Category: Humor

Weekend Links – Expletives Abound

It’s been another rough week, kittens. Have some links to help make sense of the world and zoom out from the individual things that might be stressing you. Also, should you be so inclined, check your voter registration, request your ballot, and donate to a cause you care about. For me it was ActBlue’s “Get Mitch or Die Trying,” for what by now should be obvious reasons.

Cool archaeological news!

BLEEDING HELL

The Venn Diagram of those who think climate change is a hoax and those who oppose immigration is largely a circle. One of these perspectives is going to HAVE to give.

The problem of pandemic commerce doesn’t lie simply with low supply or high demand. Instead, the coronavirus has eaten away at the entire system by which things are bought and sold in America, and few signs of improvement are on the horizon.”

The president also expressed surprise that Washington could not demand payment from the companies in exchange for approving any agreement.” Because that’s called corruption, my dude.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s America’s–oh no!

Speaking of image control, Emily Ratajkowski penned an incredible essay this week. Major trigger warning.

Fascinating piece on consumer behaviors right now, and something that is probably extremely good for society and the planet whilst being extremely bad for the economy. Which is kind of the thing our political system is struggling with right now: the literal choice between lives and GDP.

This is both extremely interesting from a scientific and cultural perspective and very gratifying for someone who thinks that all the odd Nordic worship of some of the weirder portions of our society could use this little reality dose.

FUCK.

May her memory be a revolution.

No shit.

No shit again.

Understanding “flat earth,” how it rose and propagated, how it evolved, how algorithmic media fed it, and how it’s not actually about the shape of the earth is…really helpful in understanding a lot of other things in our media right now. From memeification, gameification, collective identity and media as community, the pervasiveness of apocalyptic thinking, and what happens when people have to justify the impossible and need a reason for why the world is the way it is. (Spoiler, it’s not just about flat eartherism.)

Weekend Links – My Dog Died

I’m having another week where trying to keep up with the cascade of bad feels like it takes too much. Britain COVID cases are trending up again, wildfires plus plague plus civil unrest in the US, really scary protests in Europe against authoritarianism, 9/11, malignant incompetence made worse by deliberate misinformation run rampant–and no one is being held accountable for any of it. I’m exhausted.

And then my family dog died this week. And for all of the above plus a heaping dose of sadness, this just ENDED my siblings and I when my mom told us. There were a lot of tears, lots of story swapping and commiserating across three continents. She was an animal with a lot of personality and character, and she was our dog for 16 years. Even Jeff really loved her and shared a ton of photos with us.

She was old and we knew she was going to go soon, but losing this little neurotic goofball bloody hurts extra hard.

She knows of which she speaks.

The legend of Mulan has evolved to fit the times. Doesn’t mean the movie is particularly good.

Radicalization is the same, whether ISIS or hypernationalist militias. There is. No. Difference.

END THIS RIDICULOUS FAKE “TRADITION.”

Philanthropy is no substitute for the collective civic investment that is…taxation. We badly need to rewrite the narrative on taxes. Taxation and the subsequent allocation of monies by a democratically elected body is not theft, it is not punitive, and it’s not something to find loopholes to get out of. It’s the literal costs of running a collectively beneficial society. Tax the rich, tax business, simplify the code and close loopholes. And for the love of god stop asking “but how will we pay for xyz” in bad faith.

Clearly, there’s a sinister side to memes that requires unpacking.”

So…a government function is going to be deployed for the defence of the President in his capacity as a private citizen

And look, more whistleblowers.

And look, more manipulated information.

We’ve known this was coming for years, and still the images are wrenching. And yeah, where will we go, indeed?

I really love Anne Helen Petersen’s writing, her personal work as much as her reporting, but her latest newsletter was rough again because I think she nailed the sensation of trying to comprehend and compartmentalize time and information in an overwhelming year. “The past year has been an exercise in mass compartmentalization: how can you take what’s happening around you, flatten it, then divide it into small enough sections that you can endure it? If you can just get through the summer, you’ll be okay. If you can just get through the week, you’ll be okay. If you can just get through the day, the afternoon, the hour.”

Oh dear, Posh is going to take more of my money again.

Fucking GOOD. Finally.

As per usual, Dr. Blyth sums up a lot of my frustrations.

How to help victims of the US wildfires.

The Year of Back to Basics: Summer Edition

Yikes, fam, I’ve not updated against this in a long time. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s kind of a lot on!

Let’s whiz through this, okay?

Money

My credit rating is officially “Excellent” and we’re nearly out of credit card debt. It should be gone before the end of the year.

 

Relationships

This summer I’ve actually been doing a lot more chatting and bonding with my siblings, even though we are literally scattered across three continents right now. I’ve not been as good a friend as I would wish and am definitely going to correct that moving into fall.

 

Basic Bitch

My weight continues to bother me, but I’ve made some minor lifestyle adjustments that I hope will have some positive impact. There’s a pandemic on, ya know? I’m not happy with my weight, but I’m also not going to beat myself up about it more than is healthy.

 

Elsewhere

Reading for pure, unadulterated fun. I’ve downed a political biography of Putin, discovered and devoured a new romance author, and am currently making my way through the hilarious Kevin Kwan’s latest. Read everything, kittens.

Currently I’m doing a no-buy challenge with X. — who, let the record show — has already broken hers! But it was for a thrift store find of a “Knives Out” style sweater so we shame her, but we also forgive her.

Double checked my voter registration.

Listened to albums.

Swapped over my wardrobe for the encroaching cool weather – I’m delighted!

There, now that we’re through that, what do we think about goals in the year 2020? I swing back and forth between thinking they are valuable and useless this year. I honestly can’t decide if it’s healthier to accept the losses of this year or rage against the dying of the night, or whatever.

 

 

Five Things I Loved in August

Another month down in the embodiment of chaos and weirdness that is 2020, kittens! What’s kept you perky and cheerful in spite of…everything?

 

Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip Pencil in Shade 2

I’ve surrendered to the fact that masks mean curtailed lipstick wearing. This is tantamount to an identity crisis for me, as any longtime minion will know, but needs must. I’ve been reaching for this lip pencil instead because it makes me feel like I’m still making an effort (types the woman who gave her hair a blowdry for the the first time in weeks just because she and her husband were going to a pub!).

 

Saint and Sofia Trousers

Are you quarantined, working from home, or just generally locked in? Are you avoiding stepping on a scale? Do you need to look decent on Zoom calls while still being outrageously comfy? Ladies and gentlefolk, Saint and Sofia produces pants that look like trousers but are made from knitwear and don’t look like joggers. I bought a pair months ago and it’s been one of the better wardrobe investments of this year.

 

 

Unmentionable, by Therese Oneil

A hilarious, blunt romp through practical women’s history. For anyone who has ever watched a BBC bonnet and corset and sighed for a simpler life, this is required reading. From arsenic in your face cream, to the many household items which could inadvertently maim or maul you, to the sheer scale of the everyday filth, it makes you grateful for the basics…like suffrage, hygiene products, and legal autonomy.

 

Objects of Crisis, The British Museum

So many cultural heritage institutions have been committed to connecting their work to the masses, even in the midst of a pandemic and I’ve particularly enjoyed The British Museum’s YouTube series on objects from their collection that stem from personal or civilization crises across the ages.

 

Batch Cooking

We bought an InstaPot prior to lockdown but it and our KitchenAid have had more playtime in the last six months than I can count. Nary a week has gone by where I haven’t batch cooked at least twice in the last month. Here are some of my favorite recipes, please send me more.

Weekend Links – #BLM, Baby Yoda, or GTFO

I’m not sure what it is about shorter weeks that somehow twist the fabric of the spacetime continuum to feel twice as long, but this week was definitely one of those. I’m staying mostly logged off to preserve my own sanity after another bonkers roller coaster ride in 2020, but rather than just spew unfiltered rage, I’ve made a deliberate attempt to provide you an extra heaping dose of style and pop culture. We’ve got a lot on fashion and style because we need beautiful things to look at and think about, in between bouts of sharpening our pitchforks and ensuring we retain and use our rights to vote.

I thought I was alone! (Seriously, I hope I never meet our downstairs neighbors who I must regularly traumatize with my constant klutziness, especially my phone or water bottle, and usually out of reasonable hours. I cringe at just the thought of encountering them in the stairwell.

Well, this is just heartwarming.

Feel like everything you see on your social media feed is the same? You’re not crazy. And we all might be sick of it.

What a great and interesting project! It’s always fascinating to see icons or iconography made human.

Yes, I will watch the crap out of this film. Mary Anning doesn’t get nearly enough playtime.

Major world events trigger fashion changes, so what do we think is going to be the post-COVID style leap?

His artistic work is the loss, but TLo did a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman’s beautiful personal style and retrospective of how he opened up fashion for men in a big way.

Damn, Refinery29 pulled out the stops on this one!

Every brand is a media brand in 2020.

Damn it. I think I need to learn how to sew

BAD. Bad for the whole international military and supportive communities. BAD.

No one:
Literally, no one:
Not a soul:
Donald Trump: I DIDN’T HAVE A STROKE!

Grim. Grim and horrible.

Cool. We’re doomed. I look forward to the entire political right pivoting to caring about debt again – depending on the outcome in November.

In slightly more uplifting new, a meme accomplished something good!

I fucking hate him. I really, really do. And I cannot understand the mental gymnastics required to continuously justify the stream of petty cruelty, selfishness, incompetence, UNFIT filth and enablement that flows from him without any consequence.

Who else but Lindsay Ellis could possibly delve into the world of bizarre fanfic erotica and the legal implications of the federal court case that ensues and keep the whole thing not just SFW, but an examination on the difference between genres, tropes, and copyright claims:

 

Oh thank god. I need this. WE need this.

And yea, if you were still wondering for some reason, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Weekend Links – Wakanda Forever

So. This week. Major party convention machines took over or merged with federal operations with zero opposition. Wildfires AND hurricanes are raging. Civil unrest continued due to a fresh round of atrocities. Protests in Europe against authoritarian regimes, and what we can reasonable assume is the attempted murder of a major Russian dissident. COVID cases spiking again. Travel restrictions amping up in response. Schools trying to educate online, disrupting working families (especially women). Workers are being hustled back to work not because it’s safe but because the ripple effects of COVID are spreading and we’ve all collectively decided that the economy requires blood sacrifice.

It’s a lot.

This week’s link roundup is a bit heavy, but as always there are a few smatterings of humor to help leaven the sadness. Stay focused on the problems, stay committed to solutions. Take responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of your fellow humans – wash your hands, wear a mask, defend their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as much as you would defend your own.

The sheer cosmic luck and accident that allowed this to happen delights and impresses me.

Second verse, same as the first.

…Donald Trump’s party is the very definition of a cult of personality. It stands for no special ideal. It possesses no organizing principle. It represents no detailed vision for governing. Filling the vacuum is a lazy, identity-based populism…’Owning the libs and pissing off the media,’ shrugs Brendan Buck, a longtime senior congressional aide and imperturbable party veteran if ever there was one. ‘That’s what we believe in now. There’s really not much more to it.’

This is good. We need to reconsider how we write algorithms and what human biases have gone into the codes that came before.

Hoo boy.

For fucks sake, enough. How much more evidence do we need about systemic problems?! How many more protests is it going to take?! (How you can give to the family.)

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How you can give to help people affected by Hurricane Laura. (Minor positive note: nature is healing.)

Never underestimate the ability of one or two people to do amazing good, or outrageous harm.

I pile on Utah a lot, but this is unequivocally good and a standout perspective among institutionally conservative states. It advocates for mail-in voting and enables it.

We NEED to understand the insidious overlap of violent misogyny, violent racism, and violent nationalism. In huge numbers, the venn diagram is a circle.

Perennial topic of interest in Small Dog Nation.

Jeff is the NBA fan in our household, and a lifelong Utah Jazz devotee. He opened my understanding to the political clout and cultural influence of the NBA in a way I didn’t really get since my family is not at all sporty. Learning the difference between sports leagues and how they use their influence over the last few years has been interesting, and of course the tides are shifting all the time…but at the moment I’m pretty sure the NBA is doing more to provide safe voting in November and invest in Black communities than our actual Congress.

Baseball showed up. And ironically set us all up for some devastating news…

What a horrible loss! You only need a cursory glance at social media to see the impact he had in his career and how much his portrayals of Black icons meant to the community. To learn he did his widest reaching and most physically demanding work while battling cancer…no words. Rest in power. Wakanda forever. (On creating a character’s voice, why Black Panther matters, spreading joy.)

Speaking of Black icons, let’s remember the anniversary of the March on Washington.

And finally, let’s have a laugh.

Sunday Check In: Home Investments During COVID

Alright beloveds, confess: what have you acquired over the last six months that is definitely due to COVID and why? Was it through shopping, swapping, or borrowing? Have you picked up a hobby only to abandon it, or are you now a certified expert? Have you “nested” during this time or become a die hard minimalist? What have you picked up for yourself or your family?

More houseplants. Can’t get a pet yet, so I spent about £20 on additional plants and my urban jungle brings me joy. Jeff likes to mock my black thumb but thus far I’ve only killed ONE. We’re in lockdown but I’m growing a neat little urban jungle to compensate.

A Dyson cooling fan. Every single year without fail, there is one week in August where London becomes unbearable. The air is stifling and stagnant with heat, the wind dies, and it’s generally just miserable. Now, in normal years you might be on holiday, you may be working from an office (more likely to have an air conditioning or cooling system than the vast majority of British apartments), you may be able to go out to a park and lay out in the sun with as few clothes on as legally permissible. But this year, nope! We all just had to sit around and stew in our own sweat. So we splashed out for a fancy, expensive fan to try and just get some airflow in the midst of a pretty brutal heatwave. With September creeping up and the worst of summer’s heat hopefully past, I’m hopeful that we’ll be trading fans for jumpers soon.

Kitchen knives. We’re cooking and baking much more, and so we finally replaced some pairing knives that we lost years ago, and bought higher quality chopping knives as well.

A new Yoga mat with slip control. My exercise habit has been inconsistent but at it’s best, I definitely needed an option that didn’t send me careening across our living room when I tried to do a downward dog.

A Le Creuset dutch oven and I feel like a REAL, LIVE GROWNUP NOW. This has long been a wishlist item of mine but could never justify the price until quite suddenly one was on terrific discount online and we just bit the bullet and bought it. And then we immediately used it to make the most decadent ragu I’ve ever had to christen it. I’m already scheming to master french onion soup next.

Cute underwear. Let’s be honest, this is a year where even if you were perfectly happy and healthy, you’ve probably still had whole weeks go by where you’ve felt like utter trash. I find that on of the things that helps me feel better is to look nice on purpose, and that starts from the skin out. I’ve been slowly making over my underwear drawer over the past year and a couple of lockdown purchases have been pretty underthings from independent British sellers, locally made, sustainable/ethical by design, and cute as hell. Feel good, support small businesses in a time of crisis, shop ethically. Everyone wins.

Linen sheets. Cool, clean, comfy. End of story.

Obviously, all the privilege caveats apply here. Clearly this was spread out over many months and I feel obliged to confirm that, in line with our other projects, we are making huge progress with our financial goals. But some of these were expensive…and none of them I regret. I’ve enjoyed our focus on cooking and kitchen experimenting, and while inconsistent I’ve been able to focus on health in different ways.

I’m fortunate to have had a job during this time and while I have a reasonable expectation of staying employed, 2020 has been a bitch of a year and I take nothing for granted anymore. It’s why we’ve been throwing as much money as possible at our debt and squirreling away extra money into an emergency fund, writing transparently on financial goals and choices helps keeps me on track.

Weekend Links

This has been a crazy week. Work is nuts, the world is nuts, everything is nuts. But I remain thrilled about a few things, incensed about others. Share the news that made you sit up and take note this week in the comments, my doves. I love you all.

The Democratic Convention happened this week and it was surprising good given the myriad technical limitations, and downright creative in others. PBS NewsHour has the videos, including the speeches. The best piece of political theatre and sheer delight (thin on the ground in our current political times) was undoubtedly the rollcall!

Also, shoutout to Vote from Abroad for my fellow expats voting from afar – register, request your ballot, submit it early either by mail, email (if your state allows), or by checking out your embassy website.

What is COVID doing to the fashion industry? Lots.

Nope. Nope nope nope.

Several months old now, but I found this piece an interesting and bolstering read.

So all the obfuscations, the AG’s testimony, all the posturing…once again confirmed bullshit.

While Mueller received all the hype, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence kept its head down.”

A few pieces on one of my favorite themes: you need to understand online, meme, and fan culture to understand almost everything about the modern media and political landscape
1. Gaming and conspiracy theories
2. The role of Instagram aesthetics in spreading disinformation
3. Algorithmic media and the spread of bad info
4. Algorithmic media and the bizarre cult of personality/conflict (and its limitations)
5. Shutting the barn door, etc. etc.

these children look identical to me… (which is not at all the point of the story, but was a fact I got stuck on over and over again whilst reading the piece.

We’ve all but decided to pursue dual citizenship because we are increasingly persuaded that an American identity is more of an international hindrance than a help. Because yes, “America First” does kind of equate to “America alone” and I don’t trust enough of my countrymen to reach this conclusion quickly enough to avoid generational damage that I’d not to have to live with or pass on to any hypothetical children.

Most of the problems with our media landscape, summarized.

Hey look, some good news from the UK.

You love to see it. (ETA: IT WAS THE POSTAL SERVICE! THIS SEASON OF THE APOCALYPSE IS BRILLIANT!)

What is behind the “Karen” meme? An awful lot and understanding it is important. (Again, you HAVE to understand meme culture to understand any kind of discourse now.)

It’s been a while since J. Crew was in the news for a good reason, but more of this please, capitalism.

Eyes on Belarus, everyone, and support the citizens challenging the push of anti-democracy.

You have a whole bunch of people in the Senate posturing for 2024 rather than governing for the crisis we’re in.” Yeah. I buy this take.

These cretins aren’t even trying to hide it.

London (and other cities) are gonna change.

Okay team, this has been a bit of heavy post so let’s end with our Pop Goddest Whomst We Stan Carly Rae Jepsen and this blessing of a summer bop!

Weekend Links – LET’S GO!

This week we’ve had a heatwave, intense thunderstorms, political news, media watching, and a few smatterings of fun and whimsy. It must be the weekend links roundup, kittens! Check in with the coterie in the comments and let’s hang out.

WE’VE GOT A TICKET. I’m not counting any chickens before November, but I think the Biden/Harris team came out of the gate strong and cut straight through lot of the (expected) racist and misogynist reaction at the start. Let’s go!

Trump said, out loud and in a public interview that he got rid of the head of the FBI because of the Russia investigation. This week he said, out loud and in a public interview, that he’s trying to sabotage the US Postal Service to give himself an electoral advantage. And of course, there are no consequences because the right is complicit or willing to benefit and the left is functionally useless due to ceaseless infighting. Twitter is nuts with rage, but the only hope is Nancy Pelosi’s spine holding.

We are not ready for how ugly November is going to be.

In an era where the media does more amplification than fact checking – again, across the political spectrum – we may be in an uncomfortable place of having to use different institutions to question truth claims. Since we’ve rejected science (lefty anti-vaxxers as much as righty climate change deniers), education (lefty liberal arts and righty social sicences), and consensus (…Twitter) maybe the solution is legal rather than persuasive. Maybe.

Will be interesting to see what happens to TikTok over the coming months, and this latest twist would be intriguing. Given the differences between platforms and their various attempts to build a monopoly and respond to a changing media landscape, Twitter v. Facebook continues to be the top story. Facebook/Instagram have rolled out their TikTok competitor Reels in the last couple of weeks and the jury is still out. Meanwhile, also on Facebook…

It’s a cult.

This piece is three years old and I literally think about it about once a week.

I’m seeing a lot of this from my mormon friends and loved ones in particular and it makes me want to scream. Not least of all because the majority of the people sharing it have had precisely zero interest in activism until suddenly BLM gets up and running. My cynical brain cannot help but feel this is another extension of the (stupid) culture wars, where you assign your attention not so much to support one cause as to refuse to support another. Child victimization is an ugly blight on our society, and it IS a real threat…but it’s worth consider who is only raising their voices about it now, and why, and based off of what information. Because we live in the darkest timeline and you have to check yourself to ensure you aren’t accidentally feeding a cult.

What on earth is wrong with us as a society?!

The last thing we need is another huge environmental disaster this year…one to watch and plan ways to support cleanup efforts and accountability measurements.

Is London still “worth it?” More than a few people I know are debating this within their families right now and to me it’s another example of how long a tail COVID is going to have for population and demographic changes over the coming years.

Excuse me, how did I fail to follow this year’s Tiny Desk Contest?!

Ezra Klein is a very thoughtful and thorough interviewer, able to articulate his own positions and biases, and giving his guests space to articular their own. This recent episode had me gripped because yes, it supports my own opinion, but the fact of who is doing so and how is incredible.

SHE DESERVES.

Has anyone ever successfully stopped biting their nails? What do we think of this as an idea?

What a glorious labor of love this is: a massive compendium of cookbooks across the ages!

FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast is live and is designed to be informative as to how models work as much as report latest updates- since a lot of people didn’t get it four years ago. It’s instructive and transparent in how it works, what it measures, and predictive logic. Horserace commenced.

The only thing I will say about Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s gloriously filthy new single.

I saw a description of the combined line of attack towards Harris as “misogynoir” and yep, that about sums it up. It took less than a day for “birtherism” to rear it’s head again, evolving to suit the landscape. The claim that Obama might be illegitimate has become that (according to some) Harris SHOULD be illegitimate. Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institute nails it:

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A not at all controversial rant about a totally bland topic…

Whew, okay. It’s been a while since my last religious hot take, but an article is making the rounds this week in the Mormon world and I have way too many thoughts about it to just add it to the next Weekend Links roundup. And since I’m trying to post more often, let’s have a very cool and calm discussion about a not-at-all-controversial topic: mormonism and polyamory. 

This is the article in question. And honestly? It irritates me. Admittedly I’m not an unbiased observer, but it lacks a self-awareness that I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about.

Why, you ask? Let’s set some priors. I’m personally monogamous and have no interest in polyamory…but I am formerly Mormon, and Mormonism has a sticky, complicated history with “alternative” marriage structures. We’re kinda famous for it. In the nineteenth century we fled the then-borders of the United States in order to practice polygamy openly, fought a small “war” over it when the federal government tried to exert control over the territory, and only gave it up when it became a bar to statehood – and even then an awful lot of people kept up the practice on the sly, often with fairly senior leadership being party to it. Most of the more fringe LDS splinter movement (such as the FLDS group last headed by the horrific Warren Jeffs) broke away from the main church at this point because to them abandoning “the principle,” as they call it, was heretical beyond belief and they refused to do it.

Polygamy’s long shadow still informs politics in Utah, is still cited in changes to church policy (the infamous change which required the child of gay parents to “reject” their parents lifestyle before being able to be baptized in the church is based on an identical procedure for the children of polygamist parents), and I would argue still colors the patriarchal culture of the church from top to bottom. Sidenote, let me point you to the excellent public history podcast project, The Year of Polygamy which explores this topic from every possible angle.

Also, let’s be clear, while the church may have “banned” the practice in the late nineteenth century (and really only enforced it from the early 20th), it is still uncomfortably present in Mormon theology. And sorry, anyone who says otherwise is being disingenuous.

This all comes down to the Mormon view of marriage which includes a legal aspect and a spiritual one. It’s where these do and don’t overlap that things get complicated.

Let’s explain by an example: the current president of the church is currently married to his second wife after his first wife’s death left him widowed. Lovely and so far so normal, right? But according to Mormon theology, he will be married to both of them in the afterlife because he has been “sealed” to them in a Mormon temple ceremony which is considered the most sacred ordinance in the faith.

Oh. Okay, let’s dive into the details.

Men can be “sealed” to multiple women, but women can only be “sealed” to one husband. This has to do with the gendered and patriarchal structure of the church and is also a heritage of patriarchal polygamy where a man could have multiple living wives at the same time. But that was in the 19th century, right?

Well…that depends on a few other factors too.

Now if you happen to be legally divorced, your “sealing” isn’t automatically cancelled. You have to seek the church’s permission, much as you’d have to do with annulling a marriage in the Catholic tradition, and this was historically discouraged because of the value Mormonism places on a sealing. It is considered a binding oath and the glue that keeps a family together in the hereafter. Also, you can’t get into the highest levels of heaven without it. So if your temporal marriage breaks up, the church’s position was to keep the sealing intact to avoid allowing you to be doomed to a less exalted fate.

So to a believer…you’re still married to that person and can look forward to an afterlife with them, regardless of what caused your marriage to end in the here and now. I can personally name a half dozen women I’ve known for whom this meant a huge amount of heartache because to them because they were “sealed” to abusive partners and were afraid of being trapped with them forever.

And what if you want to get remarried? Well, then you’ll have an easier time petitioning the church to void your first sealing so you can immediately jump into a new one. IF YOU’RE A WOMAN. A man doesn’t need to have his first sealing cancelled and can be remarried and sealed to a new spouse without admin headaches. In other words, he technically can be sealed to multiple, living women at the same time, which I would argue is kinda…polygamous.

And finally, if you’re widowed and remarried there’s not a lot of info about what your afterlife with plural wives (or what your life AS a plural wife) is going to look like. I know I’m writing anecdotally, but again I know a lot of women for whom this causes fear and pain, and both men and women for whom it’s a stressful and confusing topic. What if you’re a believer married to a non-believer and therefore unable to be sealed, does that mean you’ll be separated from your partner in the hereafter? What if you’re a second spouse and think you’re going to spend eternity in a polygamous family after being taught that monogamy is the only acceptable relationship your whole life? What if you’re a widowed man, delighted to find love after loss but don’t want to be sealed to your second wife out of respect for your first, are you condemning this woman to a lonely, subpar eternity?

It’s messy and it isn’t grappled with honestly enough, in my opinion. In my experience if you press most believers to explain how exactly the afterlife is going to work for these families, the response is “We trust god to work it out.” Cool, good luck. But that makes your claims about the necessity of the ceremonies in question a little less valid, at least to me. It’s a thread that the more I pull on, the more the whole patriarchal construct, biological theology, and gendered teachings just unravel. I don’t expect everyone to have the same experience, but that was certainly mine.

And so finally, we get back to this article and why it irritates me so much. Because the authors decry polyamory but don’t tackle their own cultural history of it, and the fact that a version of it is very much still alive and well and causing heartache. This article laments relationship dynamics which mean that one partner is dependent on another and can therefore be coerced into a non-consenual poly relationship… without acknowledging that the official stance of the church is that ideally, women SHOULD be dependent on bread-winning male partners for all their worldly support. So…this imbalance already exists in Mormonism (and is already horrifically exploited in far too many cases).

You can’t square this circle. You cannot insist on divinely appointed heterosexual monogamy, except when it suddenly turn poly and is somehow fine and acceptable. You cannot insist on divine gender roles and patriarchal leadership, and then tsk tsk about unequal family dynamics leading to potential harm.

Writings by Mormons invoking a moral worldview informed by Mormonism that don’t deal with the default polyamory inherent in their system while still trying to stake out a moral position against it make me grumpy. Yes, it’s deeply uncomfortable to deal with, as are a lot of historical legacies, but if you don’t do this work, it’s just Prop 8 and anti-LGBT rhetoric all over again. You are advocating for a version of a family that doesn’t hold up to your own theological and cultural scrutiny.

And if that makes you uncomfortable – GOOD. Sit with it a bit and interrogate why. You might have to confront some interesting thoughts as a result.

Basically, I wish to hell that Mormonism would just stop worrying about other people’s marriages as much as they do, and focus on the very real problems they don’t do enough to address in their own community. Some wise man once remarked on motes and beams, or something.