Good afternoon gays!

Welcome to week #2 of Hot Take-aways!

I’ve been pouring basically all of my free time lately into the article I’m working on for THIS Magazine, and dealing with the pain in the ass that is trying to pull together various interviews with all the relevant sources. Thankfully, I’m starting to see this piece finally take shape, though I’m still waiting on a couple important interviews before I can really feel confident about it.

The gist of this, really, is that it’s hard to write a feature in under a month — especially when you’re also working full-time, like I am. Being a professional writer™ is often an exercise in spreading oneself too thin; this week has been all about grappling both with that fact, and with the reality that the Canadian media landscape is increasingly inhospitable to new voices.

I’ve also been devoting a lot of time and energy to the causes and organizations I’m involved with, which is incredibly satisfying, but also occasionally discouraging — we work hard to make this world a better place, and it’s rare that we have something tangible to show for it.

Suffice it to say, this week has been a bummer, which is why I’m excited to be writing this and ending it off on a higher note. So, without further ado, here are your hot takeaways for the second week of February.


In Review:

If you read nothing else this week:

  1. Shuja Haider’s tweet documenting how Jordan Peterson spent his week arguing with a Slavoj Zizek parody bot on Twitter (link) — gag
  2. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Butch? (BuzzFeed) — an earnest and incisive love letter to recently-cancelled TV butches
  3. The Faggy Magic of Adam Rippon (Splinter News) — we love fem tops! I stan

Long Read

To Be, or Not to Be by Masha Gessen for The New York Review of Books (link)

This essay is an adaptation of a talk Gessen gave in December, and it uses the Trump administration’s seven “banned words” — fetus, vulnerable, diversity, entitlement, science-based, transgender, evidence-based — to structure a meditation on choice.

Intricate and literary in its approach, the essay is fascinated with narratives of identity and experience. Gessen muses on the phenomenon of change and choice — how we make choices and have choices made for us. Her essay offers a general study of how we think about and express the stories of our lives and the lives of others, and allows us as readers the space to critique key ideas of choice/choicelessness embodied in modern politics in the (American) West.

Did that make sense? I feel like that didn’t make sense. Either way, you should totally read this essay — I called it a long read, but it will probably only take you 15-20 minutes (maybe it felt longer for me because I initially read it on my phone while stoned on public transit).

Click Bait

14 Rules for Dealing With Your Pretend Internet Boyfriend by Fran Tirado for Them.Us (link)

Half-joking listicle-style queer confessionals make for solid content, and this didn’t disappoint! This article was funny and almost uncomfortably relatable, which is impressive considering I have no earth in my star chart. I’ve made no attempt to hide my affection for the work of Fran Tirado (editor, writer, etc., and one of the co-hosts of Food 4 Thot podcast), so I’m happy for the opportunity to plug him here. Fran, if you’re reading this, please follow me back on Twitter.

Can Con

It’s Time for the NDP to Stand for Democracy and Human Rights for Palestinians by David Mivasair for Rabble (link)

This piece was written by Vancouver rabbi David Mivasair in advance of this weekend’s party convention for the New Democratic Party. This piece is one of many that have come out this week calling on the NDP to accept the Palestine Resolution, which asks of the Party to take a strong stance in support of Palestinian human rights by pushing for a boycott of Israeli goods, in line with the demands of the BDS movement.

This probably goes without saying, but I want to go on record endorsing the Palestine Resolution, and condemning the efforts by members of the NDP establishment to quash it. Like me, Rabbi Mivasair is a member of Independent Jewish Voices (I’m also a member of the NDP). IJV has been doing a lot of hard work in trying to bring people around to recognize the need to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. You can read more about some specific campaigns here.

What’s New:

New episode!Sandy and Nora Talk Politics: No justice for Colten Boushie — Canada’s white supremacy problem

This Canadian politics podcast went on hiatus for months, and now we’ve been blessed with two episodes in one week. In the February 12 episode, Sandy and Nora discuss the patterns of colonial violence inherent in the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the killing of Colten Boushie (for more info on this case, read this). It’s a short and impactful episode; Sandy and Nora make a strong case for taking a systems-level perspective, calling on listeners to start by organizing their communities to fight for justice when the colonial legal system continually falls short.

New episode!The Imposter: Cadence Weapon and the Black Experience in Sound

This episode actually came out last week, but I only got a chance to listen to it on Tuesday (oops). The Imposter is a podcast dedicated to weird Canadian art, and it’s consistently my favourite podcast. Aliya Pabani is a thoughtful host and a gifted interviewer, and she’s in peak form talking to Edmonton-born rapper Cadence Weapon. It’s both a celebration of art well-done, and great critique of some of the racist patterns in the commercial world of Canadian music. For more in that vein, check out this Noisey article by Amani Bin Shikhan from November, 2017.


That’s all I’ve got for this week! If you have more to discuss, hit me up on Twitter.

Take care, comrades. And don’t forget to keep each other warm.

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Alex Verman