Category: Politics

Weekend Links

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Happy weekend, ducklings!

Whew, we made it. This has been a rough week for me, with spiking anxiety and attendant issues that (as usual) have little grounding in reality and (as usual) I am unable to control. Brains are weird, troublesome things. I’ve had to break down a few pride barriers and ask for help for things left and right…and the unexpected result has been that I’ve ended up on the receiving end of some staggering pieces of kindness and generosity. I’m still reeling from it and frankly a bit weepy…as I have been for most of the week.

More on that later, perhaps, I’m still processing the feelings and mostly just trying to express gratitude.

I hope you’ve received some kindness or generosity this week too; if you have, tell me about them in the comments. And then kick back and avoid your weekend chores with this batch of reading I’ve lovingly put together for you.

 

No, I’m still not satiated with think pieces on the Fleabag jumpsuit.

Here, have an interview with the costume designer too!

How to radicalize a young person in a few easy clicks.

Dolly Parton is perfect. She always has been.

Standing ovation bloody well deserved, but it’s horrible that he is still having to lead this fight 18 years on.

This is not a feel good story! Nine year olds going into debt for food is a sign that ours, the wealthiest society on earth, is horrifically broken!

Are we allowed to call them concentration camps yet?!

Once again the President just admitted on camera and without coercion that, hey foes, he’s up for crimes if you wanna hang! And once again,  no consequences. It’s incredible. This man should not be running a bowling alley, much less a country.

Mitch McConnell is bad, everybody. Then again, over here in the UK, the race for the next leader of the Tory party (and therefore premiership) is underway and Boris Johnson is in the lead. So truly, who am I to judge.

In Utah/Mormon news…stahp.

In more productive Mormon news, a thoughtful interview on what a patriarchal culture looks like to younger generations in the LDS Church and why they may be troubled by it, while still believing in and actively participating in the truth claims and culture. More nuanced discussions of faith and culture, please.

This is a couple of weeks old now, but I’ve just seen this article and now feel extremely dumb for not having noticed it before.

No, I’m also not done talking about the brilliance of Chernobyl. Have a lovely interview with the woman responsible for the haunting and perfect score. (Also, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?)

As a beauty addict and a marketer, this piece from The Atlantic was fascinating.

Relatedly, this piece on how brand logos have changed over the years was also very interesting!

Good riddance, useless woman.

One of the victims of a homophobic attack which went viral speaks up and shames everyone. Good. Hate crimes towards the LGBT community are on the rise and must be confronted.

We do not deserve Keanu.

This thread is quite the emotional rollercoaster, but keep going with it.

Weekend Links

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Happy weekend, kittens! Jeff is at a friend’s birthday abroad this weekend, and I’m cheerfully scheming of what I can get away with in his absence. In the midst of all that, I’m also getting a lot of adult tasks done like the usual household maintenance and laundry because adulthood is a never ending list of monotonous chores. Weekend Links

Procrastinate with me by enjoying this nice batch of weekend reading I’ve put together for you. I’m obviously biased, but I think this is a rather nice assemblage of pop culture, feminism, PRIDE celebration, fashion, politics, and archaeology. Why else do you people come to this dinky little site?

The uncomfortable State Visit is over, and here in the UK we’re using some pageantry in the form of Trooping the Colour as a palate cleanser, whilst my president is awkwardly stepping on his own NASA message and conflating the Moon and Mars on Twitter. Totally on par examples of the symbolic role of the state.

I never get over these stories. How do people just misplace this stuff!?

Kimberly Clark–drag queen and YouTube legend of anti-beauty-consumerism–is back!

There is a great interview with Stephen Colbert in the New York Times this week, and it will not surprise you at all to hear that I loved his thoughtful answer to why he loves Tolkien so much. He is a noted fan and, as all the best fans are (regardless of what their fandom is centered on), his reasons for his love are deep and personal. Speaking of, he also gives an excellent answer to what he sees the differences are between good and bad for you faith, interverweaving his own religious faith and life history.

I need this tattooed somewhere.

My interest in J. Crew think pieces is inexhaustible but this Vanity Fair article is pretty darn good despite the plethora of options from which to choose. “The narrowness of the world the company first opened a window to is now, thankfully, a thing of the past. There is no one way to look or dress “American.” So how do you resuscitate a brand built on this definition? And is there still room for it?”

Ooh, our next bonnet and corset drama is coming!

I agree.

Anne Helen Petersen drops her latest deep dive.

Some commentator made the point that at most other points in human history, the inability to plant or harvest an estimated 70% of ones crop might be considered something of a setback…

Step aside, Florida Man!

An excellent piece from Tom and Lorenzo about some of the history and mythology around the Stonewall Riots. Fascinating, PRIDE Month appropriate, and important.

Of wifehood and wifery.

While I’m not at all a fan of those who try to claim Shakespeare was not Shakespeare…I have to admit I liked this article at The Atlantic!

There is an unsubtle connection between misogyny and terrorism. “In 2018, a few months before Beierle stood in that studio, the Southern Poverty Law Center added a new category to its tracking list of hate movements around the country: male supremacy….While old-guard white supremacists revered women as the mothers of the race, younger bigots despise them as just one more group responsible for eroding their status.”

It’s summer. Wear sunscreen.

Rhianna is getting her money, in the literal definition of goals.

There was a fun experience going around social media and specifically Instagram this week, where some simple instructions showed users how to access the information that is used to control the ads that they see on the platform. The joke was, that almost everyone was baffled by what their data showed as their interests…it was almost always weird or wrong (if you believe people on the internet talking about themselves…but mine certainly made little sense!). The consensus opinion being that people are liars or the algorithms are not as strong or correct as we are often led to believe. I lean towards the latter. Algorithms, for all they control our world, are man-made things. Popular science YouTuber Veritasium happened to make a video about this from the YouTube perspective this week, which is worth a view if you want to understand the fraught relationship between platforms, creators, and views–as well as how sensationalism has overtaken…everything. This is true of our politics, media, and publishing worlds as well.

INDEED.

Babies and young children are dying in facilities in which they should not be being held in the first godamn place. If you have extra cash to spare this week, throw it at RAICES who is doing important work on the border. Our president may not be able to make up his mind whether he’s pro or against tariffs (and trying to avoid a fight with his own senate) but children are still dying.

Like everyone else in the world, I am debating whether or not I could pull off THAT Fleabag jumpsuit. I suspect not. I suspect I may buy it anyway….

Straight Pride…I can’t even. What a basket of WTFery.

Exhibit 1,403,582 why PRIDE matters (read the story):

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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

“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.