On August 24, I went to the Prairie Lights book store in Iowa City to hear Nicholas Johnson read from his new book, "Catfish Solution: the Power of Positive Poking."

Johnson states: “We rely on the media's tweet trackers to tell us what's next. ... It's not the conspiracy theory of a 'dark state' — it's the 'sub-government phenomenon,' out in the open but unreported by the media."

Newspapers are financially reduced to broadsides; conservative — and sometimes racist, misogynistic editors — brake, silence we the people by what Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard) calls 'b-r-a-k-e-s', iron bits placed in our mouths.

"The bit is just something that goes in your mouth and it hurts — it's inconvenient, but it makes you shut up. You can't move your tongue. And for women, we know, that would be a torture instrument that would that would be primary.”

Quoting Beloved, Morrison writes “How offended the tongue is, held down by iron, how the need to spit is so deep you cry for it. ... The wildness that shot up into the eyes the moment the lips were yanked back. Days after it was taken out, goose fat was rubbed on the corners of the mouth but nothing to soothe the tongue or take the wildness out of the eye.”

Once the bit is removed from our mouths, reviving the voices of the women’s movements and children’s marches – amplified by Facebook and Google — and not the "twitter trackers" — that is what will save us.

Mary Gravitt

Iowa City


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