The Witches Are Coming

Finished The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

The firebrand New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Shrill–soon to be a Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant–provides a brilliant and incisive look at how patriarchy, intolerance, and misogyny have conquered not just politics but American culture itself.

What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, The Witches are Coming lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion.

As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all.

Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” The Witches are Coming exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation.

Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, The Witches are Coming shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America’s potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt–to which West would reply, “So be it. I’m a witch and I’m hunting you.””

This book feels incredibly timely. It could’ve been literally written last week, what with Lindy West mentioning the limitations of kindness as a political device and Greta Thunberg. (Is she a literal witch or has she just been paying better attention than the rest of us? Is it both? They’re probably not mutually exclusive.)

I laughed out loud multiple times and I also sighed more than once. I highlighted parts of my egalley and shared them on my Facebook* and shared some via text to some of my favorite people.

This is the book we need right now. Yes, parts made me angry, but most of it gave me hope. I feel like we’re all dealing with right-wing gaslighting and it’s good to have someone saying, “No, this is all really happening. No, you’re right.”

Also? It’s so funny. Like, ridiculously funny. Like, laugh so hard on your commute that the stranger next to you will get up and move away funny. So it’s a win-win!

* = Yes, I have a Facebook page still. Mark Zuckerberg is awful and the site is awful but it’s where I see my friends and pictures of their kids and grandkids. It’s where I see pictures of my friends’ dogs and cats and where I learn how to be a better person, thanks to a lot of my intersectional groups and my smarter-than-me friends.

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