Category: Politics

Weekend Links – Bring on the Bank Holiday!

Ducklings, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and the links are dropping early because mama needs to lie in a sunbeam and do as little as possible for three days. I mean, let’s be real that’s my usual go to, but with quarantine we do it with GUSTO.

This week I introduced Jeff to Fleabag and he got me to finish The Last Dance which I enjoyed tremendously, in spite of not being a sports person outside of live collegiate games.

I know the weather is brilliant in the UK right now, but guys…please don’t be dumb. There’s still a pandemic on. Act accordingly.

 

I’m obsessed with the squirtgun priest. More creativity in unusual times, please!

A charming story about my favorite wildlife critter.

A firm rebuttal to my post of earlier this week. Okay, okay I’ll give up on the self-loathing already!

The British Museum is producing a film of its famous Pompeii exhibition and making it available for free. (YouTube)

As a long time fan of The Financial Diet, this podcast episode (doubling up as a YouTube vid) discussing the ephemeral nature of fame and fortune that we’ve been living with (and completely rebuilt commerce and social capital around) was a great listen.

One of the few bright spots out of this mess, but also a sobering reminder of what it will take to affect climate change trends.

Setting aside the batshit craziness (which is admittedly a challenge) can we all agree at this point that the one thing we cannot and should not do is take the guy “at his word?

God, I hope we don’t go back, at least not the way things were.

Elegant and refined solution. Pure couture.

It’s bad faith all the way down and has been for a long time.

Yes, let’s experiment!

Still don’t really get where QAnon came from, what it encompasses, and what people who believe in it…believe? This is a long read, but worth your time.

Reader survey: trolling or a side effect of that unproven med we cannot be sure that he’s taken or not – thanks to the masterful work of a press release that refuses to confirm or deny whether he’s been dosed.

Trolls and Twitter eggs are going to kill us all… I don’t think anyone imagined the great science fiction digital undoing of our world to be this stupid.

Speaking of Twitter, yes, I followed this privileged saga and thought Roman really didn’t do herself any favors, but cannot help but contrast her being “on leave” while other (male) columnists have actively attacked and pursued punishing actions against critics (Bedbug Stephens, anyone?) and still have their jobs.  Roman publicly apologized and Teigen publicly accepted.

And in THIS week’s drama of white women trying to elevate themselves by comparing or contrasting themselves to other women – particularly women of color – Lana del Ray pulled one out too, on Our Lady and Savior Beyonce no less!

Weekend Links – May Day, May Day!

Well, we made it, kittens. April is behind us and good riddance. Short and sweet today as we’re powering through the last few hours before the weekend…even though it won’t look massively different from our weekdays.

Nonetheless, this weekend I intend to enjoy the sunshine, cuddle effusively with my husband, and cook. Let me know your plans in the comments, and I promise to cheer them on whatever they are.

We elected our dumbest and worst person to be president. You cannot convince me otherwise at this point.

New single from The 1975, one of my favorite bands.

Culture matters in good times, but it matters desperately in rough ones. Take advantage of the artistic generosity swelling forth, but also donate if you can now and commit to funding it when you can later.

2020 is so wild that this barely broke into my awareness this week.

Shall we volunteer, Small Dog Nation?

As I spend more time cooking, I am thinking more about cookbooks (as opposed to family recipes, or what I find on pinterest or online). But I have read few as BOOKS, and plan to rectify this.

Andrew Yang was an unusual candidate in that he seemed fully focused on future problems and did not sugar coat the risks he saw. While he was never my preference, I’m pleased he advocated for certain issues and found this interview with him to be worth a read given the state of the world.

This may be the only time a mediocre book review compels me to read the book in question, because it so perfectly encapsulate a current moment that it might feel remiss not to. “As I read The End of October, I found myself resenting it. It was such a silly potboiler of a novel, with such unbelievable characters, such leaden sentences, such infuriatingly clumsy dialogue. How dare the world in which I am actually living so closely resemble a fucking airport thriller?

Yes, I have read “the nanny piece.” No, I have no further comments beyond “Eat the rich.”

The coming war between venues of all kinds, artists, distributors, and agents is going to be nuts. I don’t think movie theatres or theatrical venues are ever going to go away (if the last five thousand years of human history are anything to go by). But that doesn’t mean they won’t, or shouldn’t change. Concerts won’t stop, but I also hope artists will continue to stream straight to their fans when all this is over. I hope gyms will continue to provide online classes. I hope the ways in which we consume and enjoy all manner of things stays accessible and doesn’t just serve to make a few people rich.

Longtime readers will know that Small Dog Nation stans Yoga with Adrienne, so seeing her process and success detailed was both pleasurable and genuinely interesting. She’s a great exercise resource, especially right now.

Celebrating good spuds and good people.

Either we take sexual assault claims seriously or we don’t. Biden needs to provide answers to these accusations, the public needs to grapple with them and come to a consensus and partisanship won’t cut it. His statement today and call for transparency is the right first step, investigation must follow.

Death to FOMO.

Happy Freaking Easter…

Happy Easter from a former-mormon-currently-agnostic-humanist-stillmormonfeminist-effective-altruistic-mess. For those who believe and celebrate, I wish you a blessed day in unusual circumstances. For those who don’t, I hope the more general spirit of seasonal renewal and hope refreshes you. I particularly appreciated the sermon from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and some comments from one of my former religious community’s leaders at their semi-annual gathering last week.

Malignant radicalism has led to a lot, if not most, of our collective problems as a species over my lifetime. Tribalism, performative politics, terrorism, homophobia, cruelty, misogyny, inequality, racism, and destructive hubris all seem to require it.

Whether religiously motivated or not, I would like to see that same fervor turned towards radical kindness over spite, radical collective care rather than radical self interest. The radical dismissal of selfishness that most faiths, at their best and most appealing, call for and encourage.

What kind of world would it be where we stopped trying to legislate others’ morality and focused more on living our own? Where we stopped using contractualism as an excuse to deny care to one another? Where we felt a sense of obligation to one another simply because we’re all specks of dust together on a slightly larger speck of dust hurtling madly and briefly through the void, and not just animals doomed to hunt or be hunted? Where care and community, or in other parlance salvation, isn’t based on transaction or complicated formulas?

Might be nice.

 

Weekend Links: Quarantine Week Two

Hi there, kittens. Here’s you weekly batch of goodness, take some time to rest today if you can. Let’s all meet back here tomorrow for a proper catch up, eh? Love you all, truly.

Respect the bean!

How NOT to be an ass in the time of COVID-19.

Beware wildlife #fakenews.

Surely these people have assistants who will take their phones away!

Here’s a way to “go outside” even if you’re not able to at the moment – responsible social distancing, people!

At a loss of what to cook? Bon Appetit is here to help.

OH LOOK, MORE PROOF THAT WE CAN HAVE AN EFFECT IF WE PUT OUR MINDS TO IT. I’ll be the first to admit that the petri dish is not exactly ideal, but as a forced experiment it is telling.

For me, the idea that my role in this situation largely consists of staying home as much as possible seems on its face to be egregiously fortunate…And more than simply being a luxury, it’s more than that: It’s a duty.”

In case you’re in need of a disco-y bop, Childish Gambino has got you.

SOLIDARITY.

More solidarity. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

As for the rest of you, stop doing brand adjustments and start paying people living wages with sick benefits.

The left gets accused (sometimes rightly) of virtue signalling, but we need to have a real investigation into the defiance signalling of the right. Whether it’s guns, anti-science or any other thing, the fact that we have allowed one of these things (an over abundance of caution or self righteousness to the point of ridiculousness) to be seen as equivalent evil to its counterpart (an overabundance of contempt to the point of public endangerment) is ludicrous. One of these things is annoying. The other is dangerous.

We stan a maximalist queen.

Never have we all been so obsessed with hand sanitizer, and Vanity Fair knows what #content we want right now.

How do we just lose stuff like this, part five million of a continuing series… (ETA: part five million and one)

Ah yes, Leyendecker and his impossibly beautiful men. We heteros aren’t immune.

I would very much like to be a part of this trend.

Meanwhile, in Britain

A ramble.

Tomorrow is payday.

Never in my life have I felt more grateful for a paycheck…and never more convinced than ever that basic protections for individuals, workers, and families should be rights not luxuries.

We are seeing in real time what CAN be done by states, cities, companies and governments. Now, we need to confront that fact that the reason this hasn’t happened before is because those in charge chose not to. And of course they would! We’ve stopped referring to people as citizens and prefer to message in terms of “taxpayers,” as though the benefits of collective belonging are something you buy for yourself, rather than a public trust we all invest in.

What if the only measuring stick for success wasn’t just a bottom line or ledger? What if we stopped treating poverty like “lack of character” rather than a “lack of cash,” as historian Rutger Bregman put it? What if we respected the dignity of work of all types with a living wage rather than a constant negotiation and squeezing that leaves workers resentful of their bosses and bosses contemptuous of their workers? What if we treated public health as a public right…we might have fewer MLMs, people drinking bleach to cure disease, or be able to stop using GoFundMe as a kind of twisted healthcare to start!

Society should not be pay to play.

Perhaps I’m just unduly maudlin this evening but I have to believe that something is going change out of this mess. That something significant will change to materially improve a system so that the Dow isn’t the only thing people think should be lifted up. The alternative just feels…a bit bleak…

 

 

Weekend Links: Quarantine Edition

Wow. Whew. Okay.

How are we all, darlings? I don’t know about you but this weird sense of financial and political vertigo are just now starting to feel like the new normal. I’ve barely left my house in three days. My company is made up of the economic frontline of this situation and people have been working round the clock to try and understand announcements and circumstances as soon as they are made, and communicate to hundreds and thousands of colleagues who desperately want some stability. Everyone has been working at least 14 hours days. I am horribly aware that I’m just one of the lucky ones at the moment. Millions have been glued to the news trying to figure out What On Earth Is Going On, and the the vita question, What On Earth Are We Going To Do? I’ve been heartened and pleasantly surprised by the swiftness of the British government response – even though a lot of practical details clearly still need to be worked out. I’m keeping a wary eye on the US.

More than ever I’m grateful to live in a country where healthcare is a right. And in spite of the stress and anxiety, I’m bizarrely hopeful that what may eventually come out of this are systems that work better for PEOPLE than corporations. I hope the shock to the system makes people across the board less likely to cling to dogma and get more comfortable with experimentation and collective problem solving instead of the “Fuck You, Got Mine” attitude that we’ve all been either reacting to or wallowing in. I’m just heartsick that it takes something so drastic and with such high human costs for people to even consider it.

Stay safe, stay home, wash your hands, check in with loved ones. Drop me your updates in the comments and share (if you’re comfortable) any public social media where we can connect with one another. I will send hugs over the internet!

 

Unfiltered capitalism, ya’ll. Greed is not good.

An archaeological scandal, which we all know are the BEST scandals.

I didn’t know I needed this oral history, but I did and you do as well.

The billionaires want to become oligarchs and the politicians want to become billionaires. …In case you were wondering how we got here. (An old link but a relevant one given the state of…everything.)

This little guy just wanted to be left the **** alone, and honestly who could blame him!

I suspect we are all going to be needing some documentary recommendations in the coming weeks, and this one looks downright soothing.

So many people are being fundamentally decent right now. Some are doing it in big ways, others are doing it on a smaller scale. Way too many are also being arses, but my goodness, the initial outpouring of camaraderie and civic-mindedness is so humbling and heartening.

If you need something to do at home, may I suggest a museum virtual tour?

A plethora of subpar options is the foundation of modern shopping.” Another Amanda Mull knockout on the phenomenum of Premiocre.

Color me shocked, but YES! Universal Basic Income experiment now, thanks! (Insert snarky comment here about how it’s not unacceptable to Republicans when they’re in power, apparently, but whatever. Let’s try it. Let’s see what happens and measure the effects.)

It’s the corruption, stupid.

And if you are wondering why things like UBI are now suddenly popular (those of us who’ve wanted this for a while should shut up and warmly welcome them into the fold with love and solidarity) and hate stuff like the aforelinked corruption, THIS.

Why yes, I did need a story about wallabies being cared for right now.

Festival plans ruined? We’ve got an idea for you

ESPN is also rising to the occasion.

SDS fave McKay Coppins wrote a VERY timely and VERY Mormon article for The Atlantic.

This is brilliant.

Nice to be reminded that in crisis, most people aren’t assholes.

For comparison: good vs. bad.

Did someone open the damn Arc of the Covenant, or what?!

This is going to get a lot grimmer before it gets better.

But! Let’s end on a silly and fun note, shall we?

Weekend Links

What. A. Week.

I’m dropping the links early because I’m sort of on holiday (though in practice still doing quite a bit of work as my business and its clients are, like so many, having to track and take decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in real time). And I’m honestly afraid what else is going to land before the end of the day.

If anything good comes out of a pandemic (and isn’t that a grim thing to think), it may be that it finally forces us to interrogate our society. Is healthcare a right? Should internet access be a utility in the digital age, and not a commodity? How feasible is remote working really, and what is actually preventing it from being more common? Why are we okay with some people getting “bailouts” but not others? What do we perpetuate which we could actually stop if we chose? What do we accept as “normal” mostly because changing it will take work? In the words of The Good Place:

 

As usual, she’s not wrong.

This is a short film, not a commercial.

It’s not just about the immediate people who get sick and die, as awful as that isl; it’s about the ripple effects that keep spreading outward in expanding rings. That’s why we have broader societal organization and governments, and kind of dismantling or disempowering we have inflicted on our institutions (or, in the case of healthcare, failed to build) is dangerous.

Also, science! Really not great all this troll and scammer uplift that has made so many distrust it. From drinking bleach or taking supplements to cure coronavirus to flat earther to anti vaxxers…we badly need this “alternative facts” culture to unravel fast.

Hope for a cure.

I am living for the Duchess of Sussex in jewel tones (that GREEN!), managing her exit like a champ. The hint of matching lining for her husband’s coat, the perfect smile to the camera. I hope the tabloid press is boiling with vexation at themselves.

Irony is dead, part 1,000,000 of an infinite series.

This article might have been baked up in a lab for me and me alone.

Be a dame, wear vintage.

GOOD.

A lot of people need to hear this, including me: do not mistake being educated and informed with DOING politics.

The Atlantic has dropped its paywall for coronavirus coverage, and the solid, accessible journalism they are doing is a good place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about the situation.

I just…I can’t…2020 needs to stop!

Weekend Links: 2020 Begins Edition

Beloveds, 2020 is upon us! And my god, we’re only three days in. I’ve honestly been trying to muster up some positivity for the new year, as I normally enjoy fresh slates and clean starts, but I’m struggling. 2019 was hard on a personal level and scary on a macro one, and 2020 is…ah…seeming to start as it means to go on.

However, on a long and delightful call with X the other day we discussed the wonderful motivating power of SPITE. So join me, poppets, in declaring at the outset, that we are not going to give in to despair or undue cynicism–for no other reason than that our collective antagonists are hoping for just that. Get hydrated, caffeine up, register to vote, pick a small handful of causes that you care about deeply to devote your energies to, decide whose good opinion and love is actually important to you and prioritize your life according, and hug a dog. We’re going to get through this year and we’re going to do it with aplomb.

Here is a nice batch of weekend reading to look back fondly on the good, catch up on some things you may have missed, and ground yourself for what we’re likely going to deal with in 2020.

The year in memes.

The year in fashion.

The year in podcasts.

I bet you didn’t know you needed a deep dive into the world of lingerie, but you do.

I’m glad that the news media seems final able to confront some of their failings, particularly the areas that fall in talking head and “opini-tainment” as Jon Stewart once called it. I also think that for it to have taken this long denotes something more disappointing if not sinister.

Anatomy of a radicalization.

At this point, reporting that does not do the connecting work of white nationalism and other political views is doing an active disservice to us. I’m grateful to see this changing.

I’m also grateful to see the discourse on climate change improving, but it’s horrifically late.

Let’s hear it for the girls.

This is a fantastic round up of culture “moments” of the past year, and a good list of things to try and catch up on if you’ve thus far missed out.

Behold a goddamned headline!

People who are anti-immigration in my country can’t do math.

I could read a whole book on how “fan culture” has taken over everything from politics to pop culture, and what this means for us as a society. I spend an inordinate time thinking about it. In the meanwhile, this article is a great starting point.

Romance is a genre I used to morally eschew, then read in shameful secret, and now revel in openly. There is some seriously good writing to be found in its pages, too often dismissed because the target audience is women and the main topic is feelings. That’s a rant for another day…what you need to know is that some major DRAMA went down in the Romance world this week. I watched it unfold in real time on Twitter, but for those who need a primer, Lois Beckett from The Guardian is here to help!

Relatedly to all of the above mess, let’s all diversify our reading this year, shall we?

Oh. So that’s why witnesses are being blocked. Shock, surprise.

Oh. So that’s why the secrecy. More shock, surprise.

We had a fascinating debate in my office about this! It spiraled into the differences between religious and “philosophical” belief systems, and how we chose to allocate protections.

Still developing as I finish up this post but…this feels horribly huge. The consequences are already starting. Mar-al-ago guests and Russian diplomats knew about the attack before the appropriate members of congress did. I remember this all too well from 20 years ago. The performative hawkishness and patriotism, the propaganda to circle the wagons around the government, the othering of whole nations and cultures with a long tail of hideous racism that we are still dealing with. 20 years later, thousands of Americans and allies dead, hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, no clear gains, no increased stability, recent revelations that there was no fucking plan in the first place…NO. NOT AGAIN. Not to appease ideologues, not to distract from domestic scrutiny, not for anything.

Weekend Links

Your weekend reading is here! And once again, mostly as an act of self care, it’s almost entirely politics free–ENJOY.

We talk a lot about the President’s use of Twitter, but this deep dive into the online world in which his Twitter feed operates and feeds itself is the first examination of that particular ecosystem that I’ve seen. And I think it’s long overdue.

Answers to one of the most consuming and awkward questions of my childhood!

What a harrowing story

Something is definitely in the water (and by “water” I mean capitalism and social media).

So, media is changing all around us. What does this mean for one of the biggest names in magazine publishing, you ask? This is an engrossing read for anyone who is at all interested in the media landscape.

Also from The Intelligencer, this…opening line: “White nationalism has a branding problem.” It’s actually a good review of the state of several of those “influencer Nazis” that everyone gave platforms to because they dressed well and managed to be well-spoken. How’d that turn out for us all? Snark aside, this piece actually has some good points to make about respectability politics for horrible people.

This op ed is infuriating.

Meanwhile, this saga is charming. Let them look at the art!

Crissle West (one half of the EXCELLENT and popular podcast The Read), deserves every ounce of her success.

Genuinely interesting election news–because it’s about process not personalities. Like unto other social experiments, I want to see a decent ranked voting case study in action. It strikes me as much more likely than first-past-the-post to engender a consensus agreement on the results of an election rather than the partisan bitterness we see so much of now.

The revolution will be sloganized.

If there’s one thing we at Small Dog Nation can’t get enough of, it’s a good archeology or excavation story!

Here for the clap back!

The THIRST.

Notorious PWB.

Obviously I have a deep appreciation for the role of “Mormon mommy bloggers” and the role they played in internet culture. Whilst not a mum, Mormon blogging has been a big part of my writing background and personal story, so I still feel weirdly protective about some of the OG characters of the genre.

Weirdly fascinating!

 

Weekend Links: WAGatha Christie and Wagging the Dog

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. …  How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”
– Mark Twain

This week has been NUTS. We’ve got footballers wives doing a better job that national security apparatuses, the Ukraine scandal spiraling into new depths, and ursine QUEENS. This is an extra hefty dose of links to help you process the *waves hands at general state of things.*

It’s going to be a very normal and calm week, I see…

Super normal.

What BULLSHIT. This is what toxic gender roles mean for everyone: loneliness and disdain for all involved, unless we all participate in a system which requires a hierarchy with winners and losers. Imagine the world we could build if we dedicating one tenth of the energy we put towards reinforcing unequal systems to building better ones that rewarded different many different kinds of success instead of a designated few.

We’ve been playing the “horrible goose” game for a week, this might be next.

I’ve fled that country

Words cannot express how much I love Caitlin Moran and her writing. Her last column in the Sunday Times is short but nails the appeal of chaos to so many right now–particularly those who should, theoretically, be most opposed to it.

LOL to the entire idea that Perry is the criminal mastermind. Also, the internal logic continues to impress me. This “perfect” phone call that is entirely above board was also totally this guy’s fault. Let me be clear, I completely am onboard with the idea that Rick Perry is involved in this mess (and so do other people, given he’s been subpoenaed), but you will have a hard time convincing me that the Oops Guy is responsible for it all.

I need to print out this list and post it. It’s nominally about writing, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the advice is multi faceted.

A rather interesting case progressed this week, wherein the President tried to keep his personal financial records hidden via a rather extraordinary set of circumstances and claims that his office grants him immunity from any kind of criminal prosecution–which would have been a deeply problematic ruling to enshrine in precedent.

This shift in policy is not just bad and last minute on it’s face, it puts one of our most stalwart allies in the fight against ISIS in direct harm’s way, thereby breaking promises and diminishing the likelihood that we are seen as a trusted partner to our own friends the world over. (ETA, two days later…)

TikTok makes me feel very old.

Ooh, someone running the social experiment I want follow!

Ronan Farrow’s latest book exposes a lot more about the shadowy world of private protection and security that the wealthy move in to safeguard them against reputational damage. He’s released excerpts with The New Yorker and they are not fucking around! Part I, Part II, Part III.

Related to the previous, what happens after, you ask?

who’s in for the next pony party?

I don’t like this weird dystopia.

Meanwhile, Holly is a goddamn icon as far as I’m concerned!

SOMEBODY BUY THIS CAPE RIGHT NOW.

We’ve had to go through a lot of pain to realize that this should have been the take from the jump as a society, but I stan a sassy delivery of truth any day of the week.

Also, Elizabeth Warren is extremely good at this.

What a mess this is going to be…on Tuesday the White House sent a rather sloppy legal letter advising the House that they aren’t going to participate in the investigation into their behavior. This is either ridiculous gaslighting or they don’t understand how an investigation works. Likely both. Now is when we are going to see if our constitutional checks and balances actually work: will the House be able to serve and enforce subpoenas, or is the president above the law? Regardless of your politics, this has huge implications for American politics.

On Wednesday, the prominent legal scholar Noah Feldman summed up the impasse are barreling towards.

Also, greater insight into how a fairly small outfit (all things considered) is destabilizing nations and events around the world.

Something I honestly think about a lot: will Jeff and I ever really be able to retire?

A tragic and difficult read, about individual pain and community trauma.

I love fall!

The kerfuffle with the NBA and China, explained.

How did you survive the WAG War of 2019? Anything that gets the term “Wagatha Christie” trending will absolutely command my attention.

How handy! A new list of things to read, all of which tickle my fancy!

Another week, another great Amanda Mull piece.

It’s leather jacket season!

Thursday. Welp. (A tiny reminder of how deeply incestuous all of this world is, and a quick summary. Another tiny nugget/reminder that their companies are called Fraud Guarantee and Mafia Rave. Seriously.)

“…the best people…”

Reminder: to understand the Ukraine shenanigans, you have to understand the world of conspiracy theories. It’s also increasingly likely that some of the most powerful men (and they are mostly men) in the world, actually DO believe these.

On the flip side, here’s a succinct timeline of the Ukrainian situation as it actually happened. In other words, Mr. Guiliani was not “looking for dirt”

All the AOC haircut “scandal” has made clear to me is that most men don’t realize how expensive it is to be a woman.

Hey, that Webtoon I shared on a previous monthly favorites post has some great news!

Friday. The role of the Supreme Court really is the Chekov’s Gun in the Trump presidency.

Also Friday.

Also also Friday. (Her statement is not messing about.)

And did sweet f a about it, apparently.

Fuck.

Extremely relevant to my interests and past professional life. This change will affect how money flows across this entire planet!

SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE WEEK. I’m so bloody proud of her I could burst! Enjoy this pleasing tease of the British version of her upcoming book and sharpen your knives in anticipation.

Welp, this baby made me cry.