to sexual violence – victims and survivors, perpetrators, the whole show. Let me tell you, there is never a shortage of Google alerts on this topic, so seeing patterns is not challenging. One of the ways we’re all the same that I mentioned in the opening to this blog? Every country and municipality I work in is pretty terrible at knowing what to do with this topic. There was a report released in Northern Ireland this week that there is only a 1.9% conviction rate for rape cases, the gathering of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Baltimore this week are refusing to react to the grand jury findings in PA, and so on and so forth.
I get asked a lot about what we should do about it and the answers I can offer are myriad. The simplest, however, is to teach boys and girls about respect, consent, and bodily autonomy. Teach it early, often, and firmly. Universal, consent-based sexual health education is another step – since it is shocking how uneducated most folks are about their bodies. Another that I recommend is to understand that trusting and believing survivors does not mean demonizing who they accuse. It means investigating and asking questions and guaranteeing safety as the facts and emotions are sorted. It means the hard work of sitting with someone in trauma, and ensuring that there isn’t more trauma caused by how we seek truth. It means never asking what she was wearing, or blaming her for being in the wrong part of town, or saying that he deserves it because he’s gay, or making jokes about how raping a girl would shut her up, or or or. Humans are not good at not hurting each other – it takes discipline, wisdom, and grace to ensure care.
GoFundMe As the Best of Humanity
I’m sure you’ve all been watching news updates as huge swaths of California burns to the ground. 42 dead as I type this on Tuesday morning and I’m sure it’ll only go up from there. Devastating doesn’t even scratch the surface. While I don’t know anyone personally who has been affected, I know many tangentially and have gotten a flood of requests to contribute to GoFundMe pages to help people who have lost everything. I have been known to rag on GFM pages when people set up for things like getting a tattoo or such, but I have had tears in my eyes regularly as some of these pages have been fully funded in a matter of hours. There is so much awful in the world at the moment and it is so easy to feel impotent in the face of it. I’m grateful for the thousands of people who saw this page and others and thought “I have $10. That’ll hold back the darkness a little.” Sometimes, humans are great.
Soundtracks for Grounding
The other day, on my personal Instagram, I asked my friends what songs have been grounding them lately. I nominated Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing” and one of my favorites texted me “Comeback Season” by Secret Weapons. It’s genius because I, too, feel like all I need right now is a comeback season. Both songs are below. I’d love to know what songs are your musical anchors at the moment – drop us a line!
That’s it from ARHQ this week. Keep your eyes peeled next week for some special Thanksgiving themed content as we prepare to gather around tables and pause to be grateful.