I love sports and have my whole life. Ask anyone who knows me. But thanks to my upbringing, I have never been one to lose perspective where athletics are concerned. My grandparents never let me think for a second, for instance, that playing was as important as studying and the lesson stuck. The state of big money college sports appalls me. That our society clearly values the contributions of jocks more than it does educators explains a lot about why we find ourselves in the predicament we’re in politically and economically. Millionaires and billionaires being unable to figure out a way to divvy up the GDP of Barbados has gotten so commonplace that you wonder why it’s even news.
So the Penn State sex abuse scandal, which last night claimed the jobs of university president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, at some level feels like more of the same. Continue reading
“The cyclops woman squints at them, those who deem themselves unlovely, and knows that no one would look at them twice in a crowd.” - “The Cyclops” by Teresa Milbrodt…
We live in an age of integration. We mainstream, accommodate, and in other ways try to make up for the cruelty of much of human history toward humans whose physical, mental, and emotional characteristics fall outside the range of that which we in our blissful ignorance have long called “normal.”
Teresa Milbrodt’s new book, Bearded Women, is the writer’s attempt to make “otherness” part of “normal” human experience. This group of stories takes human characteristics which we would normally associate with “freak shows” and weds them to narratives about “normal” human problems. It’s a brilliant conceit – and Milbrodt executes it so well that the reader finds him/herself following each story not with the voyeur’s eye to the main character’s “otherness” but with the sympathy/empathy that we would show to anyone we encountered who was struggling with problems that we’ve either faced and solved ourselves or helped friends or family members face and solve.
A few examples from the book will serve to make my point here clear:
* In “Bianca’s Body” the main character is a woman with two lower torsos – surely freak show stuff. Continue reading