If you remember from reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the changes go slowly and then quick.

Amherst Coffee, 11AM, with my two students, Anna and Steve, in a Special Topics in the short story.

Me: Did you see that Verizon is now blocking users from receiving text message alerts from NARAL?

Anna: That’s like a story we might have written from last week’s assignment, if we’d teamed up.* [Points at Steve]

Me: Set in some terrifying post-feminist future?

Anna and Steve: Yes.

See also Verizon Reverses Itself On Abortion Messages.**

* The assignment in question involved them making two lists, the first of a scandal of some kind covered widely in the media, or a pop culture event, that either obsessed them or annoyed them. The second list was of products and services that were ubiquitous and annoying. They then had to combine the two into some sort of new incarnation they could imagine happening in the future, and use it in combination with a third item, which was a new cultural taboo, by which I meant something that the culture was silent about. And then they had to use that in a story. An example I offered them was David Beckham in a tuxedo from Crocs, for combining the first two. For new cultural taboos, I described a story last semester from  a student who wrote about how when two butch lesbians fall in love, it can be like the reinvention of homosexuality.

They both did very well on the assignment.

**It’s pleasing to see Verizon figured out how to be on the right side of the market and free speech both at a time when little encourages that.

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