Jun 17, 2022 by Rose O'Keefe

Their son Lewis was 11 in 1852 when they moved from Alexander Street near downtown Rochester to the edge of the city. I wondered how that went. Could have been boring, right? Not in this story.

That Roxane Gay. I’ve got to hand it to her. In her essay, “What We Hunger For,” she shared her lack of familiarity with The Hunger Game series, and what happened after someone suggested she read them for a novel writing course. How to deal with damage, brutality and loss in teen fiction was as timely a topic in 2014. Not only did she get hooked on them, but she also became a fan of the movie. This essay broke through whatever veil of separation happens between the written word and the reader when she described being set up by a sexual predator, led into a gang rape that lasted for hours and then having her school mates shame her mercilessly. How to deal with damage brutality and loss in real life is still timely.

In, Gay’s essay “The Illusion of Safety/ The Safety of Illusion” she addressed the conundrum of things that trigger strong emotional reactions in people, that don’t ruffle others. How people with PTSD have unique overreactions to distinct stimuli could be an academic topic, including the tedium of congressional hearings in 1954, 1996 and ‘97 about violence on  television. After just reading the previous article, the topic of triggers was all too real.

In, “The Spectacle of Broken Men,” Gay tackled communities that hero worship football players, who off the field were domestic abusers. She compared football at Nebraska University to the culture at Penn State, notorious for its coverup of sexual abuse. It was hard not to have my stomach lurch when an interviewer in 2011 asked Jerry Sandusky if he were attracted to young boys? He said no. Clearly people don’t understand the anger beneath what is called locker-room roughhousing. No, I don’t believe he was sexually attracted to them either. Sexual violence is not about sex. I wondered if every town that had that name wanted to change it after the horrible history came to light.   

On the lighter side, I had the pleasure of placing holds on the Newbery Award winners from 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1933. Something to look forward to.

blog post. https://rokeefehistory.com/blog #amreading; #RochesterNY; #RoxaneGay; #BadFeminist; #PTSD; #violence; #NewberyAwards;