We'll admit it: We were unfamiliar with Repeal Day. Here's the upshot:
Turns out, our collective historical memory lays blame for Prohibition squarely at the feet of women. Women like Carrie Nation. Yet, Carrie Nation died 8 years before the passage of Prohibition. It is often said that Prohibition happened "when the boys were off at war" as though it would not have happened under any other circumstances. As though men like Neal Dow and Wayne Darrow and Andrew Volstead didn't exist.
Or, as Mark Lawrence Schrad, assistant professor of political science at Villanova University, writes:
"Such details largely disappear from contemporary biographies, perhaps because they don’t fit our image of temperance as an angry, white, female, Bible-thumping crusade against individual liberty. While their political legacies are obviously variegated, Frederick Douglass, William Jennings Bryan and Carrie Nation all held the exact same positions on abolition, suffragism and prohibition. Yet even the titles of their biographies belie their differential treatment by historians: Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. William Jennings Bryan: A Godly Hero, or Champion of Democracy. And Carrie Nation? Vessel of Wrath. Historians give William and Fredrick a free pass for their role in prohibition along with Neal, Wayne and Andrew; we’re told that Carrie is the real villain."
We've written about this propensity in American culture before. We're predisposed, culturally, to paper over the misdeeds of men and point the finger squarely at women.
What we discovered, when we went down the Repeal Day rabbit hole, is how committed Prohibitionists were to grassroots action, to a referendum on extortionate capitalism, to keeping the government from putting its thumb on the scales in favor of business. Which isn't to say that we're fans of the 18th Amendment. (The frequent appearance of cocktails in the Recipes section of these posts has already made that clear to you, dear reader.) But it is to say that the animating force of the 18th Amendment is also the same animating force that made the 19th Amendment possible.
We are tremendous fans of the 19th Amendment and continue to be fascinated by the overlap in activists and the complex and well-documented link between prohibitionists and suffragists. For example:
Americans today are likely to recognize the names of the most famous temperance activists not from that work but from their efforts for women’s suffrage — not that those two weren’t connected. In 1853, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the Women’s State Temperance Society in upstate New York. Stanton would even refer to alcohol as “the unclean thing.” As Anthony put it in 1899, “the only hope” for Prohibition was “putting the ballot into the hands of women.”
Today, though, we're especially focused on the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, signed this day in 1933. Not only because it means that drinking is legal for us this fine sunny (windy) Sunday, but also because it must mean that we're capable, as a nation, of recognizing the places where we made mistakes and rectifying them.
Essays & Poems
Everywhere, America by Lyz Lenz | "He was not polite at all. He started out that way, of course. But when I refused to stop asking questions about why he’d screamed at his wife and if he’d ever hit her, he was frustrated. Then he calmly asked to go off the record. And when I agreed, he screamed at me too. When I turned the recorder on again, he spoke politely. On. Then off. Then on again."
Towards an Economy That At Least Makes an Effort to Pretend It Values Maintenance Labor by Amanda Montei | "Real gender equity in the workforce, in other words, requires dismantling the concept of gender and what Fraser calls the 'gender-coding' of care. The struggle to liberate ourselves from gendered expectations and the struggle against work are deeply linked. Both require that we upset the hierarchy between maintenance work and other forms of work. As Fraser writes, 'The trick is to imagine a social world in which citizens’ lives integrate wage-earning, caregiving, community activism, political participation, and involvement in the associational life of civil society—while also leaving time for some fun.'"
Lander's own Day Scott on Race & Birding | "All I want to do is explore, embrace, and record. Unfortunately, no matter how I present myself, my rich melanin precedes my intentions, knowledge, personality, and smile. There is a lot of thought and preparation involved each time I leave my house to explore. I wear a very colorful backpack, hiking footwear, and large hoop earrings. I also wear a bandana or scarf around my neck. I find it safer to have a feminine outdoorsy look from head to toe, especially when birding in residential areas."
Funeral for Flaca by Emilly Prado
Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Recipes | In honor of Repeal Day, all cocktails this week (plus a mocktail for your non-alcoholic imbibing pleasure). When our drink calls for bourbon or rye, our go-to is what we've started calling "Lady Bourbon" made by Milam & Greene, the only woman-owned distillery that *also* has a female master distiller. That's right—Marsha Milam, an entrepreneur; Heather Greene, the chief executive and master blender; and Marlene Holmes, the master distiller—their team is all women, and they're making some of the best whiskey and rye on the market right now, breaking some glass ceilings in an industry well known for its assertive, sometimes aggressive masculinity.
2 oz Milam & Greene Port Cask Rye Whiskey 1 oz Dry Vermouth 2 dashes of Orange Bitters 1/4 oz of lemon juice 1/4 oz of grenadine (or cherry syrup from cocktail cherry jar). garnish with a lemon peel and cocktail cherry Instructions
Combine all ingredients except for garnish into an ice shaker. Shake with ice for 20 seconds and strain into a serving glass. Add garnish and enjoy!
2. New York Sour | A new twist on a Whiskey Sour.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) rye whiskey or bourbon
1/4 cup (2 ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) simple syrup, plus more to taste
1 large egg white (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine
Place a handful of ice, the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if you’re using it) in a cocktail shaker or a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker or glass is frosty and very chilled. Strain over more ice into two glasses. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine into your glass. It will be pretty and delicious.
3. Raspberry Bee's Knees (mocktail)
Ingredients 1 oz filtered water .5 oz lemon .5 oz honey 2 raspberries + 1 raspberry for garnish Instructions Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass with two raspberries. Top with soda water. Garnish with one raspberry.
There is no such thing as unskilled labor.
Capitalism recognizes and rewards only what it considers "productive" not what is generative. And we cannot so much as survive, much less thrive, without generativity. We cease to exist when we stop raising children, caring for the sick and elderly, volunteering, voting, creating, innovating, resting, thinking, showing up for each other. As Auden wrote, "We must love one another or die." Consider the inherent dissonance, then, when our current reality not only fails to reward or recognize but actively punishes generative pursuit. What has to happen to change this? If you were reimagining your community, what would be different? What policies would support generativity and real human thriving? Now, how do we manifest those?
Clearly, we've made it all the way to the end of this week's QK without an explicit mention of the December 1 oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson in front of the newly constituted Supreme Court of the United States. Much has been made of the day's arguments and proceedings (here, here, here, here, here, and here, for a half dozen examples). Much speculation has ensued regarding the likely timeline for a decision (sometime next summer) and the probability of a) outright reversal of Roe v b) a change to the "viability" standard v c) punting it back to the states (by all accounts: high). Let's be clear: Any of those outcomes has the same practical effect for women and pregnant people. If you have a uterus, you are subject to the control of the state. We'll be writing more about what that means and how it came to be that only people who don't have uteruses (uteri?) can be autonomous in 21st century America. (For those who might like some theological background on the abortion debate within white evangelical Christianity and how it became a political absolute, Fred Clark's 2012 piece in Patheos, "The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal," is shorter than Kristen Kobes du Mez's Jesus & John Wayne. We recommend both.)