Summer continues, bewildered but happy Torontonians out in tank tops, shorts, flipflops. On October 1 Lynn and I swam in her outdoor pool and had dinner with her husband in their garden. Did I mention it’s October? But the idyll is coming to an end soon, which is a relief actually, because – unnatural. What’s happening to trees and plants and animals in this bizarre and glorious heat?
Important: my course begins in two weeks, Tuesday Oct. 17, from 6.30 to 9 on Zoom, and there’s still room. Anyone can join from anywhere, which is the joy of Zoom — I’ve had students in Azerbaijan, Dublin, Memphis, as well as from across the country — and my course works well on the screen. If you know anyone who might be interested in learning to tell their own story, please let them know. Info on my website under Teaching.
Brief book report: A Life of One’s Own, a writer who is still suffering seven years after her divorce explores the lives of nine of the best women writers. It’s an odd book; I enjoyed delving into the writers’ lives, got a bit tired of the interjections about her own struggles.
Last night, a huge treat – Lynn and I went to hear Naomi Klein speak about her book Doppelganger at Hot Docs. An amazing woman — beautiful, good-natured, incredibly far-sighted, and politically savvy. How great we have her on our side! Her book took as genesis her bond with her doppelganger Naomi Wolf, who used to be a left-wing feminist and has now fallen down the rabbit hole of anti-vax conspiracy and much worse.
She spoke about Steve Bannon’s show, where Wolf now appears almost daily. The loathsome Bannon is focussed and strategic; he has convinced his followers they’re at war and is constantly rallying the troops. He targets groups he thinks are being marginalized by the left, like disgruntled white union members in 2016 whom he convinced to vote Republican. Now he is targeting women. The right realizes they lost the last election partially due to the female vote, and they’re going after women, using hysteria about children — persuading parents, especially mothers, their children are at risk from the left – thus ginning up fury at the new targets, trans people. There was already an undercurrent of rage and misinformation due to the pandemic – parents not wanting their children to be vaccinated or resenting the closing of schools or mask mandates – but she reminded us vaccine hysteria started before that, when junk science linked vaccines to autism.
Which led her to an interesting discussion about “children as property” – that now we’re in an era of “toxic nostalgia” — a wonderfully apt description. In this confusing, frightening time as the world shifts drastically, people want a return to “family values” which actually means suppressing the rights of women and children. Many parents want their children to be a mirror reflection of them and are not able to recognize that children are separate individuals with rights of their own. When parents are given a “faulty model,” like an autistic child, they’re angry — they expected a perfect model and want a refund — and need to find a target to blame.
There was so much more. In the end, her chilling words: Bannon and his ilk are leading a fascist movement, no question about it. If we don’t get organized, as they are, we are doomed. Though we’re probably doomed anyway, as in climate crisis.
And on that cheery note, I’m off to a protest against Doug Ford and his corrupt government’s plan to destroy over 800 trees for a mega-spa at Ontario Place.
PS The protest was wonderful! A very small band at first that grew, including several swimmers in bathing suits who want to keep swimming at Ontario Place. Lots of great signs. We marched around chanting NO SPA! under the eye of five bike cops, bravely protecting the city from this violent band of hooligans. A musician with a strange instrument that spurted water played and chatted with a friendly cop, then was joined by a saxophonist, so we had music. I was so so glad to be there with this motley band of kindred spirits.
We do what we can. Thanks, Naomi.