Have a supersize Staunchly for you today because I didn’t do one last week and I’m out of town this coming week...
I know I know, I appear to be having a very leisurely, very euro August. But not quite because I booked myself a five-day stay this week at a little hotel in Santa Ynez off the 101 which I have been referring to as my “writers retreat,” though I should probably be calling it my “bish if you can’t get some work done in the cradle of a region that holds so much magic and sentiment for you then you might as well just go to law school” retreat. No pressure.
I plan on listening to this interview Zadie Smith did with Touré on the drive up. My friend Maddie assures me it will inspire me to write. Zadie Smith could literally tell me to pour Clorox on the coral reefs and I’d do it, so it’s worth a shot.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: I truly believe we’re in the age of transformational art. I feel like I’ve consumed so much culture recently that has changed the way I see the world: BlacKkKlansman, Nanette, Cher in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, to name a few.
It’s all so energizing! I’m hoping to channel some of that energy into actual work product this week. Or maybe I’ll just end up playing 100 hours of Snood. Anything can happen, really.
Speaking of great art: Tom Sandoval’s music partner is apparently a big deal in the QAnon conspiracy vortex?
Everything, and nothing, makes sense.
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If you told me Charlottesville was five years ago, I’d believe you. So many horrifying things have happened in the year since, it’s easy to lose sight of this foundational atrocity. In actuality, this weekend is the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist rally that collapsed a college town in hate, precipitated the murder of Heather Heyer, and exposed, beyond any final doubt, the rotten, racist core of Trump’s America.
There’s footage from Charlottesville that closes BlacKkKlansman (separate from the plot of the film but, safe to say, not as separate as it should be). I am swimming in privilege and distance, at least physical, from the violence of last year, and I still found it both completely unbearable and uniquely galvanizing to watch. I think a lot of it has to do with seeing the clash on the big screen, honestly. It was transporting. It sloughed off all the skins of comfort and complacency I have birthed, intentionally and unintentionally, during the past year. All the ways I have convinced myself I am on the right side, I am doing the work to dismantle white supremacy—while remaining safe and impenetrable in my privilege.
I have so much work to do. Maybe you do too. Read, reflect, recommit this week. Go forth and spend your privilege.
1. The tender, terrifying truth about what happened inside the Trader Joe’s hostage siege by Robin Abcarian (Los Angeles Times)
MaryLinda Moss miraculously found grace and patience even as a gunman held her life, and the lives of many others, in his hands during the Silver Lake Trader Joe siege last month. There’s so much we can learn about the power of being wholly, soulfully, present in Moss’ ability to crack danger with tenderness.
2. Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage by Beyoncé (Vogue)
Beyoncé today. Beyoncé tomorrow. Beyoncé forever.
3. How to Write a Feminist “Dead Girl” Story by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Paris Review)
This is an excellent piece about the ubiquity of dead (white) girl stories, how the narratives—which are so rarely about the victims themselves but about the violent, raging eccentricities of male pain—endanger men of color, and what our attraction to these tragedies, both fictional and real, says about us as a culture.
In my view, Dead Girls can be both victims and perpetrators. So much wrong is done to them, and so much wrong is done in their name...
4. In Conversation: Kathleen Turner The actress on righting Elizabeth Taylor’s wrongs, Donald Trump’s “gross” handshake, and the co-star she slapped by David Marchese (NYMag)
Yup. This Kathleen Turner profile is as good everyone says it is.
What else, aside from luck, has driven your career?
5. Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attacks If Treated by Female Doctors by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)
Kind of a no-brainer but: want a better chance of survival? Get a doctor that understands your symptoms and doesn’t assume you’re being hysterical (but also knows that women often downplay their pain to avoid being seen as hysterical!!!)
“There are inequalities in a lot of different contexts, but when someone is suffering from a heart attack, you might expect that there would be no gender differences because every physician will go in trying to save their patient’s life,” says [Laura] Huang, a professor of organizational psychology at Harvard Business School. “But even here, we see a glass ceiling on life.”
A GLASS CEILING ON LIFE.
Bonus: My Life as a Psychopath by Katie Heaney (The Cut)
Heaney interviews a woman who was diagnosed as a psychopath in her twenties. I’d never thought I’d say it but: awwww this psychopath has some sweet things to teach us about love!
I call it cognitive love. And it’s investment. You have to make that investment, you have to make the time, you have to take the other person into consideration all the time.
9 out of 10 women I know are currently going through an Ariana Grande phase. I don’t know. Her music is so girl-power catchy and she’s cute and fun and dick-whipped in an empowered way I think? I’ve been listening to “God is a woman” on repeat and it’s hitting the spot. Also her cover of “Don’t Dream It’s Over” with Miley Cyrus is one of my favorite versions of one of my favorite songs. Ok the confessional is closed.
Also Cher is releasing an entire album of ABBA covers and she just dropped the single for “Gimme Gimme” and it is so important! God bless any song that straight up says a man is only good for one thing and that thing is a booty call! (I’m kidding, I think?)
*Also* - the palette of this Oslo apartment has all my favorites: soft pink, green marble, brass, mustard. It’s so dreamy.
She's back baby!!!!!!
I’ve been using this miracle cream since my semester abroad in Paris (eye roll). It’s now a bit easier to find in the US, though usually way overpriced, so I always ask my mom to bring me back a few tubes from City-Pharma whenever she goes to Paris. It’s amazing for scraps and burns and as an overall moisturizer when I’ve been going hard on exfoliants and my skin needs a reset. The main ingredients of avocado oil and trolamine gently boost the elimination of damaged cells and expedite the healing process. It has a strange herbal smell, which I associate with a kind of no-nonsense, European glamour.
I keep Biafine in like three places in my house, but I was reminded of its life-changing powers this weekend, when it healed in 24 hours a massive burn I had given myself on my chin trying to pop a blemish that didn’t exist, had never existed, would never have existed if my OCD hadn’t triggered a frantic, friction-heavy campaign of aggression.
Ever been so crazy you’ve given yourself a rug burn trying to erase something that was never real? No? Well, good for you.
This show about the wild, raunchy, poison-y court of Louis XIV is so disorienting, because it’s like Gossip Girl-level drama – rich people with good, shiny hair hooking up—but then it’s like distinctly 1670 again and someone is getting beheaded for being a Huguenot. Idk. I think I love it? It’s just a lot of sex with questionable history but it takes the edge off.
Also I have developed a crush on Fabien Marchal. Not the actor that plays him, to be clear (he’s a Gemini IRL and his Instagram is so earnest I want to die), but the character itself—the ruthless and depraved but incrediblyyyy sensual and loyal leader of the king’s security forces. Again, I have revealed too much about myself. Whatever, watch the show. It’s on Netflix.
I love going on long drives by myself. Mostly, I’ll listen to either power ballads or mortifyingly on-the-nose wildflower rock (Fleetwood Mac? Driving through the canyons? Groundbreaking). I’ll fold in some podcasts for variation, but I’ve never really fucked with audiobooks—the process of reading books is too tactile for me. Longform articles, however, I’ve found, are perfect for consuming in the car. I’m become really dependent on the Audm app, which syncs perfectly to Apple CarPlay and has audio versions of all the *hot* nonfiction pieces of the moment from publications like the New Yorker, ProPublica, The Atlantic, and The New York Review of Books. It costs about $7 a month but it’s more than worth it. A few pieces I’ve consumed recently on Audm: Ronan Farrow’s Les Moonves exposé, the Michelle Williams profile in Vanity Fair, and the deeply upsetting piece about Brad Renfro and how horrible Hollywood was (is?) for child actors.
4. Who? Weekly
This show about the “whos” of the celebrity world—you know, those people you see in like US Weekly and you’re just like, who the fuck is Jacinta Kuznetsov??—is my favorite podcast right now. Hosted by Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, it’s genetically silly yet intellectually rigorous, which is my preferred combination of tones.
I should note, because he’ll throw a fit, that it was recommended to me by my friend Travis in February, and I just started listening a few weeks ago, which is a good example of the amount of time I require to take his recommendations seriously.
5. Água Viva by Clarice Lispector
I read this book almost entirely in the pool, sipping rosé and listening to soft French pop, which proved a dynamite combo. My friend Erin recommended it in the Staunchly Midsummer Reading List and her description (vague yet ethereal) made it seem irresistible. It is. And I can’t fully explain why? It’s just an exquisite meditation on art and creation and presence and I want to get every single line of it tattooed across my back.
6. Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin at MOCA
I saw this photography exhibit last week and it’s wonderful. I almost want to go back just to sit in the Nan Goldin theater for an hour and watch the slideshow of her work, which is so gorgeous and gutting and electric. The exhibit closes in a couple weeks, so get your ass downtown.
7. The Staunchly website :)
Browse the new and improved Staunchly website! There’s just so much good stuff here, you’d be a fool not to visit.