Category: Pop Culture

Weekend Links: Over and Over Again

“It’s very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.” 
― Fred Rogers

Another successful Infrastructure and Immigration Week for the White House and its policy agenda, gone off without a hitch.

Pardon the dark humor, darlings, it’s just that sometimes it feels as though Everything Is Terrible. Another awful school shooting captured in real time by the children who experienced it, another week of sex and abuse scandals that rocked everything from charities to the White House, another week of an intransigent Congress, another batch of news about what is now being termed “informational warfare” against my country.

I’ve tried to keep some good news and fun links mixed in here, but it’s been a rough week, kittens, and we need to sit with that. Our society suffers from extensive abuse and systems that enable abusers. We have powerful veins of violence running through our core and the people who most represent those veins have been strategically armed. We have money speaking louder than people. We have big problems. And then we need to get off our asses and do something to make things better even if it’s small. This weekend, I’m donating some clothing and home items to a charity I have researched and support, donating to a cause I care about, spending some time keeping my body and our finances healthy, and going to see Black Panther. How about you guys? What are you doing in your own corner to take care of yourself or your patch?

There was another mass shooting this week and at time of writing, 17 victims have died including children. Three out of ten of the most deadly mass school shootings in US history have happened in the last 6 months. This is grotesque, it’s unacceptable, it’s horrific. It’s awful how little I’m convinced that this culture of violence with easy access to military grade killing machines is going to change as a result. The only bright spot has been the ability of the children involved to avoid being used as totems by interested parties and staying in control of their own voices, stories, POV, and narratives. The coming generation gives me much hope.

How much of what you read do you remember?

NYFW is over (London is next!) and Into The Gloss runs down their picks for the best beauty looks. If Tom Ford and co. could kindly run me one of those leather headbands, that would be great.

Swipe left.

Another excellent episode of Drunk History for your delectation.

A perennial topic of interest to me: changing trends in clothing. Front production to sales to consumer habits to start ups, Americans are buying less and that has some wider implications across the industry.

Loved this Black Panther review at NPR, with particular emphasis on how certain heroes are created or achieve resonance due to certain cultural moments.

This is…a hobby…?

It was yet another busy Friday afternoon when the DOJ released an indictment of Russian individuals travelling to the US, setting up VPNs to mask the origin of their content, and then spread derogatory content about some politicians (guess which ones) while promoting others (GUESS WHICH ONES). This dates as far back as 2014 according to what I’ve read, item 6 on page 4 states that some of these operatives communicated with “unwitting” members of the Trump campaign. Of no surprise to me was the information that after the election, the activities turned towards inflaming anti-Trump sentiment in some cases. They had one aim. It’s worked. They tried to divide along religious, racial, and regional lines, and it worked. They did their homework, investigated the weak points of our civil society, and went after those points with precision. This thread sums up my feelings (also, I’m more convinced than ever that Facebook is bad for us). Where we go from here, who we hold responsible, and how we choose to come together across divides is up to us.

Oh Mitt,you suffer from terrible timing. Friday in Trump’s America is not the time to be doing this sort of thing, you will always be upstaged.

I haven’t been following the Olympics this year, but figure skating will save us all.

Here. Have a vid of a dog eating pizza, just because.

Weekend Links

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
– Mark Twain

This week President Trump asked for a military parade and had an extraordinarily bad hair day. The Winter Olympics kicked off in South Korea, which is a nice thing. Elon Musk shot a car into space which is both an achievement and kind of Disney-villain-esque. A corgi and a pony gave the internet a small measure of hope. It was a wild ride.

Here are your links, darlings, have a good weekend and try to stay off the news

Read this: How Not to Die In America, over at Splinter.

I failed to link to this last week, but the Black Panther film premier red carpet was a smorgasbord of beauty and color. Go forth and partake.

This honest piece by noted stylist Stacy London, about things not going according to plan and the personal and financial costs of such slings and arrows, hit me right in the feels this week. All of these topics have been on my mind lately, and I’m grateful when noted and notable women write about their own experiences so personally. h/t to my bestie X.

Uma Thurman is ready to talk. Buckle up.

This profile of White House Communications Director and longtime Trump loyalist Hope Hicks is a fascinating read. And I mean that sincerely, in a non-catty kind of way.

There’s a new Drunk History episode for your delectation, darlings, and it’s a grand one! Takin’ notes, takin’ notes…

And a timely follow up news piece.


I want nothing more than to stumble across something like this an an antiques shop.

As soon as humans figure out how to do this

Bad news for the racists.

A guy with an alleged history of domestic violence which should have precluded him from work requiring a security clearance (it didn’t) was fired from the White House this week.  He follows the guy who had the arrest warrant out for him in Hungary, and the foreign agent who advised on national security, plus a few reality TV stars. Starting to think we aren’t good at hiring the “best people,” as the president once called them… (ETA: a late Friday evening addition.) (ETA: an early Saturday morning addition.)

This piece at Bloomberg is a long but interesting read. “He doesn’t understand the power of the anger he’s tapped, almost by accident. And he likely never will. There’s a throwaway line in Michael Wolff’s book: Trump never learned how to read a corporate balance sheet. His approach to his own ignorance is not to correct it but to compensate for it.”

Oh my god

THAT Quincy Jones interview, in case you missed it somehow.

Weekend Links

I have never in my life found myself in a situation where I’ve stopped work and said, ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’ But weekends are special even if your schedule is all over the place. Something tells you the weekend has arrived and you can indulge yourself a bit.
– Helen Mirren

This has been a roller coaster of a week for me, kittens, both newswise and personally and I am very glad the weekend is here. Apart from laundry and cleaning the house, I intend to do as little as I can get away with. I need to pick up and mail off some presents to people, send out some cards, and write some blog posts, but other than that all bets are off. I’ll be avoiding the news this weekend because as fake Lester Holt put it…

POTUS gave a SOTU address (remember that? It seems a weirdly long time ago…) and there have been endless think pieces so I won’t bore you with those. But I will say that there was a lot of rhetoric with little policy and no plans, with a nice undercurrent of the kind of talk that historically precursor-ed foreign conflicts. In case you were wondering how I felt about it.

There was an awful train accident with a number of congresspeople as passengers. Thankfully there was only one fatality, but tragically it was the driver of a vehicle that the train struck, which is awful. Horribly, the conspiracy theories about this accident started almost right away, and I’m not going to link to a single one. We live in a scary time. Meanwhile, here’s the GoFundMe campaign to support the family of the victim.

The incredible reinvention of the Religious Right, even just in my own lifetime, is constantly remarkable to me. In a bad way.

Trigger warning, this is a story about revenge porn. And it’s important to read because, given changes in media and technology, this possibility even more insidious than usual.

Meanwhile, most of the kids remain solidly alright.


Racked did a great piece on the history of black-owned beauty brands that is well worth a read. The market is making great strides in correcting the absolutely ridiculous limitations of shade ranges and products for women of color (and its propensity to treat “ethnic” products separately from “normal” products), but there is still work to be done. Insert reminder here that the best way to support the brands making change happen is with your money.

Stop accusing women in Mr. Trump’s orbit of sleeping their way to power. There is no evidence of this and even if there were, it’s a gross tactic to delegitimize their power. There is plenty to consider or critique without a single comment on their sexual choices.

We might need bodice ripper sex ed.

This is why.

It’s all about the statement outerwear this year, Paris says so!

I wanted to tell my story because I’m afraid people are forgetting. We can never forget what happened. We can never let it happen again.”

This guy was afraid of being shunned so murder was his out?!

This deep dive report by the New York Times into the world of fake or “bot” social media accounts, including how they can be bought and sold as “followers, is required reading to understand the bizarre media landscape we find ourselves in. From Fake News, to social media influencers, to online popularity wars, how much of this landscape is false or fraudulent? Turns out, a lot of it. What does this mean, and how should this knowledge affect us? I’m clearly not the only one who has questions about the worth of social media on the brain.

Meanwhile, here in Britain

So, the FBI is saying that the infamous memo is dangerously inaccurate. Great.

This beauty article is getting some hype this week, but I find its premise flawed. Beauty rituals have medical and psychological value. By all means, tell people to be smart about the chemicals they put on their skin. But don’t tell them that there is no value in taking care of your skin or that they are stupid for doing so or pretend that humans haven’t been slathering themselves in treatments for thousands of years to right a variety of wrongs and health situations.

Here’s a much better piece on why content on or about skincare is so prevalent right now.

San Francisco is trying something different.

While the president’s language around immigration seems vested in violence, here’s a casual reminder that the greatest amount of exteremist crimes in the US last year was by white supremacists.

A touching archaeological find from our extinct cousins/ancestors.

Hmmm, is Glossier making some mistakes with its latest product offering? The reigning UK Queen of Skincare weighs in.

And finally, the #Releasethememo frenzy hit its peak with the release of the memo in question, over the objections of the FBI. NPR has annotated and fact checked the document. My opinion is that the memo actually undermines the White House’s narrative that the investigation into whether or not the administration has had improper dealings with Russia started with the infamous Steele dossier. But if the aim is simply to throw the intelligence community into chaos and undermine public trust…mission bloody accomplished, and all of us are endangered for it.

Weekend Links

“We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late. ” 
― Edward R. Murrow

Another riotous week of political news, but never fear! I shan’t let the confirmation that the President probably tried to fire the man investigating him derail our good humor this weekend. There is much to celebrate and cheer on, kittens, in spite of the fact that the Doomsday Clock hasn’t been this close to midnight since before I was born.

We are defiant, unbowed, and full of confidence. Let this gif of Judge Aquilina’s handling of Larry Nassar’s letter, stating how distressing it was for him to hear the stories of his victims, be your moodboard for this weekend and all of 2018:

Greatist put together a list of resources and content for survivors of sexual assault and the people who want to care for them.

This piece on Buzzfeed of life after a polygamous FLDS cult is hard to read but powerful.

No shit.

Whoa, bad news for the Y chromosome, scientifically speaking…

So, we’re doing this every year now, yes? Regardless of the party in power, yes? Good.

Irony is dead.

I am so excited for this return, as much as I’m apprehensive of the emotional roller coaster it’s going to send me on.

Waiting for them to get to Gemini!

UGH. (Update, the reaction to this piece has been so extraordinary that the Financial Times has removed the paywall. Good. The only treatment for systemic bullshit hidden in shadows is sunlight. Follow up is still rolling out.)

So you want to write a nonfiction book? Let Friend of the Blog Caitlin Kelly walk you through the process.

It’s weirdly charming to me to think of a leader who doesn’t default to Twitter. I mean, no excuse for the collective heart attack, though!

The FBI Director threatened to resign this week in our perfectly normal and functioning democracy, thank you very much.

Inclusivity in beauty pays. Literally.

There was another awful school shooting incident, made more awful by confirmation that it’s the 11th such event so far this year. We’re not out of January yet.

You can take the girl out of Utah, but you’ll pry the RadioWest podcast from Salt Lake City’s public radio station from my cold, dead fingers. This past week they covered the Sundance Film Festival with a series of filmmakers and subjects in interviews worth listening to. My favorites were Believer, about a major poprock artist who seeks to find a way to advocate for LGBT communities without alienating his own Mormon people, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a film about the life of Fred Rogers.

Suck a shedload of lemons, dude.

Weekend Links

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” 
― Robert J. Hanlon

Another wild week of news, with Russian-linked Twitter bots pressuring politicians, the presidential porn star affair continues apace while no one seems to care about it, and as I put the finishing touches on this post the fight is raging on about whether the government will shut down or not since our Master Negotiator has managed to destabilize even good faith efforts at compromise by revealing the animus that underpins his policy. Or at least his advisers’ animus, that bit is unclear. Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed, Hawaii was scared to death by a fake missile launch warning and kind of revealed how poorly prepared we are in the event of a real strike,

Oh and the government shut down, it turns out. So things are going great.

The #MeToo backlash has well and truly started, but Sam Bee has some thoughts:

This Buzzfeed deep dive into the world of Trump’s property deals in individual detail is also an interesting glimpse into how wealth moves around the world.

I loved this interview with Dapper Dan which dives into a lot of issues through the lens of fashion. “Everybody thinks about buying a house or a car, but an outfit transforms you the next day.”

Spring is coming…right? Whatever, here’s a warm weather bag of the absurd variety that I’m loving.

Here’s a #MeToo story that ends with an apology and forgiveness done, in my opinion, the right way. Let’s learn.

Go Oxfam! Shop second hand, people, the world opens up to you.

I have been receiving the best texts from my pals thanks to this app!

This link between Russia and American lobbying groups is incredible and needs to continue to be reported on.

The Awl is going away, and that matters.

David Frum’s excerpted new book in The Atlantic was a somber read for me. He gives his perspective on what current “conservatism” looks like and has become in recent years, and lays out his hope for what it should be instead. He also asks readers to consider what happens after Mr. Trump and the kind of ardent and mobilized anger he rode to power on dissipates? All very important questions, but the following quote is what stood out to me and landed like a lead weight in my stomach. A few years ago this would have read has hysterical hyperbole to me. These days, I wonder if it’s possible, if not probable.

That animus I mentioned, it runs deep. And it is ugly to think how much more widespread it is than I ever realized. I know I keep saying that, but the emotion continues to batter me.

So, who’s are they?!

A question for all the guys out there who are good dudes and more importantly, want to be.

Weekend Links: Come at Us Edition

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Tennyson

Well, kittens, here we are: the last links of the year. It’s been a wild ride.

I had a nice long chat with Katarina the other day (a weekly occurrence and quite necessary to my happiness) and we were reflecting on the year that was. She mentioned, and I agree that 2017 really feels like a companion piece or sequel to 2016 which was, we agreed, a totally shit year. From the ridiculousness of global politics to the slew of pop culture deaths to my own personal background challenges, 2016 felt like something to be endured. Everyone just hunkered down as the blows kept raining down, never quite certain when the next one was going to land.

2017 by comparison, for all it has been awash in its own unrelenting ridiculousness, has felt like a response. From the Women’s Marches to #MeToo, a lot of simmering rage and pain on the part of women has gone from “open secrets” and back room whispers to full on mobilization. Communities of color, minority groups and faiths found themselves under siege from some quarters and in turn also mobilized in their own defense from kneeling at football games to showing up for elections. Allies and support systems coalesced when it became clear that they needed to be built. Hard conversations and revelations have been had across the social landscape. A lot of people like me who like to consider themselves “woke” realized that it’s not enough to have opinions, they must be married to actions and effort and put volunteer work, money, and talk into public spaces and areas where they may not have felt comfortable to do so before.

2016 felt like a siege, but 2017 feels like a counter strike. I have no idea what 2018 will bring, but in spite of the roller coaster of emotions of this past year, I’m not worn out thinking of it: I’m energized. I like to think that the forces that may be counting on our/my apathy or exhaustion–whether personal issues I deal with in the background, the global state of affairs swirling around us, or any other challenges–will be sorely disappointed.

I hope the end of the year is treating you kindly, ducklings, and that you are looking ahead with if not wide eyed hope, then at least steely eyed determination. You are going to rock this year.

That’s right, we’re being positive!

A post written for me: book and lipstick pairings.

This is not only a correct summation of 2017, but could also be the title of my autobiography.

NPR’s list of the top 100 songs of 2018 makes a great playlist, if you are so inclined.

Hey, fellow political junkies, here are 100 women of color running for office next year to support.

My body is ready!

That is certainly one tax plan

Headline of the week.

I find this to be a pretty fairminded assessment of the President’s learning curve one year into the job: namely that (unusual for a man who won the White House) he simply didn’t really understand a lot of aspects of the job and is having to learn by doing. Ditto for much of his staff. Whatever I think of his behavior or policies, I can empathize (briefly) with a whole administrative team being badly, badly out of their depth.

#MeToo rolls on.

As a former Mormon, polygamy fascinates, disturbs, and challenges me. This piece on its link to violence is not surprising to me, but is deeply interesting.

And suddenly, I want to bathe in Pitbull’s perfume. Who knew? As someone who knows herself to be a sucker for branding, I love the idea of this shop!

Gucci’s new ad campaign is even more gloriously extra than usual.

Well, thank goodness for late awakenings. Seriously, I applaud this, even if his last paragraph reveals he (and by extension a lot of us) still have a long way to go.

I’m among those who think automation may very well prove the next “industrial revolution,” probably to include the massive social upheaval that went along with the last one. I’m therefore very interested in programs or ideas built around minimizing the human cost of this potential change, and there is an interesting piece in the NYT about this worth reading if this is also something that keeps you up and night. …Just me?

Album of the week: Acoustic, by Betsy (and with this, I’ve met my goal of listening to one new album a week for a full year) 

Weekend Links

When we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
The freezing hours away? 
– William Shakespeare

Another week, another round of resignations by dude outed as absolute creeps, another round of Brexit talks…the news continues to be a bit grim. Remember how we all were sick of 2016 and looking forward to 2017? LOLZ, as the kids say.

But hey! It wasn’t all bad! I did some Christmas shopping and shipping this week, I had our first ever proper Christmas tree delivered, and I have grand ambitions for holiday-style cooking this weekend. We’re also trying a new grocery delivery service (I know, very decadent times in the Small Dog residence), so I’m interested in sourcing opinions of minions who have tried similar services. Let me know how you source your holiday food in the comments, along with anything else on the internet worth sharing!

Helena Fitzgerald knocks it out of the park again.

Living the actual dream.

The Meghan Effect has commenced and honestly, I’m not mad. She seems to have lovely taste.

The New York Times released their list of the best books of 2017, and for a change I’ve read only one of them! Can anyone report back from any of the picks?

Mother McGrath shares her manifesto, and I’m ready for it!

I don’t see what the problem is here

The murder of Heather Heyer by white supremacists was a preventable one. I mean, no kidding, but nice to have it confirmed anyway.

How to worry better. Seriously.

The trifecta: teaching girls to defend themselves, boys to be allies, and everyone what health consent is.

I love this: cinematic archaeology!

The Atlantic asks, will Mr. Pence and the religious right be (divinely?) rewarded for backing Mr. Trump?

There’s a lot to be mad about. Here’s something else: according to Moms Demand Action, this is the 57th school shooting in the US this year.

The Weinstein story got WORSE this week, if you can believe it.

What the hell is this?! I mean, boy bye, but we are officially in the Upside Down.

Luckily there was a tiny bit of redemption that the #MeToo movement and the “Silence Breakers” were awarded “Person of the Year.”

Anyone want to buy me this for Christmas?

2018’s color of the year is

Album of the week last week (which I forgot to add): Rest by Charlotte Gainsbourg

Album of the week: Everyday is Christmas, by Sia