Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
I haven’t got a Mignon in any of my stories yet, but after reading some of Mignon McLaughlin’s Neurotic’s Notebook lines, I think maybe I should. She’d be sharing a name with a person with a ready pen and a keen ability to cut through bullshit and smokescreens to the truth.
It’s hard to get a sense of her from anything except her writing. She was born in 1913, lived through two world wars and two teenage boys (do I repeat myself?), wrote for Vogue, Redbook, Cosmopolitan and other magazines, became a Managing Editor of Glamour, co-wrote a play with her husband, wrote two books full of aphorisms that are sometimes almost painful in their truth. She had a clear view of gender relations, and religion-wise, seems to have talked herself into a cautious agnosticism – although she had no problem telling God he could do better.
I like to remember the above quote when I see society react to those pushing for a better world. I think it pays to remember that many of the people we venerate now weren’t so venerated in their lifetime, when they were shaking up the status quo. It helps to remember that, when the pushback against equality for women and people of color and LGBTQ folk and so many others becomes vicious and discouraging. Someday, if we never give up, some among us who fought for change will be the dead troublemakers our descendants honor. And there will be a whole new set of troublemakers pushing the boundaries further than we can dream.