Sunday Check In: Home Investments During COVID

Alright beloveds, confess: what have you acquired over the last six months that is definitely due to COVID and why? Was it through shopping, swapping, or borrowing? Have you picked up a hobby only to abandon it, or are you now a certified expert? Have you “nested” during this time or become a die hard minimalist? What have you picked up for yourself or your family?

More houseplants. Can’t get a pet yet, so I spent about £20 on additional plants and my urban jungle brings me joy. Jeff likes to mock my black thumb but thus far I’ve only killed ONE. We’re in lockdown but I’m growing a neat little urban jungle to compensate.

A Dyson cooling fan. Every single year without fail, there is one week in August where London becomes unbearable. The air is stifling and stagnant with heat, the wind dies, and it’s generally just miserable. Now, in normal years you might be on holiday, you may be working from an office (more likely to have an air conditioning or cooling system than the vast majority of British apartments), you may be able to go out to a park and lay out in the sun with as few clothes on as legally permissible. But this year, nope! We all just had to sit around and stew in our own sweat. So we splashed out for a fancy, expensive fan to try and just get some airflow in the midst of a pretty brutal heatwave. With September creeping up and the worst of summer’s heat hopefully past, I’m hopeful that we’ll be trading fans for jumpers soon.

Kitchen knives. We’re cooking and baking much more, and so we finally replaced some pairing knives that we lost years ago, and bought higher quality chopping knives as well.

A new Yoga mat with slip control. My exercise habit has been inconsistent but at it’s best, I definitely needed an option that didn’t send me careening across our living room when I tried to do a downward dog.

A Le Creuset dutch oven and I feel like a REAL, LIVE GROWNUP NOW. This has long been a wishlist item of mine but could never justify the price until quite suddenly one was on terrific discount online and we just bit the bullet and bought it. And then we immediately used it to make the most decadent ragu I’ve ever had to christen it. I’m already scheming to master french onion soup next.

Cute underwear. Let’s be honest, this is a year where even if you were perfectly happy and healthy, you’ve probably still had whole weeks go by where you’ve felt like utter trash. I find that on of the things that helps me feel better is to look nice on purpose, and that starts from the skin out. I’ve been slowly making over my underwear drawer over the past year and a couple of lockdown purchases have been pretty underthings from independent British sellers, locally made, sustainable/ethical by design, and cute as hell. Feel good, support small businesses in a time of crisis, shop ethically. Everyone wins.

Linen sheets. Cool, clean, comfy. End of story.

Obviously, all the privilege caveats apply here. Clearly this was spread out over many months and I feel obliged to confirm that, in line with our other projects, we are making huge progress with our financial goals. But some of these were expensive…and none of them I regret. I’ve enjoyed our focus on cooking and kitchen experimenting, and while inconsistent I’ve been able to focus on health in different ways.

I’m fortunate to have had a job during this time and while I have a reasonable expectation of staying employed, 2020 has been a bitch of a year and I take nothing for granted anymore. It’s why we’ve been throwing as much money as possible at our debt and squirreling away extra money into an emergency fund, writing transparently on financial goals and choices helps keeps me on track.

Weekend Links

This has been a crazy week. Work is nuts, the world is nuts, everything is nuts. But I remain thrilled about a few things, incensed about others. Share the news that made you sit up and take note this week in the comments, my doves. I love you all.

The Democratic Convention happened this week and it was surprising good given the myriad technical limitations, and downright creative in others. PBS NewsHour has the videos, including the speeches. The best piece of political theatre and sheer delight (thin on the ground in our current political times) was undoubtedly the rollcall!

Also, shoutout to Vote from Abroad for my fellow expats voting from afar – register, request your ballot, submit it early either by mail, email (if your state allows), or by checking out your embassy website.

What is COVID doing to the fashion industry? Lots.

Nope. Nope nope nope.

Several months old now, but I found this piece an interesting and bolstering read.

So all the obfuscations, the AG’s testimony, all the posturing…once again confirmed bullshit.

While Mueller received all the hype, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence kept its head down.”

A few pieces on one of my favorite themes: you need to understand online, meme, and fan culture to understand almost everything about the modern media and political landscape
1. Gaming and conspiracy theories
2. The role of Instagram aesthetics in spreading disinformation
3. Algorithmic media and the spread of bad info
4. Algorithmic media and the bizarre cult of personality/conflict (and its limitations)
5. Shutting the barn door, etc. etc.

these children look identical to me… (which is not at all the point of the story, but was a fact I got stuck on over and over again whilst reading the piece.

We’ve all but decided to pursue dual citizenship because we are increasingly persuaded that an American identity is more of an international hindrance than a help. Because yes, “America First” does kind of equate to “America alone” and I don’t trust enough of my countrymen to reach this conclusion quickly enough to avoid generational damage that I’d not to have to live with or pass on to any hypothetical children.

Most of the problems with our media landscape, summarized.

Hey look, some good news from the UK.

You love to see it. (ETA: IT WAS THE POSTAL SERVICE! THIS SEASON OF THE APOCALYPSE IS BRILLIANT!)

What is behind the “Karen” meme? An awful lot and understanding it is important. (Again, you HAVE to understand meme culture to understand any kind of discourse now.)

It’s been a while since J. Crew was in the news for a good reason, but more of this please, capitalism.

Eyes on Belarus, everyone, and support the citizens challenging the push of anti-democracy.

You have a whole bunch of people in the Senate posturing for 2024 rather than governing for the crisis we’re in.” Yeah. I buy this take.

These cretins aren’t even trying to hide it.

London (and other cities) are gonna change.

Okay team, this has been a bit of heavy post so let’s end with our Pop Goddest Whomst We Stan Carly Rae Jepsen and this blessing of a summer bop!

Weekend Links – LET’S GO!

This week we’ve had a heatwave, intense thunderstorms, political news, media watching, and a few smatterings of fun and whimsy. It must be the weekend links roundup, kittens! Check in with the coterie in the comments and let’s hang out.

WE’VE GOT A TICKET. I’m not counting any chickens before November, but I think the Biden/Harris team came out of the gate strong and cut straight through lot of the (expected) racist and misogynist reaction at the start. Let’s go!

Trump said, out loud and in a public interview that he got rid of the head of the FBI because of the Russia investigation. This week he said, out loud and in a public interview, that he’s trying to sabotage the US Postal Service to give himself an electoral advantage. And of course, there are no consequences because the right is complicit or willing to benefit and the left is functionally useless due to ceaseless infighting. Twitter is nuts with rage, but the only hope is Nancy Pelosi’s spine holding.

We are not ready for how ugly November is going to be.

In an era where the media does more amplification than fact checking – again, across the political spectrum – we may be in an uncomfortable place of having to use different institutions to question truth claims. Since we’ve rejected science (lefty anti-vaxxers as much as righty climate change deniers), education (lefty liberal arts and righty social sicences), and consensus (…Twitter) maybe the solution is legal rather than persuasive. Maybe.

Will be interesting to see what happens to TikTok over the coming months, and this latest twist would be intriguing. Given the differences between platforms and their various attempts to build a monopoly and respond to a changing media landscape, Twitter v. Facebook continues to be the top story. Facebook/Instagram have rolled out their TikTok competitor Reels in the last couple of weeks and the jury is still out. Meanwhile, also on Facebook…

It’s a cult.

This piece is three years old and I literally think about it about once a week.

I’m seeing a lot of this from my mormon friends and loved ones in particular and it makes me want to scream. Not least of all because the majority of the people sharing it have had precisely zero interest in activism until suddenly BLM gets up and running. My cynical brain cannot help but feel this is another extension of the (stupid) culture wars, where you assign your attention not so much to support one cause as to refuse to support another. Child victimization is an ugly blight on our society, and it IS a real threat…but it’s worth consider who is only raising their voices about it now, and why, and based off of what information. Because we live in the darkest timeline and you have to check yourself to ensure you aren’t accidentally feeding a cult.

What on earth is wrong with us as a society?!

The last thing we need is another huge environmental disaster this year…one to watch and plan ways to support cleanup efforts and accountability measurements.

Is London still “worth it?” More than a few people I know are debating this within their families right now and to me it’s another example of how long a tail COVID is going to have for population and demographic changes over the coming years.

Excuse me, how did I fail to follow this year’s Tiny Desk Contest?!

Ezra Klein is a very thoughtful and thorough interviewer, able to articulate his own positions and biases, and giving his guests space to articular their own. This recent episode had me gripped because yes, it supports my own opinion, but the fact of who is doing so and how is incredible.

SHE DESERVES.

Has anyone ever successfully stopped biting their nails? What do we think of this as an idea?

What a glorious labor of love this is: a massive compendium of cookbooks across the ages!

FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast is live and is designed to be informative as to how models work as much as report latest updates- since a lot of people didn’t get it four years ago. It’s instructive and transparent in how it works, what it measures, and predictive logic. Horserace commenced.

The only thing I will say about Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s gloriously filthy new single.

I saw a description of the combined line of attack towards Harris as “misogynoir” and yep, that about sums it up. It took less than a day for “birtherism” to rear it’s head again, evolving to suit the landscape. The claim that Obama might be illegitimate has become that (according to some) Harris SHOULD be illegitimate. Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institute nails it:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

A not at all controversial rant about a totally bland topic…

Whew, okay. It’s been a while since my last religious hot take, but an article is making the rounds this week in the Mormon world and I have way too many thoughts about it to just add it to the next Weekend Links roundup. And since I’m trying to post more often, let’s have a very cool and calm discussion about a not-at-all-controversial topic: mormonism and polyamory. 

This is the article in question. And honestly? It irritates me. Admittedly I’m not an unbiased observer, but it lacks a self-awareness that I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about.

Why, you ask? Let’s set some priors. I’m personally monogamous and have no interest in polyamory…but I am formerly Mormon, and Mormonism has a sticky, complicated history with “alternative” marriage structures. We’re kinda famous for it. In the nineteenth century we fled the then-borders of the United States in order to practice polygamy openly, fought a small “war” over it when the federal government tried to exert control over the territory, and only gave it up when it became a bar to statehood – and even then an awful lot of people kept up the practice on the sly, often with fairly senior leadership being party to it. Most of the more fringe LDS splinter movement (such as the FLDS group last headed by the horrific Warren Jeffs) broke away from the main church at this point because to them abandoning “the principle,” as they call it, was heretical beyond belief and they refused to do it.

Polygamy’s long shadow still informs politics in Utah, is still cited in changes to church policy (the infamous change which required the child of gay parents to “reject” their parents lifestyle before being able to be baptized in the church is based on an identical procedure for the children of polygamist parents), and I would argue still colors the patriarchal culture of the church from top to bottom. Sidenote, let me point you to the excellent public history podcast project, The Year of Polygamy which explores this topic from every possible angle.

Also, let’s be clear, while the church may have “banned” the practice in the late nineteenth century (and really only enforced it from the early 20th), it is still uncomfortably present in Mormon theology. And sorry, anyone who says otherwise is being disingenuous.

This all comes down to the Mormon view of marriage which includes a legal aspect and a spiritual one. It’s where these do and don’t overlap that things get complicated.

Let’s explain by an example: the current president of the church is currently married to his second wife after his first wife’s death left him widowed. Lovely and so far so normal, right? But according to Mormon theology, he will be married to both of them in the afterlife because he has been “sealed” to them in a Mormon temple ceremony which is considered the most sacred ordinance in the faith.

Oh. Okay, let’s dive into the details.

Men can be “sealed” to multiple women, but women can only be “sealed” to one husband. This has to do with the gendered and patriarchal structure of the church and is also a heritage of patriarchal polygamy where a man could have multiple living wives at the same time. But that was in the 19th century, right?

Well…that depends on a few other factors too.

Now if you happen to be legally divorced, your “sealing” isn’t automatically cancelled. You have to seek the church’s permission, much as you’d have to do with annulling a marriage in the Catholic tradition, and this was historically discouraged because of the value Mormonism places on a sealing. It is considered a binding oath and the glue that keeps a family together in the hereafter. Also, you can’t get into the highest levels of heaven without it. So if your temporal marriage breaks up, the church’s position was to keep the sealing intact to avoid allowing you to be doomed to a less exalted fate.

So to a believer…you’re still married to that person and can look forward to an afterlife with them, regardless of what caused your marriage to end in the here and now. I can personally name a half dozen women I’ve known for whom this meant a huge amount of heartache because to them because they were “sealed” to abusive partners and were afraid of being trapped with them forever.

And what if you want to get remarried? Well, then you’ll have an easier time petitioning the church to void your first sealing so you can immediately jump into a new one. IF YOU’RE A WOMAN. A man doesn’t need to have his first sealing cancelled and can be remarried and sealed to a new spouse without admin headaches. In other words, he technically can be sealed to multiple, living women at the same time, which I would argue is kinda…polygamous.

And finally, if you’re widowed and remarried there’s not a lot of info about what your afterlife with plural wives (or what your life AS a plural wife) is going to look like. I know I’m writing anecdotally, but again I know a lot of women for whom this causes fear and pain, and both men and women for whom it’s a stressful and confusing topic. What if you’re a believer married to a non-believer and therefore unable to be sealed, does that mean you’ll be separated from your partner in the hereafter? What if you’re a second spouse and think you’re going to spend eternity in a polygamous family after being taught that monogamy is the only acceptable relationship your whole life? What if you’re a widowed man, delighted to find love after loss but don’t want to be sealed to your second wife out of respect for your first, are you condemning this woman to a lonely, subpar eternity?

It’s messy and it isn’t grappled with honestly enough, in my opinion. In my experience if you press most believers to explain how exactly the afterlife is going to work for these families, the response is “We trust god to work it out.” Cool, good luck. But that makes your claims about the necessity of the ceremonies in question a little less valid, at least to me. It’s a thread that the more I pull on, the more the whole patriarchal construct, biological theology, and gendered teachings just unravel. I don’t expect everyone to have the same experience, but that was certainly mine.

And so finally, we get back to this article and why it irritates me so much. Because the authors decry polyamory but don’t tackle their own cultural history of it, and the fact that a version of it is very much still alive and well and causing heartache. This article laments relationship dynamics which mean that one partner is dependent on another and can therefore be coerced into a non-consenual poly relationship… without acknowledging that the official stance of the church is that ideally, women SHOULD be dependent on bread-winning male partners for all their worldly support. So…this imbalance already exists in Mormonism (and is already horrifically exploited in far too many cases).

You can’t square this circle. You cannot insist on divinely appointed heterosexual monogamy, except when it suddenly turn poly and is somehow fine and acceptable. You cannot insist on divine gender roles and patriarchal leadership, and then tsk tsk about unequal family dynamics leading to potential harm.

Writings by Mormons invoking a moral worldview informed by Mormonism that don’t deal with the default polyamory inherent in their system while still trying to stake out a moral position against it make me grumpy. Yes, it’s deeply uncomfortable to deal with, as are a lot of historical legacies, but if you don’t do this work, it’s just Prop 8 and anti-LGBT rhetoric all over again. You are advocating for a version of a family that doesn’t hold up to your own theological and cultural scrutiny.

And if that makes you uncomfortable – GOOD. Sit with it a bit and interrogate why. You might have to confront some interesting thoughts as a result.

Basically, I wish to hell that Mormonism would just stop worrying about other people’s marriages as much as they do, and focus on the very real problems they don’t do enough to address in their own community. Some wise man once remarked on motes and beams, or something.

 

Weekend Links

Kittens, it’s been…it’s been a week. There are a lot of troubles in the world. I’ve tried to round up some important stories in our usual interest realms – media and information, politics, and cheese. I’ve tossed in goodness to help the grim go down better.

Love you all, stay safe in the heat!

Iconic.

All families have some kind of secret history.

NOT NOW, PLAGUE.

Racist dogwhistles (and outright racism) to own the libs. Damaging the environment in ways that will affect our entire species to own the libs. Practicing cruelty and exclusion of marginalized people to own the libs. Economic self harm to own the libs. It’s just a fundamentally bizarre way of thinking to me and I’ve given up trying to understand it. It’s a pointless game of one downsmanship.

It’s a cult.

If 2020 has a theme it’s that all the screen tropes are happening in real life.

You’d think I’d be unmoved by all the evidence confirming my worst feelings about his capability and fitness for the office he holds, but I still manage to find myself grimly shocked.

Oof

Monica speaks wisdom.

HOLY CRAP. If “everything Trump touches dies” holds true, I will not be sorry to see bogus culture wars be among his anti-Midas-touch victims. I for one have no sympathy for those who have enabled the worst fringes of their own team to the point that almost every norm is trampled and every institution is under suspicion.

Yes please, I want more African ballet across the board.

Save the cheese!

And why you should exercise caution about those “save the children” campaigns you’re suddenly seeing crop up everywhere. It’s not happening on accident. Be sure of your information and its sources.

Fifteen Things I Loved In May/June/July

Ducklings, I’m the worst! I’m badly behind and the only excuse I have is the…general state of the world at large…

Actually, that’s a pretty okay reason to lose track of time in my opinion. This cursed year is more than half gone, and let be real about the possibility of the second half being even more bonkers than the first. So much to look forward to.

These past months have just been weird. Occasionally positive – flexible working is a win, saving money on travel has gone a long way, it’s been an opportunity to really ground and focus on what’s important. Occasionally horrible – the general dread and anxiety, watching the slow motion effects start to land on my nearest and dearest and wondering when they are going to hit us, the confinement. It’s truly a roller coaster, and I’m very aware that (thus far at least) my family has been extremely luck, but it does make for an emotionally wobbly time.

Here are the things that helped me cope in the last couple of months. As always, leave your own favorite things and recommendations in the comments so we can all help each other out a bit.

 

House of Names, by Colm Toibin

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was one of my favorite novels in perhaps years, and somehow that without plan or even intention, I ended up having a bunch of books become available become available across my library accounts along the same theme of Greek mythology. From a modern retelling of Antigone, to two audiobooks delightfully narrated by author Stephen Fry, on the subject of myths and heroes, I was having a run on the topic. So I figured I should probably add to the number on purpose and picked up this retelling of the House of Atreus myth. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Orestes, and the whole gang. Written from three points of view, each of the chosen characters brings a private perspective to a very well-trodden story and makes it feel fresh and new and human.

 

Khiels Creme du Corps

Basic but good. If you’re spending most of your time in loungwear or athleisure (as many of us are), things like skin and body care take on greater significance. We’re all in uncomfortable circumstances of varying degrees, so things that have a comfort factor have been much more important to me of late. I’ve never been very good at taking care of my whole body – moisture, exfoliation, hands and feet, and all that jazz have long escaped me – so being forced to focus on it  has helped me feel better overall. This is a bit of a cult product and for a good reason. I heartily recommend the sensation of sliding your freshly shaved and moisturized legs into clean sheets, especially when you have absolutely nowhere to go the next day.

Attack on Titan

My anime education continues, at the hands of my husband. I really enjoyed this series which combines really creative science fiction, political drama, and the angst of frustrated romance into a pleasing cocktail. By his own admission, Jeff is keeping me focused on the “highbrow” anime properties, but I’m really enjoying learning more about the genre as a total newb. His recommendations thus far are highly engaging so have a scroll through past favorites posts if you’re inclined to dip your toe in.

 

French Perfume

Thank god for that last minute trip to Paris with X and her boy before all this happened. It’s honestly one of the few things keeping me sane and reminding me of the Before Times. She’s a perfume junkie and we did a lot of haute smelling and testing together while the boys indulged us, and I came home with a gorgeous scent from Parle Moi de Parfum: Chypre Mojo. If you’re desperate for something – ANYTHING – to switch up in your life right now, let me recommend a scent.

 

True North series, by Sarina Bowen

I’m probably going to do a whole post on this topic but you know what I’ve been reading bucket loads of? Romance novels. The first quarter of the year was all murder mysteries and science non fiction but of late, I want easy and fun reads. And while I’m not prepared to dive fully into a defense of romance novels generally here (again, topic for another post), I will say that almost all of the popular opinions of them are wrong. Fiction written by mostly-women for mostly-women is not a trashy secret, it’s a billion dollar industry and one of the few female-gaze mediums out there. And if you’ve done a bare minimum of reading out there, a lot of writing about bodies and feelings done from the male point of view can be hilarious or tragic. It’s difficult to write personality driven fiction, heavily dependent on dialog and internal monologue, and make interesting and appealing. Romance writers are damn good at their jobs. My most recent find is Sarina Bowen who writes contemporary novels and, lest you think it’s all bodice ripping and swoons, her stories are…topical. Her characters deal with blended families, second marriages, first love, economic challenges, career paths, addiction and recovery, LGBT characters, family dynamics…her plots are believable and personal, not just – um – entertaining. If that’s your cup of tea, give her a shot and leave me your thoughts about romance in the comments. I’m seriously toying with this as a blog topic!

 

Thank You Farmer SPF

A longtime favorite and recommended product of mine, this also recently got the seal of approval from Sali Hughes if my word isn’t good enough for you. I’ve converted many a pal to these tubes of goodness. Makeup is far from the highest priority right now but you people should be wearing sunscreen every single bloody day. I spend my days working from our living room with the windows open and SPF is a must.

 

Psycle workouts

Shouted out before, but the love continues. In fact, as an experiment it’s been so successful that the brand is going to produce online only content and I’m 100% signing up for it.

 

Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1, by Living Proof

Hair is still my beauty nemesis but even in lockdown there are work meetings that require some camera time and half-assing your look isn’t going to cut it! This keeps a blowout smooth and seems to keep my hair looking tidy longer, even after workouts or days sweltering in the summer sun in a country that doesn’t have air conditioning.

 

Dyson fan

Speaking of – this thing saves lives.

 

Normal People, BBC adaptation

This TV adaptation of a book which no one I’ve met seems to have ambivalent feelings about – they either love it or hate it – won a lot of praise for doing something very difficult: making the inner life visible. The novel on which is based takes place mostly in the thoughts and emotions of the two main characters. How on earth do you make someone else’s inner monologue interesting? Well, this series nails it. The story is of love across class, but set in current day Ireland and in a world where we have more tools than ever to communicate but still manage to misunderstand each other constantly. It’s about the difference between academic and emotional intelligence, how we all deal with personal pain, and the damage and healing we can do for each other. It’s about intimacy. It’s beautifully shot and the acting is incredible. It rather famously has sex scenes, but even though they are explicit, it feels incorrect to use that or its overused alternative: graphic. Refreshingly, rather than being gratuitous, sex is actually a part of the story in a fundamental way and are both thoughtfully directed and filmed to convey the complexities of the characters’ desires and the intimacy they have and hold for one another. Basically it’s a slow story and won’t be for everyone, but I’m incredibly impressed as an adaptation and am curious to hear from people who have read the book as well and what your feelings on both properties are. Full Goodreads review here. To the comments!

 

Lisa Eldridge lipsticks

Let’s be real, masks are sort of messing with my presentation identity – which longtime minions know is heavily lipstick dependent! But given the amount of work calls I’m still required to participate in on an almost constant basis, lipstick continues to provide a much needed boost of confidence. I’m still not entirely over the discontinuing of my beloved Bite Beauty formula (I have only two bullets left) but am taking comfort in the arms of famous makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s velvet matte formula. I own four: a true red, an orange red, a dark burgandy, and a vibrant deep pink. When you need to look good on camera, pigment your pout. It helps hide quarantine insomnia, foundationless skin, and a hose of other aesthetic peccadilloes, which literally no one should care about right now. There’s a pandemic on.

 

Folklore, by Taylor Swift

Yeah, I’m a Beyonce stan for life and have never really seen it for Taylor…but I’ve been listening to this album on repeat since it came out. It’s really, really good.

 

Binging with Babish

A cooking YouTube channel is exactly what I wanted to lose myself in over the last few months. Jeff introduced me to this guy and I really love his content.

 

In Five Years, by Rebecca Searle

Clearly I’m thinking and interested in human emotions a these days – probably has something to do with the fact that my intimate world has shrunk dramatically but my need for it has not. This short book is another “love story” but it’s not at all the one you think it is. To say any more is to ruin the story, but I loved this novel and finished it in a single sitting.

 

Knives Out

This is finally on Amazon Prime UK, and thank god for it. It’s one of the most films I’ve seen in years. If you’re having a particularly murderous day yourself, channel your feelings in a more wholesome direction and snuggle up with Chris Evan’s now iconic sweater with some popcorn.

August Moodboard

Summer for me often equates to an identity crisis. Far from being a season of relaxation, since I was 16 it’s been a time for working and making money for the coming year, often moving with the military to a totally new place which often offered the chance for a new facet of identity. In my 20s it was a season for travelling to see family, but that has meant financial planning and organization more than repose, and it’s only in my 30s that I feel that my worklife balance is getting to where I want it to be and my identity was settling down. And then this year WHAMMO, pandemic.

So this month, we’re just leaning into the uncertainty and going with the flow. Nobody has any answers, everyone’s shut in or locked down, and there is not point trying to anticipate too far in the future. We’re all just doing the best with what we’ve got and we’re all out of our comfort zones. So do what brings you comfort and keeps you sane, kittens, and don’t worry too much about what it looks like to people who don’t have to live in your head.

Weekend Links

Another Friday in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2020. Lockdown easement is paused in the UK because cases are rising, Trump is floating the idea to delay the election (thus far a nonstarter, but let’s be honest this year is already a mess and nothing surprises me anymore), and the sea is rising.

It’s a lot. It’s a helluva lot. But today we’re going to educate ourselves, enjoy some social commentary, media discourse, and hilarity. Love you all, kittens. Check in the comments. 

Femaleness, male incivility, and how our reactions are often scrutinized more than their behavior. Traister strikes again.

Ooh, speaking of, let’s delve into this more, shall we? “Evangelical support for Trump was no aberration, nor was it merely a pragmatic choice,” Du Mez writes. “It was, rather, the culmination of evangelicals’ embrace of militant masculinity, an ideology that enshrines patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad.”

Using wealth for good.

The thrill of free fall has worn off, replaced by the general sensation of crashing. Ultradomesticity was comforting for a while — we should seize this opportunity to slow down, I read, way back in April — but now I would like to leave my house without weighing the potential consequences. I would like the freedom that comes from knowing I can go anywhere, or do anything, without the constant specter of disease. That’s a lot to ask of any hobby.

Her comedy genius is that she simply repeats him, word for word. No polite editing, no attempts to make full sentences out of discombobulated thoughts, just redelivering the exact same words without the benefits of his office. And yeah, it sounds ridiculous because it is.

Ah yes, more fun in the world of communicable disease. It’s history but a timely reminder that we basically continue to exist thanks to a matter of cosmic luck and nothing is certain.

In my personal experience, the venn diagram of people who don’t believe in climate change and those who are anti-immigration is a circle. One of these perspectives is going to have to give before the cognitive dissonance cripples their neurons.

A depressing but not unbelievable argument.

I think about this a lot as an expat. My passport has made my life and movement very easy and it’s almost impossible for me to conceptualize a world in which it doesn’t give me the freedom I’m used to. But that world is fast approaching and is one of many reasons Jeff and I are considering dual citizenship at some point.

Problematic allies are still allies…but stay wary.

Something about barn doors and horses. But seriously, until we come up with a better way to categorize and contain the publishers of misinformation, we’re going to struggle. Side rant, this is the benefit of professionalized media and proper journalism. And we’re long past the point that social media should be considered just a platform instead of a publisher of some kind with editorial liability.

I’ve not become a knitter in lockdown, but X has and I’m going to benefit from her artistic labor.

If you’re not angry about this, you’re not paying attention. Also, once more for the cheap seats in the back, anyone who ranted to me for the Obama years about impending martial law or Jade Helm conspiracy theories or any assorted government abuses had better be speaking the fuck up now. Because the silence I’m getting from those voices is really, really telling. The problem was never authority, the problem was always authority that you perceived to be “not on your side.”

“Demon sperm” and “astral sex” started trending this week in politics, because we live in the dumbest and most infuriating timeline.

Art from pain. Timely.

Representative Lewis was laid to rest and eulogized by calls, not to lionize his work, but to keep marching. His posthumous essay is worth your time.

Weekend Links

This was a rough week as some of the ripple effects of the pandemic continued to land closer and closer to home. We’re still okay for the moment, but several close friends have been intimately affected. I’m feeling a horrible mix of survivors guilt, selfish gratitude for not yet being hit by the waves, and a general uptick in the overall creeping sense of dread that basically every millennial I know enjoys. 

Staring down the barrel of the second major recession of our lives and basically all the same people are still in power. Love that for us! (screams into a cushion) 

Have some links, check in in the comments, and pour yourself something nice, my doves. 

Is the death of the It Bag on the horizon?

The most basic definition of hate is personal animus, but there is a more useful, and frightening, description: Hate is a social bond — a shared currency — and it abhors a vacuum.”

The largest issue seemed clear to me, in part because I was accustomed to it: that the letter, at core, was at once a theoretical defense of intellectual freedom and a carefully veiled invitation to use dehumanizing rhetoric under the bastion of ‘the free exchange of ideas.”

Oh look, another misogyny murder

How do we feel about pennies, team?

And I’m sure that any moment now, all the gun enthusiasts who’ve hoarded weapons in fear of the federal government, all the states rights activists, all the small government zealots, and all their kith and kin will rise up to denounce this, right? (Editor’s note: of course they won’t. Because with a few exceptions it’s never been about any of those issues. As a collective, these people are perfectly fine with overreach, size, and power so long as they feel it’s on their side. They aren’t opposed to it, they’re opposed to feeling like it doesn’t benefit them and their ingroups. Which is, of course, they hallmark of fascism: the worship, elevation, and triumph of the ingroup over one’s – usually falsely manufactured – enemies.)

Fire your branding people. While I applaud the direction overall, it’s been messy with its messaging. 

Fellow ladies, hands up if a man has ever called you a “fucking bitch.” Now again friends, hands up if a COWORKER who call you that in your workplace would at minimum face a disciplinary hearing

Support your locals!

Eurocentric history does not benefit us, we’re missing thousands of years of culture and human interaction because of it!

I’m too, um, endowed for this. Alas. Sounds restful. 

Weekend Links

Another Friday, another links drop. This week we’re talking media, privacy, the changing nature of platforms and content creators, nostalgia, and Things To Be Mad About. It’s a smorgasbord of things to discuss in the comments, kittens!

Extra love to all the SDS OGs who checked in on my last post with wonderful updates about life, family, and work in these uNpReCeDeNtEd TiMeS. I love our weird little blog community.

Take care of yourself this weekend, my doves.

YouTube is going through a shift, in my opinion. Yeah it’s sort of related to the Beauty Guru Drama, but a lot of top creators are quitting or dramatically changing their approach. Some of them are citing the limitations of the algorithm, some are burned out. Others feel burdened by their old content and feel it doesn’t reflect them anymore, while still don’t want to or can’t delete it because it’s part of their brand or income streams.

In other social media news this week, yikes.

I’m shocked. SHOCKED. (Update, I remain UTTERLY SHOCKED…)

FUCK THIS. This is bad and dangerous, full stop.

Speaking of, I continue to be astounded by the sheer amount of visual evidence that is just…ignored or disregarded about police abuses of force and power. It’s like visual Newspeak.

And she’s stunning.

It’s the corruption, stupid.

Garment workers – likely to be female, from underdeveloped nations, and in slave labor conditions – deserve better. #PayUp

If there’s one thing that unites Small Dog Nation, it’s an art heist!

None of this had to happen and it’s both infuriating and heartbreaking. Performative politics and deliberate misinformation is killing people.

It’s basically the 1930s now. Lean into radio theatre, my doves.

WERK.

I’m all for more female Emperors. Imperatrixes, if you will.

Well, this is happening at some point this summer.

Divorce him, girl.

Someone please explain a good faith justification for this because I am drawing an absolute blank. States are once again running out of hospital beds and the administration is privatizing the data management? Meanwhile some governors are banning face coverings to own the libs or whatever.

The immediate public health crisis is hideous and hundreds of thousands of people have died and we haven’t seen the end of it. But the longer term secondary effects are going to be horrible in new ways. In the US, over 5 million people have lost healthcare so far this year, and 20 million face potential eviction. And as for consumer debt, well

A writer I really enjoy on practicing hope.

Owen Jones put his opinion (and incidentally my own) succinctly. You cannot hold the majority of institutional power and still claim be the victim because people on Twitter are mad at you.

THE ONLY REBOOT WORTH GETTING EXCITED OVER.

I’m not at all surprised to see that he’s been demoted but not exiled. Grifters gonna grift together. I’m also not at all surprised that he was the last to hear about it.

A generation of women are opting out of parenthood. That doesn’t make them selfish, shallow or in denial, but it does make society feel uncomfortable.”

Of course they are.