Category: Links

A Double Weekend Links

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
– Henry James

Beloved ducklings, we have returned from the West Coast of the US, exhausted but unbowed. It’s been a bonkers couple of weeks and as I type the finishing touches on this, it’s barely the middle of the day in the US. Plenty of time for more crazy to happen!

However, the links wait for no man. I’ve compiled two weeks worth of reading to get you through the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. As always, some of it is political, some of it is social, some of it is chock full of jewels. We are a niche bunch, we in Small Dog Nation, but we know what we like!

Emerald. Engagement. Rings.

Britain and America aren’t ready for their next elections. Our understanding of our data, our electoral protections, are simply not robust enough…

When four to five generations ahead of you have succeeded, and you come along and fail, you don’t see it as not your fault. You snap.”

This longform piece is scary, but feels like required reading. This follow up piece regarding YouTube is also worth your time.

This is a global problem.

We’re having an important family fight in public as a a culture about what individual racism looks like (hello, two-year anniversary of Heather Heyer’s murder in Charlottesville) versus what systemic but more subtle forms look like. It’s an important fight and words matter. And everybody who wishes to be an ally to the marginalized needs to do some hard work of reexamining their own frailties and preconceived notions.

Brief pop culture interlude: what a specific set of limitations!

but I thought China was bearing the costs of these…?

This girl is magnificent and deserves all the laurels!

HAHAHAHAHAHA! First of all, good luck. Second of all, seems like once again conservatives don’t actually value half the things they claim to. Maybe we can stop taking most of them in good faith until they give us better cause to do so.

Seriously, you think people can police this? We don’t need (just) law enforcement, we need armies of therapists.

We live in the upside down.

I might be over-emotionally invested in this, but the trailer looks so good!

Oh, my youth!

Just as Americans today look back wistfully to the Founding Fathers as patrons of an age of rugged independence and virtue, so did the Founding Fathers look back with an equal wistfulness to the early years of Rome.”

I can’t with the QAnon conspiracy theories. I. Just. Can’t. However, this piece is a good reason why people like me should stop rolling their eyes and actually consider how and why this thing is as powerful as it is, lest we fall for something similar down the line. The metaphor in the piece is particularly clever and useful as well.

This is pop culture gold reading!

We don’t do enough thinking about the fact that humanity has only been a scientific blip, but this piece does a good start.

Simon Biles is a scientific marvel!

The 1619 Project is just as powerful and necessary as everyone says it is.

I have been thinking about the service industry a lot recently for many reasons, not least of all my professional background, and wondering about its relationship to growing wealth disparity, technology shifts, and basically the world at large. This piece from The Atlantic is timely reading. There are a lot of memes out there about “disruptive” companies and technologies basically reinventing age old concepts…are we doing the same with servants?

Elizabeth Bruenig’s latest for the Washington Post on Mr. Trump’s appeal to evangelical christian voters is brilliant–open minded, open hearted, and deeply insightful.

Farcical.

SAD, as his former boss would say.

I love fieldmice to an unreasonable and fierce degree.

The Amazon is on fire, people. (This headline is a metaphor for more than Balsonaro, of course.)

Miley Cyrus on her divorce: a surprisingly self-aware and well-adjusted sounding thread. Pop culture will never cease to surprise me!

What a great story.

Regarding immigration, I have always found it telling whom the crackdowns target. Seldom the owners of businesses who knowingly employee illegal workers, and often than the (usually poor, often marginalized, and by definition outside the normal resources to legal and social assistance) workers themselves. I can’t help but feel cracking down on the former is a better way to accomplish the goals without victimizing those whose vulnerability is already being turned to profit. Oh, you say that the pay is too poor to attract American workers? Excellent. Raise it. And let’s form some new unions while we’re at it. Oh, that will make our food more expensive you say? …yeah. That’s the result. Put your literal money where your mouth is if you hold these policies and deal with the consequences.

I spend a lot of time consuming beauty products, and reading and thinking about the industry. I’m not surprised to read that consumption trends are shifting, given the glut of product that has been thrown at us, and the whole new models of selling (social media influencer as a career) invented to do so. If we’ve reached peak makeup and peak wellness, peak skincare can’t be far behind…then what?

Meet the unfluencer, the person who makes me want to do the opposite of whatever she’s doing and throw out whatever I already own that she has posted about.”

Oh look. Monetary policy cannot fully compensate for diplomatic and trade batshittery. Huh.

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Weekend Links

“They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.” 
― Howard Zinn

Hi ducklings. It’s been another hard week for a lot of reasons. My country is struggling openly with the human cost of its original sin once again, and the price is devastating. I don’t really have much more to say than I continue to be disappointed with how many people have doubled down on their decisions to exploit the worst of human nature for personal and political gain. The vulgarity and cruelty of this was on display this week and the weight of it is exhausting.

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GOOD. For our next trick, let’s get the activists who campaigned for this out of jail and end guardianship laws.

Being a woman is absolutely exhausting. Yes, I recognize the privilege in this piece, but also the prison.

We must–MUST–be savvier about social media manipulation looking ahead to all future elections in the West.

If you have ever wondering about space imagery, have I got a vid for you!

We’re wonderfully innovative as a species. But we’re still [checks notes] running out of drinking water. From cities imposing water quotas to massive changes in climate and seasonal changes impacting our historic reservoirs…we are changing our planet and we are not doing the work as societies to adapt to that change quickly enough. We’re going to need to get really creative, really quickly.

There was something in the water (pun intended) this week.

We could just…pay them more?

I loved this piece in The Guardian about women’s fertility and the shifting realities that come from having and not having babies. Far from the usual rightwing spewings about gender roles and ethnic nationlism, it’s equally candid about the realities to leftwing ideals about nation states and welfare that result from falling birthrates. Finally, and just as important, it addresses the human and emotional issues that come for women who are more privileged than ever before when it comes to their biology, but in exchange have to grapple with new choices that our foremothers could never have envisioned. “The more motherhood comes to be seen as a choice, rather than an unavoidable fact of female existence or some kind of great romantic destiny, the greater the anxiety both about making the wrong choice and about living with the ghost of the life not chosen. Trying to counter all that by nagging young women to knuckle down to it in order to avoid a future global pensions deficit is destined for the failure such emotionally tin-eared tactics deserve.”

If there is one thing we at Small Dog Nation go in for, it’s buried or hidden treasure with a cultural heritage angle!

Female anger feeds me. We owe so much to our elders.

What are the conflicting obligations to speech and safety in a world where hate online is transitioning to violence in the real world? (ETA, this story moved fast!)

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A sermon.

Climate change is happening and it’s coming for your kitchen, especially you privileged people.

We live in the goddamned upside down.

I don’t think we learned anything from 2016

The cruelty aside, this era as encapsulated by this man is horrifying in its vulgarity.

What if we really, really studied this? Some academics are leading the way, of course, but I mean on an collaborative and international scale? I suspect that, like unto ISIS and other fringe groups who have managed to parlay their ideology into influence which should exceed their size, we’ll find a fairly small and interconnected community of dangerous individuals who we can monitor the way we monitor other threats

Gaming culture is the source of some really important social conversations right now. The latest episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act on Netflix is worth a view to understand how the industry is driving important questions of labor rights. On the flipside, understanding game culture is also important to understand the uptick in radicalized white male violence.

Whew, time for a break. Have some wholesome bread content!

You need another pick me up, you say? Please enjoy this absolute banger of a gay anthem that I had no idea existed but am immeasurably blessed to have stumbled across.

Long live the weirdos.

What a bonkers tale

Archaeology!

This happened, and the conspiracy theories are gonna flow, especially now that several documents are unsealed. It needs to be thoroughly investigated, but I can’t imagine any outcome that isn’t horribly twisted into even more theorizing.

Rest in power, ma’am. (Worth a re-watch.)

 

Weekend Links

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
―Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Welcome to the first links drop of August, my piglets! While I’m still somewhat in dread and awe as to how quickly this year is flying by, I’m never sad to have another weekend upon us wherein a lovingly box up the internet for you. There is an extra good drop this week, with less political outrage than usual…although our usual mix of feminism and Lizzo-stanning is very much in evidence.

Here’s your links, tell me your favorite finds in the comments, and let’s go into the weekend with the same energy as a mediocre white male politician, convinced that he’s [insert preferred in group here]’s salvation.

What a great podcast episode on modern gesture language!

Actively good news!

I legitimately think Lil Nas X should ride this train as long as he can with whatever remixes he wants. He is incredibly smart about picking options that keep him at the top of the charts, which seems to be the goal. The haters can stay mad and if this is the sum total of his career, fine. (Edited to add: I cackle with delight at everyone who’s mad about it!)

A piece in The New Yorker made the rounds this week, with new and devastating information about Mr. Dershowitz and his relationship with Mr. Epstein. It’s a hard, hard read, but it’s important.

REALLY enjoying the exchange rate this week…a non-stop string of good news

I’m pretty well convinced that economist Mark Blyth is right and there are some really clear lines between austerity policy and nationalistic rises, including the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, the nationalists are in power and the problems are not getting better. Boris was just given £10m to run what amounts to a No Deal propaganda campaign and meanwhile, poverty in the UK is crippling whole communities.

What a gem of an insight into a person and a time.

Space is great!

Because God and the Devil both know how susceptible we are

I am choosing to believe this op-ed piece contains wisdom. Because the President has clearly chosen the double down on batshit, shameful, racist, lying nonsense and thus far has paid no price for any of his speech or behavior at all. And I’m pretty pessimistic on my worst days.

This week I learned that the historic marker on the spot where Emmett Till’s broken body was pulled from a river is the subject of repeated vandalism. It’s being updated, thank god, but our original wounding sin as a nation is still festering.

Never a bad time for more Drunk History.

This is corruption, pure and simple.

Interesting idea for a nation state to try. I think we’re going to have to become much more experimental as a society overall so I’m curious to see what the long term outcome of this is. Someone please go for a universal basic income next!

No kidding! I’m very glad to see reporting that this is being treated seriously by the Pentagon, but there have been a lot of cultural issues unearthed in recent years and like so many institutions whose abuses are being exposed, system change is required and won’t be easy.

More women means organizations change, you say? Excellent.

Why yes, I am interested in fall fashion already. September will be upon us soon!

Oh, my youth.

A worthy long read to round out your understanding of human progress.

BLESS US, LIZZO, WE NEED YOUR MAGNIFICENT ENERGY.

Weekend Links

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” 
― Mark Twain

Hi kittens, I type this to you in the middle of both a literal and a metaphoric firestorm. Between a new Johnson premiership and the Mueller testimony, everything feels like it’s on fire. Meanwhile, Europe is consumed in a massive heatwave that is not prepared to cope with. People were sent home from work yesterday, and several of my coworkers were unable to travel safely as a result of breakdowns or delays caused by heat-induced malfunctions. Whatever you believe about changing weather patterns (spoiler, climate change is real), humans don’t really appreciate how much of our society and infrastructure is not built for any kind of permanent shift. Heat, cold, rain, drought, fire, tectonic plates…we are a resilient but stubborn species.

There’s a LOT to be mad about this week, so let’s recap. I’ve put together a nice batch of reading, and as always, there are lovely links interspersed with the political nonsense. To help keep your spirits up as we plan the revolution.

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Last week the horrible-ness of the news took over, but this is still worth sharing.

Premium cat content.

This profile on Missy Elliot is wonderful. What an icon!

Also an icon: RUFUS!

This piece is about what we carry, physically and metaphorically. It’s also about gender and gendered work, again physical and metaphorical, so it’s very much in the venn diagram of my interests.

Short answer: blackmail, probably.

What a great piece on the nostalgia of a ceramic pattern! Growing up my mother used and collected Blue Willow china and for me it’s synonymous with the concept of “home.” I have a set myself, sadly in storage due to a trans-Atlantic move, but fully intend to stock my kitchen with it someday.

Yay! Good news for us and the Star Trek Enterprise, who I assume played some kind of covert role.

OH MY GOD I TYPED THE ABOVE BEFORE THIS WAS RELEASED AND CHILDHOOD ME HAS LOT ANY VESTIGE OF CHILL.

Seriously.

We need to face up to the fact that Epstein is, in part, a product of a culture where wealthy men can do whatever they want. Consequences are for little people.”

A wonderful longform piece that’s about the rise and fall of French cuisine, and therefore ALSO about the changing nature of culture, prestige, and taste. Small Dog Nation catnip!

A solution to radicalization online: making the opposite case? Well, at least maybe…

This is a horrible story about a failure of a law enforcement vetting system with some shocking results.

I WEPT at the trailer alone. (If you want to read the article which inspired the screenplay, voila.)

This pleases me.

I am a woman caught between two governments, both headed by poorly be-coiffed showmen who have “failed upward” to prominence and now power via demonstrable lies, if not outright conspiracy theories. I think this piece in Politco on why direct comparisons between Trump and Johnson are not quite right, especially in terms of clout and especially with the European Union, is worth a read to get a sense of the international perspective. I’m exhausted by politics…

I’m exhausted, because it’s exhausting.

Here, have a bit of women’s history and art history delightfully combined.

If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention. This individual was (thankfully!) released, but how many more victims of this will there be? How many violations of citizenship or residency right are “acceptable collateral damage?”

…that is certainly one way to quit!

What if you invented something truly groundbreaking in terms of human communication…and it backfired? “It dawned on me that this was not some small subset of people acting aberrantly. This might be how people behave. And that scared me to death.”

What. A. Story.

Sign me up for ANY job where the descriptor “flair for darkness” is an asset!

We live in the upside down. (Update, the designer speaks!)

I was not really expecting the Mueller testimony to change anything: the battle lines are drawn and no one is shifting. But the nightmare scenario for me is now that bad actors (foreign and domestic) realize they can get away with meddling in our elections, they’re going to do it again. Mr. Mueller said their attempts are ongoing and Congress just failed to pass election protection legislation. Either it’s criminal ignorance or criminal bad faith.

So much to look forward to.

Weekend Links

“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” 
― Sophocles, Antigone

Well, we made it to another Friday, kittens. What a dumpster fire of a week.

I’m posting this early because to say I’m in the mood to log off for a day or two is an understatement.

Here is a nice batch of weekend reading to get you through until Monday–and yes, there are good stories in here too! We’ve got 90s throwbacks and weird trailers, plus a nice mash of history and spacesuits. Check in in the comments!

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Truly we live in the darkest timeline. Of course a Brexit party boss is in bed (literally) with the writer of the story that took out Britain’s ambassador to the US. Of COURSE he is.

President Trump made and then doubled down on racist comments and went unchecked by…anybody. His staunchest supports have a new racist campaign chant aimed at (what else?) women in power who he hates and has chosen to make a foil. He’s floated hideous conspiracy theories about Congresswoman Omar that come from the grossest internet corners (including ties to terrorism and incest) and may very well incite actions with his speech that harms her or gets her killed. Tweets from the left are not enough in response and the near-total silence from the right (interspersed with actual statements from Neo Nazis, to which I will not link, about how his comments don’t go far enough) are deafening. No mealy mouthed attempt to walk it back, contrary to video evidence, cuts it. Especially when he immediately walked back the walk back…AS HE ALWAYS DOES.

Well, I feel a little bit better.

The president of the Unite States is racist. This is a matter of long documented, publicly available fact. (Some publications hesitate to use this word the way the do the word “lie,” and I’m not sure history is going to look kindly on the decision.)

have we found Captain America? We need him!

Do let’s talk about this, both as an incident and as a wider phenomenon.

The deep dive I never knew I needed.

What an absolutely gripping read.

Why yes, I AM interested in fashion for space.

This piece on the President’s racist comments feels unfortunately right. Trump understands that there are many different Americas, what makes him unique is that rather than trying to appeal to many of them simultaneously, he’s picked his preferred version and caters only to it and the people who share that worldview. He’s betting it’s enough to keep him in power, Republicans are betting the same with a slightly longer timeline. I personally don’t think it’s a sound bet unless one is, in fact, working to unmake democratic norms to ensure one’s supporters keep representation and one’s detractors are excluded from it.

How DARE this article attack me!

Of course it’s millennial pink. Of COURSE.

The Emmy nods are really good this year, team. Weirdly there’s not too much to be upset about! Who are you rooting for?

Audiobooks to add to your summer holiday or beach read list.

The latest from an old fave around here, McKay Coppins at The Atlantic presents the Epstein case in the wider context of our current age of conspiracy thinking.

Speaking of, this guy can get kicked into the sun.

Well this takes me way back to puberty!

I cannot believe we have to say this in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2019, but maybe think twice before you upload your image (or other biometric information or adjacent stuff) to apps that go viral? Not to sound like a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, but we’re not very good at knowing what other people are doing with this stuff.

Speaking of Beyonce, I don’t care about The Lion King, but I always care about what the Queen is doing.

Do you want some archaeology news? Of course you do, why else are you here?!

I don’t even have the energy to touch the Twitter kerfuffle that is the new CATS trailer and reactions thereto!

Last week the influencer economy was in trouble, is streaming next? How about podcasts? (Sidenote, that podcast story is ridiculous; a true work of overly privileged art. Enjoy it with this knowledge going in.)

Sobering story.

Who pissed off Poseidon?!

And as we were “going to print,” some frankly scary news.

Finally, let’s end this on a nice note, shall we? God knows we need it.

 

Weekend Links

“Do what we can, summer will have its flies.”
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ducklings, the weekend is upon us! Jeff and I are off frolicking, planning our summer, and generally goofing off whilst avoiding the internet and news. Go do something pleasant and pointless and here’s some weekend reading to get you through while you do.

Let’s kick this of on a positive note, shall we?  Cute babies and great hats!

He’s not well liked or respected over here, my friends.

Megan Rapinoe is justifiably riding high with the whole Womens National Team, but this profile on her relationship with her brother shows a softer side to the certified bad ass and had me tearing up at my desk.

Throw Epstein and every single powerful, hideous, power-abusing creep he ever associated with into the sun. Every. Last. One. Turn their privilege and power upside own and bury them under the weight.

Meanwhile, give this woman every single award.

The New Yorker, asking the huge questions.

Holy crap!

Really not the news I wanted to be following after watching Chernobyl

First the bloggers, now the influencers!

In related news, influence is for sale and we have data.

What a fascinating piece on Big–er–Big Cats?

Diplomacy matters. For a long time I was an American in the UK without a representing ambassador, and now Britain’s envoy to the States has resigned when his private assessments of the Washington DC climate and Trump administration leaked.

And yet…for all that, there are times I say thank god he’s bad at his job and steps all over his own administration’s messaging.

BOY BYE.

Who has a chunk of change and wants to buy me a present? Because I am lusting after this single ear piece!

I’m still really, really undecided about the whole CRISPR thing…I just think we don’t quite understand what we’re tinkering around with enough to be messing about in the genome yet.

Toxic masculinity is wild and messing with your carbs.

White supremacy is even wilder and more ridiculous. Dangerous and malignant, don’t get me wrong, but also fundamentally ridiculous.

Yes, short answer.

Interesting read. Tangentially, I just learned the other day that a coworker of mine was actually studying to become a nun before she ended up going into the British Army instead and we had a fantastic conversation about women, religion, feminism, and vocations as a result of this discovery.

What a pleasant, pleasing story!

Damn, after saying I’m not a general fan of the Disney liveaction remakes last week, I’m officially excited for this one.

Finally, meet my new favorite Twitter feed. It’s summer, drink your water!

Weekend Links

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 
― Desmond Tutu

It’s PRIDE weekend in London, my kittens. Go out and party or protest accordingly.

Here’s your weekend reading when you need to take a break from either.

This is extremely my jam.

This first person essay of gender transition and the role pop culture can play in it is deeply poignant.

Cher is everything.

Another week, another brilliant Tiny Desk Concert that left me gasping.

This piece gripped me. Modern media is a strange thing, and so are the people who run it.

One of my brothers sometimes volunteers at an area clinic that services rural communities and he’s shared some really humbling stories. I happen to believe there is no excuse for the wealthiest country in the world to have the discrepancy in healthcare that we do.

Baby elephant!

The end of an era and some people are mad.

Hold people accountable for rape. How the hell is this so hard?!

I am deeply invested in the stories of teenage girls who fight back. They will save us all.

Disney announced the casting of a beautiful and talented woman of color in the role of Ariel in the upcoming live action remake of The Little Mermaid, and some white people on Twitter decided to be upset about it. A few thoughts. These live action remakes are unnecessary. The Little Mermaid is trash and I’m smug that from a young age (we’re talking five years old), I thought Ariel was an idiot for giving up her literal voice for some dude she had never met. Finally, racists can stay mad and I hope this makes half a billion dollars at the box office. Also, please cast Keanu.

Democracy is a wild trip, ya’ll.

In Mormon news, the LDS church’s rebrand one year on–after which both the terms “mormon” and “LDS” are no longer acceptable. How this change played out practically and logistically, and what it means for the community of the faithful. Though no longer a member or believer, I still claim the term “mormon” as the one that best encompasses the much wider history of the religious movements associated with the faith tradition…and therefore still has the space for a heretic and apostate like me.

Also in Mormon news, scholar Jana Reiss takes on a common misconception and trope around people who leave the LDS church and their subsequent feelings towards the institution.

Also ALSO in Mormon news: this.

Warning about some less than savory photos. “The Border Patrol Facebook group is the most recent example of some law enforcement personnel behaving badly in public and private digital spaces.” We BADLY need to reexamine law enforcement in this country.

Drag queens have always been with us. Thank god.

Hmm….

I have seen this movie and I’m positive it does not end well.

An update from last week. Outrage works, but it’s still fucked up this was even possible.

BRB, bathing in male tears.

I still struggle to explain America to non-Americans. Articles like this make me wonder if I’m even qualified to try!

Yikes, stay safe, Californian ducklings.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. We’re doomed.

Asking the good questions

Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? Jeff and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary this week and while I’d never claim to be any kind of authority on love, I think this piece by the Great and Good Caitlin Moran sums up our take on it pretty nicely.