#14 In a time of Bad Bitches and Wild Strawberries

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1.  What does it mean to be "a bad bitch"?

Turns out, this is a legitimate question, but first, allow me to translate the tweet: "What woman has cultivated more character than Taylor Swift?" That's what this human was asking when he posted the tweet you see above. What was delightfully unexpected were some of the replies:
 

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or this one, by my favorite twitterer:
 

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Or from two issues ago, Amy McGrath, a former Marine pilot running for Congress in Kentucky:
 

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Or these women, who are Time Magazine's Person of the Year
 

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It is important to acknowledge that culturally we've gotten silly and sloppy in our understanding of what depth of character really means. This isn't a slight against Ms. Swift––who has some lovely melodies indeed––but that makes her a (fine?) musician and doesn't say anything about what her insides are made of nor how much good she does for the world. Nothing against entertainment, but aren't we placing too much value on it when so much work remains to be done? When so many lives are at stake? And when it comes time to stand up to social injustice and to do the right thing by your family and your friends and your country, which of these bad bitches do you want in your corner?
 

2. Relax:


Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—
the one you never really liked—will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger bleow.
And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth. 

Ellen Bass



3. Wisdom Pin-up: 
 

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4. Beer and Book Club remains beautiful! Our last meeting of the year is Friday, December 15th, 6:30 pm-8:00pm @ Radio Coffee!  We'll be discussing the book in its entirety––we're going more slowly than I imagined because this stuff is so rich and potent and useful–– but come as you are, no matter how much you've read. We need all the LOVE MONSTERS we can get! You'll begin to understand how to genuinely engage with those you can't understand which is important if we're serious about not blowing up each other and our planet. So quit talking shit on Facebook and Twitter and do something that will actually help! Please and thank you. 

Click here for more details. 

Do people still give a shit about character? Please forward this newsletter to anyone who wants to be less of a dick to others, to the animals, to the planet or to themselves.