There’s not much to smile about these days. As I’m writing this, the United States just surpassed China as the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, and it’s all but certain that by the time we “flatten the curve” we’ll see more loss of life than any other country as well. While the news is dotted every so often with a heartwarming story or ridiculous video of how we’re all coping with our new normal, it’s hard to feel that any good can come of this particular moment. I think there’s an opportunity for the arts community to address a massive issue that it can’t quite figure out how to talk about: poverty.
Image credit: @backfromthefuture2 via Twenty20 If “weekend protesting” has replaced your normal “weekend brunching,” if you now have your Member of Congress’ phone number programmed into your phone, if you have Facebooked, Tweeted, Instagrammed, or Pinned any sort of political commentary in the past several months… THIS POST IS FOR YOU.
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Credit: Tim O’Brien, Source Last month, I met a lovely white woman from Texas at a friend’s Women’s March afterparty. Our conversation didn’t begin with politics — she’s the director of a Montessori school and avid biker, I’m an education policy hobbyist and avid biker — so things were going well. And then, out of the blue, she makes a casual comment about wishing she didn’t have to make the trip to Washington to protest.
All toxic relationships thrive on potential. All of them. Humans are optimistically addicted to seeking comfort and rational answers at all times. As a result, we will stay far longer than we should, and behave much more passively than makes sense, working toxic jobs that offer meager promotion opportunities, breaking bread with toxic, self-absorbed friends who offer neither a helping hand nor a shoulder to cry on, and sleeping with toxic people incapable of caring for anyone but themselves. We would much rather engage in the fantastical potential of what these relationships could be than deal with the reality of what we already know they are.