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.

A Long Overdue Links Roundup!

Darlings, I’ve been neglectful because life got busy and in the year 2021, we all only have so much energy. I return to you penitent and awash with reading this bank holiday Monday. And it’s off back to the kitchen and batch cooking for me!

Really informative write up in the FT on British and EU immigration trends, and what this means for individual nations as well as the bloc.

On the one hand we’re thirsting over Vaccine Daddy now? On the other hand…I get it.

Yes, the beauty industry is a major factor in racism and we need to do so much more to recognize this. We have no problem blaming beauty standards for body dysmorphia of all stripes, we have to expand that notion dramatically.

Seriously, everything Anne Helen Petersen writes seems like vital reading. Her latest piece for Vox in her ongoing series on the increasing inaccessibility of middle class living is important, and she used her newsletter to explain the reporting process and additional context to what that reporting uncovered. Read both as companion pieces.

I’m shocked. SHOCKED.

[This bill] would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity.” Cool cool cool, so actual dystopian nightmares.

I wish I could send this piece to almost every working woman my age that I know.

Vive la France?

This piece is fundamentally weird, but I couldn’t stop reading.

Ah, the Mommy Bloggers and the grim reality of never being able to measure up – now with bonus capitalism.

The hard hitting journalism I need right now!

For all my ranting last update about the generation wars, I truly do believe Gen Z might see the end of the current iteration of the bad faith culture struggles bullshit. Because the children are just So. Much. Better. at the internet than the elders and they are smarter than us too. The sooner the outrage machines guns are spike, the better we will all be.

We owe her a lot!

First she came for the boobs, but Abby had our (baby got) backs:

Thank god, but if I don’t get my Eloise and Sir Phillip season, I will be VEXED.

*Screams into a cushion*

POCKET EQUALITY:

While we’re in a YouTube spiral, let’s learn more about LGBTQ history and linguistics!

A Mormon news moment in three acts, with bonus reading material for the nerdy:
The kerfuffle
The aftermath
A really, really good RadioWest episode on the subject of mormonism’s relationship to mental health and sexuality
An interview with the therapist in question.

The scorn is deserved.

I love him.

The Fermi Paradox continues to terrify me.

The ever-evolving culture of the QAnon crowd fascinates and frightens me because it hasn’t gone anywhere, in spite of their messianic figure losing his social media bullhorn. Some are going to white supremacy groups, others are doubling down on other conspiracy theories. But they aren’t going away because the media ecosystems that connected and nurtured them haven’t gone away.

Lots of us have left religion, and it’s not always the people you think who are doing it.

Stephen Fry is a tonic.

The sheer amount of “low skill” workers that have proven to be vital to the economy or actual frontline workers in the last year is not inconsequential. It’s beyond time to retire the term.

To understand the world you must understand the internet, part seventy million of an infinite series.

Weekend Links – in 2021 the trash is taking itself out, and we’re not mad

Hey piglets! It’s Good Friday and therefore a bank holiday weekend here in the UK, and the sun is shining. This might be witchcraft or a trap of the highest order, but we’re still going to enjoy it.

Tale as old as time.

But the nature of the stunt is that he’s already anticipated this predictable moral panic and framed it in advance as the kind of response that proves his point about the need for queer people to reject hate and choose to love themselves.”

It’s such a grim worldview: I don’t care if I win so long as you guys lose. It’s government by spite, and it’s corrosive.

One of the smartest reads I’ve found on “cancel culture” so far.

Well well well, if it isn’t the consequences of their actions.

Ah, the generation wars.

The news is still breaking so we still have to call this a bunch of allegations and reported rumor, but honestly if half the stuff being reported about Rep. Matt Gaetz turns out to be true, I will not be in the least surprised. He’s been a boor and creep for along time, and he’s spent a lot of energy leaning into his bro-style messaging and behavior. He’s Trump-lite and made no effort to dissuade anyone otherwise. A horrible sex scandal with underage girls is the least surprising thing I could have imagined, awful as it is. But what I really want to know is WHICH OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS are trading nudes (including potential child porn given the ages we’re talking here?!) like baseball cards on the House floor? Out and prosecute every last one of them.

The correct take:

Klippenstein does some brilliant reporting (and Twittering, if that’s your jam), and his latest reported piece is an absolute dystopian doozy. The Atlantic picks up and add context to the tale.

In this house, we stan Dr. Fauci and Prof. Whitty.

Woof. I may need to retire from the links gig, because the great and good Anne Helen Petersen just dropped the motherload. And yes, ducklings, this one is required reading and there will be a test later.

Weekend Links

Kittens, another weekend is upon us! I’m just diving into the links because honestly, my only priority is getting outside in actual sunlight while we’ve got some. Dive in and let’s catch up in the comments.

Good.

Needing to rethink what carbon output actually means and looks like in the 21st century. Fast.

Here’s the thing: white supremacy, misogyny, racism, toxic masculinity, female fetishization, sexual purity obsession….all of these things overlap in specific structural ways. If you insist on a hierarchical culture, usually binary in nature – male v. female, white v. everyone else, virgin v. whore – this is what you get. The violence become inevitable because the structure is antagonistic by nature and design because it’s a contention for dominance and winner takes all.

Give this dad all the kudos.

Say yes to brooches.

FUCK this garbage ruling.

Everything about the aftermath of That Interview has been amazing to watch. The Royal children writing Mothers Day messages to “Granny Diana” when they have never invoked her before, Prince William giving a frankly bad interview saying that the Royal family isn’t racist (thereby repeating the negative talking point in a way that makes every PR person headdesk), to this…starting to suspect the Sussexes may have had several points, team!

Sooner or later the UK is going to have to wrestle with this: what the hell is the purpose or value of hereditary rank anymore? The Sussexs are viewed by detractors as disloyal to a system that, frankly, doesn’t really have a role or place for them. They’ve opted out of an actual feudal system, and I think eventually the rest of the UK will have to do the same…but no one wants to be the one who torches a thousand years of family and cultural tradition, much less remake the entirety of the state.

Gorgeous shots of what I presume is the starting notes of Ragnarok?

This is clearly about a single profession, but I feel like there’s something deeper here in this distinction between burnout and demoralization. I may have to rethink my categories.

Do you know where your towel is?

Policy damages require policy solutions. I don’t think this is anywhere near enough, but I don’t know how anything solves four centuries of systemic constraint and limitation.

Wow this seems like a terrible idea!

This is one hell of a defense…and also another insight into what this brand of charlatan and their ilk actually think of their audience.

Genuinely amazing: Baltimore is putting a pause on prosecuting certain crimes because the unintentional social experiment we’ve all be living through over the last year has produced some interesting data points we are going to have to consider. For some of us, that may mean flexible working works. For Baltimore, it’s that prosecuting these crimes doesn’t seem to make any difference to overall public safety. Hm. It’s almost as if our law enforcement and policing systems are incorrectly focused and resourced. Huh.

RIP to a icon of literally everyone I know’s childhood.

COVID, My Body, and Me

In an effort to write more, something that’s good for my brain and also provides a much needed creative outlet, I’m going to try and pop off a quick personal take without pulling my usual trick of thinking about it for weeks and/or months first. Unfortunately for us all, I’m in a narcissistic place and I’m spending way too much time fretting about the state of my body. I can’t stop it, even though I don’t think it’s good for me, or anyone.

A year inside hasn’t been an equal experience for everyone. On the one hand, my household has been incredibly fortunate to have the ability to shelter and work from home; on the other, the scaling down of life to a one bedroom apartment in a major COVID hotspot has been unequivocally bad for our health.

In the spirit of the Year of Intention, I have been using this time inside to continue to address some health issues. I’m currently being treated for longstanding hip and knee troubles, though confirmed that I’m likely to need surgery on my hips at some point due to malformation. Win some, lose some.

And yet, in spite of twice a week physio, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I hate it and feel really uncomfortable in my body these days. The minimum two miles walking a day I used to do just moving around the city has been severely curtailed and my world has shrunk to a one bedroom apartment. I have no idea what my caloric intake is supposed to be under these circumstances, but nothing I try seems to work in managing weight – which for me definitely has a stress component.

And speaking of stress! I’ve noticed quite a few common symptoms of that as well, including hair loss, unusual breakouts, and eczema flair ups over the past year. Sexy…

It’s such a weird thing to try and unpack but staying inside and doing nothing for a year has been stressful! Humans aren’t built to live like we’ve been living for the last year and it’s definitely taking a mental and physical toll. It’s nowhere near being on the frontlines of healthcare or essential workers, and I don’t pretend it’s even close, but I stand by my statement that we humans have not evolved nor structured our society for the kind of lifestyle many of us have been forced into for the last twelve months.

And then there’s the mental load…it’s a lot.

Trying to follow the news in two countries, to track risks for our families or try and plan travel to see them (which we haven’t been able to do in years), to keep up with political situations which affect us as expats and citizens of one country while residents of another, all against the backdrop of daily bad news of death and sickness is grinding. It takes mental and emotional energy to document and process, to make decisions or plans and then have to remake them the next day or week.

Chatting with faithful commenter and friend of the blog CJ in the comments, we both mentioned having to take “days off” from the news, or emails, or social media or (I assume) just inputs of information. “The cognitive load is wild,” I typed, meaning every word. Trying to follow a planet-wide scale event while living mostly in the same spot in my living room for a solid year now is such a perspective whiplash every single day.

The overall result is a sense of permanent mental and physical discomfort or discontent which occasionally can tip over into something even more unhealthy.

I’m happy to report that the combo of drugs, therapy, and physio is still helping somewhat. I have a welcome if ridiculous looking shag of hair regrowth that’s a couple of inches long and sticks up awkwardly no matter what I do to try and tame it. I’m trying to both be kind to my body while trying to make it work the best I can under less than ideal circumstances. But a year into this I still haven’t found a balance or way to make things work in a way that produces some semblance of health that I can work with.

Weekend Links

Kittens, this has not been the best week. My depression and anxiety has been riding me hard and it all sort of came to a head in a migraine attack – something I’ve not had for months now. It’s been so long since I had one actually that I forgot what a grim, full body experience they are when they hit. I spent a day retching on a empty stomach every time there was a noise louder than birdsong or any change to the lighting…fun.

As it happens, I hadn’t taken a day off since Christmas and I have a great boss who scolded me for this and insisted I take my allotted holidays so I’ve got a few days off throughout the rest of the month here and there. I’m putting the finishing touches on this post in the afternoon, still a bit shaky and slow moving but trying valiantly to get some Vitamin D from the spring sun.

Hoping you’re safe and thriving as best you can, kittens. I sure appreciate this weird corner of the internet with you.

More men in boas, please and thank you.

Oh look. A bad faith law to solve a “problem” that doesn’t actually exist. Literally, when pressed to name individuals who had been affected by the “problem” the legislators were unable to, but still this bullshit passed.

Source: https://thenib.com/author/matt-lubchansky/

Because really, how scary could a bunch of angry white men actually be, right? /s

Starting to think Facebook might be a bit problematic, fam…

Let’s just try it already, huh?!

We’ve built a society that doesn’t allow us to manage all the expectations and demands it requires.

Let’s just TRY STUFF.

Pop Culture Pandemic Prophets on the last year and the look ahead.

In Small Dog Nation, we stan and love Yo-Yo Ma forever.

I’ve always loved these kinds of portraits and find them uniquely beautiful. Even though ancient, there are aspects of human depiction that get lost for centuries afterwards again.

If there is one thing I know, it’s that conservative religious institutions will not catch up to human rights and legal protections until they have exhausted every other option and burned a lot of the goodwill they rely on along the way. No institution will change until it’s faced with the prospect of its own irrelevance. But the human pain in the meantime…whew…

This guy is having a real Bugs Bunny getting lost by way of Albuquerque moment.

Christ, what an ugly, ugly crime with all the horrible trademarks: misogyny, racism, toxic masculinity. None of it is new, but all of it is hideous.

Asian Americans speaking on the racism they experience.

The only things weirder than what conspiracy theorists believe, is often what they reject.