Golden Hour #026: Two resignations
And a weekend in Cornwall
Good evening friends,
We’ve just returned from a couple of nights in Cornwall. It was very wet, and very windy, but that didn’t prevent us from drinking good wine and spending some time together sheltering from the world.
Yesterday we were the very first people through the turnstile at The Eden Project (a by-product of having a 1 year old). Despite the fact it was off-season the domes and their contents were still warm(ish) and as spectacular as I remember.
The Eden Project is now over twenty years old, and holding up surprisingly well. Imported bamboo and olive trees are firmly established and Roul-roul partridges potter round the floor in pairs—(If you want a visual, my husband thought they looked like mangoes with legs.)
There is an intensity to our lives which makes it important to detach ourselves from the relentlessness of our news-cycle. I am particularly vulnerable to the physical and mental effects of its overwhelm, and have noticed my attention hovering in places it shouldn’t over the past couple of weeks. So I’m grateful we can leave our home every once in a while, and mindful that it is a privilege to be able to do so.
I did want to highlight a couple of news items, though, in the shape of two, rather contrasting resignations. The first was Suella Braverman, who was sacked on Tuesday following her less-than-great ‘handling’ of the Armistice-day protests. Stoked by her inflammatory column in The Times, what should have been a positive and poignant weekend of remembrance was overshadowed by the far-right, who attempted to cause as much mayhem as possible.
Despite being sacked, Braverman upheld the time-honoured tradition of writing a resignation letter (and then sharing it on Twitter). It’s a pretty unedifying and self-indulgent read, she lists her ‘achievements’ before launching an attack on her former boss. The following day her much feted plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was declared unlawful by the Supreme Court. Like many of you, I am relieved she no longer holds such an influential role in our government.
Then, on Thursday, another letter of resignation. This time from the New York Times Magazine’s poetry editor,who resigned from her position in the most dignified and salient manner possible:
I have resigned as poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine.
The Israeli state’s U.S-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone. There is no safety in it or from it, not for Israel, not for the United States or Europe, and especially not for the many Jewish people slandered by those who claim falsely to fight in their names. Its only profit is the deadly profit of oil interests and weapon manufacturers.
The world, the future, our hearts—everything grows smaller and harder from this war. It is not only a war of missiles and land invasions. It is an ongoing war against the people of Palestine, people who have resisted throughout decades of occupation, forced dislocation, deprivation, surveillance, siege, imprisonment, and torture.
Because our status quo is self-expression, sometimes the most effective mode of protest for artists is to refuse.
I can’t write about poetry amidst the ‘reasonable’ tones of those who aim to acclimatize us to this unreasonable suffering. No more ghoulish euphemisms. No more verbally sanitized hellscapes. No more warmongering lies.
If this resignation leaves a hole in the news the size of poetry, then that is the true shape of the present.
No more ghoulish euphemisms.
No more verbally sanitised hellscapes.
No more warmongering lies.
Who knew a resignation letter could also be a prayer?