Tag: Pop Culture

Weekend Links

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

Darlings, I type this to you after a week spent preparing for and running a large work event. It went well, I’m delighted to say (notwithstanding a couple of technical snaffus that required MacGyvering mechanical fixes at 6:30 in the morning), but I am wiped after it.

Nonetheless, I have still whipped together a nice bunch of weekend links–because I love you, kittens!

I’ve spared you most American and British political news this week because it honestly makes me to angry. Instead I’ve bundled you up some reading that is a mix of tribute, lifestyle, weirdness that that jolly and uplifting standby: female rage in the face of attempts to control our bodies. All with a few chasers of wholesome loveliness to keep your spirits buoyed before we take to the streets.

She was a warrior in a cardigan.” I failed to include this farewell missive last week, which is criminal. She will be missed.

Patriarchy hurts everyone.

I’m hopeless, I guess, because I hate getting up in the morning.

…this is a thing?

HBO has chosen it’s attempt to keep the serial fantasy genre going once Game of Thrones ends this weekend. They’ve clearly spent the money on a good cast, but I wonder how this is going to work out. It’s an interesting move since I think the film adaptation of this didn’t do so well and the viewing public, being the fickle thing that it is, may be in the mood for something different than high fantasy.

Twitter is garbage but I’m never going to quit a site that gives me this:

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Bill Nye has snapped.

The food revolutions have not reached everyone equally. Well, except maybe the bad ones.

This is fucking scary. (It’s also not fucking surprising. Every single person who told us to “calm down” about Justice Kavanaugh or any of it can take a flying leap.

Because they are our bodies, it must be our choice. [uncensored images of postpartum women’s bodies in all shapes and sizes ahead]

Educate yourself.

…And then put your money where your mouth is.

Rebecca Traister, noted chronicler of women’s rage, its use in public life, and the many ways people try to use it to discredit the women feeling it, has some thoughts on this law as well as well as some solid advice. She does not disappoint. “…never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message. Consider that this is also what women and marginalized people are told all the time about their anger in general: that they should not express it, not let it out, because to give voice to their rage will distract from their aims, undermine them; that it will ultimately be bad for them. This messaging is strategic. It is designed to get angry people to keep their mouths shut.”

An honest to goodness charmer of a story!

Style matters, and style guides matter.

Gen Xers, you have been profiled.

Oof, just read me, why don’t you….

I can’t believe we have to say this in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2019, but vaccinate, people. We’ve been doing it for a while!

RIP.

And in related news, a lovely take on THAT Keanu pop culture moment.

Weekend Links

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” 
― Giuseppe Verdi

Well hi there, kittens! I took a break last week to run off to Italy with X in honor of our 20 year Friendiversary–a totally new holiday that I made up to commemorate two decades of pretty amazing friendship. We planned it a month ago and did it on the cheap, with budget flights and Airbnb, subsisting on pizza and cocktails. It was glorious.

I’m now back in the Big Smoke after a Neapolitan sojourn, riddled with anxiety about a big work meeting this week. All is back to normal. It’s also been another pair of jam packed weeks of news and as I type this I’m still catching up on it all. We had the Met Gala and a new squishy Royal Baby but on the other hand, the Trade War with China is back on, North Korea is firing missiles, there have been multiple mass shootings, Brexit is stalled with Prime Minister May being pressured to resign…

Doesn’t it feel like we’re just doomed to live 2017 over and over again at this point? What sick time warp are we stuck in?

This weekend we are getting our house back to rights, doing immigration paperwork some more, and trying to plan out our summer which now includes a family wedding! Nothing so constant as change, I tell ya. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.

Six months to the day after the largest antisemitic shooting in American history, another synagogue was targeted. I’m no longer surprised, just permanently heartsick… Antisemitism and Islamophobia are twin children of the same ugly, hate-filled rhetoric and fearmongering, and both are on the rise.

Interesting royal news this week, this time from Japan.

While I think it’s ridiculous that the Trump administration bowed out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner again, but the speech by historian Ron Chenrow is worth a watch which reminds us that we have always been fighting for the soul of America and the fight is renewed every generation.

What a headline! I couldn’t not read it with a teaser trailer like that, but luckily the payoff was well worth it.

This is both ugly and horrible, and so woefully executed as to be ridiculous. How is this incompetent troll not in jail? This is hardly his first rodeo.

Oh I just bet they did

Huh what now?

This was expected but still feels strange. I wonder what his long term legacy is going to be when we are a few administrations away from this present circus. What will his impact be then?

I am deeply and unrepentantly pro-romance novel. Therefore, how was so much of this interview a revelation: nine children, 179 novels, low caffeine!

Given how tight lipped the whole operation has been up until this point, it’s interesting to ponder on how this suddenly got out. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” (Read the text of the letter here.)

Another horrific school shooting, mitigated by one young person’s extraordinary self-sacrifice. May his memory be a blessing.

Mere days later, another shooting with another young person’s act of self-sacrifice saving lives. Such actions are both

“She says she knows she was a racist. She says that she has changed. And she’s ready to tell everything she knows.” This profile of a member of the alt-right media during its height, her personal ascendancy and subsequent reversal of fortunes is a fascinating read. Not least of all because many of the platforms it discusses have not disbanded so much as moved location in recent years. Radicalization is still happening.

People are trying to sell water. Again. And we’re trying to sell make up to men, but MANLY MEN. GRRR! Late stage capitalism is wild.

For the last time, TRUMP IS NOT A BILLIONAIRE OR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, HE ONLY PLAYED ONE ON TV.

What a ride this piece was

And in the world of Good News: adorable babies!

Powerful op-ed. “I don’t blame Mark [Zuckerberg] for his quest for domination. He has demonstrated nothing more nefarious than the virtuous hustle of a talented entrepreneur. Yet he has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice…There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.”

Goodness, this is bleak. My one consolation is that I’ve never used airpods once.

Speaking of tech…maybe we should listen to this woman. She’s gotten an awful lot right.

Congrats on doing the bare minimum

We have a new poet laureate!

Society is a-changing, and that’s impacting our living space.

There are only two episodes left in Game of Thrones, which has been a really important series in pop culture history. Unfortunately I, and a bunch of other people, think that the showrunners seem to be stepping all over the theses they’ve been serving us for the last several years. A big element of that is the (very sudden and not really internally consistent) pivots in the female characters. Tom and Lorenzo put this best in their last episode critique. Here’s hoping a show premised on subverting expectations pulls out a couple of whoppers this weekend.

Weekend Links

“The April winds are magical,
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden-walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson    

Happy weekend, my poppets. After two shortened weeks at work, it’s been a bit difficult to get into the groove and the weather has turned cool again, but we are soldiering through. Aided by a heaping dose of nerdery with the first “summer” blockbuster film and awaiting the next Game of Thrones episode with equal parts longing and dread! Other than that we are just catching up on lost sleep this weekend and cleaning our apartment like staid and steady grown ups. Laundry will no doubt feature heavily.

The news is once again a pile of angst-inducing horror, but I’ve tried to pull out some of the better reads on the internet for you this week to help make sense of it all. We have royal gossip, internet culture, linguistics, and comedy to get you through the weekend. Share your favorite finds from the online world and tell me what you’re up to in the comments.

Horrible…Holy Week this year has been filled with heartache…

It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.” Uh oh, has the latest backlash begun?

Incels genuinely terrify me, but this story of the evolution of this radical online community is gripping and informative. At the root of a lot of male radicalization (a growing global problem) is isolation, pain, and emotional mis-education. Couple that with human tribalism, the unique self-sorting mechanisms of online culture and good ol’ reliable misogyny and you get a toxic stew of resentment and rage. Marinate in that for long enough the oft blurred lines between “irony” or “trolling” and real life simply fade. It doesn’t matter if you really are a violent misogynist or just pretending to be one online…the acts of extremism are on the rise regardless.

Related to the above, as with so many things, women of color saw the dangers coming and tried to warn us. We need to shut up, listen, and learn as a society, we might yet save ourselves some future heartache.

Seems obstruction-y?

At some point I just need to accept that this blog will turn into a fan site for the Museum of English Rural Life. I love them.

I am both sicked and not surprised by this story

We are reaching an interesting point in society. Long able to avoid actual principled stands by being able to hide behind pseudo philosophy and jargon (radical transparency! Free speech! No political correctness!), we now have too many instances of bad faith from too many people and platforms which thrived by making those claims. We seem to be losing patience for it. Either you believe all violent extremism is bad, or you accept that some is more allowable (white supremacists) than others (jihadists). Either you believe you have the right to make judgements about what spaces you offer people, or insist that everyone participates and has the ability to do horrible things on your platform. Both options have positives and negatives. Both options have consequences. Both options will make you unpopular with some powerful people. Pick one anyway. That’s principle.

And to flip this on to consumers, we need to be thinking ever more critically about the platforms we are choosing. No one is forcing us onto Twitter or Instagram, but our voluntary participation is changing us anyway.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.

I want to befriend this absolute badass.

Fashion as a legal tool.

Yes, I have seen Avengers: Endgame and found it deeply satisfying. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is such an interesting narrative vehicle and with both it and Game of Thrones drawing down this season, I’m curious to see if pop culture will continue to live in this current space where worldbuilding and intersecting arcs last for years, or if we’re going to return to more standalone pieces of entertainment. Or indeed if something wholly new pops up!

Didn’t do the homework for Avengers? You’re covered:

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Fascination with the royal family being what it is, I think this take on the powers of optics to a group of people (particularly the women who marry in!) when you are often denied a voice is pretty spot on. And I for one think that at the moment those women are doing most of the heavily lifting for the brand of the monarchy while those to the manor born are making the job harder! (The latest tea, if you care about such things. I’ve said it before but it still stands, you could not have paid me to marry into this family!)

The medievalist/Game of Thrones crossover content I crave.

Weekend Links

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” 
― Arthur Miller

What. A. Week. I feel like I’ve been saying this every week for nearly three years, but so much is happening all the time that it’s head-spinning to try and keep up with it all. Between Beyoncé, cultural heritage disasters, the shenanigans of Trumpworld, and the long awaited release of the (albeit redacted) Mueller report.

It’s a long weekend with unusually good weather. I’m kicking up my heels in the sunshine and doing a bunch of reading (yes, including the report in full), and planning some quality time with friends and family. Share your plans, reading and otherwise, in the comments.

Notre Dame cathedral caught fire this week (Holy Week…). All credit to a human chain of people who worked together to save the artwork and relics of the cathedral’s treasury, and the fire brigade who helped to fight the blaze. At time of writing, while the damage is severe, there are reasons to be joyful about what has survived as well as mourn what’s been lost. An iconic and sacred place, holy to faith and beauty and transcendental light; there aren’t really words, but a few Parisians managed anyway:

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While we’re discussing places of worship…donations to three smaller churches deliberately burned by a racist arsonist welcome here. Notre Dame already has the support of the world, to the tunes of millions of Euros, but kindness is needed most on smaller scales.

Conspiracy theorists are trash.

It is christened!

Seems like a, pardon me, huge fucking deal.

Women across the country say: duh.

I recognize the challenges, but I think that a society-wide commitment to literacy and building it into the infrastructure of neighborhoods is a great idea.

This interview piece made the rounds last week, I think because as a self-own, it feels well-deserved.

If there is one thing we can’t stop following at Small Dog Headquarters, it’s the Saga of J. Crew. I’ve been personally invested for over a decade.

A deep dive into the mysterious case of Fan Bing Bing.

Now that Game of Thrones is back and singing its swansong, Vulture ask, “Have we reached the end of communal TV watching?” I wonder if this is more of an American problem than anything else? Britain, for example, has a core set of national channels that pretty reliably turns out shows that it feels like the whole country gathers to watch. Great British Bake Off, Broadchurch, Love Island…you can bet on at least one of these a year.

Speaking of, Game of Thrones being back means Gay of Thrones is back!

I have never once regretted my humanities degree. Not once. I will champion humanities and related education until the day I die.

This guy just barely got confirmed.

GOOD. I’m genuinely glad to see a Republican stepping in to compete with President Trump and wish him luck in promoting a more coherent set of priorities than sound bites, grievance, racism and isolationism. Someone needs to make this case.

I’m really pleased to see positive results so far from this experiment in a school serving parents as well as children. We need programmes like this explicitly designed to lift whole communities.

That…that is a big question….

More woes for Facebook (and this report not only that personal data was being made available not just for sale but as per the personal direction of the CEO based on his friendships is…oligarchy at work?).

There are a million hot takes on the Mueller report, but for my money, the only good initial takes are from legal professionals and not talking heads. The Lawfare one is long, but well worth the read. I for one am still working my way through the document and, surprise, my mind has not been changed: what is already in the public domain about this man and his entourage should have disqualified him from office long ago and the “best” defenses of his various malicious actions have been ignorance, incompetence, and that we shouldn’t worry because people didn’t end up following his crazy orders anyway. This has always been a matter for Congress–NOT the Attorney General. I fear Congress will do nothing.

On the other side of the spectrum, this is the kind of quality content I come to the internet for.

The world is not 100% trash this week, kittens! Beyonce dropped a concert album and a concert film/documentary, and though we are undeserving, we are grateful! It’s on Netflix, go partake of the Queen’s greatness.

Lizzo’s album also dropped. We are not worthy.

Weekend Links

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

Happy Friday, ducklings! The clocks moved forward this morning so I’m putting the last minute touches on this post sitting in the cool spring sun. It’s been another hectic and bonkers week in the world, and I’ve been travelling for work a lot. This post is therefore not as long as it usually is, but there are some excellent reads in it, though I say so myself! Tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments.

I have my definite favorites amongst the Democratic candidates, but I’m nowhere near ready to go all in on a single preferred candidate (though the girls and I are already spooling up our 2020 discussions on our marathon phone calls). However I can confirm that Chasten Buttegieg is absolutely leading my picks for First Spouse. Super cute, cheerful, good at Twitter. Please more of this before the inevitable hellscape of the election takes us all over.

Queens of Infamy returns with an OG!

My voting state covers itself with glory again… For those interested, as with so many things in Utah/mormon history, there’s a bit of a polygamy angle here, but I direct you to the intense and intensely valuable public history project Year of Polygamy to educate yourself on this. It’s a complicated, 200 year history.

This is a good clarification…but I’m baffled as to why this information couldn’t have been provided in the first instance. It gives credence to accusations of bad faith, whether warranted or not.

I agree with Congressman Schiff: what we already know in the public domain is not okay!

Meanwhile, in Britain… What a shit show this is… While cartoons might seem like a glib way to explain the mess, these two videos from CGP Grey do a pretty good job of boiling down the Brexit problem, the impasse, and the political double (triple?) bind everyone is in because the government asked a yes/no question over what is not a simple yes/no issue. (Something something, definition of insanity, something…)

The Alphachat podcast episode on Brexit is really, really informative and looks at the subject from an economic perspective.

Also a relevant long read.

Let’s pivot shall we? THIS is a scandal worth talking about!

Yeah. Fangirls could have told you that.

Enjoy the headline image as immensely as I did, but then also enjoy the full piece on why Rick Steves says travel, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is fatal to prejudice.

There is a possible royal scandal brewing over here in the UK. Have an intensely salacious, gossip Twitter thread to explain more, and then decide how much you want to speculate on the veracity thereof.

The scientific descriptions in this piece are downright poetic and the inner six year old in me ate it up. It’s incredibly humbling to be reminded, in our swirling talks of scientific catastrophes and the age of man that the world has “ended” several times before us. She’s a resilient planet, we’re the fragile creatures.

Weekend Links

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
– Virginia Woolf

Happy Friday and happy International Women’s Day, ducklings! In an effort to break my band work life habits (and to use my remaining holiday time before I lose it when my company’s holiday year turns over next month), I have taken today off of work and given myself a holiday. Ergo, your intro this week is short and sweet but the links list is extra long to get us both through [my] long weekend. Enjoy and tell me your plans in the comments!

An IWD list of actions to consider.

Ah yes, toxic groups mobilizing to shit on women or insufficient “purity” to their favorite brands. Toxic “nerd” culture is such a strange phenomenon to me as for a long time, they were a marginalized social group: people with niche interests and deep enthusiasm. On its face, this is a great combination! However, now that “nerd” culture is ascendant it’s amazing to me to see it wield the powers of pop culture against other groups (unsurprisingly women, minorities, or creators who reinterpret cultural products). “Nerd” culture seems to have evolved to loving certain things passionately, to punishing anyone who does not love what you love in precisely the same way you do.

Horrible. As noted journalist Clare Malone put it:

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(That’s a reported rate of 10%. In our Senate.)

I have not watched either of the Fyre Fest documentaries to date, and I regret nothing. But I’m still following the story more broadly and liked this take on not just on the coverage of the scam, but the philosophy of “experiential snobbery” that’s gotten us to this point in the first place.

J. Crew news. What do we think of this move, for those of you who have been tracking the story of this brand as religiously as I have?

This good news story was brought to my attention by the lovely Friend of the Blog, Grace.

This story is really bonkers and I’m pretty sure this is how social media rankings will kill us all. It’s literally a Black Mirror plot. (NPR has great reporting on this, if you care to dive in more, particularly from their Planet Money team.)

I’m just going to tease this great piece for you with the following sentence: “French publications named this phenomenon “teaism,” a medical diagnosis that had already been established in the 19th century, and ascribed it, somewhat bizarrely, both to an innate lack of self-control in all (uneducated) Tunisians, and to them preparing the “wrong” kind of tea in the “wrong” way.

Anyone else? Bueller?

Count me among the many who looked askance and tilted her head at the last Celine runway show, the first under Hedi Slimane. It didn’t look like Celine, it looked like Saint Laurent, his previously house. This Paris Fashion Week, Celine was both recognizable again and still looked new. Either he’s a genius who courted controversy out of the gate to keep eyes on him, or he listened to the backlash…or he’s genuinely found a way to marry his creative direction with the history of the house.

Good news! Now, how do we prevent this and other life-saving research and treatments from becoming the prerogative of the rich?

I am pivoting hard to dresses lately and I think some of the reasons for it are perfectly encapsulated by Dolly Alderton in the Sunday Times writing on her love for dresses and the current uptick towards them in trends: “Perhaps the return of the uber-dress is indicative of the acceptance that archetypal womanhood is not weak, nor silly, nor a punchline to a joke.”

This interview by Crooked Media of presidential candidate Pete Buttegieg is…really good.

I have been riveted by this story. That’s my alma mater. I know some of these people.

In slightly more upbeat news, I have never once regretted my liberal arts degree.

This author is making a case: we’ve been telling the infamous Jack the Ripper story all wrong from the start, and maybe completely incorrect about his victims.

Family values.

The New Yorker dropped another intense piece early this week that is worth the time it takes to read it. It asks a question that I think American truly needs to grapple with: at what point do we need to determine that Fox News isn’t functioning as news so much as a propaganda machine? It acts as a feedback loop for government talking points, and in many cases generates false claims that are then repeated by the American President. Its pundits and personalities are being given official government appointments and acting as unofficial advisers–or literally dating members of the President’s family. Those are just facts in the public domain, the article’s new allegations of impropriety get much worse “[Fox acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature…”

OOOOOHHHHH. Do we think this Friday news bomb was related to the above?

[ETA: In the interest of “fair and balance,” a former Fox editor referenced in The New Yorker piece responded.]

I can’t imagine there are a lot of calm people in the Trump Organization these days.

Somewhere, General Mattis is screaming into a cushion

Oh no, Alex!

Not only is American Gods coming back soon, but we have this new series to look forward to. We are living in such great times for fun TV.

Good lord, you could not pay me to have married into this family

I have a horrible work life balance and make work too much of my identity–so much that it’s a matter of public comment among my coworkers. I’m convinced my American-ness is a fundamental part of this.

And finally, not only is this just crass but it’s also lacking self-awareness to an almost ludicrous degree.

Weekend Links

“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.” 
― Honoré de Balzac

Darlings, it’s been a shit week on the personal front–one of those sorts of weeks where it doesn’t seem to matter how you try and approach a problem, there is no way to proceed without some kind of negative consequence, regardless of desire or intention. Meanwhile, it’s Accountancy Widow Season and Jeff has to work horrible hours to get his assignments over the line and we go days without only a few hours of overlap at times. Blech.

And so, to cope I have put together a great batch of weekend reading for you all–with absolutely no current political affairs for once! Let’s delve into the worlds of science, beauty, music, women and money, and Twitter threads that won’t make you want to burn something to the ground.

This weekend I’m catching up on the things that provide some balance and delight–books, podcasts, chats with friends–and tend to fall behind when work takes over. It’s not going to be a wildly productive weekend, but hopefully it will be restful one. Let me know your plans in the comments.

 

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I should have included this last week, but the truth is there is more mystery than news in this brand launch tease. Any guesses? What can you stateside minions report back?

No kidding.

NO KIDDING.

The only political story I am posting this week because I am too angry about too many things to list and choose to focus solely on foreign policy. What we are doing now is going to have ripple effects lasting generations, and we should care if people are unprepared or incompetent for the job.

We must stop looking to leaders of all kinds and swallowing their PR wholesale (especially when it comes to claims of moral authority of any kind). What people claim they value and promote is meaningless; what people actual value and promote is everything. As our suffragette foremothers said, “Deeds, not words.”

And on that note, why the world being built around men (even and perhaps especially as a default rather than any intended malice) is dangerous for women.

After years of ignoring or avoiding some hard accusations, we are going to have to grapple with another great artist who has caused horrible harm.

A really excellent episode of The High Low recently tackled the issue of great artists who are terrible people: what excuses are made for them, whether we should “cancel” their art, and why we need to think more about the many prospective artists who have never created because of the harm done to them which cut careers and ambitions short. Well worth the listen!

WHEW, this excellent interview with Aminatou Sow about money and work is a piece for lots of people I know, including myself, to either pin or tap to a mirror as a reminder. “There’s this idea that you’re supposed to be modest and put your head down — that work is your “family” and you’re lucky to be there. But work is not your family. The only way work shows how much they care about you is by how much they pay you.”

What a strange story.

Ugh, yeah, I’ve been saying this for a hot minute. #Lizzo4President

On the one hand, I don’t like the increasingly blurred lines between many spaces that social media is creating. But taken a face value and only by intent, I think this is lovely.

Truly, content for our times.

Cosmological Whack-a-Mole” is such a great phrase, but the whole article on the great unknowns in physics is worth a read.

Solange knew we would need good music this week and blessed us with this album drop.

Speaking of music and queens thereof, this interview with Stevie Nicks is a joy. She has a shawl vault. She revels in cashmere. She is fearless in her devotion to her art and muse. She is literal goals.

The Museum of English Rural Life, lately of museum/duck twitter thread fame, has done it again with a heartwarming story I have been following all week. Long live Merlin.

Headline of the week.

Shameless self promotional plug, but if you haven’t checked out this year’s Oscars Red Carpet Run Down, do!