This Thanksgiving at Canonball, we asked some of our friends (who also happen to be feminists and all-around rad people) to tell us five things they’re thankful for. They acceded to our pleading e-mails, and for that, we are thankful. Below are some of the responses – check back tomorrow for part two. And happy Thanksgiving.
Iliana Imberman Berkowitz, avid baker and biker, ruler of the nerds.
- Bulk foods such as oats, lentils, and pecans.
- The blog Colorlines, for offering insightful commentary on politics and pop culture through a racial lens.
- Making it to my twenties without an addiction to cigarettes (a family first).
- Random acts of cleverness, creativity, and silliness.
- My physical weekly planner, which holds my life together.
Neal Fersko lives in Alexandria, VA. He makes egg creams by request.
- My library card; an incredible tool for fighting patriarchy and picking up Kristin Hersh’s fantastic memoir.
- The Jewish Museum for stepping up and presenting a spectacular feminist art exhibit this fall.
- Seeing the D.C. Rollergirls thrive for another year.
- The two hours during the week when Canonball slips through the office internet filter at the office. No one knows why or how this happens.
- And immensely thankful that Calvary Women’s Services has survived 2010 after a staggering budget cut from the D.C.city government.
- Hannah Arendt, who is more or less the great grandmommy of my main field, aka Critical Refugee Theory (oh, never heard of it? You and everyone else. Sigh. Hire me!). She’s finally getting her dues as the excellent theorist she’s always been, but it took a long time because of getting co-opted by Righties and overshadowed by her once-significant-other Martin Heidegger, with whom she had something of a tortured relationship (a brilliant Jewess in love with a brilliant card-carrying Nazi! You couldn’t make this up!), or maybe I’m just projecting because that’s what humans do, we speculate about people’s private lives. If you’ve never read this New Yorker piece about her, you really ought to. She’s not explicitly a feminist theorist, but I feel a pretty strong affinity for her not just by virtue of the fact that she’s paved the way for me to think the way I do about things, but also because she’s taken a backseat to dudes like Heidegger for a hell of a long time in spite of being pretty brilliant in her own right.
- Hark! A Vagrant. Kate Beaton has written a comic for just about every Thing I ever geeked out about between the ages of nine and twelve. Such as! Suffragettes! Edward Gorey! Nancy Drew!
- PIZZA! A lot of the time it doesn’t even matter if it’s good pizza. Feminist pizza parties!
- This new website The Hairpin. Mia and Lindsay, you’re going to have to forgive me given that I email you funny things from them all the time. If you’re like me and read The Awl instead of writing your thesis, then you will really like this because it’s like that but for brash and funny ladies. I recently read Modern Pranks to Play on Dates and died, basically. Then I tried to play one of the pranks but unfortunately a concerned friend stopped me. Too bad! Every boy I ever kissed would have thought I was really in love with them. Tricks! Also, The Worst Makeout Mixtape Ever is BEST BEST BEST.
- Coffee. One of my stupid cats knocked over the nice glass espresso maker that my roommate hand-delivered from Umbria, and I found it in the morning, in pieces (pre-caffeinated, mind you) and burst into tears. I finally replaced it with a regular ol’ utilitarian metal thing (this is why we can’t have nice things!) and I’m just so happy and lucky that I get to drink espresso every morning! and noon! and night!
Josh Kramer, cartoonist, blogger, and man with wonderful female friends.
- C.J. Cregg, Press Secretary on The West Wing (only fictional person on this list, though Dee Dee Myers is the inspiration).
- Lynda Barry, queen cartoonist extraordinaire, chief advocate of thinking through doodling and handwriting.
- Feist, because I can never not sing her whole album in the shower, and it’s more than just delicate.
- Nancy Pelosi, for being a warrior, and never crying.
- My 89-year-old grandmother.
- Pope Benedict’s realization that prophylactics rule, at least in terms of preventing transmission of STDs. The shift in policy is a big deal, but obviously the Church could go farther. Like, you know, allowing condoms contraceptive use for family planning and not living in the fucking dark ages.
- Having an administration that gives a shit about LGBTQ people. Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project has been great on a whole, but having high profile politicians participate really gives the campaign some weight. Maybe now the administration can get real about DADT.
- The NYT magazine story on Sarah Palin. I mean, say what you want about her, and you can say a lot, but the media coverage of Palin during the campaign was brutally sexist. Even an anti-feminist, pro-natalist ideologue like Palin deserves a fair profile, and the NYT Mag piece does a good job.
- Willow Smith–Whip My Hair. Some folks at the Washington Post hit the mark by talking about Smith’s single in the context of hair and identity among African Americans, rather than trying to police her actions. As always, Jay-Z is the voice of reason.
Audrey Mardavich, poet, jokester, lover of man and beast.
- My beautiful new niece, Ione Vera. I am thankful for her presence in the world, but I am also thankful for being invited to be a partner in my sister’s natural birth. I learned so much, dispelled many untruths about pregnancy, and gained a new found respect for Mothers. It was a beautiful afternoon, just starting to rain, the Texas sun was peeking through the clouds and we were listening to…
- It’s Raining by Irma Thomas, aka New Orlean’s Queen of Soul. Not only does Irma have the voice of an angel that can make any sentient being weep, she had four children by the time she was 19, worked as a waitress and still made it to the top of the charts!
- Women poets! My favorite! It’s too difficult for me to choose one, so I’m going to choose two! Adrienne Rich’s Diving Into the Wreck, and Judy Grahn’s Common Woman Poems. Poetry is one of the last remaining subversive art forms, IMO. Embrace!!
- Vivian Girls’ Kickball Katy kills a bunch of dudes and sings a sweet, sweet song at the same time (what a dream).Once I drove around with this Mega Babe and listened to The Slits, drank a 30 rack of Bud in a movie theater, and then jumped on couches and made fun of boys together. Needless to say, I fell in love.
- And finally, Patti Smith, for living the dream, for her cover of Gloria (the best rock song ever written), for winning the national book award in non-fiction, and for writing one of my favorite books of the year, Just Kids.
Mia Steinle, co-proprietress and co-founder of this fine blog.
- Joyous spectacle. I’ve been accused of not liking anything unironically, but if you think that my new-found love for Xanadu is ironic, then you’re sorely mistaken. Also, this Patrick Wolf video. And Gossip Girl montages.
- Well-known women who use their influence and privilege for good. Nancy Pelosi: for championing women’s issues, even amidst sexist critics. Gail Collins: for writing lady-centric columns, particularly this one, which literally brought me to tears earlier this year. And Amy Poehler: I mean, this lady is funny. And a feminist!
- Friends who embrace my need for constant e-mail updates. At any given moment, I’m involved in about three to eight e-mail chains, including one that has lasted for over a year and is comprised of literally thousands of messages. It is here that I grapple with pressing feminist issues and also record every major and minor moment in my life – you know, for posterity.
- Lengthy T.V. mini-series based on books. I just love Masterpiece Theatre, guys. It really treats books by women (and men, even!) with the respect they deserve. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Persuasion, Wuthering Heights and my all-time fave Jane Eyre. Sorry for being a nerd – sorry I’m not sorry.
- This blog. Not to get too sentimental, but I’m thankful for having this blog as an outlet for my growth both as a feminist and as a writer. I’m thankful for Lindsay’s partnership and for our contributors and commenters and readers (including my parents, who provide me with ample feedback) for their enthusiasm. Seriously, thank you.