ROOM Cover 2.20 issue

TREMORS by Hattie Myers

“To be stupefied,” Jared Russell explains in his provocative essay Stupidity, “is to regress in the face of the unexpected, to have one’s critical faculties paralyzed.” The contributors to Room 2.20 may be terrified and even heartbroken in the face of the unexpected, but they are not stupefied.

Blur typography

DIVING INTO THE STREAM by Daniel S. Benveniste

I relocated from San Francisco to Caracas, Venezuela, in March 1999, just one month after Hugo Chávez assumed the presidency. He presented himself as a socialist intent on helping the underclasses and ending corruption, and I was ready to sign up. In addition to my practice and teaching at Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Católica Ándres Bello, I started writing a monthly article in the English-language newspaper under the title “The Psychology of Everyday Life,” addressing topics such as childrearing and adolescent issues.

TRUMP’S WALL by Sheldon Bach

In the Anglo-American world, men are brought up to value a body image that is hard, flat, and impermeable, more like a wall, whereas women are taught to value or at least be content with one that might be softer or more flexible and is certainly leaky, like a fence.

Trump Frace Tile

PROJECTION AS A POLITICAL WEAPON by Chris Bell and Gary Senecal

Donald Trump’s penchant for attacking his opponents by projecting onto them his own disavowed personal attributes and apparent self-assessments has been a consistent feature of his rhetorical style and remarked upon by many observers. For instance, in her recent book The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, Michiko Kakutani (2019) observes, “Trump has the perverse habit of accusing opponents of the very sins he is guilty of himself: ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ ‘Crooked Hillary,’ ‘Crazy Bernie.’

STAYING THE COURSE by Hattie Myers

We have lost our grip on any shared sense of reality. Post-Truth philosophers provide cold comfort, telling us we haven’t really lost anything; we have, in fact, gained understanding that reality has never been there to grip. And the deconstructivists tell us that the credibility of any source (and we can include the post-truth philosophers here) is up for grabs. Any way you turn it, truth is subjective and personal. Truth is what we agree upon. Truth is tribal. ROOM 10.19 weaves together a few psychoanalytic truths. We do not hold these truths to be self-evident. Psychoanalytic truths are hard won.

A joung man standing on a yellow and red background edited with a motion effect

NEOLIBERAL GASLIGHTING by Scott Graybow

The term “analytic action” assumes new complexity when we use it to enhance meaningful discourse about our unsettling and turbulent political reality. It opens doors to the possibility of kindling a deeper connection to parts of our psychoanalytic heritage, such as Freud’s free clinic movement. It brings to mind concerns expressed by early psychoanalysts Otto Fenichel, Wilhelm Reich, and Erich Fromm about the way sick societies produce troubled minds. Most importantly, it introduces two pressing questions. First, what issues occurring outside the consulting room demand analytic action? Second, what renders “action” outside the consulting room “analytic”?

Temporary graffiti made with chalk by Sophie Sandberg in New York City for the art street action @Catcallofnyc to stop harassment

CATCALLS OF NYC by Sophie Sandberg

Catcalls of NYC is a grassroots initiative and collective that uses public chalk art to raise awareness about gender-based street harassment. We solicit stories of harassment and their locations in New York City. Then, we go to those locations, write out the comments word-for-word in sidewalk chalk alongside the hashtag #stopstreetharassment…

Photograph of a wave of black water

TOXIC DRIP by Charles Rizzuto

Think back, if you will, to the halcyon days of the Reagan regime, with the Great Communicator’s elaborate economic agenda he called “trickle-down economics.” The alleged benefits never trickled down to most of us, and we know now that the whole thing was little more than a hoax disguising further wealth distribution upward. (We’ll put aside, for now, the fact that the current administration has once again duped the nation and resurrected this bogus plan with its recent tax cuts and other deep discounts for the wealthy and superwealthy.)

Digital numbers in color red showing as a giant clock on east river counting down days left in president trump's term

STILL HERE by William W. Harris

Well, it has been a little over a year, and he’s still here. I have stopped binge-watching TV, but he is still infecting my life. How can I ignore the Greenland saga or tune out the furious tears in response to the caged children or the empty chair at the G7 climate session?

Black hands in a prayer

SO I LISTEN by Abraham Velazquez, Jr.

I remember my first time being at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) and participating in their writing program, The Lyrical Circle. It was held in the space where we would be sharing and creating art for years to come. We met in a small room on the second floor of a beautiful brownstone in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem. The walls were radiant with bright yellows, and beautiful West African art decorated the room.