When you live in times of authoritarian rule one of the first things that end up in the cross hairs is culture. We believe firmly that artists and writers and dramatists and actors and musicians play a vital role in defending the integrity of who we are as human beings.
— Jeremy Scahill, on the Trump’s Cabinet of Killers and Why Orange is the New Anti-Black episode of The Intercepted.
In the wake of 11/08 I had no interest in laughing, let alone savoring a poem or immersing myself in music. The task before us seemed too daunting to allow myself to luxuriate in the frivolity of comedy or escape to the narrative of a novel. That changed for me the first time that Melissa McCarthy played Sean Spicer on SNL. It was more than just her comedic talent and the amazing way in which she embodied the essence of Spicer. It was even more than the words that came out of her mouth, capturing the absurdity of this moment in America. No, like the solidarity of the protests, what made me truly weep with joy was the realization that I was not alone. It wasn’t just the connection I felt with Melissa, it was knowing that there was an entire team of writers, and producers, and a production crew that had shared in creating that moment. We are many.
I have stumbled across a new never-miss podcast from the website The Intercept called, naturally enough, Intercepted. Each show so far has featured a short (3 – 5 minute) piece of music or spoken word poetry. During episode two, the host, Jeremy Scahill, introduced the segment with the above quote and it hit home. We need our music, and our writings, and our poetry, and our comedy now more than ever. The artistic expression of our soul is what defines us as human beings. Sharing in — and celebrating — what each of us creates is what keeps us human.
I have never been more grateful for organizations like the ACLU and the plethora of lawyers we have in this country. Likewise, I am inspired by the power of our marches and protests as we stand up for our values. But, in addition to the direct tangible actions we can take, we also need a 100 million voices writing and singing and laughing and, in general, sounding our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.