Articles by

Millicent Souris

Millicent Souris is a cook and writer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She is an editor-at-large for Diner Journal and the author of "How To Build A Better Pie." (Quarry 2012). She's looking forward to the minimum wage increase and enjoys police procedurals with a passion.

12/15/16 10:22am
Illustration: Laura Davies

Illustration: Laura Davies

“Bully” is a word I’ve never really used until recently. It felt juvenile, like children are bullies and adults are jerks, assholes, nemeses or perhaps enemies. I’ve always found other words more pointed, but now bully feels relevant.

I have been thinking about bullies a lot since the election. The past months have produced video footage that illustrates the mood in this country–a man standing in the aisle of an airplane, clapping his hands and hollering “we got some Hillary bitches on here… hey baby, Donald Trump is your president, every goddamn one of you, if you don’t like it, too bad.” Another cell phone video shows a white woman in the craft store Michaels in Chicago yelling at the staff that they are discriminating against her and that she voted for Trump. Another man in a Starbucks also claims he is being discriminated against and that he also voted for Trump. On the flip side there is no shortage of people being harassed for being black, for being Muslim, for being queer, for being female, for being.


While it feels like this is a singular moment for un-reason, there has long been plenty of shouting in American culture.
Bullies are nothing new.


This is the new world we live in and now it is time to deal. We cannot keep our heads down and hope to ride it out. There has to be a plan of action. Reason won’t work. “No ma’am, that cashier is not discriminating against you,” you may want to calmly explain. “She is working at the exact pace that her hourly wage dictates.” But this person who picks a fight in a store, or on a plane, or waiting for a dessert masquerading as a coffee drink doesn’t want to work anything out; her only desire it to dominate. Discussion has no place here.

While it feels like this is a singular moment for un-reason, there has long been plenty of shouting in American culture. Bullies are nothing new. Standing up to them isn’t either.

In 1996 I lived in Chicago and trained to become an escort for women’s clinics. The escort’s role is to create a shield between the patients and the picketers while maintaining the legally sanctioned buffer zone intact. (Buffer zones mark a specific distance from the clinic door that protesters may not come within. Their distance varied from state to state, but in 2014 the Supreme Court declared them an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.) Some moments required us to form a human shield around the patient to keep her safe and out of reach. (more…)

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12/18/15 9:54am
V Neuberg Antes Up

Illustration: Vinnie Neuberg

I got paid today, a lot of money for me, a great feeling. I walked through the holiday market at Union Square, wishing, hoping for anything. I ended up buying an abundance of weird and beautiful beeswax candles from the weird and beautiful honey people and some French lavender, because I believe it is calming.

I like to give money away, and I have my own completely sliding scale list of rules for it. I don’t care what you do with it. I like the honesty of giving money to people standing outside of liquor stores–I go to that liquor store, too.

Then I took the 6 to Canal Street so I could pay a stranger to touch my feet and make them work again without vocalizing grievances. The train was full, not packed, but certainly not empty, and there was definitely a smell in the air.

The first time I got on a bum train I was dazzled at my luck that the car was so empty that I could sit. It was empty for a reason. A homeless person smelled so badly that no one else, save one person, was in that car. I moved onto the next car. I deemed it The Bum Train, and talked about it with some friends, and they discussed their moments on bum trains. Recently there has been another bum train moment, one not completely polarizing, some people stayed on the train, using their scarves and coats to try to mask the smell.

I moved onto the next car again, because I do not want to smell that smell. In the world of what I can control, I can still switch trains, so that smell does not permeate me. But it does, each time, in a way. That is a person, a human being, and we are all fleeing him. And previous to him smelling that way we fled him before. This smell is the indication of a journey, a devolution of life, to reach that smell. It doesn’t happen overnight.

In most cases when you are on a bum train the person is asleep, or under a coat or the like. It’s easier to walk away from a pile of dirty clothes. I should know, I do it pretty much every morning of my life when I leave my bedroom. (more…)

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