On Polly Asks: New York Magazine Wants Me to Write Ask Polly For Them. Should I Tell Them to Piss Off?
This is really wonderful! Congrats. I like the NY Mag sites, though I don't visit them often because there's just so much sprawl. They're smart to recruit you. I always pay attention when writers I like move on to less familiar places--and I'm sure other readers do, too.
@Mr. B I hated the graphic descriptions, too, but to me they seemed necessary. Otherwise Luke would have run the risk of romanticizing his subjects.
I don't see a need for a trigger warning so much as a note at the top about graphic imagery. A trigger warning might even be misleading. I don't think you have to have a particular sensitivity to find those sections deeply, deeply disturbing above and beyond what you might expect from a story on this subject.
@Matt Buchanan Part of me finds the critical solipsism of all three reviews really gross since (as you suggest) if Lockwood were a man, critics would be talking more about the work than their personal feelings about it, which (to this female reader, at least) seemed totally sad and predictable. Plunkett is the obvious Gollum of the three, and Mallory's piece about his missteps in that thing he would call a review is everything. Garner's "biological praise" of Lockwood's war poem and dismissal of the ideas he deemed "merely cute" was just hilariously tone deaf. @JFarmer, your review was by far the best of the bunch, but I found your observations to be far more astute when you focused on the poetry as opposed to your relationship with it.
Still, I think it’s sort of cool that Lockwood has elicited these deeply personal responses in a form that tends toward the clinical. I think a lot of people assume “Rape Joke” is affecting largely because of its subject, just as they attribute Lockwood’s popularity on Twitter to sex jokes. It’s fascinating to me that all three men consistently describe her work as vaguely chilly and mostly insincere--by turns "search-engine optimized," pornographic, mocking, and "cliquish"--when it’s so clear she has a gift for reaching people where they live.
Really weird you'd say the only non-white leads on network television are Mindy Kaling, LL Cool J, Lucy Liu, and "very little else." What about the cast of Scandal? Grey's Anatomy? Sleepy Hollow?
Also, your "methodology" of determining the ethnic identity of actors gave me the creeps.
I agree this guy seems like an idiot, but to call him near-illiterate seems sensational and unwarranted, particularly in the context of a piece about education. (Anyone who has worked in a school from college on down the line knows from near-illiterate, and believe me, that ain’t it.) I mean, is calling out the its/it’s thing really such a zing? Because it seems to me that by those standards the sentence where Maria uses “out” instead of “our” make her near-illiterate, too.
Sometimes I find the tone of Maria’s writing really uncharitable, even when I agree with her. Her takedown pieces would be much stronger without the personal attacks. The well-chosen quotes alone make it abundantly clear he's a choad without being petty about a grammatical error (in a piece on Medium, for god's sake!!).
Oh my god. These questions.
I dunno, to me this reads as a brilliant parody of all those fake grocery lists (champagne! truffles! cheese!) and inspirational quotations that are always on those terrible chalkboard walls in shelter blogs and magazines. My own brilliant parody just says “TP and Diet Coke” in black paint.
Oh, Becca. I, too, wrote a lot of obnoxious pedantic essays in college. I’m very grateful that the internet wasn’t the unspoken medium in which I lived my life way back then because, seriously, this piece is embarrassing. Someday soon you'll have the wherewithal to realize it.
I saw Maria mention "free speech" on Twitter and a few people here in the comments mention censorship. I don't see how those issues are even remotely relevant. Am I missing something? Kickstarter--which Hoinsky himself points out is a private company--has forbidden seduction guide projects. It is not as though the government has threatened him with jail for writing this terrible book.
@barnhouse RE: "I get that the permanent "no" is difficult for some women to articulate for any number of reasons. I believe and hope that a careful review of writing like Ken's may help them understand just how very firm that "no" needs to be. I believe men like Ken want to understand it, too. That's why I wanted to talk with him."
You have got to be kidding me with this. Good old Ken Hoinsky, helping confused women everywhere find a thousand different ways to say no.