See America Right: a 4th of July Reading List

While the World Cup is whipping up national pride across the globe, for many of us in the United States, it is difficult to find anything over which to feel proud. Deep cracks have broken out across the American visage, and something truly ugly is showing underneath. For some, the solution, no doubt, is to dig in, ignore the cracks, and lash out at anyone who brings attention to them, still others are down right celebrating the now blatant ugliness, but here at Sybil we'd like to applaud those doing the pointing and those who believe that simply patching up the cracks and paving over the ugliness is not the solution we need. 

Listed below are several pieces of writing which I believe have the power to open eyes, inspire passion, or offer comfort in these difficult times. 


 by Rudy Martinez

by Rudy Martinez

Opinions, Fall 2017, by Rudy Martinez:

While Martinez's highly controversial 2017 essay, "Your DNA is an Abomination" may seem like an obvious choice for this list, I am actually going to suggest a lesser known collection of the writer's op-eds which he wrote as a student for the University Star. More than showcase an important stage in Martinez's development, the collection remains just as relevant now as when it was written and contains such hidden gems as "Mr. President," which seems to almost anticipate the eerily chummy tone Trump employed in his own "Dear Mr. Chairman".

 by KSwift

by KSwift

The Real Enemy, by KSwift: 

Swift does nothing to baby her audience, and that is one of her best qualities. We need artists of her caliber to push us all along because we no longer have time to waste. Her italicized letters cut through layers of bullshit and land squarely in the ego of The Real Enemy. 

Nonsense, by Stephen R. Spencer II: 

These are frustrating times and this is a poem born out of that frustration. The closing ellipses have long eluded definition, and have caused a schism that has broken the school of Spencerists in two. One half argues the ellipses are ironic, and, even if there is a bit of hope in the final line, the following three dots act to bludgeon that hope to death. The more hopeful of SRSII's readers see the ellipses as a drill bit, ready to punch holes into the dark as soon as it has enough power behind it.

Squirrel Girl Goes to the Bathroom, by Alyssa Franks:

In a system that can crush the individual and leave them feeling lost, stunted, and empty, the importance of the Squirrel Girl series cannot be understated. The lessons taught here are of such a wholesome nature that in the hands of a less skilled artist, they might come across as cheesy, but are saved from that fate by the artist's supreme pen and wit. Franks' unnamed squirrel is sure to be an important companion to a countless number of women and men alike for years to come. 

Post-Scarcity Love, by Jake Buckholz:

As With Martinez, Buckholz's essay White Apocalypse, written in response to an early draft of "Your DNA is an Abomination", seems like the obvious pick for this list, but I have chosen this fictional piece which takes place in a world very different from our own because it opens a conversation which is not currently had enough: No, we don't want this, but what do we want?