Category: Links

Weekend Links: How the Hell is it Already June, Edition

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”
– Al Bernstein

This was a short work week, and so I’ve mostly been head down and nose firmly to grindstone, ducklings. What did I miss?

[Scans news headlines. Screams into cushion for full five minutes. Rises and shakes self off in a supremely British manner.]

Okay. I’m caught up. Woof. Let’s just get to the weekend reading and sharing of good things, shall we? This weekend we’re brunching with friends, celebrating my birthday, soaking up the sun and yes…unfortunately doing a bit of work. C’est la vie. Share your favorite links and stories with me in the comments and tell me what nice things you are doing with friends, family, or your glorious self. Points for bragging!

First and foremost, happy Pride Month! I hope all in the community and allies are doing something absolutely joyous and fun to celebrate.

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The BBC is about to do it again!

The long term effects of male-preference is going to last for a least a couple of generations, and some sociologists have shown rises in crime or military activity alongside gender ratio imbalances this great. The cost for women is inevitably huge, with rises in trafficking and worse. But the honest question I have in reading so many of these stories is one of foundational math: if you and everyone else you know are having sons, where exactly do you think your grandchildren are coming from?

What a ride this tale was!

A delightful Instagram account for your delectation.

The absolutely galling shenanigans having to do with the USS John McCain this week are embarrassing. Not least of all because the administration tried to put the genie back in the bottle and declare the whole news piece “fake,” after administration official already confirmed it. And frankly, the most generous interpretation of the situation is still pretty bad.

Congress is the only check on the executive that we have in the US system. I feel that Mr. Mueller has made it clear that this is his formal position. His actions have been as per existing law. The trouble…is Congress. And the fact that rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

The systematic changes to how the US government is tracking and publicly reporting on climate change is bad. There is a great The Daily podcast episode on this as well that’s worth a listen.

I delight that someone has studied this.

The kids are alright.

You’re either on the side of women having autonomy over their own bodies or you’re not. It’s that simple.

It’s the end of an era! Sidenote, I definitely have an old iPod with a bunch of unsynced songs somewhere. I should dig that sucker out.

The census isn’t sexy but it’s important and there is a reason that conservatives are targeting it. And they ARE targeting it. Our saving grace may yet be that a lot of bad faith actors reveal themselves to be piss poor at covering their tracks in the end.

So clearly the other side thinks that event went really well.

What is it going to take?!

My people are a proud people, our culture a vibrant culture.

Our president is an idiot or a troll, and either option is Very Bad.

And finally, you cannot convince me that this wasn’t some kind of lifetime high for several people involved:

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Weekend Links

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Ducklings, I write to you from the comfort of my own desk as I took today off for an extra long Bank Holiday weekend. I’ve been working late most days for several weeks and Jeff’s schedule has been even worse by order of magnitude. My delightful near-impromptu romp to Italy with X notwithstanding, we continue to feel a bit run down and overextended lately. Hence an extra long weekend, and possibly the last one until the heady days of August.

Happy Memorial Day to American kittens, and enjoy the long sunshine to Brits and Yanks alike. I’ve pulled together a nice batch of weekend reading to take you through until Tuesday. Let me know what you’re getting up to in the comments, and share your favorites reads and finds from around the interwebs in the comments!

What must it be like to have leaders forced from office for this sort of crap? Sounds nice…

If you need a chuckle and enjoy people who in turn genuinely enjoy and revel in the weird things that give them pleasure, this one’s for you.

Go, girl!

Vanilla is not nearly as boring as it has come to colloquially represent.

Maybe let’s at least…try?

From the bottom of my heart, **** this guy.

A short but interesting video journalism piece on K-beauty, resistance, autonomy, and the strength of both personal and international soft power.

This is weirdly sad to me. There are almost no pristine places left to us.

Julian Asange is a bad guy, in my opinion. Full stop. But the way we prosecute him for his actions is going to be important and I’m afraid that the current indictments could open new precedents which could backfire on actual journalists.

Cool. What are you going to do about it, Representative?

What’s in a name? Turns out an awful lot, include podcast readability!

….yeah….

GIRL GANG GOOD NEWS MINUTE: Hannah’s second book cover has dropped and I cannot wait for you guys to read this absolute banger of a book! Revenge has never been colder or more sweet!

Very stable genius.” It really is extraordinary how almost uniquely good the Speaker is in getting under his skin. Why is that I wonder? Trick question, it’s because she’s a woman. (In related news, I’m already tired of 2020 bullshit. Here’s hoping we’re all a much better informed electorate this time around, because active misinformation and selective classification/declassification is getting weaponized in new ways.)

Well, it’s happened…and Britain is…the same, now? I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster of deeply disliking this leader’s policies and mandate, disagreeing intensely with her choices, and grudgingly feeling sorry for the absolute shitty hand she was dealt when a lot of people pushed buttons and scampered away from the subsequent explosions and messes. She was never going to get out of this job unscathed. If we get Boris Johnson as PM I will have to scream into a cushion for a while.

The pettiness is the point.

We will not go back.

Weekend Links

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

Darlings, I type this to you after a week spent preparing for and running a large work event. It went well, I’m delighted to say (notwithstanding a couple of technical snaffus that required MacGyvering mechanical fixes at 6:30 in the morning), but I am wiped after it.

Nonetheless, I have still whipped together a nice bunch of weekend links–because I love you, kittens!

I’ve spared you most American and British political news this week because it honestly makes me to angry. Instead I’ve bundled you up some reading that is a mix of tribute, lifestyle, weirdness that that jolly and uplifting standby: female rage in the face of attempts to control our bodies. All with a few chasers of wholesome loveliness to keep your spirits buoyed before we take to the streets.

She was a warrior in a cardigan.” I failed to include this farewell missive last week, which is criminal. She will be missed.

Patriarchy hurts everyone.

I’m hopeless, I guess, because I hate getting up in the morning.

…this is a thing?

HBO has chosen it’s attempt to keep the serial fantasy genre going once Game of Thrones ends this weekend. They’ve clearly spent the money on a good cast, but I wonder how this is going to work out. It’s an interesting move since I think the film adaptation of this didn’t do so well and the viewing public, being the fickle thing that it is, may be in the mood for something different than high fantasy.

Twitter is garbage but I’m never going to quit a site that gives me this:

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Bill Nye has snapped.

The food revolutions have not reached everyone equally. Well, except maybe the bad ones.

This is fucking scary. (It’s also not fucking surprising. Every single person who told us to “calm down” about Justice Kavanaugh or any of it can take a flying leap.

Because they are our bodies, it must be our choice. [uncensored images of postpartum women’s bodies in all shapes and sizes ahead]

Educate yourself.

…And then put your money where your mouth is.

Rebecca Traister, noted chronicler of women’s rage, its use in public life, and the many ways people try to use it to discredit the women feeling it, has some thoughts on this law as well as well as some solid advice. She does not disappoint. “…never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message. Consider that this is also what women and marginalized people are told all the time about their anger in general: that they should not express it, not let it out, because to give voice to their rage will distract from their aims, undermine them; that it will ultimately be bad for them. This messaging is strategic. It is designed to get angry people to keep their mouths shut.”

An honest to goodness charmer of a story!

Style matters, and style guides matter.

Gen Xers, you have been profiled.

Oof, just read me, why don’t you….

I can’t believe we have to say this in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2019, but vaccinate, people. We’ve been doing it for a while!

RIP.

And in related news, a lovely take on THAT Keanu pop culture moment.

Weekend Links

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” 
― Giuseppe Verdi

Well hi there, kittens! I took a break last week to run off to Italy with X in honor of our 20 year Friendiversary–a totally new holiday that I made up to commemorate two decades of pretty amazing friendship. We planned it a month ago and did it on the cheap, with budget flights and Airbnb, subsisting on pizza and cocktails. It was glorious.

I’m now back in the Big Smoke after a Neapolitan sojourn, riddled with anxiety about a big work meeting this week. All is back to normal. It’s also been another pair of jam packed weeks of news and as I type this I’m still catching up on it all. We had the Met Gala and a new squishy Royal Baby but on the other hand, the Trade War with China is back on, North Korea is firing missiles, there have been multiple mass shootings, Brexit is stalled with Prime Minister May being pressured to resign…

Doesn’t it feel like we’re just doomed to live 2017 over and over again at this point? What sick time warp are we stuck in?

This weekend we are getting our house back to rights, doing immigration paperwork some more, and trying to plan out our summer which now includes a family wedding! Nothing so constant as change, I tell ya. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.

Six months to the day after the largest antisemitic shooting in American history, another synagogue was targeted. I’m no longer surprised, just permanently heartsick… Antisemitism and Islamophobia are twin children of the same ugly, hate-filled rhetoric and fearmongering, and both are on the rise.

Interesting royal news this week, this time from Japan.

While I think it’s ridiculous that the Trump administration bowed out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner again, but the speech by historian Ron Chenrow is worth a watch which reminds us that we have always been fighting for the soul of America and the fight is renewed every generation.

What a headline! I couldn’t not read it with a teaser trailer like that, but luckily the payoff was well worth it.

This is both ugly and horrible, and so woefully executed as to be ridiculous. How is this incompetent troll not in jail? This is hardly his first rodeo.

Oh I just bet they did

Huh what now?

This was expected but still feels strange. I wonder what his long term legacy is going to be when we are a few administrations away from this present circus. What will his impact be then?

I am deeply and unrepentantly pro-romance novel. Therefore, how was so much of this interview a revelation: nine children, 179 novels, low caffeine!

Given how tight lipped the whole operation has been up until this point, it’s interesting to ponder on how this suddenly got out. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” (Read the text of the letter here.)

Another horrific school shooting, mitigated by one young person’s extraordinary self-sacrifice. May his memory be a blessing.

Mere days later, another shooting with another young person’s act of self-sacrifice saving lives. Such actions are both

“She says she knows she was a racist. She says that she has changed. And she’s ready to tell everything she knows.” This profile of a member of the alt-right media during its height, her personal ascendancy and subsequent reversal of fortunes is a fascinating read. Not least of all because many of the platforms it discusses have not disbanded so much as moved location in recent years. Radicalization is still happening.

People are trying to sell water. Again. And we’re trying to sell make up to men, but MANLY MEN. GRRR! Late stage capitalism is wild.

For the last time, TRUMP IS NOT A BILLIONAIRE OR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, HE ONLY PLAYED ONE ON TV.

What a ride this piece was

And in the world of Good News: adorable babies!

Powerful op-ed. “I don’t blame Mark [Zuckerberg] for his quest for domination. He has demonstrated nothing more nefarious than the virtuous hustle of a talented entrepreneur. Yet he has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice…There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.”

Goodness, this is bleak. My one consolation is that I’ve never used airpods once.

Speaking of tech…maybe we should listen to this woman. She’s gotten an awful lot right.

Congrats on doing the bare minimum

We have a new poet laureate!

Society is a-changing, and that’s impacting our living space.

There are only two episodes left in Game of Thrones, which has been a really important series in pop culture history. Unfortunately I, and a bunch of other people, think that the showrunners seem to be stepping all over the theses they’ve been serving us for the last several years. A big element of that is the (very sudden and not really internally consistent) pivots in the female characters. Tom and Lorenzo put this best in their last episode critique. Here’s hoping a show premised on subverting expectations pulls out a couple of whoppers this weekend.

Weekend Links

“The April winds are magical,
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden-walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson    

Happy weekend, my poppets. After two shortened weeks at work, it’s been a bit difficult to get into the groove and the weather has turned cool again, but we are soldiering through. Aided by a heaping dose of nerdery with the first “summer” blockbuster film and awaiting the next Game of Thrones episode with equal parts longing and dread! Other than that we are just catching up on lost sleep this weekend and cleaning our apartment like staid and steady grown ups. Laundry will no doubt feature heavily.

The news is once again a pile of angst-inducing horror, but I’ve tried to pull out some of the better reads on the internet for you this week to help make sense of it all. We have royal gossip, internet culture, linguistics, and comedy to get you through the weekend. Share your favorite finds from the online world and tell me what you’re up to in the comments.

Horrible…Holy Week this year has been filled with heartache…

It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.” Uh oh, has the latest backlash begun?

Incels genuinely terrify me, but this story of the evolution of this radical online community is gripping and informative. At the root of a lot of male radicalization (a growing global problem) is isolation, pain, and emotional mis-education. Couple that with human tribalism, the unique self-sorting mechanisms of online culture and good ol’ reliable misogyny and you get a toxic stew of resentment and rage. Marinate in that for long enough the oft blurred lines between “irony” or “trolling” and real life simply fade. It doesn’t matter if you really are a violent misogynist or just pretending to be one online…the acts of extremism are on the rise regardless.

Related to the above, as with so many things, women of color saw the dangers coming and tried to warn us. We need to shut up, listen, and learn as a society, we might yet save ourselves some future heartache.

Seems obstruction-y?

At some point I just need to accept that this blog will turn into a fan site for the Museum of English Rural Life. I love them.

I am both sicked and not surprised by this story

We are reaching an interesting point in society. Long able to avoid actual principled stands by being able to hide behind pseudo philosophy and jargon (radical transparency! Free speech! No political correctness!), we now have too many instances of bad faith from too many people and platforms which thrived by making those claims. We seem to be losing patience for it. Either you believe all violent extremism is bad, or you accept that some is more allowable (white supremacists) than others (jihadists). Either you believe you have the right to make judgements about what spaces you offer people, or insist that everyone participates and has the ability to do horrible things on your platform. Both options have positives and negatives. Both options have consequences. Both options will make you unpopular with some powerful people. Pick one anyway. That’s principle.

And to flip this on to consumers, we need to be thinking ever more critically about the platforms we are choosing. No one is forcing us onto Twitter or Instagram, but our voluntary participation is changing us anyway.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.

I want to befriend this absolute badass.

Fashion as a legal tool.

Yes, I have seen Avengers: Endgame and found it deeply satisfying. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is such an interesting narrative vehicle and with both it and Game of Thrones drawing down this season, I’m curious to see if pop culture will continue to live in this current space where worldbuilding and intersecting arcs last for years, or if we’re going to return to more standalone pieces of entertainment. Or indeed if something wholly new pops up!

Didn’t do the homework for Avengers? You’re covered:

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Fascination with the royal family being what it is, I think this take on the powers of optics to a group of people (particularly the women who marry in!) when you are often denied a voice is pretty spot on. And I for one think that at the moment those women are doing most of the heavily lifting for the brand of the monarchy while those to the manor born are making the job harder! (The latest tea, if you care about such things. I’ve said it before but it still stands, you could not have paid me to marry into this family!)

The medievalist/Game of Thrones crossover content I crave.

Weekend Links

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” 
― Arthur Miller

What. A. Week. I feel like I’ve been saying this every week for nearly three years, but so much is happening all the time that it’s head-spinning to try and keep up with it all. Between Beyoncé, cultural heritage disasters, the shenanigans of Trumpworld, and the long awaited release of the (albeit redacted) Mueller report.

It’s a long weekend with unusually good weather. I’m kicking up my heels in the sunshine and doing a bunch of reading (yes, including the report in full), and planning some quality time with friends and family. Share your plans, reading and otherwise, in the comments.

Notre Dame cathedral caught fire this week (Holy Week…). All credit to a human chain of people who worked together to save the artwork and relics of the cathedral’s treasury, and the fire brigade who helped to fight the blaze. At time of writing, while the damage is severe, there are reasons to be joyful about what has survived as well as mourn what’s been lost. An iconic and sacred place, holy to faith and beauty and transcendental light; there aren’t really words, but a few Parisians managed anyway:

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While we’re discussing places of worship…donations to three smaller churches deliberately burned by a racist arsonist welcome here. Notre Dame already has the support of the world, to the tunes of millions of Euros, but kindness is needed most on smaller scales.

Conspiracy theorists are trash.

It is christened!

Seems like a, pardon me, huge fucking deal.

Women across the country say: duh.

I recognize the challenges, but I think that a society-wide commitment to literacy and building it into the infrastructure of neighborhoods is a great idea.

This interview piece made the rounds last week, I think because as a self-own, it feels well-deserved.

If there is one thing we can’t stop following at Small Dog Headquarters, it’s the Saga of J. Crew. I’ve been personally invested for over a decade.

A deep dive into the mysterious case of Fan Bing Bing.

Now that Game of Thrones is back and singing its swansong, Vulture ask, “Have we reached the end of communal TV watching?” I wonder if this is more of an American problem than anything else? Britain, for example, has a core set of national channels that pretty reliably turns out shows that it feels like the whole country gathers to watch. Great British Bake Off, Broadchurch, Love Island…you can bet on at least one of these a year.

Speaking of, Game of Thrones being back means Gay of Thrones is back!

I have never once regretted my humanities degree. Not once. I will champion humanities and related education until the day I die.

This guy just barely got confirmed.

GOOD. I’m genuinely glad to see a Republican stepping in to compete with President Trump and wish him luck in promoting a more coherent set of priorities than sound bites, grievance, racism and isolationism. Someone needs to make this case.

I’m really pleased to see positive results so far from this experiment in a school serving parents as well as children. We need programmes like this explicitly designed to lift whole communities.

That…that is a big question….

More woes for Facebook (and this report not only that personal data was being made available not just for sale but as per the personal direction of the CEO based on his friendships is…oligarchy at work?).

There are a million hot takes on the Mueller report, but for my money, the only good initial takes are from legal professionals and not talking heads. The Lawfare one is long, but well worth the read. I for one am still working my way through the document and, surprise, my mind has not been changed: what is already in the public domain about this man and his entourage should have disqualified him from office long ago and the “best” defenses of his various malicious actions have been ignorance, incompetence, and that we shouldn’t worry because people didn’t end up following his crazy orders anyway. This has always been a matter for Congress–NOT the Attorney General. I fear Congress will do nothing.

On the other side of the spectrum, this is the kind of quality content I come to the internet for.

The world is not 100% trash this week, kittens! Beyonce dropped a concert album and a concert film/documentary, and though we are undeserving, we are grateful! It’s on Netflix, go partake of the Queen’s greatness.

Lizzo’s album also dropped. We are not worthy.

Weekend Links

“Words were so puzzling. Present should mean a present just as attack should mean to stick tacks in people.” 
― Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest

Poppets, I’m back! Jeff and I spent last weekend with friends in Portugal and had a delightful time away. Once I get my act together and all my photos downloaded you’ll get a proper update on Porto with highlights and recommendations. It will not surprise a single one of you to hear that a bookstore features heavily.

In the meantime, the world spun on with much to enjoy and much to horrify. As per usual, I’ve collected a cracking bunch of weekend reading to help sort through it all. It’s extra long this week to make up for my neglect of you.

This weekend the plan is to do some more immigration paperwork and final square away the final steps, enjoy the additional hours of sunlight and buckle up for the last season of Game of Thrones to start. Share your own links to your favorite stories or weekend plans in the comments.

 

This could not be more relevant to my interests if it tried!

The Scandinavians have solved all our linguistic problems.

Cry me all your tears, prudes and patriarchs!

Rise up! (It works.)

Sometimes, when I read a story about AI, I’m reminded that it took all of a day for some program or other to “learn” from Twitter and turn horrifically racist. AI isn’t going to save us, it’s based on code written by humans and we are phenomenally messy.

The dream!

I can’t tell if I’m interested in this or not. As per the current cultural moment and the [waves hand generally at the state of the world], I’m currently fundamentally uninterested in narrative arcs of men who, in response to trauma, inflict trauma on a whole bunch of other people but with whom I’m still supposed to empathize as the designated protagonist. Perversely, I have a lot more space for women pulling that exact stunt, I acknowledge the hypocrisy.

I have zero sympathy for former-Secretary Nielsen and am even less moved to read that apparently one reason she took so long to resign was that she worried about her post-administration reputation. Well…yeah? Her legacy is separated families and children in cages and repeatedly lying about the policies regarding it.

The carnage didn’t stop there, of course. My utter lack of sympathetic feelings aside, it is Actively Bad that the American government is currently stocked with “acting” post holders.

Meanwhile, the context to the reasons as to why President Trump wanted former-Secretary Nielsen gone is also Actively Bad. According to multiple press reports, she and her allies are seeking a PR rehabilitation and I am NOT interested. Several articles point to the fact that she was fired for refusing to break the law and should be applauded for that, to which: no. That is the bare minimum we require of our enforcement officers.

A fascinating conversation on who gets to claim music genres: do old categories even matter any more?

More on Fleabag in the upcoming Favorites post, I promise, but I really enjoyed this piece from the Financial Times’ arts desk on the art of artists walking away at the right time. British TV in particular gets this right much more than American, in my opinion.

Oh man, first a villains based makeup launch and now this icon gets some love! *Struts away singing, “Why don’t you do righhhhhhhht…”*

Important reporting on the difference between the online world and real world. This profiles the left, but I’d be curious to see a similar piece on the right, to be honest, as this isn’t a one sided phenomenon. As the barriers between internet culture and the tangible world become more complicated, it behooves anyone who spends time in any bubble to be aware of their own echo chambers. But it’s also worth remembering that those barriers are blurring and we ignore the online space at our peril…as we’ve seen all to often at our collective cost lately when it comes to radicalism.

Speaking of…Alexa, show me irony.

This story is WILD.

President Trump goes to Mount Vernon and his comments are that he could have “built it better and for less money.” I’m actually speechless…

We finally see the legendary event horizon. The universe is great, even if it sometimes looks like a Tolkien villain.

Julian Assange was arrested in London this week. Let’s recap.

How the heck did I miss this? Quick, to Greenwich!

A thoughtful take from Man Repeller that’s giving me cause for reflection: in an age of peak outrage, it’s not necessary to have a take or even an opinion on everything that crosses are collective desks and feeds.

Another really good profile from The Atlantic about the population of Trumplandia, this time about its de facto Second Lady, Ivanka. What she has left in order to transition from New York society to Washington D.C., whether it has been worth it, and whether that society will welcome her back again. Probably? Society, as the piece points out, is just about as hypocritical as politics.

Beverly Cleary is 103 today and is due all the adulation on her birthday. Ramona Quimby is the first character I remember reading as a child and identifying with. Ms. Cleary’s books were vital to my childhood and so many other’s and even written decades ago, they still feel deeply personal and current. Such is childhood and adolescence, I guess.

Guessing time, will this really be the last installment? Place your bets!

Thank god for good news and blessings! The Queen knew we would need this this week.