Category: Humor

Weekend Links

I did not watch the Coney Barrett hearings this week, and I only read recaps of the town halls. We sent off our ballots for early voting (I complain a lot about Utah but they have a great election system with copious public information resources for voters, and a robust and trusted system for remote and mail in voting).

Just over two weeks to go.

Admittedly I was a hormonal mess this week, but this kind agony aunt letter made me feel better about weight that I’ve put on during quarantine.

Bow, peasants!

My semi annual reminder as to why any wealth I accumulate will go to cystic fibrosis research and public broadcasting on my death.

Toxic masculinity kills men.

We stan this chonky king!

What the fuck?!

The world is not getting safer for LGBT people, which is why activists are scared and things like lifetime appointments to positions of power matter. Theocratic based rule or ideology is on the rise in secular countries and it’s frightening.

Here, let’s balance out some bad news with some queer love history.

At least he’s consistent at being The Worst. (His daughter agrees.)

It’s a cult.

Here’s hoping because another four years of this will exhaust us all.

A palate cleanser!

A telling sentence in this piece about alt-right darling Lauren Southern could easily be applied to almost any woman who achieves prominence in the manosphere (or any hyper conservative, gender traditionalist, or fascist movement): “While the alt-right’s men were forever putting Southern in her place, they simultaneously venerated her as a goddess.” It’s not inherently feminist to succeed as woman within a patriarchal system, especially if you intend to use your power to uphold that system (cough Amy Coney Barret cough!). And patriarchy may like female spokespeople, but by its nature, it is antithetical to actual feminine power.

Weekend Links

What a dumb week this was. That’s the thought I keep circling back to. The US president getting COVID? Dumb. Predictable and dumb. The ridiculous irony that he’s once again promising health care whilst his administration sues to remove Obamacare and protections for preexisting conditions in court, in the middle of a pandemic? Dumb. The spiking cases here in the UK? Completely avoidable and dumb. The debates? Exhausting and dumb. The racism and misogyny hurled at Senator Harris? Expected and horribly dumb. The looming Brexit smash up? Completely avoidable and dumb.

Why are so many people fighting so hard to get back to “the way things were” when it’s abundantly clear that the way things were wasn’t working? Not politically or economically, not socially or personally. We have a generational opportunity to think about how we might want society to work and push for it, and we’re mostly…dithering.

Dumb. Infuriatingly dumb. I’m fighting against cynicism by maintaining a sense of humor, but I’m more convinced than ever that so many of the challenges we face as a species are self-inflicted and perpetuating. Because we’re dumb.

To be fair, this comes after a particularly grueling week at work where I’m really pleased with my team’s professional efforts and simultaneously dispirited when I raise my gaze beyond my own sphere of influence. So as always, here are a few of the things that caught my eye on the interwebs this week. Share your notable finds in the comments!

How do you adjust to an ever-changing situation where the ‘new normal’ is indefinite uncertainty?”

A love story for the ages.

Once again, we could have made, and yet could make, different decisions when it comes to media literacy and disinformation. We choose not to.

Though hopefully this may be changing? (The damage has very much been done.)

Because people are doing more of this shit.

Too many things are going backwards, and too much damage is being done. It’s not equivalent and the trends are not even across the board, so this summary of the World Bank report on the rise of poverty is useful.

Trolls are people too. But the damage they do is real.

When no clear, authoritative source of truth exists, when uncertainty rages, human nature will lead many people to seek a more stable reality by wrapping themselves in an ever-tighter cloak of political, religious, or racial identities. The more uncertainty rises, the more alluring that siren call becomes. And some Americans are responding by seeking out exclusive, all-encompassing identities that are toxic and fragile—and hold the seed of violent extremism.”

He’s untrustworthy and financially suspect. He has been for decades. And no one in power seems to care enough to do anything about it or how it’s pushing us towards kleptocracy.

And in news that I cannot believe someone had to produce but is probably a good idea to share: what to do if illegal militiamen show up at your local polling station. Fuck.

The forced intimacy of island life means no street corner is anonymous.” Loved this music star profile.

This too is my most prominent political fear.

“Maybe you do not care much about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. The will reject democracy.”  David Frum, wrote in Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. I literally think about that quote at least once a week.

She’s back!

Weekend Links – 2020 has jumped the shark

This year has never been subtle but my god, this week. 

I feel you, parrot.

I also feel you, bears.

Goodness he’s bad at this

Until we prioritize things that have become considered “women’s work,” like providing care (child, health, senior, you name it), education, service work, and more as work that deserves more pay and benefits and respect, any system shock is going to disproportionately affect women.

Is John Mulaney a prophet or…?

Irony is dead. Just fucking deceased. If this were a TV show, we’d all be screaming at Netflix about how this plot twist is just unbelieveable/on the nose and has totally ruined the show. What a stupid year this is. 

In my continuing quest to spread the word that any understanding of our current media, political and cultural moment requires a high degree of internet literacy, a very good piece in The Atlantic

We were all standing there waiting on the photographer,” my father told me later on the phone. “And Mike said, ‘You know what she’s doing, don’t you? She’s going to wait until the three of us are dead and then she’s going to write about us. This is the picture that will run with the piece.’ ” My father said that the idea hadn’t occurred to him, and it wouldn’t have occurred to Darrell, but, as soon as Mike said it, they knew he was right. He was right. That was exactly what I meant to do. That is exactly what I’m doing now.

To the surprise of literally no one.

Meet the woman who should have been “China’s Matisse.”

Meanwhile, things here in Europe are going great, you guys. /sarcasm

Monday Links

I took the weekend off, kittens. There was too much bad news and my husband had his first non-working weekend in a month, so we watched a lot of TV, went out to dinner with friends and spent six hours eating, drinking and talking, and lazed about together. It was lovely.

But Monday waits for no man, so let’s get up and at it, team. The news is bad, our morale is hardy regardless. Here’s some reading to kick off your week:

You can be intellectually woke without being awakened to the largest truth: that we are all connected, enemies and allies alike. The United States is teetering toward authoritarianism. Are you still lecturing strangers on social media? Are you still shouting at a family member that they’re wrong? How is that working out?

This year is determined to kill off everything that once was good, isn’t it?

Except BTS, apparently.

ALLIE IS BACK, YOU GUYS!

Seriously, we’ve had four years to learn this and I’m shocked at how few people have: exposes don’t pose any threat to a tabloid figure. It’s literally their bread and butter. Failure to adjust accordingly has harmed us.

We’ve run out of humans to celebrate, so this is heroism now. Honestly, I’m fine with it. Hope he gets an extra large helping of cheese tonight.

Susan Orlean’s Twitter feed has been a source of lighthearted joy, and if you have no idea who she is, let me introduce you to the patron saint of pandemic drinking.

I’m really looking forward to AHP’s new book, and in her newsletter she talks about an area of burnout that I hadn’t even considered right now: the clergy. Like so many other professions, they are doing a 21st century job on 20th and sometimes even 19th century infrastructure and assumptions. What does that mean when you combine that reality with a sense of divine vocation?

This tale is a ride.

Sali Hughes on the pandemic, heels, age, and style evolution.

The New York Times got a hold of President Trumps tax information and are publishing a series of articles based on the investigation. Their opening piece is a summary of what information this does and does NOT give the public, and is a helpful primer. This is information that every other candidate offers willingly and his refusal has been a bone of contention for years. However the cynical part of me wonders what impact this is going to have. There has already been years of reporting about his losses, his confusing net worth, his shady business deals, more than enough to confirm to anyone paying the slightest attention that “he’s not a billionaire, he just plays one on TV.” This reporting delves more into some of these, but a lot of what’s laid out are known facts: bankruptcies, connections to foreign oligarchs with beyond shady ties, payments to family, write offs, facades to cover losses, and the fact that his political connections either from his campaign or now presidency are propping up his “empire.” Those who know, already know. And those who don’t care…don’t care. The more cult-y members of his base will dismiss any adverse information as false anyway, and too many of more establishment voters have already made their Faustian pact: put up with his hideous character and manifest unfitness so long as they get what they want out of him. This information doesn’t change that arithmetic.

Running a mask business.

The connection between loneliness and populism. This is a train of thought I hadn’t fully considered, but that makes perfect sense to me when you think about the demographics who are most likely to be populists (which come in both left and right varieties). We’re still only beginning to understand all the mental health concerns and psychology behind our cultural moment, but it’s not a coincidence that discussions of loneliness are a growing part of it.

Speaking of populism, history has a warning for us right now.

Related.

Rebecca Traister on the passing of RGB and female anger.

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.)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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.