The Pen and the Sword: Links You Need To See


It’s only Tuesday, and the week is already a grim one. Last night’s unbearable decision not to indict Darren Wilson is a pain we’ll feel for a long time. Joel Anderson and Jim Dalrymple II are currently reporting live from Ferguson, because although the protests erupted last night, the fires will not be so quickly dispelled.

In other news, at Wondering Sound, Claire Lobenfeld writes about how Lil’ Kim and Fiona Apple helped her overcome the trauma of her rape, and turned her from a “rape victim” to a “rape survivor.”

“I was supposed to be protected from profanity and filth, but, by sneaking this dirty version of this record behind my parents’ back, I understood that the weight of what had happened to me four years prior was not going to be that heavy forever and that I would not be reliving it over and over and over again.”

Lobenfeld writes simply and clearly, and the essay is a reminder that art is an emotional balm, teasing some wounds and healing others.

Although it was published a few days ago, Sabrina Rubin Erdely‘s essay at Rolling Stone, “A Rape On Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle For Justice at UVA” is 100 percent a must-read. The piece looks into a young woman’s rape at a fraternity party three years ago, and the ensuing complete ineptitude and apathy on the part of administration at University of Virginia. It’s a difficult read, but this is a reported piece that could, potentially, make a difference in the way campuses handle sexual assault. Already, large protests have taken place at the college; the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, issued a statement saying “Sexual violence is a nationwide problem, and it is critical that our schools acknowledge that this is a pervasive issue and take bold action to end it.” UVA president Teresa Sullivan has suspended all college fraternities until after the new year, and state Senator Mark Warner introduced the Campus Safety and Accountability Act.

In less somber but nonetheless frustrating news, Amanda Mull from Purse Blog did the math and discovered designers charge a lot more for bags marketed toward women than men. For example, the women’s Saint Laurent Classic 6 Duffel is $1990, or $2.96 a cubic inch; the nearly identical men’s Saint Lauren Classic 24 Duffel is $2595, or $1.54 a cubic inch. Ladies, it’s true: you’re being taxed for your lady-parts. Time to start shopping in the men’s section.

Lastly: Bijan Stephen‘s essay for Fast Company about last night’s decision in Ferguson is another crucial read.

“I am a writer. I believe words have power. Or, maybe it’s this: That I must believe words have power because this is the only thing I can do, this is the only thing I have, and I need it to be enough.”

I’m not sure I believe the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know that, as a writer, the pen is mightier in my hands than a sword could ever be. With last night’s decision—with the prosecuting attorney placing part of the blame on social media and the media as a whole—what we have to do is keep wielding our weapons.