Best Of The Web
“Arielle and i have gone through the motions dozens of times. On Christmas Day, the gig is no different. My partner and I walk into my childhood home in the suburbs of north Toronto, waltz into the basement living room, and find my grandmother perched on a leather armchair in the corner. We greet her with a kiss on each cheek, and we humour her as she eyes us up and down and remarks on our thin frames. “Così bella,” she comments. Then, without fail, in her signature southern Italian accent: “You are the two sisters!” It’s intended to be a compliment, one that suggests we are of equal beauty. Instead, it belittles the very nature of our four-year relationship, reducing it to a bond of sorority instead of romantic devotion.
In the moment, neither Arielle nor I betray these feelings to Nonna. How could we? Just one look at her tiny shoulders and her round, chocolate-brown eyes, sends guilt simmering into my stomach. I choke back my biting words—we look nothing alike—and clench my jaw. Arielle giggles, fake and airy, and I sense her discomfort immediately; I watch her back straighten, teeth wired shut. We stand a metre apart, creating the unconscious distance the seventy-nine-year-old matriarch of my family has pushed on us. There’s nothing gay to see here.
For years, I have kept my sexuality a secret from Nonna, my father’s mother. Born and raised in the rolling hills of Calabria, Italy, she has lived a life of tradition, of fulfilling expectations. Queerness doesn’t exist in her world, and when it tries to break in, it doesn’t goes over well. I learned, as a young teenager, of a family friend whose daughter came out; she was in love, tired of hiding. Her mother disowned her, and Nonna applauded the decision—any other reaction would have been sinful. Grappling with my own sexuality, I made the choice at fourteen: while I’d eventually come out to my parents, brother, friends, and extended family, I would never come out to Nonna. I hoped, perhaps morbidly, that she’d die before she could ever attend my wedding.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."