The witches are coming

Lindy West

Book - 2019

"This is a witch hunt. We're witches, and we're hunting you. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The Witches Are Coming, firebrand author of the New York Times bestselling memoir and now critically acclaimed Hulu TV series Shrill, Lindy West, turns that refrain on its head. You think this is a witch hunt? Fine. You've got one. In a laugh-out-loud, incisive cultural critique, West extolls the world-changing magic of truth, urging readers to reckon with dark lies in the heart of the American mythos, and unpacking the complicated, and sometimes tragic, politics of not being a white man in the 2...1st century. She tracks the misogyny and propaganda hidden (or not so hidden) in the media she and her peers devoured growing up, a buffet of distortions, delusions, prejudice, and outright bullsh*t that has allowed white male mediocrity to maintain a death grip on American culture and politics -- and that delivered us to this precarious, disorienting moment in history. West writes, "We were just a hair's breadth from electing America's first female president to succeed America's first black president. We weren't done, but we were doing it. And then, true to form -- like the Balrog's whip catching Gandalf by his little gray bootie, like the husband in a Lifetime movie hissing, 'If I can't have you, no one can' -- white American voters shoved an incompetent, racist con-man into the White House." We cannot understand how we got here -- how the land of the free became Trump's America -- without examining the chasm between who we are and who we think we are, without fact-checking the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and each other. The truth can transform us; there is witchcraft in it. Lindy West turns on the light."--provided by publisher.

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2nd Floor 305.42/West Checked In
New York, NY : Hachette Books 2019.
Main Author
Lindy West (author)
First edition
Item Description
"Portions of this book were previously published in different form in the New York Times, the Guardian, and Jezebel."--Title page verso.
Physical Description
260 pages ; 22 cm
  • Introduction: they let you do it
  • Choosing the lie
  • Is Adam Sandler funny?
  • Ted Bundy was not charming: are you high?
  • How to be a girl
  • Always meet your heroes
  • Do, make, be, barf
  • A giant douche is a good thing if you're a giant
  • Gear strap
  • Joan
  • Obsolescence is a preventable disease
  • What is an abortion, anyway?
  • Leave hell to the devils
  • Anger is a weapon
  • Magic isn't magic
  • The world is good and worth fighting for
  • Long live the Port Chester whooping cranes
  • Tomorrow is the first day
  • Acknowledgments.
Review by Booklist Review

Almost as soon as the #MeToo movement started, critics (men) were asking, has it gone too far? Isn't asking men to be responsible for their words and actions a little much? It's turning into a witch hunt, they said. Yes, says New York Times columnist West (Shrill, 2016): ""We're witches, and we're hunting you."" In her characteristic tone that embraces both a clear-eyed explanation of injustice and slightly manic pop-culture (and poop) jokes, the essays here cover memes, abortion, Adam Sandler movies, and the framing of women's anger as hysteria. Throughout, she exposes the temper tantrum currently being thrown by those in power who refuse to acknowledge the world is changing: people who don't like rape jokes are performing censorship; identity politics are for snowflakes; Prius drivers are lame, and who cares if burning fossil fuels is destroying the planet? She also has choice words for the president and the people who put him in office. Equal parts hilarious and sobering, West's words will help fellow witches articulate why they are so fired up (YES!). HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: West had a huge following before Shrill was adapted for Hulu, and her reach and her relevance continues to grow.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Cultural critic West (Shrill) focuses her keen eye and sardonic sense of humor on, among other topics, misogyny in the Trumpian political landscape; the backlash to the #MeToo movement; and Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand, Goop. The book's title is a call to action against men who defensively label #MeToo a "witch hunt"; West gleefully declares, "We're witches, and we're hunting you." In "Ted Bundy Was Not Charming--Are You High?" she notes that even serial killers and con artists receive the "institutional benefit of the doubt" afforded to straight white men, yet female political candidates such as Elizabeth Warren are held to an impossible standard of "likability." In subsequent essays, West takes South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to task for promoting the "human-extinction-level dangerous" notion that the far right and the far left are equally stupid, and admonishes comedians Adam Corolla and Louis C.K. for relying on offensive jokes and pandering to conservatives. Some of West's targets (Goop's "resident shaman"; Ivanka Trump's recipe for success: "Love what you do, and work really, really hard") are a little easy, and she's preaching to the choir on issues such as sexism and climate change. Though this is a different kind of book than the more personal Shrill, fans of West's trademark wit and sharp tongue will be satisfied. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The term witch hunt has become a popular rallying cry for many on the political right, most recently employed by those who stand accused of anything ranging from making insensitive jokes to committing sexual assault. It's a favorite expression of President Trump, reminds New York Times journalist West (Shrill) in this sharp, up-to-the-minute, witty collection of essays. Here, West reclaims the phrase, embracing it as a mantra in the ongoing fight against the misogyny, racism, transphobia, and xenophobia ever present in American culture. West's commentary often finds unexpected connections. For example, her examination of Grumpy Cat is a lens through which we can understand how Americans are "addicted to plausible deniability," and ready to embrace obvious lies to avoid reckoning with the original sins of our country's founding. Or her devastating critique of Joan Rivers, who pushed against certain forms of bias in the entertainment industry while ruthlessly enforcing others. VERDICT Covering everything from the 2016 election and #metoo to abortion rights and fat-positive body representation to the climate crisis, West's latest will have progressive readers, especially longtime followers of her work, nodding along, quoting passages to friends. Hand to fans of Rebecca Traister, Ijeoma Oluo, and Roxane Gay. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/19.]--Kiera Parrott, Library Journal & School Library Journal

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A cornucopia of shrewd cultural observations from New York Times columnist West (Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, 2016).In 18 pointed essays, the author addresses a variety of topics, including frivolous internet sensation Grumpy Cat, South Park, Guy Fieri, and the global significance of abortion rights and gender equality. In West's opening tirade, she denounces Donald Trump's repetitive usage of the term "witch hunt" while scrutinizing his uncanny "ability to conjure reality out of hot air and spittle." This essay serves as the launching pad for further pieces exposing the sorry state of contemporary American politics and popular culture. Tough, irritated, and eager to speak her truth, the author expounds on the unifying aspects of visibility and activism to cultivate change, especially when countering the denigration of women. Her sharp wit and no-nonsense sense of humor also shine through her dissection of the work of Adam Sandler, Gwyneth Paltrow's diet plan (her avocado smoothie "could give diarrhea an existential crisis"), and how movies like Clue shaped her perspectives and appreciation for one-liners and physical comedy. West rarely minces words, especially regarding documentaries on the Ted Bundy murders and the Fyre Festival or when expressing her sheer appreciation for the legacy of Joan Rivers, and her writing is fluid and multifaceted. Though she often rages at social injustice, she also becomes solemnly poetic when discussing her fondness for the drizzly Pacific Northwest, where she was raised and still resides, a place where she can still feel her deceased father's presence "in the ridges and grooves of my citywe are close, superimposed, separated only by time, and what's that? This is the only religion I can relate to." Only occasionally are the smoothly written essays hijacked by intrusive asidese.g., her experience inside a proselytizing Uber driver's car, a scene wedged into her reflections on climate change. Though uneven at times, the author drives home the critical issues of our time while taking time to tickle our funny bones.Satirical, raw, and unapologetically real, West delivers the bittersweet truths on contemporary living. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.