Thursday, February 28, 2013

Carl & Marissa: Some Thought Experiments

I'm reading Broca's Brain, Carl Sagan's book of essays on the 'romance of science'. It's always been a struggle for me to get through non-fiction but this is a great read and I'm congratulating myself on keeping up with it. Here's an excerpt:

"...We might therefore one day travel to the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy and return in a time of a few decades measured on board the ship - although, as measured back on Earth, the elapsed time would be sixty thousand years, and very few of the friends who saw us off would be around to commemorate our return."

Not 'none' but 'very few'.
Hahaha Carl, you're such a kidder. You're kidding aren't you Carl? 
Carl? Are you there, Carl? 
You're freaking me out Carl, stop it. 


On Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to ban working from home.

As a professional:
When I'm not traveling I work from home and I love it. It helps my process. I'm disciplined. I meet all my deadlines and on most days I don't turn in rubbish.
If Mayer was my boss I'd want to strangle her. 

At the same time, I also agree with this article: '3 Reasons Marissa Mayer Has Made A Smart Move
Even though my job is creative and needs peace and quiet, I've felt the drawbacks of working far removed from my colleagues, where the kick of working for a common goal gets diluted. It's difficult to feel part of a team when you are geographically separated for 80% of your teamwork activities. I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect the end-product.

In that sense, I'm tempted to think that Mayer might be onto something here (plus, to make an assessment of her decision from a business point of view, one might need to study the circumstances at Yahoo! that prompted this decision. It could hardly have been a random act to make its employees' lives miserable. I mean, who is she? My ex-boss?).

As a working woman, who doesn't have children and can't speak for those who do: 
Do I feel her decision is anti-women? In spite of that bloody 5-star nursery next to her office, I might be tempted to say no, I don't think her decision is anti-women (insensitive yes, anti-women no). 

I've always been suspicious of this culture of 'supporting' women by tailoring their professional lives to allow them to be mothers & wives. 
Call me paranoid but I find it sinister to promote the idea that women can & must do it all (i.e. be rocket scientists at NASA & Mother India all in one). 
It puts an unrealistic amount of pressure on women, propping us up to be failures no matter how hard we try. 

So here's a thought experiment in 2 parts: 
What would happen if a woman (or a man, for that matter) had to choose between profession and parenting? Wouldn't we have to question what we've come to assume is axiomatic? (The axiom being: we can 'have it all'/ 'having it all' is helpful to us as individuals & as a community.)

Part 1: What if Yahoo!'s decision influences work cultures across the professional world and there comes a time, when it becomes less demonic & more normal to choose one over the other?
Could it be that a woman (or a man) will be free of the pressure to have it all, do it all and be some impossible version of the 'complete woman/ man'?
Could it be that women (and men) might actually be happy being one (professional) or the other (parent) without a sense of loss or having 'missed out'?

Part 2: What if we reject Yahoo!s decision and there comes a time when we have to embrace the 'having it all' trope in every possible way?
Could it be that more men might become equal stakeholders in the child-rearing process (and women might actually let them)?
Could it be that workplaces alter & adapt themselves to support this 'having it all' trope (rather than banishing employees to their homes, where the messiness of raising children is not the organization's problem)?

We live in an age when we are expected to be all the big things: parents, consummate professionals, responsible caretakers of our aging parents, contributing members to our community. 
Is it realistic to be all of these, all at once? Do measures (like encouraging working from home) that allow us to be a million things at once, help us or harm us?

I still haven't figured it out. But until I do, I can't scream bloody (sexist) murder at Mayer.

(Another thought experiment: If Mayer was a male CEO, would the outrage target him personally for his life choices or would it focus on Yahoo! as an organization?)

(Additionally: There's something very creepy about expecting her to be a card-carrying feminist just because she is a head honcho. And then demonizing her because she's not.)

Slightly off-point but connected : Read about the feud between Rebecca Walker and her Pulitzer Prize winning author mother, Alice Walker. It's the seamier side of what happens when a woman tries to make a go of both profession and motherhood and gets it all muddled up. Not saying all woman are unable to handle both. Not even saying that all women don't want to handle both. But here is a woman (Alice), who clearly couldn't and didn't and the consequences were painful for all parties involved.

The mother-daugher wars: Phyllis Chesler
"Rebecca: Trust me, a woman really cannot do both. The myth that we can is a dangerous one."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Notes From The Fringes

If you follow this blog then you know that over the last 2 months I have hovered around one of the many movements that have gained strength in the weeks following the Dec 16th gangrape.
I say 'hover' because I'm drawn time and again into a space I'm not sure I understand in its entirety. But still I go.
I go because I want to learn what women across this country are thinking.
I go because I want to learn what women across this country are feeling.
I go because I want to understand their, our, history of struggle.
I go because I want to appease the part of me that has suffered violence, harassment & injustice.
I go because I am curious about the men who turn up to watch.
I go because I am curious about the men who turn up to support.
I go because I am curious about the men who own these issues as their own.
I go because I want to add my voice to a movement that might get lost in the din of several other problems this country faces that are 'more critical' than women's issues.
I go to soak in the collective energy of a group of women, standing together, unapologetic about putting their needs at the top of this nation's to-do list.

So once again, some really rubbish photos and a brief description of proceedings as they unfolded on the 21st of February at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. 

The 'People's Watch Over Parliament' was purposed towards reminding the Indian Parliament, on the first day of the Budget session, that they had a serious responsibility to discuss the Justice Verma Committee recommendations & rethink the hastily drafted anti-rape ordinance.
The idea of this gathering at Jantar Mantar was to stay put on the streets from 12 to 5pm. 
I was only there till 4:30 and don't know what happened after. 
But for most of the hours I participated in the 'sit-in' (with a sore bum to prove it) I heard many speeches & performances (music, poetry, dance, theatre). Here are some highlights.


Some sloganeering (from the Bekhauf Azaadi repertoire) to get the crowd pumped up, a musical performance & some hulchul near the stage (which later turns out to be Shabana Azmi) and things get underway.

Ranjana Kumari begins with a reality check. 35 years of experience in trying to push women's issues into the consciousness of our political machinery has taught us one thing, she says. 
It is not priority for this session of parliament to discuss the JVC recommendations or the ordinance. 

(This is a much needed reality check for those of us who are new to activist movements. In the past weeks we've had a corruption scandal, riots over price-rise and a series of terrorist attacks.  These are bound to get the attention of the House and national media before gender justice makes it to the floor. Us lot had better be mentally prepared for disappointment.) 

Some more music. 'O Ri Chiraiya' is a hot favourite and it won't be the last time we hear this song this afternoon. (The song actually grows on you if you dissociate it from the memory of Aamir Khan's Social-Cause-Game-Face.)

Next Binalakshmi Nepram speaks. She speaks of having just met with Irom Sharmila, who has a message for the protesters in Delhi: "Don't let my life become a drama." By this, Nepram explains, Sharmila means that the movement requires more investment from us than just appearing at protests and invoking her name.

She (Nepram) speaks of aligning movements from other parts of the country (like the northeast & Kashmir) with the Delhi one. She tells us how the AFSPA (instituted in 1958 in what was supposed to be a temporary provision for 3-6 months) has overstayed its welcome (to put it mildly) and how the women of states like Manipur, Nagaland and Kashmir have suffered in its shadow.
Her pitch goes up a notch and one can sense her deep frustration as she explains how opposing the AFSPA does not make the women of these regions 'anti-national'. 

(When activists like Nepram speak it's easy to see how women get the shorter end of every stick - be it communalism, casteism, regionalism, poverty you name it. And this is what places it at the top of India's 'to-do' list. I can't imagine the horror & humiliation of having to repeatedly prove your allegiance to the country in order to get social justice.)

Then, there is movement from the sides of the crowd. A high-energy group of young women dressed in grey & red descends upon the gathering. They occupy the area just in front of the stage. These are the ladies from Delhi University's Maitreyi College. 
And they go on to put up a gutsy, funny and no-hold-barred streetplay on India's dodgy relationship with its women.

This street play has a way of divesting patriarchial tropes of their power over our collective minds and presenting them stripped of logic. Of showing them up as jokes that everyone can laugh at. (There's a lesson in here for all of us who ask what good a campaign like 'Slutwalk' is.)

They use real ad campaign slogans, misogynist comments of political leaders, statements made by military & government spokespeople, quotes from Bollywood etc. Without twisting the actual words, they use their tone, body language and theatrics to say: ISN'T THIS BLOODY RIDICULOUS? It is right? Right.

(And suddenly these immovable traditions, this 'maryaada' we've unthinkingly accepted, loses meaning. I can tell you there were some men in the audience who were a sight to see. They would laugh because it was all so obviously funny but then they would stop and look confused. Then laugh again.)

Speaking of men, let me break the chronological telling of events and bring in Gautam Bhan, who directs his speech towards the men in the audience.

He's the Boy in the Brown Sweater (with mic)
He asks: Have the men, who've collected to support 'Bekhauf Azaadi' understood what it means and what their role in it is? Bekhauf Azaadi necessitates the shattering of patriarchal structures. It has implications not only for women but also men. 

He also addresses the dangerous notion of making sexual violence laws gender neutral in India. Gender neutrality may be sold as a means to achieving equality but it's a red herring. Unless the inequality in society is accounted for, it is more than likely that sexual violence laws will be used against women & men who are on the wrong side of the patriarchy debate.

He underscores the fact that feminism is not anti-men and us citizens can't afford to be divided on the basis of gender.

In my favourite bit from his speech, he says that protesting isn't enough. We must make the time & effort to understand the political nuances of what's being demanded, granted and debated over.

It's nearly 4pm. Lawyers have spoken, as have activists from groups working on dalit causes & human trafficking issues. One fellow called Vidrohi has recited 3 poems that I haven't quite understood. Kavita Krishnan gets up on stage.

She is an incredible orater, always able to draw in attention, no matter how distracted the crowds may be.
She speaks of 'naitikta' or morality and how it's used & abused to preserve patriarchal structures. (Apparently there's a Delhi Police banner outside all women's colleges in Delhi that lists out a series of 'dos and don'ts' that must be followed to be safe in the city. Apparently no such banner has popped up outside any other type of college.)

She tells the delightful tale of meeting Union Home Minister Sushil Shinde, who seems most foxed about what women really want. 
The way she tells it, I imagine him shaking his head sadly, looking hopeless yet secure in his knowledge that his people did everything they could do to protect women, by drafting an ordinance that no one asked for.
Krishnan talks about how she & other leaders attempted to explain their points of view. But what language do you use to explain your stand when the other person has already decided it for you (and isn't really interested)? 

And so she talks about the lack of seriousness accorded to issues affecting women. At its best relegated to 'not so critical'. At its worst, twisted into devious machinations of women, who've gained quite the reputation for being liars, manipulators and all-round troublemakers ('narak ka dwaar' is the phrase she used) throughout our mythology.

(Fun fact: In Urdu & Arabic speaking parts of the world the word 'Dajjalan' has been flung about. There is even a wikipedia page about it. Thanks @imsabbah)

Some of Us Jolly Narak Ka Dwaars

The crowd has grown in the past few hours. Some folks from a neighbouring protest ("We Want Gorkhaland!!") have spilled into this one. Chaiwaala, papadwaalas, chaatwaalas and vadaawaalas have started networking. One lone fellow from a 'rival' 16th December protest walks around forlornly sporting a 'Hang The Rapists' signboard (What's happening in that head of yours, sir? I'm curious but timid to ask.) The newsreporters have finally settled down. 
As the clock inches towards 4:30 pm, I get up to leave.

I don't know how the rest of the evening panned out. 
As for the pariament, there was buzz that the issues would be discussed the next day in the Rajya Sabha. But then the Hyderabad blasts happened so I don't know about that outcome either.

Friday, February 22, 2013

On (Wrapping My Head Around) Intimacy & Love

This is the big work of my life. 
As I begin to pick apart the debris of my personal history, I try to work out a new way of thinking about myself at this age, in this time, as a woman who is ready & willing to love wholeheartedly or not at all.
A big part of that is to move from a place of abject mistrust of men (as emotional creatures) and begin to believe that they are capable of love. 

So, I'm reading a book by bell hooks. 'Communion: The Female Search For Love'. In it, she writes:

"Shere Hite published her voluminous report Women and Love. Providing an accurate and realistic examination of women's attitudes toward love, her data suggested that far from 'loving too much', most women were cynical about love. She reported an overwhelming majority of women in relationships with men testified they did not feel loved. Hite commented, "Given the assumption in our society that one grows up, falls in love and gets married, it's surprising that few women say that they are 'in love' with their husbands and how acceptable this seems to be to them." In her section 'Loving Men At This Time In History' she documented the reality that women involved with men felt they had surrendered the hope of finding love, accepting in its place the pleasures and/or benefits of care and companionship. In short they...gave up their desire for men to embrace emotional growth and become more loving. They repressed their own will to love. Denial and repression made life more bearable and relationships more satisfying."

I linger on this passage for a long time. I type it and send it to my closest friend. I re-read it several times. The pull of this extract becomes clearer and clearer.

I am the consequence of what bell hooks & Shere Hite write about. 
Born of a woman who bartered her definition of love and a man who refused to partner her in emotional growth. She needed more than children and a roof over her head. He understood marriage as just that. 
I have always carried their denial & repression inside me. It started sprouting at a young age until it spread its tentacles to the extremes of my body. Reinforced repeatedly like a self-fulfilling prophesy, like a cancerous growth so malignant, I could see no virtue in allowing men anywhere close. They could skirt the peripheries, yes. But my greatest asset: my loving & caring heart was hidden safely away from them.
Except in hiding it so carefully, I encountered the same paradox again and again: How is a heart supposed to do its job of loving if one keeps it boxed in? 

Is this a dilemma that other women (whether currently in relationships with men or not) face? Is there a cynicism born of repeated disappointment with their men, who while wonderful at companionship & security, are failing to embark on emotional journeys? I see it in the eyes of so many wonderful women I know - all in relationships with remarkable and caring (in a way) men. And I wonder, have they completely surrendered their version of love to accept whatever the men are willing to give? 

If yes and if this is the norm, I can't see myself following in their footsteps. It's a path I've already walked down through the lives of my parents & their parents and I know how it will end. Because you see, I am their heart's desire never fulfilled. I am the consequence.

Image stolen from here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Radiotelescopes & Expectations

Hark all you beautiful people
Waiting on dreams but losing hope
Here's a touching personal tale
Of me and a magnificent telescope

I'll admit my version of astronomy
Only stretched to the optical kind
While a radio-window to the stars
Waited, in other wavelengths, to blow my mind*

Wavelengths beyond my presumptions
Its 'vision' in radio most unique
Instead of the anticipated optical lens
30 giant antennae constitute its physique

Not one, not two, but 30
Radio receivers listening to the sky
Reaching deep into space & history
With data sensitivity that could make you cry**

Oh the things this telescope can tell us
Painting pictures of the radio-universe
Astounding in prospect & meaning
That can't be put into optical verse

And so at the GMRT***
I learnt a lesson about great expectation
That the things I define most narrowly
Might, in reality, exceed imagination

So its not about the desperation
With which you searched or the time it took
But the openness with which you sought
And the new places it made you look


* Radioastronomy is a delightfully mind-bendy way of studying objects in the sky, where stargazers don't use visible light to capture images. In fact the whole act of 'seeing' is re-defined, as astronomers use non-light waves i.e. radiowaves to observe a facet of celestial objects one couldn't otherwise observe. 
As an analogy: There are many ways to 'look' at the human body: One is using only the optical light that our eyes can see. The other is using X-rays. Both give us radically different perspectives of the same human body.

** Especially if you're into really accurate data about pulsars

*** The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope at Khodad (80 kms from Pune, Maharashtra):

**** What is it about bad poetry that makes you feel so good? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Doses of Reality

'Lincoln' is Steven Spielberg's take on the weeks preceding the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865. It's not really about Abraham Lincoln. At least it wasn't for me. 
After following & participating in the recent wave of women's rights protests that have taken over India (especially in my hometown, Delhi), I was taking furious mental notes as I watched. 

The film traces that magical climactic moment (well, one of them - no social change happens in one fell swoop) in a movement where idealism, popular(ish) opinion, doggedness, strategy, corruption and plain blind luck converge and allow society to take a historic leap forward. 'Lincoln' does a superb job of laying out the nuances of a freedom struggle taken to its logical conclusion and it's not all romantic.

It's long-drawn out, confusing and makes men & women do things that are surprisingly proper and improper. People die. Not everyone who contributes to social change necessarily believes in it or understands it wholly. Not everyone backs it for the 'right' reasons. Yet, there is an unyielding thread of noble intention that runs through it all, tying it together.

Strangely though, in 'Lincoln' there's precious little screen time spent on the oppressed themselves. There's no mention of the Black abolitionist movement and in a story that's about emancipation from slavery, there are barely any African American faces through the nearly 3 hour film. It's an intriguing choice for a filmmaker whose earlier work includes the hard-hitting & uplifting 'Amistad'.

Which, for me, drives home the point that social change doesn't happen simply because the oppressed are ready to rise up and demand better. It happens when they become loud & persistent enough to turn the minds of the powerful majority and it happens when the oppressive institution becomes outdated or irrelevant. In that sense, 'Lincoln' really is about that point in history when the most powerful (white) men in America decided that slavery was something they were now willing to do without. It's about their moment of transcendence, not the African Americans'.

(And while we're at it: Am I allowed to use the word 'black'? Is it PC?)

(Also, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens is pure genius.)


Earlier this week, on a cold & miserable Monday there was a call for protesters to collect at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to oppose the Anti Rape Ordinance signed that morning by the president. It was a hastily organized, last minute gathering and presumably because it had been raining all night & was a Monday, attendance was very low. It was a crowd of usual suspects from the two universities that have so far driven much of the protests.

Once again, there were powerful speeches made, mostly clearing up confusion about why the ordinance was objectionable and how the government had (mis)used the JVC recommendations to offer an attractive but empty package to appease the public. Even more terrifying was the prospect of how easily the ordinance might be used against women. It was a spectacular betrayal by the government I'd voted into power & whose salaries I paid with my taxes.

This was an important moment in my fledgling career as the angry oppressed. 
It made me truly empathise with the millions of Indians who live in the shadow of injustice and aren't guaranteed their rights just because they demand it. It was a necessary wake-up call: We were now firmly tangled in the web of politics. What we'd imagined were basic inalienable human rights were playthings in a bizarre political game. The whole affair was like having ones head shoved into a bucket of ice-cold water and being shocked out of a naive stupor.

It is one thing to know injustice exists, quite another to experience it. I recommend everyone try it at least once in their lives.

(In other news, I can't be sure but I may have become a 'comrade'.)

This guy (holding the mic) had been at Jantar Mantar for 42 days (and counting). He was more distressed than any woman at any protest there. And while many were distancing themselves from his loud rants, his message was unique: "We are all unsafe," he kept repeating, "It's not just the women, even the men are unsafe!!"

This past week I also experimented with a different kind of campaign for gender justice. It was at a gathering for the spiritually inclined (I'm a bewildered fence-sitter). The group leaders were 'seers' who would help us collectively heal the community through visualization techniques (I had to imagine my brain was caught up in a rainbow-coloured inferno).

They explained how the sorry state of affairs in the country represented a spiritual breakdown, where we had become disconnected with the Source - the energy that connects us all as one. By reconnecting with this source, we could not only maximize our potential but in effect, transform society. So far, so good.

Then they explained how science had proven it by locating the God Particle i.e. the Higgs boson, inside each human cell, where it was busy connecting us to God, like a divine SIM card. (They also implied that science had proven we could change our DNA in our lifetime. Has it? If you got the memo, do pass it along.)

After that, pretty much all my chakras shut shop and I gave up on trying to spiritually heal my nation.


Tonight, I've returned from the book launch of 'Seeing Like A Feminist' by Nivedita Menon.

When I was 19, I took Menon's Pol Sci class in college and she'd rocked my world. 
None of us had elected to specifically take her class. We were all majoring in other subjects and required this to pass our exams. But once there, many of us were rivetted. 
Before her, I'd never known what a feminist was. I'd never realized there was a better world to aspire for: one in which my being a female was synonymous with freedom.
She had a light (no, not 'light', as someone at tonight's launch said: 'weightless') way of explaining the most complex ideas in feminism, ideas that challenged the status quo and also, us. 
She'd routinely find ways to nudge us outside our comfort zones. She had a laconic sense of humour and could spot bullshit from a mile away.
From what I gathered today, her book is the same. 'Oddly cheerful' as she described herself and her writing. If that's the case, I can't wait to get started.

(The book launch started with a few words marking the execution of Afzal Guru. Thus I learnt that feminism is fundamentally opposed to the idea of capital punishment. What a relief.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Horn Please, Ok, Tata

Dear Liz Lemon,
True story. This afternoon I got an email from a friend. It began with a longish discussion about robots and then went, “Are you going to miss 30 Rock?”
Robots are cool but of course I’m going to miss 30 Rock. The show’s been an obsession of mine through all its 7 seasons and if I’d lived in your country, my multiple personalities & I would have bumped up your ratings big time. 

To be honest, I’m going to miss you, most of all. You see, our lives have shared uncanny parallels over the years. Your episodic evolution in 22-minute instalments has preceded mine in a way that even Bejan Daruwala couldn’t have predicted in his sagging crystal balls.

Just like you in your thirties, I too am married to the job and not to an actual human. This is by choice and I am single & proud and not at all ashamed of the nights I bury my head into my pillow to dull the sounds of desperate pleading for a Hindu goddess to send me a good same-caste man.
Even I’m a writer for TV shows with poor ratings and films that no one- not even the folks who finance them -watches. Regardless, I love what I do. It gives me a profound sense of purpose and the freedom to come into office wearing the same curry-stained shirt I fell asleep in the previous night. You have Frank, Lutz and Toofer. I have Bad Mood Editor and Dyslexic Associate Producer. They’ve taught me it’s possible to hate and love at the same time. Nah, I’m kidding, there’s no love there. When I’m feeling generous, I liberally throw fits at them. These fits sound a lot like yours: how I’m the one doing all the work, how no one else gets it etcetr-ah, etcetr-ah.

You have Jack and I have my own personal mentor to whom I’m a mentee (granted, he didn’t choose that role and strictly speaking, he may not even be aware he’s my mentor). We share a work-love that can only be filed under the unique category you & Jack have invented. 

Like you, my allegiance to my boss has made me do crazy things. Like going several months without pay. Like Jack, my boss too has looked out for my interests. Like that one time he tried to set me up with a gay man.

And sexual tension? What sexual tension? In the 12 years we’ve known each other, he’s yet to notice that I’m a girl.

There’s no Tracy Jordan in my life- not unless you count my ‘Award Winning’ cameraman, whom I simultaneously adore and want to strangle. He once famously stood in the middle of CERN and proclaimed: “I’m not leaving my camera in the car. Kya pataa koi chutiya scientist ismey proton ghussa lega.” He’s a delightful alcoholic-diabetic (which isn’t a disease but a lifestyle choice, stemming from the belief that ‘daaru ka sugar’ is the cure to hypoglycaemia). He has a toxically cynical take on life that is integral to success in the arts.

I have a Jenna Maroney too but she’s scary and I don’t want to talk about it okay?

Blergh! I wish 30 Rock would carry on for all eternity. Like the state of my penury.

I’m going to miss your romantic misadventures & sexual dysfunctions, although I’m glad you found Criss Chros. (Your almost-wedding by the way - the one at the Town Hall in your grungy sweatshirt before you changed your mind? That’s the dream. Your actual wedding wasn't bad either.) 

I’m waiting for my Astronaut Mike Dexter, although I’m still stuck in a Dennis Duffy phase. My Duffy turns up at protest marches drunk on cheap rum and roots for the team I’m yelling slogans against. He likes meeting me when he’s broke & hungry and in the past has playfully suggested I share my ATM PIN with him ha ha ha. In light of these troubles, I want to thank you for educating me about the Romance-Industrial Complex. I promise not to be a slave to it (plus it’s so effective when answering Old Aunty questions about why I’m still single).
I’m proud to say I’m a feminist like you. Which means I’m often confused about what feminism means. So I try to live by your code: Know your heart and be faithful to whatever the fuck it tells you. Because no matter what happens, at the end of the day you always have the Real Housewives of New Jersey to come home to.

And hey, I have a gross foot disease too! (Fist bump, Nougat!)

I’m getting awful sentimental now so I’ll just say Thank You Liz Lemon. You’ve inspired a generation of women across the English-speaking world (but only where basic cable is available). You’ve allowed us to forget, if just for 22 minutes at a time, that we’re not in New York and might step out of our homes, get kid-car-jack-napped by a group of underage boys and be used as on-board sex slaves. You’ve shown us that a woman can claim her space, be funny (& farty), sexy (& sour-faced) and insightful (& irritable) - all in the same package. 

I love that you’re not Superwoman. I’ve drawn comfort from your failings as much as from your successes. I’ve loved your idealistic speeches and speech impediments, which have grown into a language that demands its own country (‘I want to go to there’). When I grow up I want to be just like you and so what if our clothing choices make people question our sexuality?

Best of luck, Liz Lemon. You’ve done good here. You’ve turned me into a chick, who stays in on a Friday night, writing goodbye letters to an imaginary character from a TV show. So I’m going to take a page out of your book and, before this gets any worse, shut it down.