Staunchly, vol. 58: Arraigned Monsters and Arrested Development

5/25/18

Happy Harvey Weinstein Arraignment Day!
 
It took the courage of more than 80 women to get to this place. 80!

If you think about it (and I don't recommend that you do), the trauma of four scores of human women amounts to the freedom of exactly one man. 
 
Have a great holiday weekend.

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The people of Ireland delivered a landslide victory for reproductive rights today. These photos of expats returning home to vote in this historic election made me emotional. Suffrage is a right and a responsibility and it’s awe-inspiring to see these women (and men!) refuse to take it for granted.
 
As Ireland took a huge step forward, America took a step back. This week, the Trump administration introduced the domestic gag rule, which will strip federal funding from any clinic that performs abortions or refers patients out to another facility that does or looks like it does. Read up on how this rule screws over women—especially women of color—via the Intercept:
 

The new rule is specifically designed to disqualify Planned Parenthood from Title X participation, which would have immediate, serious, and likely long-lasting implications. Title X received nearly $300 million in funding in 2017. The safety net program serves roughly 4 million low-income patients — a majority of them people of color — providing access to basic health and cancer screenings, birth control, and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatments.

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What’s happening at the border is unfathomably awful. In the process of splitting up immigrant families, the Trump government has lost 1500 children. 1500. Children.

 

[An HHS official] said the agency was re-examining its interpretation of existing laws to make sure that migrant children were not turned over to smugglers or human traffickers.


Eight women have accused Morgan Freeman of harassment and sexual misconduct. The CNN report on him is so upsetting, but also predictable. It reads similarly to all the other exposés we’ve consumed in the past seven months. Our eyes are trained for this now. Our reading comprehension skills have evolved to quickly spot the key, familiar words:
 
“young production assistant”
 
“lower back”
 
“a room full of people”
 
“no formal human resources department”
 
“They can’t be replaced, but you can be replaced very easily”
 
“you just want to do your job”
 
Think of how gross his behavior must have gotten for Alan Arkin to have finally had to step in and tell him to stop. Think of how many men and women in the industry, some of them victims themselves, enabled this behavior for decades. I’ve no end game to this thought experiment but queasiness. Perhaps that’s an end in itself.
 
Here’s Rebecca Solnit brilliant as ever on incels, the commodification of female bodies, and how capitalism sabotages feminism:
 

What’s at the bottom of the incel worldview: sex is a commodity, accumulation of this commodity enhances a man’s status, and every man has a right to accumulation, but women are in some mysterious way obstacles to this, and they are therefore the enemy as well as the commodity.

 
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of the Russia investigation, but remember this: there is only one Trump scandal. Adam Serwer’s piece in the Atlantic is right on the (dirty) money:
 

There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.

 
I’m horrified by the NFL’s new policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem. But also not surprised. What did we expect from an institution built on racism and exploitation—where white billionaires profit directly off of black bodies and black work and black pain?

We desperately need to cancel football. In the meantime, I guess I’ll be a Jets fan. (Is there even such a thing?)
 
Stacey Abrams won her Democratic primary in Georgia this week, inching her closer to becoming the first African-American women elected to governor in the United States. Donate to her campaign here.
 
Dear women everywhere: aiming for the “confidence of a mediocre white man” is so last year. Instead, why not shoot for the chutzpah of a disgraced celebrity chef plotting his comeback to glory before the ink dries on the accusations of rampant, criminal sexual misconduct levied against him. This line alone is worth the price of a New York Timessubscription:
 

Mr. Batali, who has denied engaging in nonconsensual sex, has so far declined to send out another baked goods recipe.

 
Speaking of comebacks, here’s Rebecca Corry, one of Louis C.K.’s accusers, on how misleading that concept is, and how irrelevant to the victims:
 

The idea that C.K. reentering the public eye would ever be considered a “comeback” story is disturbing. The guy exploited his position of power to abuse women. A “comeback” implies he’s the underdog and victim, and he is neither. C.K. is a rich, powerful man who was fully aware that his actions were wrong. Yet he chose to behave grotesquely simply because he could. The only issue that matters is whether he will choose to stop abusing women.

 
“A millennium of world-shifting encounters—of violence and of romance and of acts in between—produced this scene,” so writes Doreen St. Félix in the New Yorker about Doria Ragland’s presence at the marriage of her daughter to a prince. This piece about Meghan Markle’s mother, and the celebration that brought her to England, is the richest, best thing I read about the royal wedding.
 
(re: the wedding. I thought her dress was…fine. I thought her second, sexier dress was much better. I still don’t think he deserves her.)

I'm such a  troll .

I'm such a troll.

I didn’t catch the Billboard Awards, but I’ve watched Kelly Clarkson’s opening medley at least 10 times. Kelly is a cover queen and she did not disappoint (it does get a little messy around “Look What You Made Me Do,” but I choose to blame the material). Kelly will also always be a hero to me as someone with hazel eyes and father problems and a voice like smoky bourbon caramel (if you can listen to “Piece by Piece” without crying, congrats! Your dad loved you).
 
This profile of Jane Campion is such a f*cking vibe.
 
Book Club may be the “Costco version of a Nancy Meyers film” but people love Costco for a reason! It’s fun and fulfilling (all the samples!) and a great bang for your buck. But actually, see this movie. It’s become one of my favorite films of all time. I’m not even exaggerating. I left the theater floating on air, though part of that could have been the edible.
 
I love these pictures of late ’90s American girlhood by Justine Kurland. They’re dreamy in that perfectly sun-dappled, grass-stained, gently devastating Virgin Suicides way.
 

From 1998 onward, Kurland crisscrossed the country shooting Huckleberry Finn-meets-riot grrrl vignettes — a gang of Ophelias paddling in a lake; a pair of girls carrying a slain deer through the woods; a trio scaling the burned-out shell of a car.

 
I’ve never wanted to run through a field more.

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1. My best friend Lauren Flanagan, whose aesthetic is Doên meets Fortnite, started a weekly esports newsletter and it’s one of the most fascinating and informative reads. Her knowledge of the trade is boundless; her gamer enthusiasm, infectious. Subscribe to thisweek.gg today for an insider’s look at this burgeoning industry. And pour one out this holiday weekend (hmm, what do gamers drink? Red Bull?)—pour a small-intestine-dissolving sugar-free Red Bull out for Lauren, who just started a new job as director of esports for United Entertainment Group. Stay tuned as she changes the game.
 
Women Smashing Glass Ceilings, Glass Attics, Glass Second-Story Additions to Break Into Male-Dominated Industriesis my love language.
 
2. Shout out to two of my favorite women-owned businesses in LA (on opposite edges! alas): The Lev in Venice, where I plan to buy a lot of books this summer, and Honey Hi in Echo Park, where I plan to read a lot of books this summer. I feel so lucky to exist in a city with these spaces. Expect to hear me sing their praises a lot more in the coming months.
 
3. Have you listened to the latest Joint Didion yet? Have you subscribed? Rated? Reviewed? Please do. Our therapist (yes we see the same therapist) said episode 3 was our best yet! And please join me in wishing a happy early birthday to my co-host Lauren Dunitz—stoner babe, huge-hearted pit mom, Mary-Kate to my Ashley, and the most convincing case for Gemini redemption. ilysm, LD!
 
4. Lastly, this video via the Cut changed my life. The corgi booty shake at 0:25 will make you see God. 

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I was going to write a whole thing this week about the Arrested Development interview and all the ways it made me sick to my stomach. But I’m tired.
 
I’m tired of the abusive men and the “Yes, but” men who love them. Tired of the sensation of hot rage that climbs up my throat when I think about wanting to slap the weak chin off a twerp who would dare disrespect a woman as established, as iconic, as f*cking regal as Jessica Walter. Tired of remembering that our society is so ill-equipped to process the traumas hatched in verbal abuse. Tired of thinking about all the brilliant art and good art and just casual-silly-fun-stupid-easy-art we keep losing to these awful men (“cultural vandalism,” Matt Zoller Seitz calls it).
 
I’m tired of seeing myself and my friends in that interview, being talked over, objectified in a classic sense—rendered as inanimate as the furniture that came with the room. Much more painfully, I’m tired of imagining our mothers and grandmothers in Walter’s place. Women of a certain stature, reduced to tears.
 
I’m tired of knowing in my gut that there is no age in which a woman’s truth cannot be devalued by a man who thinks he knows better.
 
So yes, I’m too tired to say much more. I suggest reading Linda Holmes’ piece for NPR, which does a really good job of explaining why this piece seems to have struck a nerve. Also read the tweet below, which says something about that as well.  

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Staunchly yours, 

Carey