I can’t get away from it. It is everywhere. For some reason, I keep thinking I will be safe with artists. Surely artists will understand.
I first read the name, Anne Lamott, on Facebook. Some of her quotes were going around, and I thought they were beautiful. I liked her author’s page on Facebook and started seeing updates from her. I liked what I read. I thought she would be a cool person to have coffee with once a week.
I was on Twitter a day or two after Caitlyn Jenner came out. I follow Anne Lamott on Twitter, and she was using the masculine pronoun to write about Caitlyn. People started to call her out on that. She tweeted back that she would refer to Caitlyn as she as soon as “he lost the pee pee.” (I’m not sure that is the exact quote, but it was very close to that).
If you look up Anne Lamott on Google, you will find her described as a progressive political activist. That is the best we can expect from someone who identifies as progressive and as an activist? Her son popped on Twitter and explained that his mom had some things to learn. Anne apologized. Her initial response was a total rejection of the transgender community.
I knew she wasn’t perfect, but she did own up to her ignorance and apologized, which is so much more than many people do. We all have to have space to make mistakes and grow. It is necessary to welcome the people in who are willing to open their minds and change their perspectives. I continued to follow her.
So, as one of my Christmas gifts, I bought her book, “Small Victories Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace.” I’m not going to lie I didn’t love the first essay in the book. But I kept reading, and there it was on page twenty. Twenty pages into the book the words, “They knew deep down they were manic-depressive crazy people…” popped out as if in bold on the page.
I held my breath. I read a few sentences to see if she meant it or would take it back. I thought maybe I read it wrong. The author is a progressive activist after all. I looked in the front of the book to see if it was published a long time ago. The copyright date said 2014.
Manic-Depressive? My first diagnosis was over twenty years ago, and it was bipolar disorder. Even twenty years ago, the switch was being made from manic-depressive to bipolar. There is a woman out of touch. Not only is she a woman out of touch, but a woman who thinks bipolar equals crazy people. I started to see her comments about Caitlyn Jenner as part of a bigger problem.
In my opinion, she is far from a progressive, and if she is an activist it is not for the marginalized or discriminated or hated or those that are made to feel less than and dehumanized. No. I don’t think of Anne Lamott as a progressive. I think of her as an outdated, ignorant person, who should be irrelevant but keeps making the New York Times Best Seller List. I guess many people don’t read closely or thoroughly enough, either that or they have the same stigmatizing attitudes that she does. All I can do is sigh because last week I thought we had made such progress in this arena. One step forward, two steps back.