There’s the old saying that the personal is political and the political is personal. It’s one of those sentences which will probably still be debated a century from now. But really, it’s one of the central contributions of 1970s feminism–don’t screw up your big revolution because you are afraid to fight your personal one. Most of the pieces in this collection are good primers for the necessary uprisings men need to make in the everyday life, not just for the sake of a better world, but a better self. On The Road’s main contribution is pointing out that men have a self-interest in ending sexism. Tony Switzer, Chris Dixon, Jeff Ott, Chris Crass and Basil Shadid turn in the standout pieces in a solid, accessible collection.
Billie Rain’s poetry exists in life’s messy grey areas–mixed-race, expansive gender identity, working-class and college educated. She conducts the contradictions in such a beautiful way, dealing with pain and loss in a way that never lays claim to the victim mantle. The collected poems span seventeen years, so the reader is treated to a range of poems which scream bloody murder (and make one hear an imaginary guitar riff in your head) to those tempered by time and wisdom. Highly recommended.
I’ve always needed a little convincing that Burning Man wasn’t just some snake-oil show masquerading as social change. Jones makes the case for its importance–an expression of the DIY ideals without which, any movement would be a lot more boring. The section on Burner’s involvement with New Orleans relief (which, in full disclosure I was quoted in) made me forget Burning Man’s expensive tickets and take it seriously. Perhaps it is a lab on the Playa for ways to survive the coming troubles. It’s well written and smart. Yet also feels like you are on a barstool, say in Buck’s Tavern listening to Steve, who has just returned from the Burn to tell you how it all went.
I picture this powerful mini-book in a glass case which reads In case of Gingrich Victory, Break Glass.For Judith Arcana, poetry and politics have always been bound together. Those who know her are more likely to be familiar with her activism in the pre-Roe group Jane and the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union than her writing. Hopefully, that won’t always be the case because her writing is top-notch. She Said recalls the time when abortion was illegal, a time which any number of today’s politicians would love to return to. Not mere polemics, this operates on the emotional and political sides of the brain at once.