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Week of 12/16/18

PUBLISHED: December 24, 2018


In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.

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After considering a lawsuit, Ms. Dushku entered into mediation with CBS. Mark Engstrom, the chief compliance officer at CBS, participated, along with Bettina B. Plevan, a partner at the law firm Proskauer Rose, who was serving as outside counsel for the company.

Mr. Engstrom handed over outtakes from “Bull” in the belief that they would help the company’s cause, because they showed Ms. Dushku cursing on the set, investigators wrote in the draft of their report.

The strategy backfired. The outtakes were a “gold mine” for Ms. Dushku, the lawyers wrote, because they “actually captured some of the harassment on film.”

Although the investigators praised Mr. Engstrom for his “tremendous institutional knowledge” and described him as a “smart and very capable lawyer,” they said the company’s failure to recognize the instances of harassment caught on tape was a symptom of larger problems at CBS, according to the draft of their report. Mr. Engstrom declined to comment.

Graphic Designer Jenn Boggs
Excerpt from “CBS Paid the Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims” in the New York Times by Rachel Abrams and John Koblin


Jericho Brown: So, I say that to say when I’m writing about blackness or when I’m writing about queerness or about race or that which is southern or when I’m writing that which is masculine or questions masculinity, it’s not that I sit down to do that. It’s just that that’s where I end up because that’s what I’ve been thinking about. And there’s nothing wrong with me thinking about that.

Aaron Coleman: Absolutely. And in that vein, I read a few interviews where you said the phrase, “stay vulnerable to the work.” I love that. It seems useful because it acknowledges something about the value of vulnerability and, at the same time, how so many things can try to pull us away from staying vulnerable to the work. Would you mind saying more about what it means to stay vulnerable to the work?

JB: I sort of mean be ready to move if it asks you to move. Or be ready to stay if it asks you to stay. Or be ready to do without that amount of money if it asks you to do without that amount of money. You know?

AC: It’s a commitment.

JB: It’s like when you’re in love. You don’t get to fall in love and not be vulnerable.

Social Media Intern Sydney Bradley
Excerpt from “ ‘You don’t get to fall in love and not be vulnerable.’: A Conversation with Jericho Brown” in The Spectacle by Aaron Coleman


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