The Other Book Self Is Reading: Thomas Cromwell, a Revolutionary Life

p. 529:

On the day of Cromwell’s execution, 28 July 1540, the King took his mind off it by getting married to Katherine Howard.

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Milkman, pp. 13 – 14

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Annaghmakerrig: November, 2018

The narrator, 18, runs. The milkman starts following her on her runs. He is much older, and seems to know her schedule: he knows where she reports to work, he knows that she likes to read. During one of their encounters, a bush to the narrator’s left emits a distinct “click.” The milkman then abruptly walks off.

Hey hey hey, Anna Burns: you are brilliant.

He doesn’t touch her, doesn’t address anything overtly sexual to her, but for a whole week, she doesn’t run. When she starts again, she asks her “third brother-in-law” to accompany her:

Should he take exception to brother-in-law accompanying me, he’d encounter not only the opprobium of the entire local community, but his reputation in it as one of our highranking, prestigious dissidents would plummet to the point where he’d be put outside any and all safe houses, into the path of any and of all passing military patrol vehicles, exactly as if he wasn’t one of our major influential heroes, but instead just some enemy state policeman, some enemy soldier from across the water, or even one of the enemy state-defending paramilitaries from over the way.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Milkman, p. 7

  • At the time, age eighteen, having been brought up in a hair-trigger society where the ground rules were — if no physically violent touch was being laid upon you, and no outright verbal insults were being levelled at you, and no taunting looks in the vicinity either, then nothing was happening, so how could you be under attack from something that wasn’t there?

Having watched Christine Blasey Ford’s agonizing and humiliating recounting of her experience with Brett Kavanaugh, self would like to say that, on the basis of how Ford’s evidence was handled, even if there had been violent touch and verbal insults and taunting looks, the victim still wouldn’t be believed.

It turns out there was at least one female listener who had her own private experience of assault, but did not speak up. US Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), months later, revealed she had been raped by a superior while she was in the Air Force. McSally was the first American woman to fly in combat.

Thinking about McSally now, even if she had spoken up during the Kavanaugh hearing, it might not have changed the outcome. But, jeez, it would have made Christine Blasey Ford feel less alone.

Stay tuned.

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