5.14.2021

rtod: kids are jumping out of windows of burning buildings, so we board up the windows instead of putting out the fire

 Revolutionary thought of the day:

What I'm here to talk about is how our whole approach since day one has been like this: Kids are jumping out the windows of burning buildings, falling to their deaths. And we think the problem is that they're jumping. This is what we've done: We've tried to find way get them to stop jumping. Convince them that burning alive is better than leaving when the shit gets too hot for them to take. We've boarded up windows and made better nets to catch them, found more convincing ways to tell them not to jump. They're making the decision that it's better to be dead and gone than to be alive in what we have there, this life, the one we made for them, the one they've inherited.

From There There by Tommy Orange

5.10.2021

north island life: in which we buy a generator (when in rome)

Our new friend
Here on Vancouver Island, frequent power outages are a fact of life. 

Obviously outages happen everywhere, but when high-wind storms come ripping off the Pacific, we're the windbreak. On the North Island, add thousands of acres of tall trees, with instability caused by logging. Add to that a remote region where it may be many hours before work crews arrive, and the source of the outage can sometimes only be located by helicopter. 

The last outage lasted 30 hours, the one before that 19 hours. These are not at all newsworthy. As I said, a fact of life.

Our wood stove keeps us warm, and I bought a little camp stove for basic cooking. (No need to add the indignity of caffeine withdrawal to the general discomfort.) But still, it's boring, it's annoying, and it can be expensive and wasteful.

The last time an outage hit, we had a freezer full of food. Allan works remotely. How many times do you want to tell your employer you can't work because you have no power? He also uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. During the last outage, I banished him to the futon.

I thought owning a generator was an indulgence for the wealthy... until now. As soon as the power goes out, there's a long lineup up at the gas station. Now I understand why: gas-powered generators.

We bought a portable, inverter model, enough to run the fridge and some electronic equipment, and some heavy-duty extension cords. We've done a test-run, and with any luck, we've lived through our last major outage.

5.08.2021

the return of a gardenette, plus worms (but no scary pics)

When we moved into our house, the grounds were spectacular. Even in this area where seemingly everyone gardens, the former owners were masters. There were beautifully designed flower groupings everywhere, nine huge raised beds, an herb garden, a large (and locally famous) raspberry patch, a greenhouse, and chickens.

It was the perfect house for an avid gardener... but too bad, we bought it!

We asked the sellers to remove the greenhouse and the chicken coop (and the trampoline), and we removed the raised beds ourselves. Our backyard is a canine playground. We've spent a lot of money, time, and effort making it safe for She Who Cannot Be Contained. We mow the lawn and do a bit of raking and pruning, but serious yardwork is not our thing.

However... we did experiment with a tiny garden in Ontario, growing tomatoes, zucchini (a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again), eggplant, and a few herbs. I enjoyed this on a small scale, with zero intention or aspiration to expand.

While our backyard is a dog park, our front yard gets a lot of sun, and the dogs aren't loose there. So I'm going to try a very modest vegetable garden in the front. In our climate, you're supposed to start tomatoes indoors, so I've done that, and will soon be planting carrots, beets, and basil outside.

I'm also trying composting for the first time. However, in an area where bears saunter into yards to dine off fruit trees, there's no way I'm composting outside. There are supposedly ways to make outdoor composting bear-safe, but it sounds quite complicated, and -- at least where we live -- foolish and dangerous. Reading about indoor composting, I quickly decided I wanted to try vermicomposting, which is the fancy way of saying composting with worms.

The internet is loaded with information about DIY worm composting, the usual "all you need is this!" sites and videos. Reading more deeply, I learned -- as with most things -- that there are myriad ways to fail at vermicomposting. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may know I am not a DIYer. Growing vegetables at all is enough DIY for me!

I investigated various options, and decided to buy a worm habitat from WormBox.ca. After much research, I ordered this Urban Worm Bag, and got a great deal on all the accoutrements needed to create a comfy worm environment. And then -- yep! -- I ordered worms on the internet! One pound of Red Wigglers -- about 1,000 worms -- are on their way from Montreal to Vancouver Island. 

I'm not posting pics, as many people are phobic or just grossed out. But I enjoy the wriggly creatures and look forward to adopting them.

5.02.2021

subscribe-by-email is going away. bloggers, what are you going to use instead?

Blogger will soon stop supporting the function that allows readers to subscribe to blogs via email. This is occurring because Google is killing Feedburner. Like the deceased Google Reader, Feedburner is very popular, used by millions, but Google has not been updating it, and is now officially killing it.

There has been some concern that Google might kill Blogger, but over the past several years, they have been answering Blogger-related questions and upgrading some Blogger features. I am still waiting for an update that will allow me to restore 14 years of lost comments! But it does seem like that will happen, and it appears that Blogger will survive.

However, as of July of this year, Feedburner and Subscribe by Email will be no more.

I very much want to offer readers a subscribe-by-email option, and I also want to use that option for several blogs that I read. I've tried many alternatives, but email subscriptions work best for me. 

Things I will not be doing: switching to WordPress, using Twitter instead of blogging, turning my blog into a newsletter. 

I've been researching alternatives to Feedburner, and there are many good ones out there. However, most are paid subscription services. 

I'm not in the camp that expects everything to be free. I subscribe to many paid services: a ridiculous number of streaming platforms, plus software licenses, news sites, and apps that I use frequently and want ad-free. But my blog is not a commercial venture; it is simply my writing outlet. My blog is not monetized, and never will be. So adding a monthly fee so that a few hundred readers can subscribe by email seems wasteful.

I think the simplest solution is IFTTT. IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That (a coding expression), allows you to create applets that link various apps and services, enabling you to do things that neither app alone will do. (This is a good explanation.) I've used IFTTT before, and it has always seemed simple and reliable.

IFTTT lets you create three free applets, This free option allows you to connect an RSS feed to a Blogger blog

I'm pretty sure I'm going with this one. But if you blog and you've found a solution that you like, please share! And I hope all the bloggers I read will all provide some kind of email option.

4.28.2021

april 28: day of mourning for workers killed and injured on the job

April 28 is the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. 

The canary is a potent symbol and a powerful reminder. 

This tiny, fragile bird was the only thing that stood between miners and a suffocating death. The world over, workers are little more than canaries in their own workplaces.

No worker should ever be killed or injured because of work, yet it happens on a regular basis. The pandemic has put the spotlight on the many dangers that workers face every day -- but it hasn't led to employers or governments bringing an end to dangerous practices. In Canada and the US, a huge percentage of workers don't even have access to paid sick leave. And the pandemic has only extended the long reach of precarious work.

When workers do not have guaranteed work, or don't get enough hours, or earn too little to survive, they are much less likely to speak up about unsafe working conditions. Employers know this. In the precarious workplace, all too often there is scant attention given to health and safety standards.

Privatization of services also causes workplace injuries and death, as companies — with no public oversight — cut corners to squeeze more profit out of services that should not be generating profit.

Understaffing also causes injuries and deaths, as workers are required to do work previously assigned to two or more workers.

Working alone has become commonplace in many fields. Working alone means there is no one to administer CPR, to help if an accident happens, to call for help if there is a violent confrontation.

Injury and death on the job are not merely "accidents" or "tragedies" that just happen. All too often, they are the result of precarious work, austerity measures, and privatization. All too often, they are preventable deaths.

On April 28, the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job, we should pause to mourn our losses and renew our commitment to ending such tragedies. 

* * * *

In 2020, 173 workers in B.C. lost their lives to workplace injury or disease. Join us in honouring their memory on April 28. 
BC Federation of Labour Day of Mourning website

4.26.2021

the concept of intersectionality: what it is, what it's not, why we need it

Image: Women Friendly Cities Challenge
After the recent, horrific murders in Atlanta of eight people, six of whom were Asian or Asian-American spa workers, there was a lot of discussion online about the nature of these killings. Were they acts of anti-Asian hatred? Were they acts of misogyny? Were they motivated by the hatred of sex workers, as evidenced from the shooter's statements? 

Is there another choice, all of the above? 

This is where the concept of intersectionality comes in. This word was likely in use for many years before I first became aware of it, in around 2015. I am usually quite late to language changes, so we can assume it was in use among activists far longer than that. 

Like most words used by theorists and activists, as intersectionality has slowly drifted into common parlance, it is often misused and misunderstood. Eventually it will be -- or perhaps it already has been, who can keep up? -- co-opted by the right-wing to mean something else entirely.

A friend shared this post about the meaning of intersectionality by Mary Maxfield. Maxfield credits the article "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics" by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. She also references one of the earliest uses (possibly the original use) of the word, by the Combahee River Collective, a pioneering group of Black feminist scholars. I found some accessible explanations, including video of Kimberlé Crenshaw, on this website: Women Friendly Cities Challenge.

I find Maxfield's post a powerful, elegant explanation in plain language of a concept that is both simple and complex.
When I first learned about Kimberlé Crenshaw's concept of intersectionality, I misunderstood it. I misunderstood it for years, until I started teaching it, and my students started to parrot back my misunderstanding, and then -- as things often do when you teach them -- something new clicked. I want to say a little bit about what I got wrong and what I’ve since come to understand because I think intersectionality is crucial for actually conceptualizing and articulating events like the racist, misogynistic murders in Atlanta. And I don’t believe we can fight or heal what we can’t understand or articulate.

So. When I first learned about intersectionality, I thought the concept was this: Each of us come from a particular standpoint, which is the intersection of our various identities: our race, gender, dis/ability, sexual orientation, class, etc. Because various forms of oppression (like racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and classism) play out across these identities, we all have different experiences of privilege and oppression based on where we stand. For example, some of us—myself included—experience sexism. Some of us—myself included—experience sexism and homophobia. Others experience sexism and homophobia and racism. Still others experience sexism and homophobia and racism and ableism and transphobia and fatphobia and classism... you get the idea. My understanding of intersectionality was that some of us have a burden and some of us have more burdens and that this is important to remember.

I think of this now as the "additive" model. Each new -ism adds on the ones before it, compounding the experience of oppression. At its best, the additive model is useful for remembering that not everyone's experience is like our own, for understanding we all experience some forms of privilege and some forms of oppression, and for keeping in mind that liberation and social justice are never (and can never be) single-issue struggles. But the additive model also sets us up for what people before me have called the "Oppression Olympics" -- the ranking of different experiences to decide who has oppression the worst, who wins Most Oppressed in the grand arena of awfulness that is our world. This is, for starters, not necessarily the best basis for building empathy, coalition, and solidarity. It is also, and maybe more importantly, actually impossible to calculate. Who's more oppressed? A Black disabled immigrant or a Native lesbian? Spoiler alert: there's no answering questions like that. And it's not super useful to ask them.

It's also not intersectionality. Because intersectionality isn't only or even mostly about about how oppressions add onto other oppressions (or privileges add onto other privileges). In other words, it's not about (or just about) what it's like to struggle with this AND that. It's about what it's like to struggle with the place where THIS and THAT are so interwoven that you can't actually tell them apart. It's about how multiple forms of oppression are experienced simultaneously in ways that make them INEXTRICABLE from each other. In the middle of the 8th/ Pine intersection, you can't say whether you're on 8th or Pine. You're on 8thPine -- it's both, it's more than both, it's mixed. Crenshaw argued that the intersections of oppression are like this, that Black women experience racism and sexism in a way in which you can't parse out where one stops and the other begins. The racism changes the shape of the sexism and the sexism changes the shape of the racism. And what's left is a particularly racialized form of misogyny and a particularly misogynistic form of racism that targets Black women, specifically.

It's like this: When we're taught about sexism and feminism in predominantly white institutions, we learn that women are stereotyped as weak, in need of protection, and kept at home. But this is really only true for white women. If we think about sexism centering Black women, we come up against entirely different (and in some cases straight-up opposite) stereotypes: the strong Black woman, the loud aggressor, the laboring Mammy who never got the chance to stay in the home with her own damn kids in her life. And if we look at Asian-American women we're met with entirely different stereotypes, including the sexualized stereotypes that are already being used to justify or dismiss the murders in Atlanta. Sexism looks different and operates differently for AAPI women, Black women, Latinx women, and Native women because of the ways it's racialized. Sexism against white women is also racialized, but in ways that go unmarked. We (white women) find our experience generalized to stand in for "what sexism looks like." But it's not. It's what sexism looks like for white women. And the point isn't to try and figure out whose version of sexism is most heinous. The point is to try and understand how sexism is operating against different populations of women so we can begin to fight for all women. This isn't "just" about sexism, obviously, or even "just" sexism and racism. Crenshaw was writing about the experience of Black women, but her point applies more broadly, across the different axes of identity, including ability, sexual orientation, size, etc. It also applies to other women of color, including AAPI, Native, Latinx, Middle Eastern women and others.

It's also not just about stereotypes (like the ones I used as an example above). Crenshaw is a legal scholar and she coined the term intersectionality as a challenge to one particular social institution: law. She laid out this framework as a specific challenge to the limitations she saw in anti-discrimination law, namely its failure to protect Black women. Basically, she pointed to particular court cases in which Black women weren't allowed to sue for sexist discrimination because their experience was racialized (not the "universal" experience of sexism applied to white women) and weren't allowed to sue for racist discrimination because their experience was gendered. (If Black men were getting hired, clearly racism wasn't in play... or so the courts said). Her point was that the particular intersection where racism and sexism met targeted Black women in a way that was invisible to people who insisted on universal experiences of "sexism" and "racism" as separate forces.

In that original piece, she compares the harm done by these "interlocking oppressions" (to borrow from some more badass Black feminists, the Combahee River Collective) to being struck down by a car while you're in the middle of an intersection. Imagine that, before you're allowed to get medical attention, you have to name the direction the car came from before it hit you. Sure, you're plastered to the pavement, but did the car come from Racism Drive or Sexism Ave? It's often literally impossible to say, and more so to "prove." And in the meantime, people bleed out.

I say all of this (and god love you if you've read it) because I think we desperately need this nuanced concept of intersectionality to be as viral and internalized as the additive version that's become a buzzword over the past ten years. It's only when we can see the ways that racism and sexism (and all the other -isms) are fusing together in particular ways that we can challenge them effectively. If you're lucky enough to reach a point in your education where you learn about anti-Asian racism, you will probably learn about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the first U.S. law that barred a particular nationality from entering the country. But hopefully you will also learn about the Page Act, which passed 7 years prior, and barred Asian women, specifically. Barred them, moreover, on the basis that they were considered likely to be prostitutes. Because it's only when we start to learn the history of oppression in the U.S. not as a single story or a series of separate stories (the racism history, the sexism history, etc.), but as a clusterfuck of interlocking stories, that we can begin to challenge them.

And when someone tells us that what happened in Atlanta wasn't racist because it was misogynistic, we can know two things for sure. 1) We are being gaslit because those things co-exist. And 2) the murder of Asian American women based on some dude's sexual fantasies and fears is an age-old version of what misogyny looks like when it targets Asian women. It couldn't be more racist if it tried.

But it will try. I hope we'll keep trying too.

[Note: I have not included an update where Maxfield cites sources and credits (I've linked those, above), and explains why she is not responding to Facebook friend requests from random readers.]

4.25.2021

topsy-turvy land: u.s. states make protest illegal and driving into protestors legal

It seems that state lawmakers in several U.S. states need a refresher course on the First Amendment. 

It's a very simple amendment, really. 

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

While the beloved First Amendment has always been selectively applied -- cue the firehoses and Pinkertons -- its intent is quite clear and straightforward. Peaceful assembly and peaceful protest is legal. Full stop.

Despite this, so far this year, 34 state legislatures have introduced more than 80 bills that very clearly aim to abridge and prohibit these inalienable rights. So far, four Republican governors have signed the measures into law. More are on the way.

So far, Florida has passed the most draconian of these laws, creating a new, loosely defined crime called "mob intimidation".

It gets better. 

In Oklahoma and Indiana, motorists who drive their vehicles into protestors will enjoy protection and immunity. Similar bills are pending in four other states. 

Silver lining: this is the kind of arrogant over-reach that prompts backlash.

Our friends in the ACLU have been documenting this trend for years: the map on this page shows which states introduced anti-protest bills as of 2017. Most died in session, but several have since passed.

These laws are obviously unconstitutional, and are unlikely to hold up in court. However, until that happens -- a lengthy and expensive process -- many or most people are unlikely to risk stepping onto a street with a placard. Those who are both courageous enough and privileged enough to do so, will be at great risk. In Minnesota, for example, anyone convicted under these laws will be barred from receiving student loans, unemployment benefits, or housing assistance.

Plus, some states don't give a shit about court rulings. Anti-abortion-rights laws in South Dakota and elsewhere that have been ruled unconstitutional have not been repealed, and are still being enforced.  

The ACLU has also documented how these anti-protest bills -- often called anti-riot or pro-law-enforcement -- are largely linked to protests that Republican-controlled legislators don't like.

After President Trump enacted his discriminatory Muslim ban at U.S. ports of entry, protests immediately erupted at airports nationwide, including a weekend-long protest at Denver International Airport. In response, the airport started enforcing a rule that requires protestors to submit an application a week before holding any demonstration.

- In opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, protestors and water protectors camped out for more than a year near North Dakota's Standing Rock reservation. The protests were effective: They led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit for the pipeline and delayed construction for weeks. The response? Legislators in North Dakota introduced a cascade of bills that would allow drivers to run over protesters obstructing a highway, as long as the drivers did so accidentally; would punish wearing a mask in any public forum or in a group on private property; would sentence protestors at private facilities with up to 30 days in prison; and would punish protestors who cause $1,000 in economic harm with 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

- In Minnesota, following the police shooting death of Philando Castile, protests caused part of a highway to shut down. Then, at the beginning of the state legislative session, Minnesota legislators drafted bills that would punish highway protestors with heavy fines and prison time and would make protesters liable for the policing costs of an entire protest if they individually were convicted of unlawful assembly or public nuisance.

Perhaps Republican lawmakers need a history lesson, too. New York University's First Amendment Watch reminds us:

America was born in the protests of 1765 to 1776. Large crowds assembled around liberty trees and liberty poles, hanging British officials in effigy, and thousands of people paraded through the streets of colonial towns voicing loud dissent against British taxes and other measures they considered oppressive. 

Looking for the Canadian equivalent, I found Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's Critical Infrastructure Defence Act. The Conservative government in Manitoba has tabled a similar law

These laws are obviously aimed at protests against pipelines and the tar sands -- but not only those. Wondering what is considered "critical infrastructure"? Writing in The Sprawl, Taylor Lambert explains:

There's a list of categories included in the legislation, such as highways, pipelines, railways, refineries, utilities, dams, and so on, all of which have their own legal definitions -- a "highway" under the Traffic Safety Act, for example, includes all city streets, sidewalks and ditches.

In addition to this sweeping list, the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act grants cabinet the power to declare things "essential infrastructure" as it likes. It sounds a bit Pythonesque -- "Look, everyone knows this infrastructure is absolutely, utterly essential, we just forgot about it when we drafted the law" -- but its absurdity doesn't make it any less dangerous.

People who understand what this law does have been more than a little freaked out by it, particularly constitutional scholars, and Indigenous and activist groups.

This law is one of the more blatant and obvious examples of Canada's priorities I've ever seen. You can have your own opinions -- just don't get in the way of property or commerce. If you do, you must be American.

In the US, this follows a long-established pattern of efforts designed to bury dissent, disenfranchise dissenters, and ultimately disappear the people who have the most to protest about. 

You kneel in silent protest? Now is not the time.

You gather in front of government buildings? We will expand loitering laws. 

You gather in the street? We will kettle you or pen you in. 

You want to vote us out? We will curtail your voting rights. 

If these measures aren't enough, we will lock you up (mass incarceration) or send you off to die somewhere (the poverty draft). 

george floyd + 1,000 others annually: justice is not possible, but accountability might help

Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd, was found guilty on all charges. At long last, after millions protested around the country and the world, a police officer was held accountable for murder. Or as one of the memes says, we only had to burn down the country to do it. 

Between May 25, 2020, the day George Floyd was murdered, and April 20, 2021, the day of the verdict, 640 Americans were killed by police.*

In the 24 hours following the announcement of the Chauvin verdict, six Americans were killed by police. That number includes Ma'Khia Bryant. Bryant was 16 years old. She called the police for help. A police officer got out of his car and shot this Black child at close range.

"We won't rest until the killer is brought to justice." If you watch detective shows, that's a familiar phrase. For victims of police murders, there is no justice. Even when there is video evidence of the killing, police murders might as well be lynchings that take place in the middle of the night.

But perhaps if there was accountability -- if there were actually serious consequences for these crimes -- we'd see fewer of them. Approximately 1,000 Americans are killed by police annually. Since 2005, 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter. Seven were convicted of murder. 

Black people comprise only 13% of the US population, but are more than twice as likely to be killed by police as non-Black Americans. Brown people are also disproportionately killed.

* * * *

Black Lives Matter is calling on the US Congress to end The Law Enforcement Support Office -- known as the 1033 Program -- which allows the transfer of surplus military-grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies. This would not de-militarize existing police agencies, and it would do nothing towards a new vision of policing, and it would do nothing to end the racism that underpins this seemingly endless parade of murders. But it would halt a n unnecessary practice which has resulted in countless injuries and deaths. Click here to sign the petition, and look for #End1033 on Twitter.

* * * *


* If you are unfamiliar with the Washington Post's police-shootings database, it's a grim, essential tool. Statista is also important tool.

what i'm reading: sometimes you have to lie: the life and times of louise fitzhugh, renegade author of harriet the spy

Until very recently, I didn't know anything about Louise Fitzhugh and had not thought about her at all. 

Of course, as a child I read and loved Harriet the Spy, Fitzhugh's iconic and groundbreaking children's book. For a good portion of my life, I dreamed of writing a similar book. Many years ago, when I started writing serial fiction for a children's magazine, I bought a handful of tween books to re-read, and Harriet was among them. But I knew nothing about its author.

On my birthday last year, my book-loving partner surprised me with a copy of Sometimes You Have to Lie: the Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of 'Harriet the Spy'. This was a thoughtful addition to my biography reading list.

It was an inspired gift: the book turned out to be fascinating! Louise Fitzhugh's life was very interesting, and author Leslie Brody digs deep into the historical context, revealing several hidden histories along the way. 

Louise Fitzhugh was principally a visual artist, and she wrote several other books. But the most noteworthy parts of her "life and times" are Fitzhugh's original family background, a window into lesbian history, and a capsule history of children's literature and publishing.

Fitzhugh's parents had been a golden couple; their wedding was the social event of their Southern town. But when the relationship soured, and Fitzhugh's mother sought a divorce, the father used his privilege and power to destroy his ex-wife. The local newspaper (which he owned) and the all-male court proceedings conspired to gaslight Fitzhugh's mother and strip her of custody of her infant daughter. Louise, raised by her paternal grandmother and an African American servant, was told that her mother was dead. 

When Louise's father remarried, her smart stepmother knew that young Louise needed to know the truth sooner rather than later. Imagine learning that your mother, who you thought was dead, lived in your town! Later, when Louise got her first job with the local newspaper and spent time in the "morgue" (newspaper archives), she learned the public version of the story for the first time. 

Brody tells this story with both great compassion and the proper social context: how a wealthy, white patriarch used the system that was designed by and for others like him, to discredit and destroy a woman who got in his way. 

Fitzhugh was queer -- and out. She lived as a couple with several different women during her lifetime, and was part of a very lively lesbian social scene, made up of professional women, mostly (but not only) in the arts and/or entertainment fields. Sometimes You Have to Lie is a window into this rich subculture, which thrived in bars and beach houses throughout New York City and The Hamptons. 

Published in 1964, Harriet the Spy was a groundbreaking work, part of the vanguard of a sea change in children's literature. Where most children's literature had been written for parents, full of moralizing and no shortage of condescension, the new kid-lit spoke to children with respect, and reflected the realities of their children's lives. Sometimes You Have to Lie situates Harriet in that context, and offers a mini-history of children's publishing.  

To a lesser extent, but still present in the book, there is also the context of the civil rights movement and the escalating war in Vietnam. This isn't discussed in detail, but it is part of the backdrop of Louise Fitzhugh's life and her motivations. Ending both segregation and the war were important to Fitzhugh, and both figure into her life and art.  

Sometimes You Have to Lie: the Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of 'Harriet the Spy'  is a fast, lively, and enjoyable read, great for anyone who loves history, has an interest in LGBT history, loves children's books, or just loves a well-crafted biography.