Staunchly, vol 44: Like Glints in a Sexist Kira Kira

(Originally posted: 1/26/18)

Hi sweets,
Is it just me or are things looking up for 2018?
Sure, Senate Democrats folded like linguine on the government shutdown and helped put the lives of 700,000 DREAMers at risk (tip: if you’re looking at Senator Schumer for moral courage, maybe shift your gaze), but—but!—Murphy Brown is coming back to TV. Meryl Streep is joining the second season of Big Little Lies. And Casey Affleck won’t present at the Oscars this year (making it easier for Hollywood to forget that only four months ago it was perfectly okay with industry-rampant sexual harassment). 
Oh, and one of my favorite internet persons Danny Pellegrino decoded that the James/Lala fight over pasta on this week’s Vanderpump Rules may actually have been about cocaine!!!
Yes, all of these silly cultural treats pale in comparison (in terms of importance, worthiness as a brain power expenditure, etc.) to the devastation our government does to the world, the environment, and its most marginalized citizens on a daily basis, but I am trying to find solace and delight in the small things. Either that or I cover my body in layer after layer of weighted blankets until I sink so deep into my mattress that I fossilize myself in memory foam...


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I want to get Jia Tolentino’s latest essay for the New Yorker—broadly about the backlash to the #MeToo movement but more specifically about the nuance and agency we afford men and deny women in the exercise and discussion of sexual politics—tattooed on my back like a searing, rageful tramp stamp.
Speaking of rage: “No woman’s anger is an island,” writes our preeminent historian on female anger, Leslie Jamison, in a powerful piece on the cultural narrative of feminine fury, the synchronicity of anger and sadness, and the racial implications of “fierce” women. She also introduced me to what have now become some of my favorite poetic lines ever, by Kiki Petrosino in her poem “At the Lighthouse”

…Once upon a time
I had enough anger in me to crack crystal. I boiled up from bed
in my enormous nightdress, with my lungs full of burning



The image of Harriet Tubman in a pink pussyhat (given the American feminist movement’s not amazing history on race and intersectionality) is, uh…complicated. I wholeheartedly believe that the Women’s March movement is doing a lot of good in today’s society, but white feminists do not get to retroactively claim as our own heroes of the black resistance—people like Tubman whose total equality was at best a cursory concern of our foresisters.  
“Bravery” feels redundant when referring to people who swing their bodies against metal bars in the air for a living, but the courage of the female gymnasts who spoke up about Larry Nassar is astounding.

Sexual harassment is (unsurprisingly) rampant in the gig economy.
I’m so here for Natalie Portman these days, guys! I used to find her irritating in her self-seriousness—which I now know was partially a defensive put-on to shelter herself within an industry that enabled her sexual harassment at age 13.  Honestly this is a reminder for myself to constantly interrogate the reasons why I’ve ever found a female performer “annoying” and what that says about both my own prejudices and how the reflection of a misogynistic culture sparkles on shiny women like glints in a sexist kira kira filter.
Women are the only ones being asked to answer for male sexual misconduct on the red carpet and that needs to stop.   
If The Crown has taught us anything, it’s that rich, white, entitled British dudes, left to socialize on their own in posh spaces with free-flowing alcohol and scores of pretty, young hostesses, will behave like pigs. This investigation by a reporter for the Financial Times, who went undercover at a tony, male-only charity dinner (for England’s most pedigreed scum), confirmed as much. Except it’s 2018 not 1960 and we don’t have to take this shit anymore.


I am going to miss Governor Brown and am a bit anxious for what lies ahead for my state without his steadying leadership.
Tom Cotton is one of the worst, most disingenuous members of one of the worst, most disingenuous groups of humanoids (Republican senators). That is quite a feat!
Geographers in California studied the rings in the trunks of Blue Oak trees (a discipline known as dendrochronology, which is just a very cool word) to determine how bad the state’s recent drought was when placed in historical context. The answer? Really, truly, exceptionally bad
The guy who played Barney is now a tantric sex specialist. Which raises the question: what’s more magical, a giant anthropomorphic purple dinosaur or a dude who cares about the female orgasm?


Speaking of, Jennifer Weiner makes a convincing case for “Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed.”
Apparently we can’t just worry about being trendy in this mortal life, we also have to worry about seeming cool postmortem. What’s next? No make-up makeup for the embalming? Dip-dye caskets? (More like dip-die…amirite?)
Mama Ru is profiled by Jenna Wortham in the New York Times Magazine and it's heaven.

If Oprah can clean dog shit off a carpet maybe she can clean up this big ole *MESS* of America, eh? Or maybe we should stop expecting women of color to clean up our messes.
Geologists have discovered a fault line directly under Rodeo Drive. Quick someone tell 2007 me. She’s ransacking the Prada store afterschool to punish her parents for being emotionally inaccessible. (It’s not working!)
The bad news is that Drake accidentally (I think?) compared himself to Hitler in a song. The good news is that it’s not just the American school system that’s failing its students.
Is there anyone lamer than Justin Timberlake in 2018, swathed in a Pendleton blanket and layers of artificial ruggedness, staring out across the rough Western terrain in his hilariously lavish gated community? 


Staunchly yours,