Tag: Politics

Weekend Links

Hi fam, how are we? We limber, rested, hydrated? Or we spiraling into existential dread? All are welcome in Small Dog Nation without guilt or shame.

This week’s links are not terribly light and fluffy, but are important. We’re emphasizing online culture, disinformation, and one or two nice things thrown in to surprise the palate. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments and keep safe!

Everyone who wants to understand current radicalization of all stripes NEEDS to understand the transition from meme/online culture to real life. Whether ISIS’ robust online PR operation to radical leftist anarchists on 4chan, the pathways are eerily similar.

as I was saying

again, still saying

Not unrelated: the attention economy politicians work, think, and measure success in a different way than actual politicians. Understanding this is important.

We’ve still focused on the police, don’t get it twisted. But we need to understand their culture in order to make change.

Also key: how the internet and online life is changing. Will the attention economy politicians keep up or will they be outstripped or outflanked by the meme cycle – including among their own ranks? I continue to believe that this cycle has dragged the right and left in their extremists directions more than leadership has – people are radicalizing themselves and institutions are scrambling to catch up or retain control. I also believe that the right has been more effective at allying around specific topics and staying on message than the left…but that this has in turn exacerbated the radicalization process and that they are at real risk of losing control of their wingnuts.

no shit, Sherlock.

Yep. Sure. The problem with the royal family is this pair and not…this mess. Sure.

Snowflakes.

Speaking of, “The Right Wing Myth of the Left Wing Mob,” is something that I sincerely want to send to a dozen specific people. But I’m not trying to convert anyone anymore (she reminded herself).

Meanwhile, on YouTube

Here is a nice list of book recommendations to consider!

(takes deep breath) BIRTH CONTROL IS HEALTHCARE. This week the US Supreme Court gave the double whammy of allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to workers on religious grounds, AND upheld religious organizations right to discriminatory hiring practices. I worked for an institution like this once. Never again. I had health insurance and Planned Parenthood was STILL a better option for my reproductive health.

10% of our entire population.

I’m Not Trying to Convert Anyone Anymore

I’ve been thinking a lot about argument, discussion, debate and discourse lately. For obvious reasons. When I argue these days, it’s to stand up for a point I think is important or advocate for a value I believe in. But I no longer really try to convince other people that they’re wrong and I’m right. In many cases I’ve simply lost faith that it has much of an effect, but at a deeper level this is yet another callback to my Mormon upbringing and worldview.

Mormonism is a missionary faith – as is pretty well known. Most everyone has seen or had an interaction with the official missionaries out and about, or is familiar with them as a concept through pop culture. Missionary service is an expectation of young men, and increasingly encouraged for young women (which didn’t use to be the case compared to encouraging them to prioritize marriage). Not only that, there is a perpetual mission effort within the culture and structure of congregations, supported by messages and guidance encouraging all adherents to proselytize. “Every member a missionary,” as the slogan goes.

This attitude towards conversion comes from a place of genuine love and caring. The underlying premise is that if you have found Truth, you have an obligation to lead others to that truth. If knowledge of this truth is necessary to salvation, you do not have a right to keep it to yourself and deny others the opportunity. If you love something, if you believe it: you share it. Complacency about other people’s understanding is not allowed.

My observation is that this attitude remains intact even if one leaves the faith. I’ve written before how my Mormon-ness doesn’t “wash off,” even if I no longer believe in it. The cultural conditioning and in-built heritage remains. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who leave the church seem to go through a period where they seem to try to replicate missionary work in reverse – having become convinced of the “truth” (in this case, the falseness of the faith), they want to “open other people’s eyes” to it. Whether knowingly or otherwise, I witness a lot of people try to use the same tools of conversion for deconversion. And for the same reasons! If you care about someone, you want the best for them. Ergo, if you think a belief system is bad, you are unable to be complacent about it and feel a responsibility for their welfare.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think it works.

No one “deconverted” me from my faith. It was the result of over a decade of intense internal debate and inquiry. Topic after topic was picked up, examine, interrogated, debated, researched, and – yes – prayed over. Gradually ideas, realizations, perceptions, and information combined and coalesced into something I could no longer deny: I did not believe the same things that the organization taught. I thought it was wrong, I didn’t trust or believe several of its key truth claims, I could not participate in the community and remain true to the things I did believe, and there was no successful path for a cultural participation in the heritage of the faith without also a full throated and genuine adherence to its beliefs structures.

And every time I have tried to explain this process to a believer – a misguided attempt to do “missionary work” for my experience and perspective – I have failed to do it justice. I have failed to explain it in a way that makes sense to them, or they have failed to listen. We are operating from two fundamentally different perspectives of Capital T Truth.

I was having a vigorous (but respectful) political discussion with a loved one the other day that centered on the protests against police brutality in the States. We do not agree politically, but are able to argue and debate fairly successfully. I love this person, and they love me and while our differences have caused friction, they have not caused rift. In this I am so much more lucky than many people I know and I’m grateful beyond words for it.

The most significant aspect of this conversation for me happened towards the end of the discussion. After debating philosophical differences between sides of the political spectrum, trading thoughts on what the manifestations of those differences are, and talking Big Picture concepts, I referred to my own (admittedly anecdotal) experience of working for a police department myself for five years and what I witnessed there. (For those who don’t know, this police department was affiliated with my alma mater and a religious institution.)

This person’s reaction was along the lines of, “That experience really ruined a lot of things for you.” The implication being, that my political and religious views were fundamentally changed during this period of my life – and not for the better.

My immediate reaction was a flash of white hot anger. It felt really belittling to be told, in effect, “Your reaction to your own personal experience and observations are wrong,” by a person who was not there, was not privy to my thought process, and in spite of these gaps, does not see some of the choices I’ve made as valid or correct.

But after a beat, calm reasserted itself because the truth is, this person is right. Working for a police department for five years did change my view of policing. Which is a perfectly rational progression of events. Most people with opinion on policing have never worked for PD! And working at an institution controlled and managed by a religious organization also informed my view of that organization. Which again, feels like a pretty sensible way to form a point of view. I know a lot of people with views on religion who have never stepped foot in a place of worship. Now, we can debate the rightness or wrongness of my opinions, but at least they are informed by years worth of first hand investigation and inquiry!

This person is at some level unhappy at how I went through certain experiences and I didn’t come away from them with the conclusions (politically or theologically) that I am “supposed to.”

And I was unhappy that my practical and personal experience seem to be so easily dismissed when I feel both have given me specific insights that should carry some weight.

We are operating from totally different perspectives on Capital T Truth. (Seems relevant to the protest situation of people of color and their experiences…and any other number of divides.)

We’re at an impasse of beliefs. I don’t think we’re ever going to get over it. That’s okay.

The best we can do is practice empathy and kindness, and stop trying to change the other person, or hoping they’ll “come around” to a more palatable (to us) way of thinking. I’m not going to convert this person to my way of thinking, they are not going to convert me back to their faith. We have to learn to find other ways forward.

I’m delighted to say that where once a conversation like this may have ended in tears, this one ended in jokes, story swaps, and expressions of love. We’ve had to practice kindness and respect for one another in new ways. We have to learn how to make our case and then move on, not get stuck in arguments as if life were a perpetual YouTube comment section or subreddit – what a ghastly thought!

I’m no longer trying to change minds. I don’t think I can. One has to convert, or deconvert oneself. Missionaries of all stripes may serve as catalysts to change, but all true change comes from within.

I’m not a missionary of any kind anymore, and I’m not really attempting to be. I’m simply doing what I think is right, and standing up for what I believe. I’m doing it with my voice, my vote, my money, my time, my attention, and my platforms. Perhaps it will serve as a catalyst for someone else’s introspection process, but if not, it doesn’t matter. I’ve done the internal work, and I am still doing it, and that is ultimately the only thing I am or can be responsible for. In a weird way, this is also a legacy of my Mormonism because of a bunch of other slogans and messages I picked up. Anyone who grew up in the faith will recognize perhaps the most famous,”Choose the right,” supplemented by a popular hymn called “Do What is Right.

Black lives matter.

Systemic disadvantage exists, as does systemic privilege.

LGBT+ lives matter.

Trans women are women.

Trans men are men.

Nonbinary people are real.

Patriarchy is wrong.

Separate but equal is inherently unequal, no matter how to try and swing it.

Racism, sexism and homophobia are not “mean-ness,’ they are a collective system of traditions and institutions (many of them intentional, many of them not) that cause disproportionate harm and allocate disproportionate privilege.

Kind words and actions are welcome in overcoming overt hostilities, but do not make one any less racist, sexist, or phobic if your actions and beliefs continue uphold systems and structures that continue this disproportionate harm.

And everyone needs to do the work and learn the difference between being “nice” and “good.”

Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

 

Sunday Check In – Recognizing Racism and Doing Better

God, I hope I get this right because this is a difficult subject and while I want to write from my perspective, I want to also state clearly and up front that this is not about me. It’s peak white woman to try and make someone else’s struggle your own, but that’s not what I’m trying to do here, I’m trying to write about the only personal existence I’m an expert on and that happens to be my own. If I’m clunky about it, help me do better and make my actions and word better reflect my intentions. 

I was raised in a religion that denied ordination to the priesthood for men of color until only a few years before I was born. More than that, the doctrine of Mormonism requires participation in certain sacred ordinances – which in turn require those (male) participants to have been ordained. These rituals are necessary to salvation. In other words, I belonged to a faith that for a century taught that people of color couldn’t be “saved” in the same way as white folks. By the time I was growing up in the church, this was no longer true, but generational racism didn’t vanish from that community and it was a long time before I really confronted the history and teachings that had reinforced it for so long – and which have never been fully repudiated. The last time my husband and I voluntarily attended church services was the week that the church published an essay on its past racism and a white man who was teaching the lesson stood up in front of our predominantly black congregation and lectured people of color about how he had been taught “certain things” about race growing up and how the essay didn’t make sense to him. Of all the people in that room, we had the least right to anger, but we still felt it and it was still a transformative moment in our decision to leave the faith.

I spent large portions of my life as a racial majority and didn’t really think about how that impacted me. This included two stints in Virginia and one in Texas – not exactly places with an ambiguous history when it comes to America’s racial history. Luckily I also spent some important years on a Micronesian island where white folks were the minority which was instructive in ways I didn’t fully appreciate at the time but do as an adult. Everyone should experience being a minority. I was outrageously privileged given my family’s circumstances, but it was the first step in more self awareness that my experiences were not the norm.

This isn’t to big myself up, quite the reverse. I can look back on my life and cringe at comments I’ve made which I didn’t realize until much later were racially charged. I’ve never used racial slurs and would have reacted with outrage if anyone accused me of being racist, but I can see in retrospect that while I might have been innocent of malice, I was still ignorant.

One of my grandmother’s once told me that she and my grandfather would “have a big problem if [I] married a black man.”

University professors lectured me on how poverty was a self-inflicted wound.

Family members opined on how various communities could only experience tragedy or difficulty due to a lack of “virtue.”

Church leaders taught me that God had to wait for white people to be “ready” to accept black folks – as if other people’s salvation were dependent on my personal level comfort and that was a perfectly okay thing to believe.

I grew up swimming in racism, I just didn’t recognize it for a long time. 

You learn better, and you do better. I still screw up despite good intentions, I’m still unlearning assumptions and patterns that I didn’t realize I’d ever been taught, and I’m still unpacking where I may be part of the problem. Sometimes this means speaking up, sometimes it means shutting up, and other times it means using whatever voice I have to amplify other voices instead of my own. Because it’s not about me. 

Becoming anti-racist requires you check your assumptions, your privilege, and your power at the door and deliberately work to empower others – even and perhaps especially at the expense of your comfort.

Here are some resources to learn better.

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Weekend Links: Quarantine Week Two

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

Respect the bean!

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

Beware wildlife #fakenews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOLIDARITY.

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

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

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

We stan a maximalist queen.

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, in Britain

A ramble.

Tomorrow is payday.

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

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

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

Society should not be pay to play.

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

 

 

Weekend Links: Quarantine Edition

Wow. Whew. Okay.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the corruption, stupid.

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

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

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

ESPN is also rising to the occasion.

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

This is brilliant.

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

For comparison: good vs. bad.

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

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

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

Weekend Links: 2020 Begins Edition

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

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

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

The year in memes.

The year in fashion.

The year in podcasts.

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

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

Anatomy of a radicalization.

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

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

Let’s hear it for the girls.

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

Behold a goddamned headline!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Links: WAGatha Christie and Wagging the Dog

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

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

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

Super normal.

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

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

I’ve fled that country

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok makes me feel very old.

Ooh, someone running the social experiment I want follow!

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

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

who’s in for the next pony party?

I don’t like this weird dystopia.

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

SOMEBODY BUY THIS CAPE RIGHT NOW.

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

Also, Elizabeth Warren is extremely good at this.

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

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

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

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

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

I love fall!

The kerfuffle with the NBA and China, explained.

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

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

Another week, another great Amanda Mull piece.

It’s leather jacket season!

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

“…the best people…”

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

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

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

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

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

Also Friday.

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

And did sweet f a about it, apparently.

Fuck.

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

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

Welp, this baby made me cry.

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.