Weekend Links

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The American political news this week was appalling and, as a citizen abroad, cripplingly humiliating. The history of the American nation is one of a country constantly falling short of its own ideals, and yet striving tirelessly towards them anyway. We’ve backslid, we’ve divided, we’ve pushed for better, we’ve linked arms and moved forward together. I trust that will continue. But the current moment feels really, really dark. There are astonishing moments of light and brightness, yes, but I find myself constantly dismayed at my own naivete in thinking so many of the forces I see ascendant now were–not dead (I’m not that dumb), but were at least on the down and out. I was wrong. I was ignorant. I won’t make the mistake of complacency again.

To put your money where your mouth is in condemning white nationalism (code of white supremacy), BossedUp has put together an excellent list of causes you can support here. I will be donating, I encourage you to do the same.

The whole Charlottesville story is awful so let me be clear: if you are a purpose who purports to stand against people mobilized by dangerous ideology (political and religious) happening “elsewhere,” I damn sure expect you to oppose it on home turf. At time of adding this story, the photos look inches away from an actual Jim Crow South style lynch mob.

Added over the weekend: it got worse. Rest in power, Heather Heyer.

It got even worse. Seth Meyers, of all people, summed up my feelings on the president’s statements on the matter. Which he then tried to walk back with a scripted statement, which he later overturned again to confirm that his first statements that “both sides” were to blame truly reflected his views. I will concede that both sides threw punches; only one was able to show up armed better than the actual police (thanks to decades of paranoia-rousing and the systematic arming of civilians with military grade weaponry, and entrenched racism–I dare anyone to argue that a para-military group of black men armed to the teeth in an identical way would not have been met with swift and deadly force). Only one side is embracing an ideology that necessitates the subjegation or extermination of millions. There is no moral equivalency, and “both sides” arguments will not hold water here.

Seth Meyers nailed it again. I feel out of ways to say that Mr. Trump is unfit for the office he holds. I am not calling for his impeachment because that is a legal process that must be done in the right way for reasons within the boundaries of law…that or our laws are meaningless. But he is morally, intellectually, temperamentally unfit for the role he has been awarded, and I believe he is causing damage to the office and both the functionality and perception of the American government.

Vice produced a compelling, informative, and frightening mini-documentary almost in real time that should be required viewing in this moment.

This thread about the, let’s be frank, false victimhood of the American white male is required reading.

 

I legitimately had to read this article a couple of times and sit with it, because it’s so self-descriptive. I am horrible at taking holidays, and I am trying to take advantage of them (seeing as how I’m legally entitled to them, and all…) but the guilt I often feel for putting in a time off request is corrosive.

I am not the biggest fan of Taylor Swift, but I read this story of her testimony against a man she accuses of assault with great satisfaction. When questioned how she feels about him losing his job due to the incident, the cool response was: “’I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,’ she said. Later, she continued: ‘I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.’” Amen and amen.

Sir, could you just not?

Wealth is a strange thing.

Disrupt away, ladies!

Faith in humanity ticking back up.

WAY behind the times but worth celebrating.

Oh man. I’ve given myself permission to buy from this collection when it launches, but now I fear it will take ALL of my money…

I might need to arrange to be on Westminster Bridge next Monday.

Pro tip: be a dick in public, get dragged in public. It’s the brave new media world.

Why white people don’t get to say, “This isn’t us.”

This story could have been handled in a tabloid-y and gross way. In McKay Coppins’ capable hands, it’s done very well.

Another tiny bright spot.

This week in Mormon news, another thing to warm your feeds!

What the **** is wrong with people?! (trigger warning on this one, but a number of -isms are on display here and need to be confronted)

And then, on Thursday, there was another terrorist car attack, this time in Barcelona. Waking up this morning, there was more bad news in Spain. My heart hurts.

Album of the week: Silk and Soul, by Nina Simone

Weekend Links: Leave Guam Alone!

“Un nota na tentashion nahoñg rason.”
[Transaltion: A very little temptation is enough.]
– Chamorro proverb, from pre-WWII Guam

My island of birth is caught between a despot and a reality TV star. What could possibly go wrong? Here are your weekend links, dropping on a Friday to help you kick off the weekend. If we all survive to Monday, let’s reconvene.

If my own trajectory is Cool Girl to Bitch to Broad, I will consider my life a success.

Relevant to my interests.

In news that shocks no one, Caitlin Moran continues to be brilliant.

This is just bloody adorable.

This story of this man’s dragging has been satisfying.

Janssen of Everyday Reading, who I’ve known since university days and with whom I’ve had the pleasure of touching base every few years, is starting an exciting new project!

This week in Mormon news, woah. This guy is the head of a pretty significant committee within the church structure responsible for the streamlining and dissemination of teaching tools, policy, and a wide range of official materials. At time of typing it’s a developing story, but it’s been a long time since a person of his rank has been kicked out of the church.

The world has seen this, sir. The guy who helped invent it could only quote, “I am become death,” when he saw what his fire could do.

As of Thursday, this story just keeps getting deeper and weirder.

go on

This thread, lit AF.

Album of the week: Early Grey, by Girl Ray

Weekend Links

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
― John F. Kennedy

Ducklings, it’s been another packed week, both in work and news. I’m working on some minor personal projects, trying to get back on the health wagon, and generally just adulting. I have great hopes for a very boring weekend! Here are your links, tell me what you’re getting up to in the comments.

On Monday: Holy shit. I mean, I thought it was going to happen sooner rather than later and Jeff and I were trading bets on the timeline, but holy shit. There truly can only be one diva in the White House, and she guards her throne!

What do we think of this idea? I think it sounds rather genius.

Do I have children? No. Do I plan on having children any time soon? Nope. Do I plan on buying this children’s book? It’s currently in my checkout and awaiting my next paycheck.

Glossier is just taunting me now! I spotted the teaser on their site and they launched this product by surprise this week. I’ll have to wait for some reviews to see how it works, but as with most of their products, I’m itching to get my hands on it to try it.

The National Review passes judgement. And I think they’re spot on.

Senator Flake excerpted a piece of his new book in Politico this week and it resonated with me. Like him, I believe both political parties in the US are responsible for the current state of affairs, but I believe that the conservative faction bears more of a responsibility for recent history and certainly the rise of a man like Mr. Trump. However, talk (or in this case book writing) is cheap. I don’t want navel gazing on the problem of Trumpism, I want conservatives to commit to reigning in his worst and most unhelpful impulses. As my foremothers would have book it, “Deeds, not words.”

I have more than a few friends who I know will be picking up some of this kit.

On Thursday, holy crap part deux. And part trois!

Last week’s episode of The Read featured an interview with LeVar Burton which was just ace. Standard language and content warning since The Read definitely doesn’t hold back on politics, gender and sexuality issues, and race, in case that’s not your cup of tea. I happen to drink it down in gulps.

Um…should we be worried?

Meanwhile, in Texas.

Album of the week: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, by Passenger 

Shopping My Beauty Arsenal

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
-British wartime slogan

Kittens, I’m in a decluttering mood. I don’t know whether it’s the confused British weather that makes it feel like it’s nearly fall even though it’s barely August, the fact that we are still getting back into the swing of things after a couple of weeks of houseguests, or that work (while still busy) feels a bit less hectic than usual with the summer slowdown…but I’m feeling a strange need to tidy, downsize, and just generally apply some order.

My year of “less but better” remains thematically in place and now, nearly three quarters of a way through it, I’m feeling much better about a lot of my consumption habits in most places. That being said, I’ve recently bought art for our walls and an amazing piece of vintage Aquascutum for my own back, so this clearly isn’t an impulse that’s being felt uniformly. But I recently wrote about streamlining my media, which has been an interesting exercise, and my anxiety and stress are more firmly under control than they’ve been in years, so I feel like my overall balance is in a good place.

Yes, I have quite a bit. And no, I regret none of it.

But one area of consumption in particular has been on my mind of late: I’m definitely wanting to use more of my makeup and skin care products–indeed not just use them, but use some of them up. I’ve put myself on strict “no buying” rules for new makeup (allowing myself the potential exception of buying from the new Estee Lauder and Victoria Beckham collaboration when it launches and a restock of some Glossier products that a pal may be shipping me from the States), and I’m restricting new skincare purchases until I use up what’s in my cabinet. I love beauty and I enjoy consuming it, so this isn’t going to be a hardship. Plus, at some point, when I’ve been better at using what I have, I can look forward to the pleasure of discovering new things when I have a hole in my arsenal to fill. Everyone wins!

And, because it’s me, of course I’ve given myself a few challenges and goals to achieve this!  I’ll check in on Halloween, which is my self-imposed deadline, to see if I’ve been able to get through. And for silliness’ sake, I’ve given myself a holiday appropriate list of 13 things to use up!

Beauty To Dos

Hit pan on at least one color in my Viseart neutral eyeshadow palette. I’m using this palette almost exclusively in order to meet this goal.

Use up my Bite Beauty lipstick in Pepper – my favorite and perfect nude, a shade I will be repurchasing. Eventually.

Finish my Nars Velvet Lip Pencil in Red Square – another favorite that I will probably also repurchase…but only after I also complete other lip products that are similar, though inferior!

Use up my Replica by Maison Margiela perfume in Jazz Club

Use just one blush – Tonga by Cargo – with aim of putting a proper dent in it

Use up one of my (many) sunscreens

Finish my Aesop Parsley Seed Mask

Finish my Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask

Finish my Kiehl’s mud mask (so many masks…)

Use up one of my hand lotion samples already!

Finish one of my pots of lip salve (Rosebud Salve forever, but no one needs five tins of them)

Finish my current bottle of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Hit pan on my Glossier Stretch Concealer

Anyone want to join in and commit to using up something–food in your cupboards, a reading list, products, boxes of tea bags that miraculously keep accumulating? Talk to me about something that you want to use up, and whether or not you would repurchase it or replace it when it’s gone? 

Keeping Up With the K—er, Pop Culture

“In fact, pop-cultural references have become such potent metaphors in U.S. fiction not only because of how united Americans are in our exposure to mass images but also because of our guilty indulgent psychology with respect to that exposure. Put simply, the pop reference works so well in contemporary fiction because (1) we all recognize such a reference, and (2) we’re all a little uneasy about how we all recognize such a reference.” 
― David Foster Wallace

Kittens, leaving aside news for a moment, there is too much pop culture at the moment and it can be bizarrely anxiety-inducing. At the moment I’m catching up on The Handmaid’s Tale and American Gods, I have three audiobooks and a two week backlog of podcasts on my phone, and have five books checked out from the library. I’m following along the new season of Game of Thrones, and eagerly anticipating a bunch of films and new Netflix series. It’s a lot to keep up with.

A few weeks ago I found myself in a familiar situation: I had reached my limit on both checkouts and holds from my library and was nearing the end of my check out period on several books. I read fast and normally have at least two books going at any one time, but this time I was behind on my reading and I actually felt stressed at the prospect of not finishing books before I had to return them. Not only that, I had been on a waiting list for many of these books for weeks and if I didn’t finish them now, I’d have to wait weeks again before I could get my hands on them. Consequently, stress. Stupid stress, yes, but stress nonetheless.

Too much screen time, not enough walks!

I’m a finisher, almost constitutionally incapable of leaving a book, TV show, or movie only partially consumed. This doesn’t always serve me well as it means that I’ve struggled through pop culture that I have rushed too much to enjoy, wasn’t quite to my taste, and even downright hated all with the aim of just finishing it. For example, Jeff made me watch Twin Peaks with him, a show that I completely missed in its original run and knew only through casual references. Sacrilegious as it may be to say for some, I didn’t like it at all. It simply wasn’t for me. And yet, almost every night for a couple of months, I grudgingly insisted that we sit down and watch an episode just so I could say I had finished the damn thing.

This is, of course, ridiculous. Nevertheless, to solve my book backlog, I signed out of most social media and didn’t log in to Netflix or YouTube for a week so I could finish five books back to back, which made me feel quite cultured and au courant…until I noticed I’d nearly reached my storage limit on my phone because I had not kept up with my podcast feed.

Help!

I hear and read everywhere that we are living in a moment of “peak TV,” but you could also insert any other media platform into that statement quite comfortably. This weekend alone several trailers for upcoming films or TV shows that I’m genuinely excited about dropped. We are downright spoiled for choice when it comes to entertainment. Not only that, new technology and disruptive new platforms means that we have an almost constant stream of new ways to consume media, as well as very often whole new types of media itself.

Part of me thinks this is fantastic as there is so much stuff out there, you are bound to find a program, book, show, podcast, vlog, or feed that seems tailor made to cater to your personal interests and likes. On the other hand, it’s very easy want to consume everything and feel disappointed or frustrated when you can’t. It’s also not nice to feel like you’re out of the loop when friends or people you enjoy talking all things media with are in the know about something you’ve never heard of. The positive upside to this moment of peak pop culture, though, may be the fact that there is so much out there that it is impossible to even attempt to consume everything. Meaning that consumers can find what they actually like and disregard what they don’t.

This is the tack I have taken at least. I’ve given myself permission to not finish books I don’t like, drop shows that don’t appeal to me, and just tap out of pop culture I don’t care about. It’s such a dinky thing, but it’s been weirdly liberating to “give up” on media rather than slog through it or race to catch up with the rest of society.

Is there any pop culture out there that you genuinely love? What about something that you’ve given a total miss because you just aren’t interested? Have you ever felt guilty for not being able to keep up, or is this a weirdly C-specific problem?

Emotional Journey: The Mooch

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
-Maya Angelou

Ducklings, it’s only Monday. Between the start and finish of our Game of Thrones watch party, Mr. Scaramucci was fired. My full throated laugh in response to this particular sounded not entirely unlike one of the highest and greatest of villainesses in reaction. Gifs of the Grand Evil Dame turned out to illustrate my emotional arc pretty well.

My initial petty reaction:

 

Seriously. Probably enjoying this a bit too much.

 

My internal rendering of Mr. Scaramucci’s surprise.

Not wanted?!

The President, who mistakes attention for progress and infighting for evidence of strength.

Dance, my minions.

 

Me, remembering every time that the Republican party thought he was on their side, or that he could be persuaded to act in their interest or advance their agenda.

Fools.

 

…Then remembering that a guy with an actual nuclear arsenal is treating the global community like an actual elimination style reality TV show.

Three competent generals stand before me, but I have only two slots in my cabinet….

 

Because we elected a guy who literally has never been successful at anything else besides cheap celebrity and getting views, and we gave him a political platform. Yes, we; because we all have to deal with the consequence of this now.

 

Meanwhile, I can only assume somewhere in the bowels of some sanctum somewhere, actual grownups in the Republican party are weighing their options.

Well, I’ll be going…unless you want to talk about cutting taxes for the rich…

 

And finally, my initial burst of malicious mirth subsiding because we are barely six months into this presidency and not a week has gone by without some kind of upset, coarsening of the office, massive gaffe, betrayal of a supposedly trusted subordinate, or a failure of competence.

That evil laugh may have been in poor taste. Let’s dial it down to a cackle, maybe.

 

Jokes aside, let’s now consider the somewhat sobering idea that this guys= might have been brought on board just to get rid of two other characters that the president didn’t like. Characters who, love their politics or hate them, served as the political tie to the Republican party that the president nominally heads. Mr. Scaramucci was a human plot device and he served his purpose. He was then expendable. He’s leaving the scene with a broken marriage, no job, and something of a laughingstock–as did a couple of guys before him. And if that’s not stark warning to anyone cheering on this administration, much less taking a job in it, I don’t know what else I can say about that.