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OPINIONS by Roxane Gay


A Decade of Arguments, Criticism, and Minding Other People's Business

by Roxane Gay

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2023
ISBN: 9780063341463
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Essays, op-eds, and pop-culture pieces from the acclaimed novelist and memoirist.

The decision by the New York Times to hire Gay as an opinion writer in 2014 was a no-brainer: She has a gift for clean, well-ordered prose, and strong feelings on matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Most important, she possesses a fearlessness essential to doing the job right; though she can observe an issue from various angles, she never wrings her hands or delivers milquetoast commentaries. As she writes in the introduction, “On the page, I get to be the boldest, most audacious version of myself.” According to the author, police officers shouldn’t march in pride parades, and Louis C.K. isn’t owed a second chance. To Kill a Mockingbird is overrated, and Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black churchgoers in 2015, doesn’t deserve the forgiveness the victims’ families gave him. Planted firmly on the left, Gay's thoughts on Trump, #metoo, and Black Lives Matter are predictable, but they are engaging in their ferocity all the same. That’s partly because she comes to her opinions more out of empathy than ideology, which is why she’s also served well as an advice columnist for the Times (a few examples of her columns are included). Like any op-ed writer, she sometimes contradicts herself. For example, a piece explaining her refusal to sign a petition condemning a TV show because “creators are allowed to make bad, irresponsible, problematic art” follows a piece arguing the Roseanne reboot shouldn’t have been made. Mostly, however, Gay is consistent, and the squishiness is relegated to puff pieces profiling Madonna, Janelle Monáe, Tessa Thompson, and others. The author may spit fire in her essays, but even she can’t penetrate the PR armor in which Nicki Minaj has encased herself.

Fierce and informed riffs on current events and enduring challenges.