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Talking Volumes: Lindy West on 'The Witches Are Coming'

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An author with a picture of her book cover.
Writer Lindy West joined MPR’s Kerri Miller on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater to discuss her new book “The Witches Are Coming” on Talking Volumes.
Courtesy of Jenny Jimenez and Hachette Books

If you have only experienced Lindy West’s writing online, you might think of her as an angry, contemptuous person. But as Kerri Miller and a Talking Volumes audience found out recently, she displays a surprising sense of optimism.

“I think it’s really important to demonstrate that you can do both,” West explained during the event at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. “You can hold some really hard boundaries in terms of politics and in terms of your ethics and what you believe … And you can also be a really open, friendly, warm person who wants to connect with people.”

West’s columns are like lightning rods for online trolls, and her topics run the gamut from fat shaming to free speech. Her new book of essays, “The Witches Are Coming,” includes her trademark sharp social commentary and biting sense of humor. 

In her conversation with Miller, West explained how the progress that was made by the #MeToo movement informed the book.

“There’s a deliberate effort to try to force that toothpaste back in the tube, and it’s what I’m referencing in the title here,” West said. “The idea that you know, MeToo for instance, was a witch hunt and somehow baseless and is somehow going to, you know, spread out of control, and destroy the lives of innocent men. It’s not even destroying the lives of guilty men!” 

West said that focus is all wrong.

“Over the last few years, there’s been so much worry about getting in trouble, like ‘Oh, am I going to say the wrong thing?’ How about you’re worried about doing the wrong thing?” she said. “There’s something really shallow and disingenuous about the way we have talked about these issues for a while.” 

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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