“Make no mistake about it, the people who have been in this community for decades… decades! have made Bed-Stuy a flavorful stew, comprised of equal parts, ups and downs. Definitely imperfect, it’s a neighborhood that prides itself on being fully human. And that’s the only kind of “civilized” I need. To paraphrase Spike Lee from his recent interview at Pratt (yes, that interview), there does tend to be this Christopher Columbus mentality, this glimmer of discovery in the eyes of many of our new neighbors. A blind entitlement that allows them to arrogantly ignore the deep footprints they now nestle their feet into. But we’ve been here and it’s the lack of acknowledgment of that that’s problematic. Bed-Stuy doesn’t need fixing because Bed-Stuy is not broken or unsteady. It doesn’t need to be renewed or rebuilt or even rebranded. It just needs to be respected.”—A Bed-Stuy State of Mind: Gentrification Shaken and Stirred
“The brutal truth is that the bulk of white people in American never had any interest in educating black people, except as this could serve white purposes. It is not the black child’s language that is in question, it is not his language that is despised: It is his experience. A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. A child cannot be taught by anyone whose demand, essentially, is that the child repudiate his experience, and all that gives him sustenance, and enter a limbo in which he will no longer be black, and in which he knows that he can never become white. Black people have lost too many black children that way. And, after all, finally, in a country with standards so untrustworthy, a country that makes heroes of so many criminal mediocrities, a country unable to face why so many of the nonwhite are in prison, or on the needle, or standing, futureless, in the streets—it may very well be that both the child, and his elder, have concluded that they have nothing whatever to learn from the people of a country that has managed to learn so little.”—
“Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!”—Spike Lee talked about gentrification during the Q&A portion of a talk in Brooklyn last night and it gives me life
Aries: This week, the world around you will expand, it will open up, it will give you all the space you need. It might feel a little lonely and it might feel strange and it might feel like you’re living high above the ground, but the air you breathe will feel clean, and the light will feel clear and kind. This week, you’ll have enough space to grow into yourself and enough space to grow into your world, enough air to breathe freely and deep and enough air to laugh and shout and sing.
“Add to that, I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.”—from this interview with Kelly Link
“Listen to me closely now: The people who dare to ask for an expansive, life-altering love, who will be alone rather than settle for less, are the ones who find it. People who accept less, who figure they don’t deserve any better, who figure that it’s too much of a risk to tell the truth and scare men off, are the ones who live with a constant feeling of disappointment and neglect. When you neglect yourself and your feelings, you get neglected by others, too.
Stand up for yourself. Stand up for what you want. Does that make you That Girl?
Then BE. THAT. GIRL.
Because That Girl is a shining beacon to the rest of us. That Girl doesn’t play along and call herself whatever some dude is calling her, whether it’s “pal” or “that chick I’m sleeping with” or “her, over there.” That Girl doesn’t sit through drifty, disconnected conversations with men who can’t show up. That Girl doesn’t care if you think she’s attractive or appropriate or easy to be around or not. She’s not caught up in some dude’s love affair—with himself, with his stuff, with his fantasy of how easy and sexy and mysterious True Love will be when he finally finds it, just like a porn flick starring him with a soundtrack by The Shins. That Girl is willing to risk his disapproval for the sake of her own happiness.
Fuck the critics. Fuck the onlookers. Fuck this cold, disapproving world, that doesn’t like That Girl or really any fucking girl at all, when it boils right down to it. BE THAT GIRL.”—Print out this week’s Ask Polly and frame it in yr home
This morning I got catcalled by a fourteen year old shoveling snow with a garden shovel while wearing PJ pants outdoors, and for some reason all of those details made it worse than usual.
Not an older man socialized during a different era. Not a peer of mine stepping out of line and feeling ~wild~ for doing it. A high school freshman in flannel, sports-themed, elastic-waist pants trying to scrape the sidewalk with the kind of tool you’d use to plant a statement shrub, coming at me at 9:30 am and trying to purport that I am less valuable in this space than he is. Out there cause his mom asked him to, probably. Out there cause his dad does it on school mornings and today they were like, “Go clean up the sidewalk and contribute to this family, or so help us.”
What an insulting new tier of interaction.
Someone who has homework to do. Someone who has never googled “snow shovel.”
“If I have a point—and I am not sure that I do—it is that we do not have to give a quote to the New York Times just because they asked us for a quote. We do not have to write a Tweet just because we are waiting in line for the bathroom. We can spend entire days in silence if we so choose. You can keep your mouth shut. It is possible.”—Gabe Delahaye
Phil Hoffman and I had two things in common. We were both fathers of young children, and we were both recovering drug addicts. Of course I’d known Phil’s work for a long time — since his remarkably perfect film debut as a privileged, cowardly prep-school kid in Scent of a Woman — but I’d never met him until the first table read for Charlie Wilson’s War, in which he’d been cast as Gust Avrakotos, a working-class CIA agent who’d fallen out of favor with his Ivy League colleagues. A 180-degree turn.
On breaks during rehearsals, we would sometimes slip outside our soundstage on the Paramount lot and get to swapping stories. It’s not unusual to have these mini-AA meetings — people like us are the only ones to whom tales of insanity don’t sound insane. “Yeah, I used to do that.” I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: “If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.” He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean.
So it’s in that spirit that I’d like to say this: Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly “right” for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine.
He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it. He’ll have his well-earned legacy — his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb’s and Dustin Hoffman’s, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let’s add to that 10 people who were about to die who won’t now.
”—Aaron Sorkin's obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman in Time