This is a witch hunt. We are witches, and we’re hunting you.
I was beyond fortune to read an early copy of this book. Thank you Hachette Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Let’s get political and angry now.
The Witches Are Coming
Published Date: November 5, 2019
Read Date: October 31, 2019
Genre: Essays, feminism, political
Rating: 5/5 Moose
Page Count: 272 Pages
Rants, Raves, and Reviews
Essay collections, especially political ones, bring so much emotion up for me. I don’t choose to read them often, as I’ve been privileged in my life to be able to ignore politics. I am trying not to these days, but thanks to stress being a major kicker for a flare up for my auto immune diseases, I don’t dive as deeply as I could.
Still, I knew I had to read Lindy West’s new collection when it came out. I love how she writes — both with humor and the ability to leave me utterly in despair, and as she is no longer on social media, I was definitely curious to see her thoughts.
West’s book focus on media from the 90’s that you wouldn’t expect to have an impact on us now (they aren’t high brow or classics) and yet they do. Adam Sandler movies and South Park being clear influences, as well as the portrayal of feminist and environmentalist in media. White, straight men were the heroes in films, defeating the angry liberals and PC culture. And what was the point? What has been the benefit?
I happened to be working on our Judging Book Cover book – Devil in the White City– while reading this collection. Within this book there is an essay entitled “Ted Bundy Was Not Charming — Are You High?” which sat with me the entire time I read about the World Fair in Chicago and H. H. Holmes. So much of the book discussed how charming H. H. Holmes was, how attractive, how he was just a charismatic dude. It isn’t just Ted Bundy — it’s so many serial killers. It is society putting these men on a weird pedestal of dark genius, and not acknowledging that isn’t what they are. They’re men who generally got their nose bent out of shape because a perceived slight someone (probably a woman) gave them, and they just “can’t take it anymore.” The discussion of how the courts responded to Bundy’s verdict, the fact that we still make documentaries and movies about serial killers and how they are “necessary” because “we need to recognize the signs” or some shit… I felt incredibly validated in West’s findings in this essay. I wanted to cry because someone had finally put into words what I felt.
Millennials. LOVE. Board game-based Cold War murder mystery sex farces chocablock with J. Edgar Hoover references. Bing bang bong! If you don’t know that then you don’t know millennials, sweetie!
What I’ve mentioned in a few of my recent reviews is that I am uncomfortable with how authors are trying to shoehorn in the #metoo movement. As this is a collection of essays, particularly about how we got to where we are in 2019, I am all for the discussion of Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, and all of the men who have been called out. Because it is something that is going on, and I am not entirely sure it is a win. I am terrified it is a long con to show we are losing. Will these guys actually have real repercussions? Or will they just slink a way for a bit, only to come back, all forgiven nothing learned? West doesn’t discuss this directly, but there is quite a bit about the movement and the perception of it all.
If you aren’t already left leaning, I don’t know if you’ll like this book. And that is quite unfortunate, because I think a lot here is important and needs to be discussed. Women’s rights, what we are doing to the planet, all of it is important and we should be focusing on that. I loved this collection, even if it left such a pit of fear in me. But there is also a note of hope, similar to the note of hope Parkland left for me: the next generation, who wasn’t raised on how evil feminist and environmentalist are, are willing to stand up easier than we are. And that is what I’m willing to help thrive.
Essays in the collection:
- They Let You Do It
- Choosing the Lie
- Is Adam Sandler Funny?
- Ted Bundy Was Not Charming — Are You High?
- How to Be a Girl
- Always Meet Your Heroes
- Do, Make, Be, Barf
- A Giant Douche Is a Good Thing if You’re a Giant
- Gear Swap
- Obsolescence Is a Preventable Disease
- What Is an Abortion, Anyways?
- Leave Hell to the Devils
- Anger is a Weapon
- Magic Isn’t Magic
- The World Is Good and Worth Fighting For
- Long Live the Port Charles Whooping Cranes
- Tomorrow Is the First Day