Mackey Chair Anne Elizabeth Moore delivers keynote address
Braving the stage with a cold in toe, Anne Elizabeth Moore read an essay around Paul Ehrlich, a German medical scientist, who, despite his many positive accomplishments, she deemed him “bad guy” in the story of medical research on immune diseases. It was Ehrlich who gave her the title “body horror” as when discussing the possibility of the immune system attacking itself would be too horrific to ever take place. It was his position on the matter that meant these conditions went untreated and unresearched for years. Moore’s essay brought this topic into her own and her audience’s experience with poignancy.
Anne Elizabeth Moore is this year’s Mackey Chair. She is a writer, cultural critic and editor based in Chicago. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Chicago Reader, a free weekly alternative newspaper — one of the last of its kind. Her book, Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes was a Best Book of 2017 from Chicago Public Library, 2018 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist, LGBTQ Nonfiction and received a 2017 Chicago Review of Books Nonfiction Award Shortlist. Her other books include Sweet Little Cunt: The Graphic Work Of Julie Doucet, Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking, and Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity among others. She was born in Winner, S.D. (yes, for real).
Moore was introduced by Professor of English Shawn Gillen. He remarked on Moore’s impact on the campus and the Mackey Chair residency.
“In the English Department’s collective memory of the Mackey chairs, there are those recipients who faculty and staff remember most fondly,” Gillen said. “They are the ones most generous with their time, the ones who receive creativity, and the kindness of our students. The ones who help transform their lives. Anne has been one of those Mackey chairs.” As many students have remarked upon her teaching ability, stating it as one of their favorite classes at Beloit, Moore has truly earned the title of Honorary Beloiter.
Gillen also remarked on Moore’s amazing focus and attentiveness toward her classes while being away from an chaotic swirl of news in Chicago. From the Jussie Smollett case, to RK’s indetement to the mayor race that would result in Chicago’s first female African American mayor, it would be completely understandable to have her attention pulled away from her classes. However, Moore was more present than ever and wrote about her experience to her audience at The Chicago Reader instead.
Moore’s second essay of the evening was, out of Body Horror, entitled “A Few Things I’ve Learned About Illness In America.” It offered a painfully honest portrayal of getting sick in this modern age. How it affects your relationships with your friends, your ideas of the medical systems, and your idea of yourself. Such lessons included “Your body is your best doctor,” “Notice when you feel bad,” “People will avoid you,” and “You will learn to live on little kindnesses.” Told in the second person, Moore’s prose are intensely personal while appealing to the audience authentically.