Staunchly, vol. 73: The Piggy Smalls Custody Battle


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The first time I ever canvassed, an old man explained Y2K to me. I knocked on his door. We exchanged pleasantries. And then this:
“Do you remember Y2K?”
He asked it with the cheery and slightly condescending cadence of an older man explaining Reaganomics or the Korean War to a young lady.
“Sure. I was 10,” I said.
“Well, and you probably don’t think it was a big deal, right?” He continued (I didn’t), “Probably think nothing happened. Everyone thinks that. Just a big scare, right? Wrong. Worst of all, it could happen again.”
And then he told me how. For 40 minutes, he sermonized on the vulnerability of our computer networks like a modern-day Cassandra in pleated shorts. My canvassing partner hit something like 15 houses while I stood there in a soft hell of my least favorite things: talking to strangers, talking to strangers about computers, and men explaining things at me.
Eventually he took a breath and I found a way to pivot out of the conversation:
“—You know, you can find all of his…established positions on our website, under the ‘Issues’ tab. I don’t think, just off the top of my head, that Joe has anything up there that will address your specific concerns, about—uh, Y2K and computers and such—but it’s certainly a great point and I will pass it on.”
The point is: canvassing sucks, but you have to do it. You have to let an old man talk to you about Y2K while his matted Bouvier des Flandres paws at your bathing suit area. That is what democracy looks like. Nobody said it was pretty!!
So, this weekend, next weekend, and the weekend after that, commit to canvass in your city or in a competitive district nearby. Expect some weird questions and some personal boundaries crossed but I promise you’ll sleep better at night. 

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1. The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail by Dan Barry and Jeffrey E. Singer (NY Times)
This is a long, heartbreaking story about Song Yang, a Chinese immigrant and sex worker in Queens, New York who died after falling off a balcony during a police pursuit. It’s gutting, and a good reminder of the tragedy that can occur when we prioritize persecuting sex workers over fixing the systems that put many women in impossible situations.
2. The Five-Year-Old Who Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights by Sarah Stillman (New Yorker)

“One of the things Helen’s story really showed us is that the Trump Administration never stopped separating children from their families,” Morales Rocketto said. “In fact, they’ve doubled down, but it’s even more insidious now, because they are doing it in the cover of night.” She added, “We believe that there are more kids like Helen. We have learned we cannot take this Administration at their word.” – Stillman

Please read about Helen, a five-year-old girl from Honduras who was detained by the Trump Administration and separated from her family for months. Do not look away from the border crisis.  
3. When Asian Women Are Harassed for Marrying Non-Asian Men by Celeste Ng (The Cut)

The men harassing Asian women about their interracial relationships may not all know each other, but they are linked by a common ideology: a belief that Asian women shouldn’t date outside their race — and that as Asian men, they have the right to voice this opinion through toxic harassment. - Ng

Celeste Ng writes about the vicious attacks she’s endured from within the Asian community for dating non-Asian men.
4. One Year of #MeToo: What Women’s Speech Is Still Not Allowed to Do by Jia Tolentino (New Yorker)

By imagining that they are threatened, men like Kavanaugh have found the motivation to demonstrate, at great cost to the rest of us, that they are still the ones who have the ability to threaten others.

And yet this awful truth will not stop women from speaking, and I do not think that it will turn a movement into a moment. It has become clear that there is not nearly enough left to lose. – Tolentino, reflecting on a year of #MeToo.

(This is a good time to mention that, if you can, you should donate to the legal defense fund of Moira Donegan, the creator of the Shitty Media Men List, who is being sued for libel and emotional distress by one of the men in question.)
5. REPORT: 100 Years of Hollywood Islamophobia by Sameer Rao (Colorlines)
A new report by the Pop Culture Collective details all the ways Hollywood has failed at Muslim representation, through “Orientalism, anti-Blackness, anti-Muslim racism, patriarchy and imperialism,” and the ways Muslim Americans are fighting to reclaim their narrative.          
(Read the full report here).
Stephen Miller ate glue in elementary school. And probably the classroom pet.
My very chic and very French friend Sophie, referring to my apartment feature last month, called the blog Apartment Therapy, “Interior Zen,” and nothing has ever tickled me more!
The Fyre Festival dude was sentenced to six *EPIC* years in an exclusive, VIP, all-access, imprisonment Xperience.
And speaking of scammers: why on earth would anyone have a Great Gatsby reading at their wedding?? That book is about a very pretty and very tragic con artist! Although, I suppose I’m not really one to talk, considering I will be pilfering the entirety of my vows from Gene Hackman’s sensual dialogue in Heartbreakers.


I reserve this space to talk frankly about my struggles with mental illness and the things bringing me joy and calm each week. I can say confidently that if a reboot of The Nanny starring Cardi B as Fran Drescher’s daughter actually happens, I will never be sad again.

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I was disappointed this weekend by The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman, the true story of the 11-year-old girl who was abducted in Camden, New Jersey and forced to travel the country with her captor and rapist for nearly two years until she escaped (she dies two years later in a car accident, in case you want to feel your heart in your kidneys).
I was eager to learn about the story that inspired Vladimir Nabokov, and to have it contextualized in a time when we actually (finally) seem to be having a conversation about the way men capitalize on female pain in the pursuit of their art. The book is instead bulky with filler and speculation and cheesy true crime one-liners and isn’t capable of proving the big accusations it puts forth: that Nabokov in a way revictimized Horner by using her story as the framework for his own narrative about a pedophile and the young girl he kidnaps and abuses. I’m by no means a Nabokov stan (to be clear he seems creepy as hell), and it’s usually pretty easy to convince me that a man did something hideous for his work at the expense of literally every woman around him, so it’s probably telling that I wasn’t convinced. 

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Upon the recommendations of two of my most discerning friends, I listened to the CBC podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM this week (listen here). At seven, reasonably-sized episodes, it’s a solid binge listen on the MLM sex cult founded by abusive manipulator/butt cut evangelist Keith Raniere.  It’s especially a fascinating character study of its main protagonist Sarah Edmondson, who left the cult after being branded during a horrifying ritual organized in the name of sisterhood (one of the more extreme examples of white women coopting feminism for branding purposes, you could say). Edmondson is a victim, but she’s also savvy, and the show is strongest when it plumbs the moral grayness between victim and perpetrator. 


I’m going to tell you the secret to what I’ve started calling #sweatybabyskin, but I’m going to warn you now the routine is not cheap. It’s not cheap because it gets you addicted to a $67 toner (for a normal size) and a sheet mask that costs $15 a piece. But trust me. Trust me. It gives you, as I said: Sweaty. Baby. Skin.
(Definition: the dewy, soft, precious, bright, hopeful face flesh of a cherub in the sun).
Here’s the deal. You soak a cotton pad in Lotion P50 by Biologique Recherche, the game-changing, vaguely sadistic toner that exfoliates all the dead shit off your face and balances your skin’s pH level, and press it all over your face (press, don’t rub). Then you let that dry down for 20 to 30 minutes. This step has become crucial for me. I’ve noticed that my skin just overall has a happier time if I let P50 get to work without adding any products immediately after to interfere with it—especially any products with active ingredients that could potentially cause a reaction. Then I apply my latest sheet mask obsession, the Joanna Vargas Euphoria Face Mask, which calms redness and pumps up hydration, and leave that on until I get fidgety (20-30 minutes).
I don’t know what it is about this combo specifically, but I’ve done it three times now and each time I have incredible results. Like best-skin-of-my-life results. I want to do it every night but that’s not sustainable. A five-pack of the sheet masks costs $75, and truthfully, my money, your money, is better spent elsewhere. But it’s a nice, effective indulgence if you feel like a treat and some damn good skin. 


I cut my own hair last week using this ponytail method from Refinery29. Most of you were terrified by the combination of barber scissors and my trademark mental instability, but nevertheless I persisted! And you know what? It’s not bad. The middle-back is a little frizzy, a little too Hermione-and-the-Sorcerer’s-Stone, but it’s manageable. And cutting your own hair is fun and empowering! All credit goes to my stylist Leila at Eva Scrivo, who I’ve been seeing for nearly a decade now, and who cuts me perfect mermaid hair every time I’m in New York, which grows out into the breeziest, waviest layers. It’s easy to cut your hair when your haircut is good, is what I’m saying.