Staunchly, vol. 34: Should Men Be Allowed to Drive?

(Originally posted: 10/6/17)

Hi Staunch angels,

Can we talk about men for a second?
On Sunday, a retired man of mystery—definitely not a terrorist—shoots up a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 in the worst mass shooting in US history.
In response, the Republicans in the House of Representatives, pass a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. They say they’ve been reinvigorated to protect the sanctity of life—as long as that life looks like an in-utero-banana and not a concertgoer or a high school student or a six-year-old kid with dimples and a gummy space where his two front teeth should be.
(FWIW: 91% of the Republican caucus is male.)
And then one of those really stand-up Republican dudes—Pennsylvania Congressman and star of the Disney Channel movie Under WrapsTim Murphy—unveils his fab & fresh new stance on terminating pregnancies. It boils down to: “pro-life for my main biddies, abortion for my sidepiece.”
And speaking of scumbags, it’s revealed that movie mogul/liberal donor/Build-A-Bear-gone-horribly-wrong Harvey Weinstein has been sexually harassing female subordinates and actresses for THREE DECADES. But don’t worry, he’s very sorry, he didn’t understand that office culture had changed since the 1970s. He’ll just be out here misquoting Jay-Z and idk solving the gun issue for us??  
And then there's Elf on a Shelf Jeff Sessions rolling back workplace protections for transgender employees.
And there goes Devil on a Level/Scammer on a Hammer/Crook in a Nook/Dotard on a Snowboard Donald Trump, launching a new attack on women's health by allowing employers to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.
In global news: women in Saudi Arabia were *just* granted the right to drive and their king can’t even walk down a flight of stairs.
You guys, after this week I’m literally out here thinking, like, should men be driving? Should we be trusting them to operate a 1992 Toyota Tercel let alone a whole wide world without murdering us all?? 

And speaking of murder, OJ's back
Laissez les bons temps rouler! 

Congressman Tim Murphy, upon hearing his mistress was preggers.

Congressman Tim Murphy, upon hearing his mistress was preggers.

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It is maybe my life’s mission to prove that just because a man is a Democrat does not mean he isn’t a scumbag of the tallest order. It’s why I didn’t back down when my former office came for me hard as soon as they found out I was mulling a story about the culture of subversive sexism in Democratic Senate offices (you can read that here). I don’t have a stomach for that kind of hypocrisy. If I did, I’d probably still be working in politics.
I seethed with anger reading about the Weinstein allegations this week. I wasn’t surprised—ask about him to almost any young woman with access to his world and her face will contort into an exaggerated cringe almost instantly. But I was still floored by the number and weight of the incidents and the blatancy of his predatory behavior.
It’s important to note that this isn’t one bad apple. This is a man at the center of a power structure built to protect him. A man sequestered from any consequences by moats of complicit staff, lawyers, and influence-wielders across Hollywood trained to look the other way. What disgusts me most is knowing just how many women helped enable his behavior during his thirty-year reign of perversion. I have no time for women who protect and polish misbehaving men. I see you, Lisa Bloom. I see you, Anita Dunn.
I’m not certain Weinstein won’t land on his feet, or make a spectacular comeback after serving an adequate about-face. I’ll never forget the lunch I had with a senior communications aide in my old Senate office. She tried to tell me that the guy in my office who used to call reporters “hot bitches” and “dumb bitches” and said stuff like “The National Guard comes once a month, like a tampon” had been fired for his behavior. She’d made sure of it, she told me. Bullshit, you guys. He moved on to a better job at the White House. 

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I’m still processing the loss of Tom Petty and reckoning with how much his music meant to me and to I think everyone who is preternaturally wistful or melancholy or nostalgic and has ears.
This week, I reread Petty’s piece for Rolling Stone about the legacy of the Confederate flag and its role in some of his early work. It is humble, kind, soulful, and prescient. It will really make you say, Damn, we lost a good one

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If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been super into sheet masks lately. Initially a rare indulgence, they’ve become an important step in my daily skin regimen and a load-bearing pillar of my self-care castle.
I do one every night, after cleansertoner, and a solid minute of sponging snail essence into my pores with the tips of my fingers. I carefully slide a mask onto my face and lay atop my still-made bed, cocooning myself in a nook of sateen throw pillows. For 20 minutes I watch the Real Housewives or beauty tutorials on Instagram or listen to ’90s jams about womanhood and record a video on my Instastory of me doing that. This morning my mom told me to stop: “Ok, you’ve made your point with the sheet masks. Let’s see something new.” Tough, but fair.
Whatever I’m doing with my time, one thing is true: the 20 minutes that I’m wearing cool cotton sopped in treatment jelly on my face are 20 minutes the world is not crumbling.
At first I felt guilty about my new habit. The image of a woman lying in bed with a mask on her face and cucumber coins on her eyes (though I’ve personally yet to embrace the epidermal, pseudoscientific benefits of sliced gourds)—as the great American House of Cards files into itself—sketches out like a caricature of shameless, tone-deaf pampering.
But, there’s no reason to feel guilty, my therapist assures me, about giving yourself the time and space for self-nourishment. In moments of chaos, a ceremony of self-care grounds us. Being vigilant about the small things continually recharges our energy banks so we can be vigilant about the things that matter.
Accordingly, I’ve filled my drawers with stacks of sheet masks from Amazon and my favorite beauty store in Koreatown (Palace Beauty at the Koreatown Galleria). Each mask makes a different, vague promise based on a singular verb: “illuminate,” “calm,” “clarify,” “hydrate,” “firm,” “relax,” “plump,” “contour,” “lift,” or, just simply, “boost.”
When the world feels especially dark, I “brighten.” When it’s erratic, I “soothe.” When death feels like it’s coming for us all, I “renew.”
Because I sheet mask at least once a day, I buy them in bulk and (mostly) stick to a rule of $2 or under per mask. These are six of my favorite sheet masks I’ve tried so far.
(Note that a sheet mask is just a thin layer of face-shaped cotton soaked in serum. The soothing and moisturizing ones are safe to use everyday. The ones with more active ingredients should be used more sparingly. Not trying to be out here looking like Ramona in Mexico with post-peel tartare face.)

Snail Therapy Skin Clinic Mask by the Leaders ($1.80)
You guys already know I fuq so hard with snail mucin right now. Really think it’s the key to extra-smooth and soft skin.
Edelweiss Ultra Repairing Mask by My Beauty Diary ($1.88)
These masks are so milky and soothing. They’re saving me during allergy season, when my skin is especially red and combative.
Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack by Benton ($2)
This one fits so weird and smells strange and bad, but it works. Don’t ask me how exactly.
Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask by Dr. Jart ($7.50)
Dr. Jart makes a ton of consistently good masks at a nice mid-range price point. Hard to go wrong.
Facial Treatment Mask by SK-II ($17, but less if you buy in bulk)
I still feel like the quality of this mask just can’t be beat, but the price is so ridiculous, I can only justify using it like, four times a year, once a month if I’m nasty. 

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My fabulous governor loves corgis and immigrants and the environment and he makes me feel so safe and happy to be back in California.
I thought this essay on Tom Petty and the stories we tell of the lost was really beautiful.
Nevada ranks last on a list of state mental-health rankings. The shooting in Las Vegas could catalyze a massive mental health crisis among the survivors. 
Sarah Silverman has had some very problematic spells in her comedy but she’s smart and political and trying to do good and I respect that tremendously.   
There are few things I hate more than comedians (mostly white and male) who complain about feeling handicapped by political correctness, so this line from her was such a breath of fresh air:

“If you’re so scared of changing with the times, then you’re old,” [Silverman] said. “There are comedians I love to pieces who roll their eyes. ‘Oh, another word I can’t say.’ You don’t know enough words?”

Staunchly yours,