Staunchly, vol. 32: Insanity in Lawrence O'Donnell's Membrane

(Originally posted: 9/22/17) 

* There has been so much devastation in our corner of the world lately. Please consider donating to help the victims of MariaIrma, and the earthquake in Mexico City. * 

You guys I don’t even know. Hollywood loves Sean Spicer. Earth is violently rejecting us. Betsy DeVos thinks men are the real victims of campus rape. Juggalos are marching30 Rock is leaving Netflix (note to Netflix: you can remove literally every show I care about from your streaming service, I’m still not going to watch The Ranch). Our HHS secretary thinks he’s J.Lo. The Elton John Doctrine is the new Truman Doctrine. And I’m falling deeplymadly in love with Jimmy Kimmel.
This last one might be the most surprising, considering it was probably preteen, authorized peaks at The Man Show that first activated my flirtation with misandry.
Everything is impossibly overwhelming right now. Here’s a mnemonic device to keep us sharp and charged.
Fear no man
Tap dance on the graves of your enemies
Call your senators
Have fun! 

Together we can, finally, make FETCH happen.

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Just this morning, Senator McCain said he wouldn’t support Graham-Cassidy, the GOP’s current shameful attempt to repeal Obamacare* (*anything good the black president did). This is delicious for two reasons: 1. It likely means the death of Graham-Cassidy, which, as writer Erin Ryan pointed out on last week’s Lovett or Leave It, sounds like the name of a neocon American Girl doll. 2. It may spell a breakdown in the McCain/Graham friendship, a cataclysmic falling out the likes of which we haven’t seen since Lauren and Heidi screamed vague, weho-rocking accusations at each other at Frankie’s birthday party.
Unfortunately, #2 seems pretty unlikely and #1 is far from a done deal. Nothing is guaranteed and if 2017 has taught us anything it’s to never, ever trust the sneaky little brats in McConnell’s corner. 

So, keep calling. Keep showing up. Here’s a handy explainer and a sample script from Indivisible.
And pray that John and Lindsey find themselves at Les Deux in 2007, tipsy and spoiling for a score-settling.

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You guys, nothing has made me laugh harder recently than this video of Lawrence O’Donnell losing his shit over technical malfunctions during a taping of his show. Can't put into words how much this means to me, honestly.

(Confused? Maybe you should "CALL FUCKING PHIL GRIFFIN.")


Also peep these incredible vintage horoscope films from the 1930s version of Chani Nicholas, Gabriel Dee. Unfortunately only half the signs have been archived (sorry Cappy friends!) but the Scorpio one is on point. 

Here are my fave quotes: 

“The scorpion, as you probably know, by tradition stings itself to death. And Scorpio people can always be their own worst enemies.”

“As a child of the war god Mars, you’re at home: in the army, where your courage will gain great recognition; the navy, where your dogged energy and ingenuity will win the day; working or dealing with iron, steal, or machinery of all kinds.”


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A few takes on the Emmys. So many satisfying wins! Handmaid’s! Lena Waithe! Big Little Lies! Also some icky moments: Spicer being treated like a lovable goof and not like a political hack who sold his soul to shill for a white supremacist. Small bits of casual racism (like Aziz Ansari and Waithe being asked to step aside to make space for the—80% lilywhite—stars of BLL). Nicole Kidman apologizing for being a working mom.
Everything smart that can be said about Spicer’s appearance at the Emmys has been said, so I’ll be quick. I will say that when he showed up on that stage grinning from ear to ear, poking fun at Melissa McCarthy’s impression of him (an impression built on his equal parts vigorous and pathetic mendacity), happy as a pig in shit, I felt sick. Wow, I thought, I’m really not ready to laugh *with* Sean Spicer.
Spicer is not a clown. He is not an entertainer. He is a blubbering, parasitic idiot who spent his days willfully normalizing and propagandizing the midnight bathroom tweets of a senile white supremacist. Propagandists don’t get to be self-deprecating! They don’t get to be in on the joke.
For six months, Sean Spicer was the face (albeit the dewy Bavarian milkmaid moon face) of a racist, xenophobic, wannabe totalitarian administration. He does not get to be re-embraced into the cultural folds so easily.
Another thing about the Emmys: Nicole Kidman. Much has been said about Kidman neglecting to thank her two older children in her acceptance speech for her role as “Great Actress Terrible Wig” in Big Little Lies, but I don’t really care about that. The way I see it, those kids were lost to Scientology long ago so I’m sure Nicky has her reasons. Or maybe I’m just too comfortable with the idea of a broken home with more estrangements than people. Probably both are true.
No, what got me going was Kidman’s need to cage her success in an apology to her family:

I also am a mother and a wife. I have two little girls, Sunny and Faith, and my darling Keith, who I asked to help me pursue this artistic path and they have to sacrifice so much for it. So, this is yours. I want my little girls to have this on their shelf and to look at it and go, ‘Every time mama didn’t put me to bed, it’s because of this. I got something!’

Something about the idea of a working mom needing to win a shiny coveted statue to justify having deigned to seek fulfillment outside the home really gets me. Have you ever, in your life, heard a male award-winner apologize to his children for having a less-than-perfect parental attendance record then hold up his award to say “But look, it was worth it!”
The fact is: working moms have to apologize in a way working dads never do for seeking joy, work, wholeness outside the home.
There was a lot to love about Nicole Kidman's speech, namely the light she shed on domestic violence, and there’s definitely a worthy dialogue to be had about the sacrifices that come with pursuing a creative life. I just wish women weren’t the only ones doing the talking.
(Also because Staunchly is a safe space/John Derian decoupage catch-all tray for my aesthetic whims, these were my choices for most freshly dressed (though no one asked me): Carrie Coon in Delpozo, Yara Shahidi in Prada, Tessa Thompson in Rosie Assoulin, Claire Foy in Oscar de la Renta, and Caleb McClaughin in Garçon Couture.)

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This story about people losing the centers of joy and nourishment in their homes—their kitchens—in the recent hurricanes made me cry (admittedly, not a hard feat). 

"There is almost nothing that Americans view as more repellent" than an angry woman.

The idea of three women north of 70 on stage talking about sexism and masturbation is so fabulously transgressive. 

We don’t say this enough: thank the fucking lord for Jackie Hoffman

Seven entries on my cemetery bucket list

The Nazi sites of Los Angeles.

Free menstrual pads are great but they are just the start.

One woman's life through domestic goddesses.  

Matt Zoller Seitz absolutely killed it with this analysis of the hypocritical Emmys.
Seitz’s point about SNL having it both ways—normalizing Trump then riding a wave of resistance for some sharp anti-Trump political commentary—is so well-done.

It should also be noted that the episode that won SNL a best direction Emmy this year was hosted by another NBC personality, Jimmy Fallon, who welcomed Trump onto his show and mussed his hair as if he were a cute and harmless old granddad. Fallon was rightly decried for sucking up to a wannabe dictator whose brand was all about striking fear into the hearts of anyone who wasn’t a straight white man. The Fallon SNL episode was essentially career rehab for Fallon by his network, featuring comical appearances by Baldwin as the president and McCarthy as Spicer and integrating Fallon into the ensemble as if he hadn’t just recently undergone experimental surgery to remove his lips from Trump’s posterior. Much of SNL’s political writing is predicated on the bogus notion that it has any real point of view to speak of. It’s more like a pinwheel that spins gently right or left, depending on the prevailing direction of the country’s sociopolitical breeze.

Staunchly yours,