We passed over the recent ruckus of The Nation magazine apologizing profusely to the Perpetually Offended over a poem they published. Here’s the poem in full, by Anders Carson-Wee:
If you got hiv, say aids. If you a girl,
say you’re pregnant––nobody gonna lower
themselves to listen for the kick. People
passing fast. Splay your legs, cock a knee
funny. It’s the littlest shames they’re likely
to comprehend. Don’t say homeless, they know
you is. What they don’t know is what opens
a wallet, what stops em from counting
what they drop. If you’re young say younger.
Old say older. If you’re crippled don’t
flaunt it. Let em think they’re good enough
Christians to notice. Don’t say you pray,
say you sin. It’s about who they believe
they is. You hardly even there.
Maybe The Nation should apologize for publishing a poem that is not very good, but never mind: Did you spot the offending term?!?! Well actually there’s more than one, but the key term is “crippled,” which is an “ableist” term of opprobrium, on part with the n-word one assumes. So the poetry editors at The Nation groveled appropriately:
Editor’s note: On July 24, 2018, The Nation and its poetry editors, Stephanie Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith, made this statement about the poem below, which contains disparaging and ableist language that has given offense and caused harm to members of several communities:
As poetry editors, we hold ourselves responsible for the ways in which the work we select is received. We made a serious mistake by choosing to publish the poem “How-To.” We are sorry for the pain we have caused to the many communities affected by this poem. We recognize that we must now earn your trust back. Some of our readers have asked what we were thinking. When we read the poem we took it as a profane, over-the-top attack on the ways in which members of many groups are asked, or required, to perform the work of marginalization. We can no longer read the poem in that way.
We are currently revising our process for solicited and unsolicited submissions. But more importantly, we are listening, and we are working. We are grateful for the insightful critiques we have heard, but we know that the onus of change is on us, and we take that responsibility seriously. In the end, this decision means that we need to step back and look at not only our editing process, but at ourselves as editors.
Our pal [name withheld] at Neo-NeoCon (now at a new web address, take note) has much more on this silliness.
But it’s all okay, because The Nation has just announced that it’s 2019 wall calendar is ready! And it makes up for everything. Here’s the cover:
Very subtle indeed. Here’s a thumbnail of all 12 months:
I’m not too sure about December. Seems to me that snow globes are problematic on all kinds of grounds: impossible because of climate change (not to mention the raw materials are surely dangerous), animal rights (draft horses!), and it’s clearly a symbol of white supremacy. Stay tuned to see what kind of reader backlash it generates.