Sandra Tsing Loh: like Oprah on Fire
The food wasn’t even the highlight of the weekend in Portland. No, that was seeing Sandra Tsing Loh, the writer, comic performer and feminist first amendment icon turned public schools activist, who is just about my favorite person on the page these days. We especially love her bi-monthly column in The Atlantic.
At the Live Wire! radio show Saturday night, she read a five-minute stream from her new tome, Mother on Fire, squirming with nervous energy and flailing her arms as she recounted the woes of a 40-something perimenopausal woman clinging to her last strings of sanity, as she and her young children navigate the segregated, class-obsessed world of education in L.A.
But uncensored Sandra, holding court for a full hour at the Wordstock festival Sunday, proved to be the real treat. She lamented a feminist movement (though she embraces it) that drained our public schools of uniquely nurturing female genius, a movement that has never exalted the mothers-on-the-move powerhouse organization for change: the mighty P.T.A.
And she blasted politicians (Barack Obama included) and other journalists in the chattering classes for not putting their money where their mouth is by sending their children to public school. It’s like cops living in the suburbs, away from the violent inner-city districts they patrol, she said. They don’t have that same stake in the community where they work.
Besides, Tsing Loh works a crowd just like your great supporter Oprah, bouncing around with a microphone to her seated audience members, treating them as equals as they ask a question to her face.