I was pretty repulsed by Daniel Handler’s comments, but his apology was solid. Side note: I’m surprised/disappointed that I didn’t hear about those comments until I read Nikky Finney’s piece on Gawker today, though. I follow a lot of lit types on Twitter, a bunch of whom were live-tweeting the whole thing, and none of them mentioned it. Nikky’s description of how the National Book Foundation’s initial response to her email was also depressing, although they’ve now backpedaled and issued a statement on their website. Your apology was very gracious, Ester.
@fletchasketch Seconding this. Lately, it does feel like we're not getting a lot of real discussion, just one-off remarks or commentary without a lot of depth, or which functions less to educate the reader than to signal that the writer Knows What's Up. I'm sure part of that is just the reality of the editorial schedule here, where writers need to pump out a lot of content in not a lot of time, but personally, when I see these issues being invoked in what feels to me like a throwaway/parenthetical fashion, it feels less like a productive critique and more like a cheap rhetorical tool, aka snark.
@msperception My comment is more about the perhaps unintended effects of tilting the coverage here towards greater awareness of structural issues, which I agree is a good and needful thing (as long as it's done with the seriousness and thoughtfulness these issues deserve, which is a separate point). So, in this instance, what's the kerfuffle here really about? On the one hand, there's Ester making some of her readers feel bad because they don't act out her preferred vision of holiday domesticity, which connects into some problematic ideas about femininity (being the hostess with the mostess, making the holidays Pinterest-perfect for your family, etc.). There's also the idea that her vision of eating out on Thanksgiving is heavily classed--would she have ever suggested that someone who couldn't afford to make a full spread at home and instead ordered the Thanksgiving special at Popeye's is "cheating"? But really, how many of us would have considered those issues if we weren't primed to do so because it was on The Billfold? And that's my point. If the writers here keep reminding their readers how class, race, and gender underpin almost every facet of our lives, financial and otherwise, they have to expect that their readers will continue using that lense on pieces where they (the writers) didn't intend for that kind of scrutiny. Also, this may just be my bubble of reality, but I don't feel like the class, race, et al. are ignored at all in discussions of money on any significant platform. Income, racial, and gender inequality seem like they're part of the everyday media conversation at this point.
@TheDilettantista Haha, my pleasure! I think you articulated yourself plenty well, though.
@Ester Bloom I think in an earlier incarnation of the Billfold, this whole post would have been read as it was intended to be--playful instead of judgmental. But there's a stronger social/political voice on the site now, which creates an undertone that carries over to all the other content, even the not-so-serious stuff. The writers here often focus on the structural issues underlying personal finance, like class, race, gender, and privilege, which are ABSOLUTELY important things to consider in our conversations about money. But since the writers raise those issues so consistently, of course the readership is going to become sensitized to them and begin interpreting the site differently through those lenses.
Wow, I'm surprised at you, Esther. Cranberry sauce from a can is totally cheating. Thanksgiving only counts if someone you know and possibly love makes it from scratch. By which I mean grows cranberries in their certified organic cranberry bog from heirloom seeds saved from last Thanksgiving, preferably with an antique cranberry rake that's been passed down from generation to generation from your pilgrim ancestors. (I always cook for Thanksgiving, but no, eating out is not cheating. Sheesh, people. Let's not turn another holiday into a competition.)
@@fo No, no, you're totally right. The Costa Rican junta is terrifying, and Panama is pretty much lawless. Heh.
@DarlingMagpie I know, right? And our money would probably go a lot further in Central and South America. However! I'm all for actual seasons, and we'd probably see family more if we were in Canada.
Canada is definitely on my short list! Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru also look mighty inviting.
@pixiesuperhero It could be cost of living differences as well. I plopped "San Luis Obispo California cost of living" into Google, and it seems like groceries (among other things) are much higher than the national average. It also depends on what her kitchen facilities are like. It's hard to buy in bulk or stock up on cheap perishables if you're sharing 1/8th of a fridge.