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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I found this piece indescribably comforting because my brain has felt so broken for months now. Long COVID, “brain fog,” and other descriptions don’t come close to explaining it, even though both are accurate. My ability to focus is shot to hell right now.
Couple complain about perceived abuses of media, media figures displays the exact same behavior in question, media figure loses job. IT’S THE WOMAN’S FAULT, SURELY. Full disclosure, I hate Piers Morgan and his particular brand of offensive oppinutainment and provocation. I like to think this sort of approach is on the decline but there are holdouts.
And finally, our political system is WHOLLY INADEQUATE for this, but far from soundbites, we need actual deep philosophical discussions and substantive challenges on a number of political and policies. For example, what do we actually want out of a justice system? Because whether your ambition is “deter crime” or “rehabilitation” or ” appropriately retribute…” our political and social status quos aren’t necessarily aligned with our stated aims. Anyway, Abby puts it a lot better and more creatively than me:
Kittens, another weekend is upon us. I’ve bared logged off of work (it’s after 9pm locally) and I want to do ZERO work this weekend so I’m dropping this sucker early and hoping for the best. Love you lots!
“Which brings us to the cold blob.” Indeed! Excellent and unintentionally funny transition line aside, this is a fabulous if sobering investigation and visualization of changes we can see happening in real time on our planet and helps put global context on local seasonal trends.
Because as we all know, if there is anything the Republican party will not tolerate, it’s mean Tweets!
First we had “alternative facts” and we’ve progressed straight to “freelance thinking.” Jesus.
It’s a cult. The most I can recall of Obama cottage industries were those famous blue and red posters – which were also quickly co-opted by the far left who were just as as critical of him as the far right. This bizarre cult of personality baffles me.
A spacetime paradox: the shortest month of any year is, in the year of Our Lady Beyoncé 2021, the 13th month or 350-something’th day of March 2020. Trying to mark the passage of time feels like a futile effort these days, but I’m trying to really bring back the accountability and favorites posts as they sort of help fill that void for me.
Depression made life rough this month and took a toll on my physical health as much as my mental. But physiotherapy is helping to improve my bad knee and hip, this month in spite of myself. Shoutout to Six Physio, their team has been fantastic to work with at every single stage thus far.
Speaking of depression, it’s amazing how much it messes with your head and rationality. It’s been on my To Do list since the start of the year to build my credit history more in the UK as part of the buy-a-house-someday goal, and for no good reason whatsoever, I’ve been putting off things like a credit card application (I’ve used my international/US cards and mostly bank or shop in a cash-based way here in the UK ever since we moved here). Well this month I girded my metaphoric loins and started the process… And of course the inevitable conclusion is that it took me less than 15 minutes to do something that I’ve been failing to do for two months and I’m sure there is a great life lesson in that which I will refuse to learn.
Continued weekly meal prep this month, and layered on a mini goal to do more vegetarian meals. I mean, that just means I exchanged meat for cheese in absurd qualities, but sure, let’s call it healthier.
Continued reading massive amounts of books, including a few classics in and amongst the pure, satisfying trash. I had a very senior director in my company casually drop into conversation when we doing a project catch up that her weekend plans included Wandavision and a “stack of trashy novels” and I have honestly never felt more SEEN in my life.
This was month two of paying off credit cards in full and putting 1,000 into savings. Next month looking at opening some longer term savings or investment accounts.
It’s self-centered to write, but I’m continuing to struggle with my weight and my intentions in this space. There is a definite dearth of willpower and I don’t know how best to develop it.
Household upkeep generally was another willpower problem are this month. Mustering the energy to finish chores sometimes felt like too much work, which is probably another symptom of depression. But the practical upshot was that unfolded laundry languished on the sofa for days and dishes stayed in the dishwasher longer than they should have. Not ideal, but oh well. There’s a pandemic on. Be kind to yourself, kittens.
Someone turn this saga into a movie, right away. Part 1 and Part 2.
Climate change models have been predicting this for literal decades and speaking collectively, we have avoided doing anything meaningful to prevent it. It is now going to be catastrophically costly, but in terms money and human life and capital, to respond to.
“At a time when the majority of Americans support gay rights, more than half a decade after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it’s clear that a growing percentage of the U.S. population identifies as LGBT, Gallup’s researchers said. What’s less clear is why. Is it because of a real shift in sexual orientation and gender identity? Or is it because of a greater willingness among young people to identify as LGBT?” Great piece from the WaPo about changing gender and sexual identity, a complicated topic.
And while we’re at it, your notions of non-heteronormative identity (specifically trans and non-binary) may have some toxic prejudices lurking in your psyche…which you may not even be aware of! That’s okay, most of us have implicit biases of which we’re not even aware, much less aware of how they got there. If you’re interested in how the most common assumptions about trans identities wended their way through pop culture and possibly into your brain…media critic Lindsey Ellis is here to blow your mind:
The best description I have for my ovearching feeling about Trump is contempt, he’s so pathetic and unworthy as both a person and a leader that I’m loathe to give him more credit than he’s due (even though I believe he’s responsible for so much damage). But I have no hesitation in saying that I hate Minority Leader McConnell. He’s very good at wielding power, and is a savvy politician, for which even I can admit to having a bizarre sort of grudging respect for sheer Machiavellian instinct. Years ago I told my brother that I thought he was the most important politician in DC and I stand by that…which is why I hate him so much. I hate him for choosing power over principle and if not embracing then condoning the very worst in our society if it kept him in power. More than anyone else in the Trump years, he could have chosen and steered a different path for our institutions, and every single time he didn’t. And even now, he tries to thread this needle as though the timing of the Senate trial wasn’t dictated by himself and I hate him for it.
Tl;dr: McConnell is clearly pulling a Ceasar as told by Sallust…and yeah, how did that go in the long run, Julius?
More important Black History Month journalism, this time first person slavery accounts. I find it jarring but vitally important to see images of former slaves taken in the 20th century, similar to Civil War vets driving around in Model Ts. We are not nearly as far away from this history as people find comfort in thinking we are.
Much like Rush Limbaugh in passing, he deserves the derision he’s getting NOT because it’s fun to whale on people. Even if Senator Cruz seems to have made himself so unpleasant that even his allies have very little to say that’s positive about him. It’s because when you make it your entire lifelong career and personality to take public and powerful positions, and use actual power to back those positions ups, your actions and behavior can and should be judged against that body of work. And if the lens of attention is harsh, that’s truly on you to examine why that may be and make choices accordingly. Either do better, or double down into your own villainy; repent or commit. But for god’s sake stop whining to us all about cancel culture in bad faith.
Speaking of media literacy, journalist specializing in the topic of misinformation Charlie Warzel has a fascinating piece on the subject that made me think this week:
Hi darlings, your internet aunty is deep in the throws of a depression spiral over here, so this note won’t be as perky or as snappy as usual. Like everyone else, I seem to have hit some kind of horrible wall recently. Must be the upcoming one year anniversary of our LATEST bout of existential threat or something. Seasonal depression, meets pandemic depression, meets normal depression.
In between multiple bouts of crying every day, I’ve slapped together a surprisingly good bunch of links for your reading pleasure. Seriously, there is a lot of great and fun stuff for you this week, just in case like me you are completely unable to summon any serotonin.
The Senate of the United States, having a normal one over here…
My long term thirst for Henry Cavill over most of the competition was and remains solid evident of my good taste. And is there any more petty but thrilling pleasure than when your aesthetic preference is also acknowledged to have been The Correct Choice? It’ so satisfying. The Man From UNCLE is still a great and underappreciated movie, though.
As per usual, Ronan Farrow (speaking to Amanour and Company) breaks down the differences in the insurrectionist mob of January 6th, what separates them, and what unites them in thoughtful and accessible ways. Worth a watch:
Anti-Asian racism and racist incidents are on the rise, including for Pacific Islanders and many ethnic and racial groups that come under that broad category. Don’t forget that we can and must advocate for several communities individually as well as under broad umbrellas such as “immigration” and “people of color.” If your privilege protects you against certain bigotries, stand up for individual communities as well as broad groups. These are not mutually exclusive.
Ignoring the headline, which I expect will put some people off, this is an excellent discussion on the role of conservatism can play in preserving democracy or breaking it. Ardent and die-hard leftist that I am, I actually agree with the thesis that it’s the behaviors of the right that really determine the path of governments because they are often the institutional guardians of what we retain and why, while the left’s role is (broadly speaking) to push for change. Both of the institutional tensions need to exist in healthy ways for democracy to work.
Good. Because I have no faith that the Senate will impose any consequences. Literally none.