Words

Shrill

Lindy West is living out loud

Attend

More:

WHAT:  “The Witches Are Coming” with Lindy West
WHEN: 7:30pm Sun., April 15
WHERE: Benaroya Hall, Seattle
COST: $19-$45
INFO: http://www.lindywest.net

WHAT: “#MeToo: A Moment in Time or A Cultural Shift?” with Bellingham City Club
WHEN: 11:50am-1:30pm Wed., April 15
WHERE: Northwood Hall, 3240 Northwest Ave.
COST: $5-$20
INFO: http://www.bellinghamcityclub.org

MORE: Your public libraries offer Shrill in multiple formats: book, eBook, audiobook CD, and downloadable audiobook. Visit http://www.wcls.org to place holds (or http://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org if you live in the city limits of Bellingham). You may also like Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The word “shrill,” evocative and onomatopoetic, conjures high-pitched, grating voices. It’s used derogatorily, and it’s often aimed at women.

Author Lindy West re-appropriates it in her book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, a memoir that’s as funny as it is poignant. West is a former movie reviewer for Seattle’s The Stranger whose social commentary regularly appears in The Guardian, the New York Times, This American Life, Cosmopolitan, and Jezebel, among others.

She lets loose in longer form, with raucous, delightfully profane chapters recounting her childhood and adolescence and showing how she grew more adept at raising her voice to speak up on issues that mattered to her.

A core part of West’s identity is her weight. She writes heart-breakingly about a time when even the seatbelt extender on the airplane was not sufficient, and her panic and pain at having to squeeze into a seat. She eventually learns to embrace the term “fat,” and to find strength in her size.

She writes, “The breadth of my shoulders makes me safe. I am unassailable. I intimidate. I am a polar icebreaker. I walk and climb and lift things, I can open your jar, I can absorb blows—literal and metaphorical—meant for other women.”

West took some big hits when she penned an article for Jezebel entitled “How to Make a Rape Joke.” West attempted to find a middle ground between strident feminists who do not think rape is a laughing matter, period, and obtuse First Amendment supporters who claim their rights are violated (get it?) if they aren’t “allowed” to share their nasty, vitriolic humor.

According to West, jokes that poke fun at the rapist, not the victim, are fair game, as are ones that point out how frightening it can be to be a woman, or how oblivious some men can be about this. She listed several examples, cushioned it all with plenty of disclaimers and generally came across as reasonable.

Yet a corner of the internet exploded, and crude threats and insults rained down on West by the hundreds. They attacked her weight, her intellect and her gender, even saying she was “too disgusting to get raped.” One vile troll went so far as to create a fake Twitter account posing as West’s dead father. This level of harassment went way over the line, and how West addressed it (and ultimately received an apology from her attacker) makes for powerful reading.

Equally fascinating are West’s dialogues with comics and other powerful men she once admired (yes you, Dan Savage) and her honest and loving explorations of her relationships with her father and her husband.

Christine Perkins is the executive director of the Whatcom County Library System. She serves on the programming committee for Bellingham City Club.

FCC Advent
More Words...
Virgil Wander
An antidote to what ails us

Leif Enger’s first book in a decade (So Brave, Young, and Handsome was published in 2008) is a gentle, charming antidote to all that ails us as a society these days. 

The title character, Virgil Wander, is the unassuming sole proprietor of a rundown independent movie theater in a…

more »
Booksellers' Best
The gift of words

Last December, I bought books for everyone on my gift list—whether they were avid readers or not. This required a bit of sleuthing. What exactly were my 20-year-old twin nephews in Missouri interested in these days? I discovered terrific books and, best of all, learned more about the…

more »
Season's Readings
A list for book lovers

The leaves have fallen, the hours of daylight grow shorter and there is a cold snap in the air reminding us that year’s end is nigh, and with it, holiday shopping!

Delight the book-lover in your life with these recent releases in adult nonfiction that explore how objects, books and…

more »
Events
Today
The Giving Tree

10:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Cook It and Book It

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Bellingham Mysterians

4:00pm|Village Books

Women's Snowshoeing Basics

6:00pm|REI

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Comedy Open Mic

7:30pm|Shakedown

Amahl and the Night Visitors

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Portland Cello
Tomorrow
The Giving Tree

10:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Amahl and the Night Visitors

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Coat Drive

9:00am|Community Food Co-op

Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Lynden Front Streeters

2:00pm|Village Books

Hiking and Beer

5:00pm|Growlers Keep

The LIghts of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Histories & Mysteries Book Club

6:30pm|Everson Library

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Carols and Old Songs with Evan Ingalls

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

The Mark Taylor Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Intro to Improv

7:00pm|Improv Playworks

VoicePlay Village Books
Thursday
The Giving Tree

10:00am|Village Books

Coat Drive

9:00am|Community Food Co-op

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The LIghts of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Valley Crafters Holiday Bazaar

10:00am|Deming Presbyterian Church

Winter Wear Drive

10:00am|Community Food Co-op

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

10:00am

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Poetry Writing Group

5:30pm|Village Books

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

White Elephant Incognito Dinner

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Ballet Bellingham presents The Nutcracker

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Journey's Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Noel Noir

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Naughty List, A Holiday Cabaret

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Portland Cello Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books 2018 Gift Guide VoicePlay Trove Web Stomp