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Julio Vincent Gambuto
Los Angeles, pollution-free. Photo: Gabriel Duarte

This is the first part of a series of essays. Read Part II here.

*Gaslighting, if you don’t know the word, is defined as manipulation into doubting your own sanity; as in, Carl made Mary think she was crazy, even though she clearly caught him cheating. He gaslit her.

Pretty soon, as the country begins to figure out how we “open back up” and move forward, very powerful forces will try to convince us all to get back to normal. (That never happened. What are you talking about?) Billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, messaging, and television and…


Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

I am in Montenegro, part of the former Yugoslavia, for six weeks. (I fell in love during the pandemic. It’s a long story.) Tonight, I had dinner with a woman who explained to me what happens here when a woman is pregnant: she gets one year “maternity leave” to stay home and nurture her child. That leave is paid for by the government. And when the year is up, her job must be waiting for her when she returns. Oh, and before she has the baby, she gets nine months of “maternity maintenance” (that was the best Google could come…


Photo source: Travel Daily

When Joe Biden returned from his first international trip in June, he reassured America that he had reassured our allies that America was “back.” Having campaigned for Biden and voted for him, I wanted to believe — in my bones — that the Trump years were just a fever-dream of an anomaly and that with Joe and Kamala in the White House we had righted the ship. Of course, what followed this summer was our disastrous exit from Afghanistan. Set up for failure by the former guy, Biden’s extraction of our interests and people from Kabul was not, well, reassuring.


The view from Postcards 9/11 Memorial on Staten Island | PC: Paul Hamilton

I distinctly remember how conversation changed after 9/11. In the days and weeks after the towers fell, when we all tired of using the list of new words that had been thrust into the lexicon — terrorism, Al Qaeda, jihad, Ground Zero, anthrax — and we were exhausted from teaching our friends and family the difference between Arabs and Muslims, talk turned to JFK. Yes, the president. The Boomers knew that 9/11 would change the world, and the only event in their lives that they could be compared it to was the assassination of President Kennedy. …


Photo by Nick Morales on Unsplash

Yes, it has been a strange week. Like you, I have rolled my eyes into the back of my head as the entire Internet instantly transformed overnight from expert public-health officials into foreign-affairs specialists. While the photos of desperate Afghans falling from U.S. airplanes onto the tarmac as they risked it all to flee Kabul were damning for the Biden administration, the fine print of the Trump-Pompeo-Taliban deal seems to confirm for all of us that there is plenty of blame to go around. …


Photo by Mohammad Rahmani on Unsplash

*So did Bush and Obama.

The fall of Kabul may not have gone as expected, but what is going exactly as expected is the hyper-partisan response in our media — both mainstream and social. The red team is running ridiculous headlines about Biden’s “incompetence” and giving air time to Magaman to lay all of the blame at the feet of his predecessor. (Yes, the blatant gaslighting continues.) Laura and Tucker are raving about the cost of refugees, while Rick Scott is talking about the 25th Amendment — preposterous after the madness of the last four years. Far at the other…


Wednesday, my boyfriend and I decided to have a day of play, so I re-arranged my Zoom life and cleared my schedule for a New York adventure. I put my auto-reply on, set my Slack to “out of office,” and stepped away from this very laptop. He likes to joke that “all you do is type anyway.” Anyone who works on a screen for a living knows that, in fact, we do a lot more than click our keys. But I like to let him have his little fun at my expense. …

Julio Vincent Gambuto

Writer/Director based in NYC. Politics + Pandemic + Personal. Outspoken so I can help make sense of this modern world.

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