Tag: News

Weekend Links

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

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

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

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

Premium cat content.

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

Also an icon: RUFUS!

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

Short answer: blackmail, probably.

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

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

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

Seriously.

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

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

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

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

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

This pleases me.

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

I’m exhausted, because it’s exhausting.

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

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

…that is certainly one way to quit!

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

What. A. Story.

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

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

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

So much to look forward to.

Weekend Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, I feel a little bit better.

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

have we found Captain America? We need him!

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

The deep dive I never knew I needed.

What an absolutely gripping read.

Why yes, I AM interested in fashion for space.

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

How DARE this article attack me!

Of course it’s millennial pink. Of COURSE.

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

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

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

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

Well this takes me way back to puberty!

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

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

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

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

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

Sobering story.

Who pissed off Poseidon?!

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

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

 

Weekend Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, give this woman every single award.

The New Yorker, asking the huge questions.

Holy crap!

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

First the bloggers, now the influencers!

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

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

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

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

BOY BYE.

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

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

Toxic masculinity is wild and messing with your carbs.

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

Yes, short answer.

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

What a pleasant, pleasing story!

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

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

Weekend Links

“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: How the Hell is it Already June, Edition

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”
– Al Bernstein

This was a short work week, and so I’ve mostly been head down and nose firmly to grindstone, ducklings. What did I miss?

[Scans news headlines. Screams into cushion for full five minutes. Rises and shakes self off in a supremely British manner.]

Okay. I’m caught up. Woof. Let’s just get to the weekend reading and sharing of good things, shall we? This weekend we’re brunching with friends, celebrating my birthday, soaking up the sun and yes…unfortunately doing a bit of work. C’est la vie. Share your favorite links and stories with me in the comments and tell me what nice things you are doing with friends, family, or your glorious self. Points for bragging!

First and foremost, happy Pride Month! I hope all in the community and allies are doing something absolutely joyous and fun to celebrate.

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The BBC is about to do it again!

The long term effects of male-preference is going to last for a least a couple of generations, and some sociologists have shown rises in crime or military activity alongside gender ratio imbalances this great. The cost for women is inevitably huge, with rises in trafficking and worse. But the honest question I have in reading so many of these stories is one of foundational math: if you and everyone else you know are having sons, where exactly do you think your grandchildren are coming from?

What a ride this tale was!

A delightful Instagram account for your delectation.

The absolutely galling shenanigans having to do with the USS John McCain this week are embarrassing. Not least of all because the administration tried to put the genie back in the bottle and declare the whole news piece “fake,” after administration official already confirmed it. And frankly, the most generous interpretation of the situation is still pretty bad.

Congress is the only check on the executive that we have in the US system. I feel that Mr. Mueller has made it clear that this is his formal position. His actions have been as per existing law. The trouble…is Congress. And the fact that rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

The systematic changes to how the US government is tracking and publicly reporting on climate change is bad. There is a great The Daily podcast episode on this as well that’s worth a listen.

I delight that someone has studied this.

The kids are alright.

You’re either on the side of women having autonomy over their own bodies or you’re not. It’s that simple.

It’s the end of an era! Sidenote, I definitely have an old iPod with a bunch of unsynced songs somewhere. I should dig that sucker out.

The census isn’t sexy but it’s important and there is a reason that conservatives are targeting it. And they ARE targeting it. Our saving grace may yet be that a lot of bad faith actors reveal themselves to be piss poor at covering their tracks in the end.

So clearly the other side thinks that event went really well.

What is it going to take?!

My people are a proud people, our culture a vibrant culture.

Our president is an idiot or a troll, and either option is Very Bad.

And finally, you cannot convince me that this wasn’t some kind of lifetime high for several people involved:

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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.