A Points Thanksgiving Retrospective: 2016

Kyle Bridge, Managing Editor (kbridge@ufl.edu)

As it has done in years past, the occasion of Thanksgiving prompted us at Points to consider what we are most thankful for. Personally, I’m perpetually grateful to my colleagues who help keep the blog running efficiently with relevant, informative, and usually quite entertaining content. I’m especially thankful for thoughtful outlets like this one, as well as others sponsoring real investigative journalism, in a time when folks from the Thankgiving dinner table to the presidential debate stage echo “post-truth” claims disguised as reasonable beliefs.

 

Bob Beach, Contributing Editor (blbeach@albany.edu) 

I am thankful for Points. For those I have worked with (Claire, Emily, Amy, Kyle) who give me an opportunity to share some of my insights with our readers. I’m thankful for the Alcohol Drug History Society who continuously push drug alcohol scholarship in fascinating and politically significant new directions. And in a particularly brutal year where Americans are searching for silver-linings, I am thankful for the Americans who have approved medical and/or recreational cannabis regulations in nine states this year. Despite President-elect Trump’s Attorney General pick, who could make the road more difficult for further legalization measures, it appears we are closer than ever to the end of marijuana prohibition. I am thankful for marijuana users who have defied and continue to defy unjust laws defied to achieve their self-defined ends despite folks like Sessions categorization of users as bad people. Their stories, both in the archives and out, are helping historians to better understand these motivations, not merely by imputing agency onto those decisions, but continuing to defy the classifications of Sessions and others.

….And to push the search for silver linings if I may, I’m also thankful that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live.

David Korostyshevsky, Contributing Editor (koros003@umn.edu)

After a long and winding journey through doctoral coursework and preliminary exams, this Thanksgiving finds me extremely grateful to be moving on towards dissertation research, when I will finally be able to indulge my intellectual interests. I look forward to blogging about them on Points.

Amy Long, Contributing Editor and Social Media Liaison (amyllong@vt.edu)

Even setting politics aside, 2016 was a grim year for me. It started out hopeful. I finished my MFA. I had a book manuscript to polish and an apartment in a new city, which I planned to share with someone I loved and had recently started re-dating, whom I’ll call B. On the Friday before July 4th, I wrecked my car on the interstate and ended up spending a week at B.’s house (I’d planned to be there overnight and finish my drive to Florida on Saturday). It was a really great week, and it mostly reinforced what I already knew about him: he was generous, kind, gentle, funny, affectionate, and a really useful person to have around. But the day I left, B. went upstairs to his bedroom and never came down. His roommate called me the following afternoon and reported that B. had overdosed and died. It has been hard to take. I moved into our apartment anyway, and I’m settling into the new city, but I don’t feel like 2016 gave me much to be thankful for. I promised Kyle (for whom we are all thankful) I’d write this, and then I thought, “Oh, no. What the hell am I going to say?”

I am thankful, however, for that week in July. I’m glad I got to spend those days with B. before I never got to see him again. I’m thankful that I met his roommate, who has been indispensable in helping me through this grieving thing. I’m thankful for books. I’m thankful for Joshua Mohr, who sent me an advance copy of his memoir Sirens, which was weirdly comforting to me (it releases in January and is utterly beautiful; you can read Josh’s Fiction Points interview here). I’m thankful for Sean H. Doyle and his support. I’m thankful for my own writing, which has always helped me process things, but I really needed you this year, writing, so thanks. I’m also thankful to the states and cities that have made Narcan more readily available to their citizens so that fewer people have to mourn their loved ones following overdoses. Let’s make more of those. I’m thankful for the drugs I use to treat my chronic pain condition, even as I am intimately familiar with the pain opioid overdoses have caused families and friends all over the country. I’m thankful I have the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts in my head at the same time. I’m grateful for the many other people of whom that is also true. And I’m grateful for everyone who listened to me cry and/or ramble (especially Trysh Travis, whose humor is exactly as dark as I needed it to be) and also for you, Points readers, for believing that public engagement with the humanities might shape policy and promote understanding. Let’s hope we’re all right.

Jeremy Milloy, Contributing Editor (jeremymilloy@trentu.ca)

I’m thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to Points, and build on work done by scholars from whose research I have learned a great deal. Although we had Thanksgiving last month, I’m also thankful that so many in my home country of Canada are working, with real momentum, to shift responses to drug use from prohibition and repression to emerging directions, including expanding safe-injection sites and preparing for marijuana legalization.

 

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