Posted in Reviews

Kim’s Convenience Season 1 & 2

Normally, I review seasons of shows, but for the wonderful show that is Kim’s Convenience we watched every episode Netflix had in one huge gulp.  Then we watched it again.  And then, again.  When I don’t know what I want to watch, this is the show I put on because it will always make me smile, no matter how many times I watch it.

Mild spoilers follow, but nothing major.

My husband stumbled upon Kim’s Convenience scrolling through what was new on Netflix.  Because I’m always willing to give a comedy a shot, we watched the first episode.  This episode focuses on Mr. Kim or Appa – played by the gloriously hilarious Paul Sun-Hyung Lee – giving a “gay discount” during Pride Week after he refuses to hang a poster he deems an ugly mess in his store.  Part of the joy of the series is watching Mr. Kim interact with the convenience store regulars, and this episode is especially good at showing Mr. Kim’s place in the community as a community hub of sorts.

Based off the play of the same name, the show is about a Korean family that runs a convenience store.  The oldest son, Jung (played by Simu Liu,) had a misspent youth and is estranged from his father, although his sister, Janet (played by Andrea Bang,) and Umma, Mrs. Kim, (played by the wonderful Jean Yoon,) keep in surreptitious contact with Jung.

One of my favorite moments in the series is Jung coming by to help Janet with a problem at the store.  Appa comes home early and Jung gets trapped in the house.  At the end of the episode, Appa and Umma are in bed and start singing “I Got You, Babe.”  Then it shows Janet in her room – you think she is alone, and then from the floor on the opposite side of the bed, Jung pops up and asks Janet if she thinks they are going to do the whole song.  He then proceeds to sneak out while they are singing.

What I love about this scene is that even though Jung is estranged from his father, the love between family members is very much present and shown.  It doesn’t surprise the two of them that their parents are singing a song in bed together.  Their parents love for each other is something they know and take for granted as reality.

The show is full of really sweet and funny moments like this, and I always hate to call something heartwarming because that term is used way too often for very sad things, while this show is heartwarming in an uplifting, joyous manner.  And it is so funny!  I’ve had to pause and rewind the show more than a few times because I was laughing so hard I missed what happened next.

While Jung has more than a few moments with his family, his main presence is at his workplace, a car rental business, with his childhood friend Kimchee, played by the hilariously lovable Andrew Phung.  Jung’s boss, Shannon (played by Nicole Power,) mildly sexually harasses Jung in the first few episodes, but as the season goes on her awkwardness becomes lovable to both the viewers and to Jung. At one point, Shannon thinks she’s alone in the business, so she sings over the intercom as she shuts down the place.  Jung walks in and sees her and is both amused and taken by her being her unself-conscious self.  Also, the song she sings about putting away a staple and crushing it was pretty fun – I found myself singing it a few days later while I was doing dishes and crushing it.

It’s a show that can’t be characterized as a family comedy, or a workplace comedy, or even a church comedy, because it blends all three together pretty wonderfully.  Mrs. Kim’s adventures at church with her nemesis, Mrs. Park, played by the gorgeous and funny Uni Park, are so relatable for anyone who has ever dealt with a one upper.  Mrs. Park is very wealthy and doesn’t mind flaunting it.  At one point, Mrs. Park is talking about her Mercedes, and Umma says that she didn’t know Mrs. Park had a Mercedes as she never mentions it.  Mrs. Park, who mentions her Mercedes constantly, says, “I don’t?  Oh,” and then gives a beautiful, huge smile and says with pride, “I have a Mercedes!”  It’s weird that her insecurities and layers of unpleasantness are stripped away by her happy announcement – she has such delight in making the announcement.  Just a wonderful, funny moment.

For those of you who have anxiety, like I do, television can be tricky when it’s something new.  This show had me anxious a couple of times in the beginning.  However, after two or three episodes, I became comfortable because Kim’s Convenience is a kind show.  It’s people doing their best in the world – sometimes making mistakes, but always trying to be their best selves.  There are moments that are sad or hard, but they are few and far between – these moments also do a good job of showing how the family comes together when one of their members needs them.

I give this show an A+ for being entertaining, completely rewatchable, funny, kind, and just all around lovely.  You don’t need to be Korean to enjoy it, but if you are a nerd like my husband and I, you will find yourself looking things up.  Korea has a pretty interesting history, btw.  We paused a few times to read interesting things about Korea or what “yeobo” means (according to online sources it is like honey or sweetie, but only for your spouse, not a girlfriend or boyfriend.)  Now you’ve learned something new!

Netflix has the first two seasons available for anyone who is interested and the show, which is made and airs in Canada, has been given two more seasons for sure – that alone should convey how great of a show it is.

Unqualified recommendation – there is something for everyone in this show and I guarantee you will love it!

 

Posted in Reviews

The Flash, Season 2 Review

As per usual – spoilers ahead.  If you haven’t seen season 2 or 1, stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  😉

Season 2 starts out 6 months after the finale of season 1.  Barry Allen (the amazing Grant Gustin), The Flash, has forced everyone off of Team Flash due to his survivor’s guilt, so the first episode deals with getting the band back together.  Thanks to Iris (the always wonderful Candice Patton) the team does get back together, because she simply stops giving Barry the option of pushing everyone away.  In many ways, giving them a family history – having Iris know Barry better than anyone – really helps push some of these storylines.  Family often will step in whether you want them to or not, because they want to help.

Season 2 is a good season with an excellent bad guy, although two big bad speedsters in a row is a bit tiresome (more on that in the season 3 review) but Zoom is appropriately terrifying.  There are quite a few good stand alone episodes in season 2, something The Flash should do more often.  Sometimes having a bad guy of the week is more fun than the tedious, overarching bad guy that looms over the entire season.

To that end, “Family of Rogues” sees the return of Snart and his sister.  This is a great episode that I would give an A++ to except that during the episode, Snart uses the cold gun to freeze lasers during a heist.  He then walks through the lasers as they break.

He freezes LASERS.

We had to pause the television set as my husband lost his mind to a rant about how you cannot freeze lasers and are they kidding with this?

I’m a big fan of Rachel Bloom’s series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and there is a song in the first season where they sing, “Don’t think about it too hard, too too hard” and season 2 is when the physics, such as freezing lasers, caused me to sing this quite a lot.  This song refrain got quite a lot more use in season 3, too.

Here’s the song if you care to hear it

However, other than the simple insanity of FREEZING LASERS the episode is one of the better ones, especially for fans of Captain Cold, aka Snart played by the wonderful Wentworth Miller.

Season two is a lot of fun, and has a lot of really great episodes.  We get a new Harrison Wells from Earth 2 and the Arrowverse is expanded into a multiverse, which is pretty cool because it explains away any continuity problems found in other iterations of DC including Kara Danvers and Superman existing on a different world altogether.  It also gives unlimited story telling options, as the multiverse itself is infinite.

The beginning of the season gives us a new love interest for Barry, one we all know is doomed due to his feelings for Iris, but fun to watch nonetheless.  Patty Spivot, a new police officer who falls for Barry, is played by Shantel VanSanten.  Patty is charming and fun and it’s nice to see Barry interested in someone who is free and clear to be with him.  Of course, because this is a CW show and you have to have the stupid romantic angst, (why not have people get together and stay together? why is it hard to write a decent relationship on tv?) things don’t work out well between them and she leaves.  However, she was a fun character addition while she lasted.

Season 2 has a lot of good things – the new Wells being kind of a dick, Cisco learning about his metahuman powers – although him whining about them and wanting to keep them secret felt out of character by a lot – and the addition of the multiverse creates a really fun season.  Also, by the end of the season, Iris’ confesses her feelings to Barry, which is good as she spends most of the year grieving for her lost fiancé.

Having Iris actively working with Team Flash makes the show better all around and helps grow her character.  In season 1 she was the love interest and often bait and not much else, although Patton did a good job with the material she was given, but in this season she stands on her own more.  She even shoots a bad guy at one point.  One of the better scenes is when the cops arrive, Iris’ friend says that Iris is a great shot and Barry basically says, yeah she really is.  The lack of surprise for Iris’ talents coupled with his casual pride in her was fun.  Gustin and Patton do such a great job with Barry and Iris, and the writers give them a lot of great material to work with.

While I warned about spoilers, there are really so many huge spoilers that I’m omitting because finding out about them as you go is way more fun.  The whole season is fun, but much of the physics of the universe is insane, so this season gets a B-.  I don’t mind cartoon physics, but you have to make the laws of your world a) consistent b) sane c) you can’t freeze lasers.  Also, I knocked off some points simply because two speedsters in a row in two seasons focused on one Big Bad is tiresome at best.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Open Letter to Louis CK

Dear Louis,

I was a huge fan of yours.  My husband and I watched your stand-up and your television show.  I thought of you as somewhat of a feminist ally, simply because you seemed to recognize power inequities in your act and would make fun of them.

Then the rumors about you masturbating in front of female comics started making the rounds.  I didn’t want to believe it, but from your stand-up alone it was clear that you had some issues with sex.  Eventually, after YEARS of rumors, the #me,too movement caught up with you.

You apologized and I thought, “Louis gets it.  He’s taken responsibility for his actions and he will make this right.  He’ll show Hollywood how to do it.”  Then I actually read your apology, and it was lackluster, man.  Just some passive aggressive attempt to apologize without taking responsibility.  I was disappointed in you but still had some hope for your redemption.  “If anyone can do it, Louis can,” I erroneously thought.

Then I heard about your recent stand-up where you bitch about having to say “they” to accommodate trans people, complaining about having to call them what they would prefer.  Fuck you, Louis.  I bet you didn’t know that trans people have one of the highest suicide rates in the country.  I bet you also didn’t know that calling trans people by their name – the one they say is their name – and their preferred pronouns reduces the risk of them committing suicide.

But then I realized, you don’t really care, do you Louis?  You are so busy feeling sorry for yourself and the fact that you lost millions in the space of the hour (boo-fucking-hoo, man, most of us never see the kind of cash you are sitting on in our lifetime and the women whose careers you destroyed certainly don’t have the luxury of weeping over $30+ million lost), that you haven’t really taken a look at real ways to make a comeback.  You know what would be a good start?  Helping the people your manager blacklisted and threatened.  You still have the power to open doors, to help them with their careers.  You stole their opportunities from them so you could creepily get off and you haven’t done shit to fix that.

Why haven’t you done anything to fix it?

If you’d gone out of your way to not only apologize but make legitimate amends to them, you’d be surprised how well received you would be the next time you go up on stage.  Instead of doing the right thing, instead of being an example to other Hollywood people in similar circumstances, instead of being who we thought you were, you’ve done nothing but feel sorry for yourself and then trash trans people like a bigoted asshole.

It’s not only sad for the women you victimized and silenced, but it’s sad for you and your fans.  You could have made this a moment where you actually made amends.  Where instead of giving lip service to taking responsibility, you actually did it.  You could have restored our faith in you, a flawed, but good man.  Instead, you sulked for a few months and then came to the stage with anti-trans bullshit.  That’s not what good men do.  It’s what opportunistic assholes do.

I’m done thinking that you will eventually make amends to those you’ve harmed.  Your self pitying bullshit shows that you don’t actually care about those you victimized.

Fuck you, Louis.  And while we’re at it – fuck you, too, Janeane Garofalo, you apologist bitch.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Posted in Anxiety, Reviews

The Flash – Season 1

Spoilers for season 1 – although light, are present in this review.

Back in the 1990’s, anti-heroes were a somewhat new craze and could be interesting.  In 2019, I’m heartily sick of anti-heroes, which is part of the reason I love the Flash so much.

Barry Allen is a hero, an altruistic one, and it is so much fun to watch.  As The Flash/Barry Allen, Grant Gustin is amazingly likable.  Barry Allen’s mother was murdered when he was a kid and his father wrongfully went to jail for the crime.  Barry works as a CSI for the police department with his foster father Joe West, and he does it out of a desire to help the world.  Much of season 1 explores him trying to clear his father’s name and figure out who murdered his mother.

One of the things The Flash does well is it establishes an ensemble cast right off the bat.  Barry gets superpowers and he goes to the scientists at Star Labs for help.  These people become Team Flash and having an established ensemble cast makes the show fun immediately.  Unlike the slow build of season one of The Arrow, the support staff for The Flash is present almost from day one.

Cisco, an amazing Carlos Valdes, is one of the most likable characters in season one because of his sheer enthusiasm.  Cisco and Barry are both really excited and happy about Barry’s abilities, and they tend to nerd out together in adorable ways.  Cisco is also a techno-mage, although the show says he’s a genius.  However, the things he creates are pretty impossible (a gold gun that turns everything into gold??  Really?) and so I justify this bit of outlandishness by just assuming he has superpowers, too, and those superpowers allow him to make things like a gun that can turn anything to absolute zero.  So, he is a genius, but they really mean techno-mage.

After so many shows where the main character wants to be normal (I’m looking at you, Buffy.  What’s wrong with you?) I’ve found myself enjoying the heroes who embrace it and really enjoy it.  The Flash loves being the Flash.  He loves his speed.  At one point a mugger attempts to mug him and he just starts laughing, “Oh, you’re going to kick yourself,” he tells the mugger before stealing the mugger’s weapons and clothes and then stealing a cop to put right in front of the man.

It’s hilarious and awesome.

The one problem with season one is Iris West, played by the delightful and charismatic Candice Patton.  They don’t seem to know what to do with Iris in season one, so for the first several episodes, she is the damsel in distress, although she does show her badassery by punching bad guys a few times, and even shooting another that tried to take her hostage.  Mostly, though, season one is just every single character in the show lying to Iris and gaslighting the fuck out of her to keep Barry’s identity as the Flash a secret.  Her father, Joe West, played by the always watchable Jesse Martin (loved you since Ally McBeal!) tells Barry and the rest of Team Flash to keep Iris in the dark “for her safety.”

When Iris finds out she tells him, “Did you ever think that telling me what was going on would keep me safe?”  Excellent point, Iris.  Knowing IS half the battle.

I know television shows can’t just have a couple that is together and happy.  I don’t know why – other than maybe television show writers have miserable relationships so they don’t know how to write that kind of thing – but much of season 1 is simply Barry pining for Iris unbeknownst to her.  Or hiding his fun superhero life from her.

When you make a character the killer of fun, fans are going to hate that character, and I’ve seen a ton of Iris-hate online.  As I am a watcher of fan videos and fan theories on YouTube, I’ve seen more than a few that call Iris a “cunt” for what I think is basically no reason.

In season one, she finds out her best friend is in love with her about the same time her boyfriend asks her to move in with him.  She is lied to by every main character multiple times.  She knows something is up – this is her best friend and foster brother who she knows better than anyone, but when even though she knows something is going on, they all just gaslight, gaslight, gaslight.  How Iris didn’t murder them all at the end of the season when she found out is mystifying to me.

I actually feels bad for Iris sometimes.  Iris wanted to be a cop, too, but her father stopped speaking to her until she withdrew her application.  This is a woman who longs to be a hero herself, but she is put in a safety box by the men in her life, even though she proves consistently that she can take care of herself.

Anyway, her character is certainly problematic, but Candice Patton is so likable, so charming, and in a cast of gorgeous people she is the stand out beauty in the bunch – all of these things help to offset the fact that the writers make her the assassin of fun in most of the first season.  Luckily, once Iris knows about Barry, she’s incredibly likable, fun, and good addition to Team Flash – within 24 hours of finding out she saves Caitlin Snow’s life by hitting a bad guy over the head with a fire extinguisher.  If kept in the loop, Iris is a badass and a hell of a team player, which she illustrates in later seasons.

Dr. Harry Wells is played by a long time favorite actor of mine, Tom Cavanaugh.  Dr. Wells is an enigmatic figure in season one and Cavanaugh portrays him – his good side and his bad side – with humor and aplomb.  As a mentor and hero to Barry Allen, he helps Barry with his speed and becoming a superhero.  I don’t want to say too much about his character, but he is a fun addition to the show.  I think if you made a drinking game of when he tells Barry to run, you’d die of alcohol poisoning, but it’s always very fun.

Season 1 solves the mystery of who killed Barry’s mom, establishes him as a superhero, and introduces a lot of other characters that will be important in the Arrowverse.  It’s a really enjoyable season, with the gaslighting of Iris West being the only exception.  It seems like a small thing, but it’s bad enough there are times you almost hate the main characters for doing it to her.  Even her boyfriend Eddie says, “So literally everyone but Iris knows,” when he finds out Felicity knew about Barry being the Flash.

Grant Gustin does a great job of making the Flash come to life – much like Joel Grey, Gustin has a dancing background so his physicality as the Flash is fluid and believable.  Other people have played speedsters on the show, but Gustin has a comfort and physicality that comes off more natural than a lot of the others.

The special effects are also just amazing.  With the Flash moving too fast for people to see, most of the time when he’s running it is a red streak of electricity and it’s fantastic.  In almost every episode there are special effects that look like panels from a comic book.  With a character that moves as fast as the Flash fighting giant telepathic gorillas (Grodd), special effects are important, and this show would be enjoyable simply on a “ooh, shiny” level alone.  When the plot isn’t my cup of tea, I can be content watching how amazingly cool the visuals are.

Overall, I’d give The Flash season 1 an A.  It’s not only watchable, but rewatchable.  Likable characters, altruistic heroes, and old school comic book mentality about being a superhero.  Some of the best fun is when Oliver Queen shows up and you get to see happy Barry dealing with anti-hero and grump, the Arrow.  The banter in the beginning of the below clip never fails to crack me up – Barry is quick witted and while he has some hero worship for Oliver, he also has no problem gently making fun of Oliver, either.  Huntress and Deathstroke are characters on The Arrow, btw.

The above scene is one of my favorites and anytime Oliver Queen and Barry Allen are on screen together is gold.  That’s part of why I love the yearly crossover episodes.

Overall, this is a good show, one that I highly recommend.

 

**For those, like me, who can find their anxiety going through the roof during certain shows, this one is anxiety producing, but mainly because the pace is somewhat breathless.  First time viewing for me I had to pause after -3 episodes and do something calming.  Now that I’ve already seen it once, the anxiety is less, but even the music for the show is fast and almost frantic.  Watch with some chamomile tea or something else that soothes you if shows cause you anxiety.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Meditation

New Year Resolutions

There are so many memes on FB every year about not doing resolutions.  Some are funny and some are grouchy, but mostly they all have the theme that making new year’s resolutions is pointless, stupid, and a waste of time.

For people that feel this way, more power to you. I’m glad you are happy with yourself and your life – way to be awesome!  For me, I love the idea of new year’s resolutions because they feel like a new way to get life back on track or a good way to introduce some new, good habits into our lives.

I often make the same if not similar new year’s resolutions and I think they are pretty average and normal for a middle aged woman: eat healthier, exercise more (although this year it is dance more because dancing is fun and exercise is torture), meditate more during work days, and blog more.

I’m positive that those resolutions were on the 2018 list, too, in some form or another.  Clearly, last year I failed miserably at all of the above, but honestly, 2018 was a year where surviving was the main goal.  I dropped out of most of my activities because the social anxiety and depression made it too difficult to go out and about, and unless Will dragged me out, I barely did anything this year outside of family, work, and home.  My depression hit a new low, which was pretty miserable, so not dying seemed like the main thing I accomplished in 2018 and I’m ok with that.  Sometimes with invisible illnesses not dying is all you can do.

Since I successfully survived 2018, I can try to make 2019 a new, fantastic year.  As long as I am still alive, I have the chance to reinvent myself or at least attempt to make improvements.  Resolutions are simply focusing on those goals in order to try once again to grow and/or improve myself and my life.  And yes, most resolutions tend to fail, but I failed at quitting smoking the first million times I tried – eventually, if you keep trying you will succeed.

After 2016-2018, I’m no longer going to assume that 2019 is going to be a good year simply because the previous year was so rough.  Clearly, that is not a yardstick to measure by during the Trump regime, but I am hoping that even if the year itself is not better that I can be better.  I can be the version of myself that focuses on living life well instead of merely surviving it.

Posted in Politics

More Like a Blue Puddle

Post election day, everyone is telling me that the blue wave happened, the House of Representatives will save us all from tyranny, and many other things.  I’m glad Rauner is no longer going to be governor of Illinois as he was a nightmare person, and I’m glad that the house flipped, but I’m still disappointed.

I’m disappointed that of all of the registered voters who actually voted that Bost had 17,024 more people than Kelly. Yes, I get that normally he runs unopposed because in the past the Dems figured this area was just a loss (thanks for that, btw, there may be a reason people in Southern IL don’t vote blue when they are told they don’t even matter) and the fact that Bost had to have Trump come to this region to have two rallies – one in Granite City and one at the Carbondale airport – in order to bolster his flagging numbers, but still.

17,024 more people in this area are ok with children being put into camps.  They are ok with tax cuts for billionaires that will end up losing them their Social Security if Bost has his way.  They are fine with a man who doesn’t think about their needs as constituents and is too cowardly to even meet with them.  Bost has been a coward about town halls ever since he voted to gut the ACA repeatedly, because he knows that people will be upset.  He just doesn’t give a shit because he got his.

Bost doesn’t give a damn about anything other than retaining power and his party.  If his constituents die because of lack of healthcare, he is fine with it and 17,024 more people in this area voted that they are ok with it, too.

A vote for the Republican party in this day and age is a vote saying that you not only are fine with Trump being president, with him saying he is a nationalist (this means white supremacist), fine with him demonizing his political opponents to the extent that his whackadoo followers have sent bombs and death threats to his political opponents, and fine with him trying to rob any marginalized group of their protections.  When voting for Bost, they vote that all of this is ok.  Most of them seem to think it is preferable.  The underlying racism of Republicans has been breathtaking and heartbreaking to see exposed.  We always knew, but it’s never been so blatant.  They literally don’t care about anyone seeking asylum except to spit on them.  You know, unless those asylum seekers are white.

Being in an area where the white supremacists greatly outnumber those who believe in civil rights is jarring.  It’s more than a little bit upsetting.  Before Trump came to the area, during the planning of a protest against him, the Bost voters and Trump supporters threatened the protesters on their facebook event page with violence, they posted graphically violent imagery and said they would do this to the protesters, they crowed about “snowflakes” and basically were just psychos in general.

I’ve never seen such sore “winners” as the GOP followers of today, and there are 17,024 more of them voting than there are of people like me who are disgusted with the blatant threats and lies and general insanity that is today’s GOP.

Furthermore, finding out the House has been flipped to Democratic control isn’t the win we want it to be when Pelosi is announcing how she will be “reaching across the aisle” for bipartisanship.  Are you fucking kidding me????  The GOP has obstructed every single thing the Dems have tried for over a decade now, but keep kicking Lucy’s football, Pelosi, I’m sure THIS time she won’t yank it out from underneath you.  I mean, after all, Chuck Schumer got all of those great things he wanted when he approved of the conservative judges the GOP wanted – he wanted nothing but scorn, right?  It’s like these moderates enjoy being screwed and it’s damning the rest of us, too.

What this Blue Wave/puddle has proven is that the Democratic party needs to stop acting “moderate” because those that won didn’t win by catering to the conservative crowd, they won by appealing to the far left.  They didn’t win by appealing to moderate Americans, or by being Republican-lite.  They won on campaigns being extremely liberal and they won by huge margins because of it.  The Democrats in power need to stop doing the same things they’ve always done because those things no longer work.  I don’t want bipartisanship, I want the Republicans to stop screwing everyone over while denying climate change, something bipartisanship isn’t going to get done.

So while I understand that there was some good coming out of the election, and I’m so thrilled that women of color and women in general are going to be in the House in droves, I’m still not in the mood to celebrate.  Not until they show that they will obstruct Trump’s agenda of hate as strongly and as viciously as the Republicans – who put a known sexual predator and drunk on the Supreme Court – did to Obama.  Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and fight, fight, fight is what we need, not some namby-pamby bipartisanship where we get fucked over once again.

You know why Ocasio-Cortez is so beloved?  Because she campaigned for what the people want.  She certainly came into her campaign swinging against the garbage party that is the GOP these days, and she brings hope to many.  I only hope she runs for presidential office sometime soon, because she embodies what the Democrats need to be in order to stop Trump from turning us into a fascist state.

Posted in Uncategorized

Believe Women – Guest Blogger

Written by guest blogger Perditax

Believe women. It seems like such a simple phrase, but to so many people resist the notion, muttering darkly about due process and suspending belief until all allegations can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But belief doesn’t require absolute proof. If it did, could anyone believe in God? No. They could not.

What belief requires in this context is that the listener take a woman’s statements seriously. That’s all. No more. No less. Here’s an example of that sort of belief:
Think of a small child, about 4 years old. This child tells you with absolute certainty that there’s a monster in her closet. You have two choices. The first option is that you can believe her. You can believe that she believes in the monster. You don’t have to believe in the monster yourself; you just need to believe that this monster is a problem the child is having that needs to be addressed. So you investigate. You stay up with her one night and listen for the monster.
Are there any mysterious noises in the closet that sound monster-like? Is there a mouse in the walls making scary scratching sounds? Do you need to have a talk with the cat? Are there any shadows that look particularly scary when the lights are out? Or is there no “proof” of a monster at all? If there’s no proof of a monster, then the child is still definitely afraid of something, and this fear is expressing itself as fear of monsters. So, you talk with the child, ask what she’s afraid of other than the monster. Try to figure out how to soothe her fears. Try to figure out what the monster really is. Fear of a new school? Fear of the new baby brother or sister that’s on the way taking her place or taking her mom away from her? You find out what this monster is. Together, you and the child find this monster, real or imaginary, and deal with it.
The second option is to not believe the child. You tell her that there ARE no monsters. You disregard her fears and her anxieties. You scream, after the fifth night in a row that she cries about monsters, “I told you monsters don’t exist! Now shut up and go to sleep!” And you slam the door shut, ignoring her small quiet sobs behind the closed door. Far too many parents choose this option.
Which child do you think feels more secure now? Which child do you think has just been taught to fear and distrust adults? Which child was treated like a human being with thoughts and anxieties that deserve respect? Which was treated well? Which was treated poorly?
The reason women are so very angry right now is that society has been that second parent to us for centuries. Despite the fact that ¼ of us will be raped in our lifetimes, despite the fact that even more than that will be harassed or stalked or assaulted or terrorized, society keep screaming at us, “There is no monster/rapist in the closet! Now shut up and fuck off!” Because rape and harassment don’t always have witnesses. And for so many people, if it can’t be seen, it doesn’t exist.
But what would it be like if society behaved more like the first parent? What if our government and our culture acknowledged that there’s a scary monster, and we can’t always prove it, but it’s a problem we women (and men too!) are having that needs to be addressed? What if they commit to brainstorming and working to find some solutions, from changing the culture, to better law enforcement, to educating citizens?
Frankly, I believe Doctor Ford, and I believe Brett Kavanaugh. Just as you don’t have to believe IN the monsters to believe the child, I don’t have to disbelieve one party in order to believe the other. Believing both is absolutely possible, and believing women’s stories of assault does not mean automatically convicting the men they accuse. I believe he did assault her, just as she recalls, but he doesn’t remember the incident at all, both because that sort of thing was common and socially accepted back then (though still both morally wrong and illegal), and because he did drink heavily according to many of his friends.
But what if he believed her? What if Brett Kavanaugh said this:
“I don’t remember that at all, but I believe you. I believe it’s possible, no…probable, since you are so certain it was me, that I did something to harm you. After all, I did drink a lot back then, and I don’t recall every moment perfectly, so it is possible that I assaulted you. And I am so very sorry. I really didn’t mean to hurt anyone. And I know that an apology doesn’t help much, but I do apologize, and I will be sure it can never happen again. I will limit my drinking, and when I do drink, I will always have a sober friend around. I will change, because an apology isn’t enough. True remorse demands change.”
I’d respect the hell out of him if he said that. If he said something like that, I could honestly say, “I don’t like his politics, but I think he’s a good person.” But he didn’t say that, because he’s not a good person. And he’s not a good person because he doesn’t empathize with others, and he does not give people the respect they deserve as fellow human beings.
Because that’s what “believe women” boils down to. Believing other people’s stories of trauma means believing that the thing they feel so strongly about deserves to be addressed in some way. It’s having some ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to see events through their eyes. It’s about respecting our fellow human beings and really listening to what they have to say. And it’s a courtesy we’ve denied women and their stories of assault and trauma for far too long.