My colleagues here at The Paris Review all know that I harbor an irrational aversion to any shade of purple, which reminds me of Lisa Frank stickers, aging hippies, and wizards. (All very well in their own ways, I suppose.) So it is with some reluctance that I report Pantone’s Color of 2014: Radiant Orchid. Quoth the color-choosing powers,
Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.
And wizards. They forgot wizards.
Celeste West (1942-2008) quite deservedly belongs in whatever women in library hall of fame there might ever be. In “Unbossed and Unbought: Booklegger Press—the First Women-Owned American Library Publisher”*, Toni Samek describes West’s concern with self-censorship among librarians and the limitations of a philosophy of neutrality. West founded “Booklegger Press, the first women-owned American library published, [which] became a key communication tool for some of librarianship’s leading alternative voices in the 1970s, countered mainstream library publishing, challenged limitations to freedom of expression within librarianship, introduced a wave of alternative library publishing that persists to this day, served as an open forum for library workers’ dissent, and advanced women’s library causes, as well as those of other alienated library groups, such as gays and lesbians, politically active library school students, individuals interested in library unions, and alternative library publishers.”
Can people of color be racist?” I reply, “The answer depends on your definition of racism.” If one defines racism as racial prejudice, the answer is yes. People of color can and do have racial prejudices. However, if one defines racism as a system of advantage based on race, the answer is no. People of color are not racist because they do not systematically benefit from racism. And equally important, there is no systematic cultural and institutional support or sanction for the racial bigotry of people of color. In my view, reserving the term racist only for behaviors committed by whites in the context of a white-dominated society is a way of acknowledging the ever-present power differential afforded whites by the culture and institutions that make up the system of advantage and continue to reinforce notions of white superiority. (Using the same logic, I reserve the word sexist for men. Though women can and do have gender-based prejudices, only men systematically benefit from sexism.)
Forever is the state, exclusive to those between the ages of 13 and 17, in which one feels both eternally invincible and permanently trapped. When my parents were young, Forever was expressed through promise rings, names carved into trees, and photographs you could hold in your hands. In the years since, Forever has inspired many phrases and ideas popular among adolescents: Best Friends Forever, Together Forever, Forever Young. In more recent years, Forever, with its cousins Always and Infinity, has dominated young adult literature, differentiated the internet from the more fleeting IRL, and, one could argue, explained the popularity of the galaxy print. Nothing lasts forever, of course, but Nothing doesn’t resonate with a teenager the way Forever does, because, for better or worse, it’s hard to imagine ever not feeling this way, being this person, having this life.
Richard Avedon Gabriel García Márquez, New York City 1976
“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.” Gabriel García Márquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera” 1985
Egyptian attorney Ragia Omran has being honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for her work and commitment to human rights in Egypt. For over two decades, she has worked to defend women’s rights, leading the Egyptian Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Task Force, which successfully outlawed the practice in public hospitals in Egypt. “She is a beacon of hope for the women of Egypt and a champion in the global human rights movement. We are proud to honor her with our 30th annual award,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Center.
Read more via Daily News Egypt.