Weekend Links

Happy Friday, kittens, we made it through another week! Have some links as a reward for being excellent.

It’s a cult.

This is a piece that really challenged some assumptions for me, and forced me to reconsider certain perspectives about media. A good reminder that easy black and white narratives are popular but seldom helpful.

This is HILARIOUS.

Huh. You mean all those people getting column inches and air time to complain about being silenced and cancelled were…wrong and/or lying? I’m shocked.

*Pterodactyl scream of rage*

What a weird time to be alive.

My beloved childhood Book Fairs have a dark underbelly!

As someone on Twitter opined, focusing on the $.50 rise in the price of milk but not the 50% rise in home or education prices is a choice that benefits…someone.

One message of this case is that these events — like Charlottesville, like Jan. 6 — they’re not these spontaneous, flukish events that just happen,” said Karen Dunn, a prominent trial lawyer serving as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “There is an enormous undercurrent of planning, of intent and of purposefulness that we all need to wake up to.”

ROUGH CRUST. How did I not know?!

What could possibly go wrong with such responsible actors in charge of this process?

Shot, chaser.

As usual, Leena sums it up in her usual, personal way: some people would literally rather leave the planet or invent an entire alternative reality and expend any energy to improve the one we’ve got. And that both enrages and depresses me.

Deeply invested in this prestigious and important award.

Is masculinity okay? Definitely not.

In the spirit of random stuff in the zeitgeist, I listened to both a RadioLab episode and read this piece on whale strandings in one week and never knew it was such an engrossing topic.

God, Notorious AHP is such a brilliant writer. This whole newsletter, plus its built in links are fascinating reading.

Morticia is GOALS – a visual essay

A brief ode to a true icon, our goth queen, and probably the healthiest depiction of marital happiness in pop culture. Join me in a quick jaunt of appreciation for the beauty, grace, and wholesomeness we need right now.

She understands the trials of modern womanhood…

And still she’s raising feminists…

She prioritizes her marriage and isn’t complacent about the importance of romance and passion…

And never forgets date night.

She is principled and firm in her convictions.

Her skincare and SPF commitment is an inspiration to ALL of us.

She’s devoted to virtuous causes and community.

And above all, she knows the importance of family values.

Hail, queen.

Weekend Links

Well hi, ducklings.

Yes, ’tis I, your long lost internet big sister. Alive, well, and neglectful.

I’m well overdue for my the second part of my latest diatribe, but honestly, I was surprised by the depths of my anger and disappointment at the BYU and Mormon communities in getting that first part out. So I had to talk about it in therapy…for two weeks in a row. And then it was time to focus on the intricacies of international travel in a global pandemic and planning my best friend’s bachelorette party from an ocean away whilst also in the midst of said pandemic. Then the actual travel and a week’s worth of wedding events.

Long story short, I got busy.

Perhaps there will be a proper recap of the trip and wedding but in summary it was fabulous and I needed a break more than I realized. Travel is by far what I’ve missed the most in the last two years, and a solid week away did both Jeff and I a world of good.

But we’re back and spooky season is upon us, so it felt like it was time to return your regularly scheduled programme with a bundle of catch up reading. Missed you, kittens!

This is some excellent and fascinating reporting!

Misogyny is hurting men and killing women.

“Masquerade! Paper faces on parade; masquerade; hide your face so the world will never find you…”

Hoo boy this is a complicated one. But whatever your status on porn and sex work per se, OnlyFans was rare in that it was a platform on which sex workers could control their own content, their own interactions with customers and patrons, be paid for their work without inconsistent middlemen, and significantly minimize their personal risk. So…in other words…after rising to prominence and value off the back of sex worker, OF has decided to abandon sex work to be more appealing to investors…which is likely to devalue their platform product in the first place by ripping up their business model, AND make sex workers less safe. Great job, guys, did Tumblr teach you nothing? Don’t get me wrong, there is PLENTY to consider here and the dangers of sex work and exploitation are real; I’m under no illusions. But I’m not convinced that the solution to any of those problems is to prioritize the squeamishness of bankers over the autonomy of workers. EDITED TO ADD: lol.

“The past isn’t history; it isn’t even past.”

We told you we wanted LeVar Burton, but you didn’t listen and now look where we are.

Brilliant, brilliant health news.

It’s truly amazing how hard you have to work to avoid the conclusion that if you want people to have more children, you need to make children and families more viable for more people. If people can’t afford it, it’s not “essential,” it’ turned into a luxury. The very people who scream the loudest about gender roles, reproductive rates, demographics (usually spurred by some level of shameful, racist nonsense), and the important of families and almost inevitably the same people who oppose any kind of policy or practice which would make it more feasible for more people to enlarge their families. Anyway, here’s a piece on why flexible work is better for women/families.

I’m obsessed with this story.

Oh I bet it’s diving them. Don’t care. We have a moral obligation to accept them.

This hit me right in the feels.

Mentally, I’m this little guy.

Mormonism is going through it right now, you guys, and I honestly think we’re at a watershed moment.

See also

AND also

Speaking of Mormons, MLMs!

The kids are alright. I mean…the world is on fire, but the kids are alright and the only reason for not yeeting all hope right out the window.

Bizarrely mesmerizing piece.

Working on a theory that the erosion of other, healthier forms of community and institutions is leading to a rise in “cultish” behavior and practices all around, including social media.

I’m LIVING for this story!

But I thought the biracial American woman who stole the ginger prince was The Bad One? Mind blown. (/sarcasm)

You don’t say! (//////sarcasm)

Humor through the ages is such a complicated subject and it seldom translates through language, idiom, slang, and more. Obviously I found this article on the topic of Roman humor fascinating.

If only there were a franchise about how this could go

YES, AMANDA MULL!

The cookbook…world? Community? I have no idea how to group such a niche publishing group and its stans, but there was a scandal and it’s worth reading about.

Casual reminder: this is not a game.

Mormons, homophobia, needles and Trump: Part One, Meet the Mormons

I’m going to try and draw a comparison which might seem stretched to some, but go with me on this weird little journey and let’s see if I can convince you about my grand theory.

Let’s lay some groundwork. This piece comes with some homework but if you’re at all interested in politics, piety, echo chambers, LGBT rights and community wellbeing, the role of education, the pandemic, and why leadership matters… let’s just say there’s bound to be something for everyone in this, even if I use a couple fairly niche case studies to make my argument.

Any reader who has been around for more than a hot minute knows that I was raised Mormon and while I’m no longer practicing and often highly critical of the organization and community, it’s still MY people in there. I still have emotional investment in the health and happiness of way too many people still in the faith to simply not care about what the community does as a collective. I often include Mormon community updates in links roundups and (occasionally) their own posts when I had strong enough feelings on a given topic.

Well, buckle up.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (which I don’t actually recommend unless you have a high tolerance for memes and hyperbole) you might have seen my reaction to some news in Mormon world this week. Here’s what has been living rent-free in my head for two days straight: “Apostle Jeffrey Holland to BYU: Stop aiming ‘friendly fire’ at LDS teachings.” [text of the speech available here]

And of course, the Mormon and Mormon-adjacent internet spaces LIT UP with reaction. I include myself in that tally. While you may scoff or sneer at the use of social media as some sort of echo chamber (and we will get to echo chambers, just you sit tight!), there’s a reason why it is useful to see how specific incidents and statements are landing in real time to different audiences. I saw a wide range of reactions from rage to visceral pain to hopelessness, and I expressed my own disappointment. But also my bafflement.

Because my professional work and personal interests lie very much in the realm of audience-targeting and practical or cultural creation of those audiences – and let’s be blunt, a specific political edge – a few things struck me all at once.

First, some priors

The Mormon faith is small – it claims about 15m members worldwide according to their own public reporting and regularly advise on their numbers. Growth is important to the church, hence its active and well known missionary force. Demographic analysis done by public researchers (like the Cumorah Project, an ongoing research project by active, faithful members compiling organizational updates as they become available) academic researchers, and journalists do a good job at showing rates of growth and change.

There is a key element of activity within the faith that’s worth highlighting. There might be 15ish million people on the rolls, but the rates of participation in the faith (defined by the church itself through specific activities) is much lower than that. A decent estimate would be about 20% of members are regular worshipers, tithe payers, and so on. An even smaller number are “endowed,” which means participate in regular worship in LDS temples, access to which is tightly controlled.

Put a pin in all of these.

The other thing you need to know is that Brigham Young University (BYU) has been something of the flagship institution of the church in the 20th century. It invests heavily in its funding to make it affordable to students, can boast a library collection worthy of academic envy, and has taken great pains to achieve respect for its research, its law and business schools, and its performing arts.

It is famous/infamous for its Honor Code which in addition to academic expectation also enforces personal activities and behavior to conform with the moral standards of the church. No smoking, drinking, drugs, or sexual activity of any kind outside of heterosexual marriage. Modest dress standards for women and specific grooming standards for men. Notwithstanding its magnificently bearded namesake, whiskers for men were prohibited as a counter-counter-culture measure in the mid-20th century and remain to this day. Yeah, it’s strict.

Alongside the usual courses, students are expected to take religious studies classes which, in terms of course credit, amount to Minor degree’s worth of hours and work. These include classes on Mormon history and scripture, as might be expected, but also the King James Bible and religious literature. At least when I was there, the professors of various religious traditions were highly respected and their classes sought after, and interfaith dialog was active. For instance, due to the lifestyle elements compatible with their own, we had a decent minority of Muslim students as well as other faiths.

And then of course, that necessary thing, college sports! BYU fields 21 teams in NCAA varsity sports, often progresses well in championships, and even boasts a national football championship which looms large in the college lore.

What I’m saying is, the church has poured money and time for over a century to build a religious academic institution that can command respect across a number of fields.

Which is why I found this speech as bonkers as I did.

The Lord’s University”

First of all, this speech was delivered alongside an announcement of the creation of the BYU Office of Belonging (or…BOOB…this could have been thought through better), with a specific mission of combatting prejudice at the university. The juxtaposition is whiplash inducing.

Now, I was not shocked to see an apostle of a church which has spent the last thirty years defining itself in the public eye through primarily gender and sexuality based positions and teachings say something I consider pretty bigoted and homophobic. Dressing it up in the language of love doesn’t make it less morally repugnant, but it’s frankly right in line with the church’s long established stances. Some of its greatest hits include:

  • Objecting to and mobilizing against the ERA, in “defense” of women
  • Opposing LGBT rights generally and mobilizing against gay marriage specifically; Prop 8 and its fallout casts a long shadow
  • Published proclamations supporting “divinely designed” gender roles and functions that – in my opinion – go far beyond anything to be found in the foundational scriptures or teachings of the faith but instead reflect the cultural expectations and norms of the leadership and cultural panics of the time. Said leader is, of course, revered as a prophet with a direct line to the infinite
  • The infamous period of racist doctrine and practice which excluded Black members from full participation in the faith and men from ordination – which while it has been withdrawn, has never been apologized for, denounced, or refuted. Because to do that would expose the leadership who imposed and maintained these doctrines and actions to accusations of being, shall we say, less than prophetic. Which is kind of awkward given the point above
  • Half-hearted attempts at “loving outreach” to the LGBT community including the now defunct “Mormon and Gays” platform which attempted to express the doctrines of the church in a way that made them sound less exclusionary than they are. The fact that these efforts have all be shuttered quietly in recent years is important.

But I WAS shocked to hear this man state it was the duty of the faculty and staff of the university to uphold the doctrines of the church, AND that the institution was prepared to lose “professional association and certifications” if necessary to do so. In other words, that the true role of this ostensibly academic institution is not, in fact, academics or education for academia or a profession, but the enforcement of religious orthodoxy.

Anyone who can’t see the potential risk to the value of a diploma, the attractiveness of grad school candidates, or even workforce implications is fooling themselves or willfully blind. It also seems to me to be fundamentally at odds with the sheer amount of money and work that has gone into building the university’s reputation far outside its own religious community.

When is a cigar just a cigar and when is it an existential call to arms?

There was much chatter about the use of the phrase “musket fire” in the speech. There’s a distinctly American tone to this, which deliberately harkens back to the American Revolution and is a well-used metaphor.

But unless you’ve been living under a rock, a lot of American symbols, metaphors and rhetorical devices have taken on some additional layers of meaning in recent years. Think of the flag being co-opted in the culture wars, from Trump physically embracing it and specifically attempting to flip the discourse about anti-police-brutality protests as “disrespecting flag and/or troops, to the “thin blue line” redesign of police officers and their political supporters. On the other side we have flag burning or rejection by activist groups who claim it doesn’t represent them or other left-wing manipulations.

As the meme goes, “WORDS MEAN THINGS.” So of course do symbols and metaphors. Memes are the language of our world in many ways and serve the useful function of being a way to convey large and even multiple concepts in visual shorthand. They are collectively created, shared, agreed upon, and layered with meaning to the point that large groups of people can see a visual cue and all draw roughly the same conclusion from it: the same punchline to an unspoken joke, a shared experience, or a shared fandom.

Or all of the above.

It’s time to introduce a subculture within a subculture: DezNat. Like so much in our times, this is an online community hoping (and in some cases) acting to bring about their preferred utopia. And they are radical in their beliefs. Not everyone ticks every box, of course,

Some of the symbols or language they have created or co-opted include the Bowie knife (a combined reference to historical figure Porter Rockwell and to the concept preached by Brigham Young of blood atonement – which I’m not even going to attempt to unpack! Just read the links)…and guns, including muskets.

Remember, layers. Musket metaphors are a meme that combines specific interpretations of patriotism, equally specific interpretations of resistance, and yet further equally specific interpretations of rights and values. Free speech, religion, etc.. In this context you also have to appreciate that Mormonism is a millennialist faith – it’s in the name: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They believe that the US is a divinely chosen land that enjoys specific freedoms which enabled its revelations to come forth and enjoy certain legal and cultural protections in the “last days” before the judgements of God are poured out on the earth.

The militancy referred to in religious speech is often best understood as symbolic; but not exclusively. This is just as true in Mormonism as it is in Christianity, Islam and other sects. And just like other sects there is almost always a minority who see the holy war in real and stark terms and are prepared to posture…or act…accordingly.

So, who was this speech for?

Setting aside the highly relevant subject of coded language, let’s look once more at the explicit text.

In his speech, Holland cites and quotes a letter that bemoans the apparent secularization the writer perceives happening at the university.

“You should know,” the writer says, “that some people in the extended community are feeling abandoned and betrayed by BYU…”

Who, I can’t help but wonder, are these people who feel that BYU is not religious or orthodox ENOUGH? I’ve already gone into some detail about the behavioral standards and education elements, and plenty more writers who are far more eloquent than me can share even more about the curriculum and culture to make thee point, but let me just state unequivocally that BYU IS NOT A SECULAR ENVIRONMENT. Many classes begin with prayer, a religious and even pro-American-quasi-religious ethos is centered in its coursework (including a required course called American Heritage) to say nothing in the faith itself. Religious observance is required, and even hints of unorthdoxy can get you punished or expelled. Believe me, I know; even if that’s a story for another time.

I’m not saying this speech was for DezNat exactly, though the inclusion of the metaphors and language is already doing the work of making plenty of that community sure think it is. You see what you want to see, and plenty of extremists want to see their leaders endorsing, winking at, or even explicitly embracing what they already believe to be true.

But I absolutely do believe that Holland should know enough about his own flock to anticipate how this rhetoric will be taken and used. Not for the “soft” bigotry and “gentle” exclusion he outright states he and the institution should practice, and damn the consequences, but by the militant minority. The zealots.

Okay but what the hell does Trump have to do with this?

Good question, kittens, and that’s why there’s going to have to be a Part Two.

Weekend Links

Hi fam! Not neglecting you, just terribly busy. Have a Friday the 13th quick drop and a hug!

Frontier justice, in a GOOD way.

Edwardian DESTROYS Facetune, or however the meme goes. (Don’t let my antics fool you, this is a great video.)

The essay that controlled the conversation for days.

Good for him being willing to be the first and I hope the whole organization rallies around him to make it safe for the next guy to do the same.

It doesn’t escape anyone’s notice that the people who don’t think climate change is real and the people who are most virulently anti-immigration are…the same people.

Speaking of!

No shit. Which is why the

This story is going to haunt me for a long time.

Profound.

Life finds a way, you guys!

Britain is really just effing it up left and right these days. Truly stunning how consistent they are managing to be in this regard.

I have two friends whose marriages ended over the course of COVID, one friend get engaged, other reevaluate all kind of living situations from moving in with flatmates to deciding to live alone. Even the strongest and best relationships have been tested in new ways. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t experienced some version of relational shift.

Grey does it again:

Weekend Links

It’s blazing hot this weekend. Join me in donning too-short shorts and deep tank tops, sipping aperol spritzes and parking yourself in front of a fan, trying to not think about how mother nature is about to shake our whole species off like a case of the fleas and we kinda deserve it.

I’ve wondered a lot about the line between fiction and nonfiction, and what license is actually bestowed by the act of labeling something as fiction.” (The discourse that this piece has sparked is frankly fascinating.)

PAY. ATTENTION. TO. LOCAL. ELECTIONS. AND. NOT. JUST. FEDERAL. If one good thing came out of the Trump era, it was revived civic attention and participation. There is very real danger to be faced if we don’t keep it up. The QAnons know this too.

Shot, and chaser. Pathetic old con artist.

He’s publicly, vulnerably queer and it makes people so mad. I love it. And so does he. His music isn’t really made for me, but even an elder millennial like me can appreciate his masterful control of his own narrative.

Invent a culture crisis, claim it’s an existential threat, legislate against it, craft the narrative to say that it’s a liberal plot to legislate FOR it and you are just the bastion of the status quo, mobilize electorate off of it. The hyper conservative playbook in a nutshell. It’s exhausting how successful it is. Then, as a follow up, rewrite or ignore history. “We are so accustomed to using the word fascist as an epithet that it feels awkward to adjust it for political analysis.”

Reparations aren’t just about race, but they are ALL about who has been allowed inclusion and participation in democratic society. Who has been allowed bodily autonomy. Who has been allowed rights. Who has been aggressively and violently culled from our ranks.

American will call every religion extremist except its preferred iterations of Christianity. Yikes.

Oh no! The Atlantic is my favorite publication by far and they have been doin STELLAR work over the last few years. SUPPORT JOURNALISM, PEOPLE.

Small Dog Nation loves an art mystery.

Professor Blyth drops another hit. “In short, beware the rhetoric of inflationary reaction. A perversity thesis joined to naked self-interest should not guide policy, no matter how hard it is to get that folk model out of our heads.”

Weekend Links

To my fellow Yanks today is a holiday and to my beloved Brits, it’s Post-England-Beating-Ukraine Sunday. Either way, it’s a day for lounging and enjoying the summer. Have a quick link roundup to get you through the Sunday Scaries while Aunt C. takes a break, okay?

Hide your kids, hide your wife, hid your…gloves?

Hey, new cousin species just dropped!

The reality is that big breaks aren’t a finite resource. They may be infrequent, but they can happen more often than you think—especially once you free yourself from the false belief that they can’t.” 

How mesmerizing is this artistry!

The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’ We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans,” he wrote. Credit where due: Rufo has pretty much succeeded.”

How the pandemic has impacted world heritage.

This is literally the “This is fine” meme happening in real life.

So given the above and the rest of the weather news, maybe let’s start taking radical redesign concepts seriously.

Weekend Links

Happy Pride weekend kittens!

Know Your Meme – Pride Edition!

Reevaluating Ursula and the anti-princess-feminism of the early aughts, juxtaposed with the uniquely vital cultural heritage of drag, as only Lindsey Ellis can. Pride Edition!

I’ve read a few pieces and seen some reports and documentaries on Estonia’s cyber transformation, and find it a really fascinating topic. For the uninitiated.

Sali Hughes annual bargain beauty round up has landed – as usual doing the lord’s work for us all!

We’re fucked as a species…and late stage capitalism is why

what did I just read? Every single line is worse than the last!

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is NOT fucking around, and I love it.

The Britney Spears conservatorship case took over the news this week and for good reason. The details that came out were horrific and reminded me of nothing so much as the confinement of women in mental institutions to control their estates.

NOPE. Nope nope nope nope nope. No one asked for this. No one needs this. Kill it with fire.

This on the other hand I love. My family lives in rural Virginia and I love driving past and exploring the abandoned houses in their area. It’s the exactly correct quotient between academically interesting and darkly weird.

Weekend Links

DUCKLINGS, I’m not dead. I’m just still a bit overloaded at work and adjusting to summer (as I’m forced to do every year) in a country without in-built cooling. Plus birthday celebrations, plus COVID spiking again, plus…

You get the idea. I’m not neglecting you, kittens. Mommy’s just busy. Have some reading material to make up for it.

Living your life publicly, not so much as a celebrity but as an artist who has and is expected to mine your own life for content the way that comedians and personal essayists do, must be a strange sort of daily conundrum. Like many people, I liked John Mulaney The Wife Guy, and was sorry to hear about his relapse and divorce. But also know that as public as his life is…he’s just a person going through some pretty excruciating stuff that most people only have to deal with on the inside. He has to become the next version of himself under a pretty unforgiving spotlight.

Fascinating and bizarre read!

Dystopia is looking a lot less impressive than 80s action movies led us all to think it would be.

This week in Mormon news: why the rebrand-that-the-leadership-denies-is-a-rebrand is a futile effort. Which is why the “this week in Mormon new” moniker is staying.

Also Mormon adjacent, this opinion piece is incredibly interesting and powerful to read: “This story is about human trafficking on the spiritual plane. It’s about cults: who builds them, lures us in, and how we stay enslaved.” Also read the article it’s responding to in the first place.

I love beauty, makeup, and skincare as much as ever, but the fundamental changes the industry has undergone (specifically the pivot to fast-fashion-like production and distribution) has affected my view of it as a whole. I’m sure there’s something worthy of therapy in the fact that the democratization of beauty makes it less interesting to me, but I’m not prepared to do the work of unpacking it.

SHARKS, or Why London is Bonkers.

I found this story fascinating, even though I think the circumstances that provoked it clearly heart wrenching for the parents involved. How exactly IS citizenship conferred? Birthplace apparently is less important than genetics…as if American-ness is in our chromosomes. It’s a whole new meaning to the phrase “accident of birth.” I don’t expect this to hold up long term unless we moving towards a society where citizenship and race become intertwined. WHICH IS HISTORICALLY REALLY BAD, YOU GUYS.

She needs to Jurassic Park herself immediately! #lifefindsaway

I will not regret any piercings or ink in old age, I’m fairly sure. I know people talk about this but in all the usual cheesy ways, my additional piercings are very meaningful to me and not necessarily done to be trendy.

This is both hilarious and sad: a former US president is now a failed blogger.

GOOD. THIS IS VERY GOOD. Next abolish tax havens globally. [ETA, of course I got my hopes up to be crushed by capitalism. After patting themselves on the back for this, the UK for one immediately began messaging they will exempt the very industries who need the be better regulated and taxed the most. Capitalism always wins…]

TAX. THE. RICH. Not just because society is missing one of its key support systems but because the non-taxed income is spent manipulating the political system anyway. Collective decisions about taxes is democracy, personal and self-interested decisions about wealth that control political systems is oligarchy. ProPublica‘s initial reporting here.

Annnnnnnd I’m sobbing….

What fantastic history to preserve; good for the owners for doing that work.

Thank god, let it die.

Oh look, a milestone we really didn’t want to reach – and more context as to why short term or one-off fixes won’t work. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 1000 years unless captured and each year we dump about 40 billion metric tons into it. You can ride bikes and recycle everything until the day you die, but no one person or even one community can put that number into reverse.

So, what you’re saying is that all these conveniences we’ve been experiencing are artificially low in price because actual labor is required? “And while it’s painful to pay subsidy-free prices for our extravagances, there’s also a certain justice to it. Hiring a private driver to shuttle you across Los Angeles during rush hour should cost more than $16, if everyone in that transaction is being fairly compensated. Getting someone to clean your house, do your laundry or deliver your dinner should be a luxury, if there’s no exploitation involved.”

I will never not signal boost stories about buying clothing second hand or custom made – AND paying for it appropriately.

A very interesting profile about a very interesting media person.

…I’m not sure we deserve to survive as a species…

Lest we forget that this is on the rise everywhere, but the investigation by both the New York Times (excellent two part series on The Daily about this) and some other outlets really brings the problem to life beyond headlines.

And let’s end on a despondent note, shall we?

Weekend Links

My role throughout the pandemic (at least at work and friend circle) has been to be the croaking Cassandra of doom…and frankly I’m all too often proved right. On Monday we’re supposed to get some sort of sign as to what our summer could look like if we continue to ease out of lockdown, but between variants and the still skyhigh infection rates across the world, I feel like too much hope will be a bad idea.

We’re in an arms race with Mother Nature and the virus’ biological goal is different than ours. It just wants to replicate and spread. But us, we want to LIVE.

One of my brother’s wedding reception is next month and we have no idea if we’re going to be able to go. Jeff hasn’t seen his family in nearly three years. My best friend is getting married this fall. And I feel like I’m losing the ability to visualize the future after a year on restrictions. It’s brain melting.

ANYWAY. Onto the links.

Convince me I’m wrong:

I look forward to the war!

This story is tragic but gripping.

Ditto.

I’M SO EXCITED:

More good Netflix news, thank goodness.

The previous Leader of the Free World…is now…a blogger. I feel like I should retire. (Charlie Warzel has an interesting take.)

The US census reports the lowest birthrates in nearly a century. This seems to have prompting handwringing amongst the elders, the conservatives (and their problematic adjacent ideologies), and demographers alike. Meanwhile, every thirty-something I know chorused in a huge mob, YA THINK? However it’s not as straightforward as it may seem and lots of the downward trends are due to things we should objectively cheer (fewer teen and unplanned pregnancies’ are objectively good). The moral panic won’t dwindle of course.

Seems relevant.

I put on an actual outfit the other day and it was the most surreal set of sensations!

On the flip side…everything is selling to us now and that’s A Bad Thing.

NOT NOW, CHERNOBYL.

Apropos of nothing, Rep. Gaetz has a lot of loud opinions about how anyone on government existence should have mandatory drug testing. Thinking maybe we need to start with our so-called public servants first. Who guards the guardians, and all that? (Seriously, how does this failson still have his job?)

This this, a thousand times this: there is no such thing as a “low skill job.”

I don’t feel at all qualified to inform on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, even though I have a lot of opinions. But I’ll leave the explaniners to Vox.

Does this mean we’ve officially moved from 90s to early 2000s nostalgia? The cicadas and portmanteaued celebrities have risen again. The circle of life.