First off, there’s a small issue I’m dealing with: I’ve not been seeing replies, and while I thought that’s because you weren’t sending, turns out a couple of you have personally reached out to ask that I hadn’t replied back. That’s when I realised your replies are somehow not teaching me. It means a lot to me when you reply though, so please forward any emails from last week to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can hear from you, and if you don’t hear back from me this week please do the same. I’m working to fix this issue and will let you know when I do.
Alright, now that’s out of the way: I said in my last email that I’d be adding a bit more to the Friday letter, which means it needs a new name! So I’m calling it Five for Friday. There’ll still be a Thought, a Word and a Tip For you to take into the weekend, but I’ll also be adding a Trip (something I enjoyed — that tripped me) and a Thing (just something random!)
Also, don’t forget this newsletter is going paid soon!
On Nigerian social media recently, there was a bit of a debate over the statement, “We did not inherit the silence of our mothers.” It’s a declaration that today’s women should not be expected to be silent in the ways yesterday’s were.
In response, of course, some brought up the question of whether yesterday’s women were in fact silent. But what bothered me about it was something deeper, which for me is captured but the image of a child whose uneducated parents sacrifices to send to school only for the child to feel ashamed of their illiteracy. Yes, the child does have something the parents never did, but the child forgets that the parents helped make that possible. Might we not see the silence of yesterday’s women as a sacrifice that today’s may speak?
And the reason why this worries me is that it’s a way of seeing the past that’s pervasive today. It’s not only with feminism, it’s with everything. And that’s not to say our forebears got it all right — they didn’t — or that the past can’t be critiqued — they must if we would surpass them. It’s just to say, let us question the shoulders we stand on but let us be careful to not disdain them, or we ourselves might fall off.
(Any ideas for a “t” word for this?) 😃
Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are, and courage to see that they do not remain as they are.
— St Augustine of Hippo (354–430)
Do you struggle with reading nonfiction, either for lack of time or just interest? Allow me to introduce you to Nat Eliason’s Book Notes: https://www.nateliason.com/notes. As he says:
The notes and summaries are meant to be concise, reminding me of high-level concepts and not trying to recreate the whole book. You can use them to remind yourself of something you read or to decide on something new to read.
It’s almost 200 books and because they’re books the creator has been reading it focuses on his interests, so there’s a lot of philosophy and business books, and mainly by white men. But it’s really good stuff and it’s free — and maybe it’ll inspire others to create theirs too. Check it out — here’s the link again: https://www.nateliason.com/notes — you’ll almost certainly find a few you want to keep.
Have you seen the new Joker movie? That’s one of the most interesting things I’ve enjoyed lately, especially because it was hard to enjoy. Which was the point: it’s the story of a man’s descent into chaos, beautifully and intelligently told. It manages to critique capitalism, classism and populism all at once, and on top of it highlights the importance of mental healthcare funding like I’ve never seen a film do. That’s one thing that surprised me going in: I didn’t expect a film about the Joker to capture mental illness with more nuance than most, but here we are. And that’s why it’s hard to enjoy: because it puts you in his shoes and you experience with him how difficult it is to live with mental illness — and indeed any disability that’s not familiar to people.
My favourite line in the film (which is never actually spoken):
“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
So I’ve been doing something really interesting: I’m reading the Bible in 90 days, which is mad, because that’s a lot of reading and it’s not like the easiest book to read. But it’s been such a delight though, bolstered by the fact that I have a small group of people I’m reading with. I’ve been making daily notes from the reading and sharing a few on my Instagram, and it occurred to me I could actually compile them at the end into maybe an ebook or email thing. We’ll see though.
I love to hear from readers, so please email me with any thoughts or questions. And if you enjoyed this letter, please go ahead and share it!