All right. 2022 has been cute—in a We-Lumbered-Through-Yet-Another-Plague-Year kind of way—but now it’s giving shabby and dogged. That’s right. Time to sashay away and to do so with some grace and dignity.
But before then, we need to give it up for our authors and staff who blessed Beacon Broadside with their words and insight. These are the year’s top ten blog posts—some recent, some from previous years making a comeback. If you haven’t read any of them yet, get to clicking and flexing your optic scans.
See you in the new year with more commentary from the authors and staff of your favorite indie press!
When a child hears gunshots,
she will say Mom is beating
the pots and pans. She will say
It sounds like home. Let’s keep it
this way; our children
misinterpreting the sound of dying
as a crude percussion.
—from Meghan Privitello’s “[When a child hears gunshots]”
“Americans like stories like hers, because racial and ethnic passing is ubiquitous inside a culture known for self-invention. But being Black is about more than biology, one drop rule be damned. Being Black is not just about singing and dancing, and shucking and jiving. Being Black goes beyond complexion—it’s a cultural thing.”
“Being CODA Is More Complexed and Nuanced Than ‘CODA’ Film Lets On”
By Lennard Davis
“It’s disingenuous to claim that CODAs seriously were part of the creative process when they were essentially hired for a different task—that of interpreting sign language. Isn’t it also ironic that the film’s central story is about CODAs having to do interpretation instead of following their dreams, yet the involvement of CODAs in the production entailed interpreting rather than being hired to be part of the creative team?”
“A Franklin Valentine: Why Older Women Make Better Mistresses Than Younger Ones”
By Nancy Rubin Stuart
“Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin was a scientist, an inventor, and a diplomat, but did you know he also had the makings of a great romance advice columnist? The founding father was well suited to that job because of his wide experience with women. That may explain why he penned a letter in 1745 to a single man about the best way to sate his sexual impulses outside marriage. Ben’s advice? Sleep with an older woman instead of a young one.”
“Martin Luther King, Jr.: The World House (excerpt)”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
“Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘The Other America’ Still Radical 50 Years Later”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The fact is that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed—that’s the long, sometimes tragic and turbulent story of history. And if people who are enslaved sit around and feel that freedom is some kind of lavish dish that will be passed out on a silver platter by the federal government or by the white man while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite, he will never get his freedom.”
“One Dangerous Author: An Interview with Lois Lowry”
By Helene Atwan
“Every now and then, when there is a public controversy over a book, kids will make their voices heard in a local newspaper or at a school board meeting. Teenagers in particular are very eloquent spokespeople for literary freedom. Often they are inspired by special programs such as Banned Books Week or by a school curriculum that calls attention to the issue. I have great admiration and appreciation for school administrators who support such programs.”
“Settler Fragility: Why Settler Privilege Is So Hard to Talk About”
By Dina Gilio-Whitaker
“It’s important to emphasize that like white privilege, settler privilege is systemic, so just denying that one doesn’t possess it doesn’t mean one isn’t complicit in it. This is about deeply questioning all the assumptions we have been raised with in a society built on imperialism, private property (which includes slavery), and capitalism. Even for Native people who don’t live in their ancestral homelands, the questions need to be asked: who are the original people of the place where I live, and what are my responsibilities to them?”
“Our relationship to time is defined by the technologies we use to measure it. ‘Keep the time,’ Thoreau wrote in his Journal. ‘Observe the hours of the universe—not of the cars.’ Again Henry advocates the clock of sun and moon and gravity. But he wasn’t, as some believe, anti-technology. He was a skilled surveyor and pencil maker who designed a new way to compress and mold graphite. It seems he was opposed to technology that had no clear purpose, or that didn’t benefit the common person, or simply made us less human.”
“Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Settler Privilege”
By Dina Gilio-Whitaker
“All of today’s settlers and immigrants are in one way or another beneficiaries of genocide and land theft, even if they are simultaneously themselves victims of other forms of discrimination (with the possible exception of migratory Indigenous peoples of “Meso-America”). I realize this may be difficult for people of color to hear. But this is what it means to center settler colonialism as a framework for understanding the foundation of the US beyond an analysis of race, since the origins of the US are rooted in foreign invasion, not racism.”