WHAT A WEEK.
I'm not sure I've ever refreshed a page as many times as I've reloaded the ABC's US election coverage, but it's difficult to sythesise and articulate what's been going through my head as we watch the vote counts proliferate at each end of the spectrum.
I can so clearly remember the day Trump was elected four years ago: I met up with one of my best friends in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall after she finished a French exam, and we both felt almost delirious with disbelief as the results piled in. It seemed laughable — not entirely real that a demonstrated majority could vote in favour of such an openly incompetent, sociopathic leader.
Of course, there's nothing I can say that so many others have not already articulated so fiercely and elegantly. (And I readily acknowledge the considerable distance and privilege I benefit from as a white, cishet Australian citizen who's been able to access education and participate in ongoing employment.) But seeing a map of the American states lit up in red begs some obvious questions about our relationships with one another and how we communicate ideas around freedom, equality, and wellbeing in the context of so much misinformation and violence. If anything, it prompts me to notice how small my world actually is, how often I take for granted that my political orientation and social perspectives are the 'default', how much I still have to learn about the contours of right-leaning ideology and bridging the gap through respectful dialogue.
Naff as it may be, today I haven't been able to get the words to Jewel's 'Hands' out of my head (remembering the lyrics to popular 90s songs — and little else — is my superpower): 'I won't be made useless / I won't be idle with despair.'
As the numbers continue to inch across our screens, I hope we can find small ways to hope and love and create joy around us.
In the meantime, here are my five for Friday:
One. In 'Magical Thinking for Girls', Amber Sparks argues that pseudosciences may appeal to women and other marginalised groups because 'science doesn’t give you power unless you already have it'. 'If you are given a framework, suddenly, to make a new story for yourself,' she point outs, 'why wouldn’t you take it?'
Two. This Instagram post about sexism in the workplace (and an accidental social experiment) was both eye-opening and not at all surprising. What's the solution to this 'invisible' disadvantage? Perhaps we should all be looking for opportunities to foreground the expertise and contribution of the ladies around us.
Three. On the weekend, I had the pleasure of wandering South Bank with an old friend. We ate doughnuts for breakfast and worked our way through the art gallery, including the generous display of Mavis Ngallametta's dazzlingly intricate canvases.
Four. What are the recipes that got you through quarantine? Our lockdown period in Queensland was relatively short-lived, but I made several batches of these strawberries and cream cookies, mainly to cheer up my partner when he was convinced his business was on the out. My favourite question to ask this year has become: 'What are you having for dinner tonight?'