Greetings from a sleepy sunny Sunday. I've got a deluxe, extra-chunky issue for you today, so let’s get to it!
Wait, but first I want to say a quick thank you to everyone who reached out this week. For lack of a less grim phrase, we seem to be in a Suicide Moment right now, and while I believe the tragic events of this past week will bring about important changes in the way we think about mental illness, it’s also a potentially triggering time for people who struggle with depression and suicidal ideations.
Keep checking in with your people and show up when and where you can.
On Thursday, I read a great little article in the New York Times about a far-right politician in Germany who had his clothes snatched from the shore while he was having a nice spring splash-about in a lake. The thief—a hero—screamed “Nazis don’t need bathing fun!” as he fled the scene.
I have never been more inspired by a single person in history. I believe he deserves whatever the German equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is. I looked it up and it’s called the Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or Bundesverdienstkreuz for “short.” Great. Let’s give him that.
The politician, Alexander Gauland, who had to walk to his nearby home in a hideous set of checkered swim trunks, has likened the death of six million Jews to “bird poop” on Germany’s history and joked about deporting a German politician of Tunisian heritage. He is, even by the strictest definition, a despicable human being and I’m very happy he was humiliated, if only briefly.
I know what you’re thinking: what happened to Gauland is the precise narrative of an immaculate scene in the 1999 film The Parent Trap, when Annie (the British one) is forced to skinny dip after losing a high-stakes game of camp poker and Hallie steals her clothes from the dock. You’re exactly right. This gave me an idea…
I think we should punk all far-right politicians across Europe using the tried and true pranks from The Parent Trap.
Viktor Orbán, neo-fascist prime minister of Hungary, deserves to return home after a long day to find all his tacky furniture on his roof. Society would benefit tremendously if Marine Le Pen, doyenne of nativism in the French style, accidentally swallowed a lizard we nestled in her blowout. Polish politician Jarosław Kaczyński, who once said migrants carry parasites, should walk through life with a twitchy, all-consuming fear of water balloons. And I firmly believe that the future of a free Europe rests on our ability to construct an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine in the halls of Dutch Parliament that would, as its final domino, tar and feather an unsuspecting Geert Wilders—Islamophobe, peroxide prince, and Human-Ken-Doll-factory-reject—in chocolate syrup and goose plumes.
[But Carebear, you ask, what’s the difference between pranking a Nazi and punching a Nazi? Isn’t it a slippery slope? Aren’t both out-of-bounds violations, indecorous acts that erode the standards of a civil, democratic society?
Well first of all, I never said not to punch Nazis, although yes I suppose I do come down on the side of “let’s not.” At least not right now, when they exist as a tiny fringe group and don’t pose an imminent threat to our safety and freedoms (I say that, of course, awash in my own white privilege). But humiliation is not violence. Sticky fingers is not a crime equivalent to assault. Misdemeanor cheekiness, weaponized, is a fun and useful way to take the piss out of the far right and I think we should all do it!]
A new episode of Joint Didion is out! We discussed The Mothers by Brit Bennett, which I loved. Also: Titanic, how to store vegetables, and the entire history of race in Southern California.
I’m going to repost what I wrote on Instagram in response to Anthony Bourdain’s death. It was hard for me to write and it’s even hard for me to copy and paste below. But these are my thoughts, however pained and incomplete.
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you.
Though I can only speak for myself, I imagine this week has been very triggering for people with mental illness—to see on our screens, with a mindful distance and a lack of details, two people brought down by a disease we struggle with everyday. I’m seeing a lot of people post the National Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255. This is worthwhile and important, but it is just a start, and far from a panacea.
I have a little insight in this sense because I called the hotline myself a couple years back, when I was grasping at anything to stem a gushing emotional hemorrhage. I was living in DC but because my cell phone has a 310 area code, the hotline automatically sent me to the LA office. A woman with a voice like a padded room told me she needed to transfer me to the nearest hotline in Virginia—proximity is paramount—and was that OK she asked and I mumbled “yes.”
She transferred the call and the phone rang and rang and rang. Finally an automated message kicked in. “We’re sorry. All of our agents are busy serving other customers.” Not only had I been put on hold on the suicide hotline, the local office hadn’t bothered to change the generic standby message—an inoffensive, appropriate greeting for callers to a bank, or a cable company, but maybe not the right tone for a person thick in crisis.
The absurdity struck me in the moment like CPR. I cackled so hard it shook me out of my sadness. I was put on hold on the suicide hotline and it was objectively the funniest thing that has ever happened to me.
Anyways, I guess my point is it takes intense work, therapy, drugs maybe, a sturdy network of family and friends, humor, and ultimately a complete society-wide rethinking of the way we imagine and quantify a suffering we cannot see to pull people back from the ledge. Hotlines are great, but we deserve more.
RIP Anthony Bourdain. Thanks for allowing us on your journey.
In the wake of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths, everyone should read this: how to be there for your friends in need. In short: ask questions. Show up.
In 1974, Richard Nixon beat his wife Pat Nixon so badly that she had to be hospitalized. It was not an isolated incident. Nobody thought it was relevant. Seymour Hersh visited Pat in the hospital but didn’t cover it. He didn’t think it was a crime, nor did he think it was his or anyone else’s business, that the president of the United States committed domestic violence. Never underestimate the ability of men to keep each other’s secrets, or the extent of their apathy for female pain.
It’s daunting to think about all the stories of abuse that haven’t been told yet.
Samantha Bee has since apologized (boo) for calling Ivanka Trump a feckless c*nt (a word, I should say, I use with regularity and merriment), but it’s still worth checking out Rebecca Traister’s Twitter thread on just how full of sh*t the Republicans who cried outrage are. It’s an important, concise meditation on power and real vs. imagined harm.
A pizza delivery guy (+ husband and father) was detained by ICE after dropping off food at a Brooklyn army base. This story is so many layers of horrible.
I don’t think I can look past my rage long enough to form a coherent sentence on what Rudy Giuliani said about Stormy Daniels and the kinds of women who do and do not deserve society’s respect, so please don’t make me.
I thought I was done with Stephen Miller profiles. I was wrong.
Jameela Jamil is a national treasure. So is Issa Rae.
The Americans was a perfect show with a perfect finale.
Happy Pride! Meet the new generation of queer comedians changing the game (that John Early joke about Radiohead nearly killed me).
I can’t wait to watch Pose, or—in a slightly different vein—the Mr. Rogers documentary. Now if someone could just find some footage of Fred Rogers voguing, then I’d really be set.
Is body positivity a scam? Is acne cool now? Can someone please tell me what to think. I'm exhausted.
I love this deep dive into the origin of the tutu and its symbolism in the opening credits of Sex and the City—what these tulle confections, engineered to showcase sylphic weightlessness and shapely gams, tell us about Carrie’s approach to love (Romantic, idealistic, tinged with a transactional prurience).
Of the many horrid ways male critics covered Sex and the City, this might be the worst:
In the season premiere, Carrie is trying to recover from a breakup with her boyfriend, played by leaden Chris Noth. It’s a mystery what she sees in him or, for that matter, he in her, although the opening credit sequence makes it crystal clear that she has large breasts; they are prominently displayed as she gets splashed with water.
- Tom Shales in the Washington Post (1999)
The New York Times wrote a story about my mom!
I still haven’t read the full Anna Delvey story please don’t @ me!! I’m saving it for a special occasion.
Jax Taylor has taken himself off the market, so you can tear down those gonorrhea billboards on Sunset Boulevard now!
Legally Blonde is coming back for thirds. I’m cautiously optimistic. I hope there were lessons learned from the sequel. Red, White, and Blonde was toughhh.
Lastly, I just want to say that I saw Ocean’s 8 Friday night and I thought it was fun! Not perfect, very anti-climactic ending, but fun! Have I said it was fun! Also I don’t know why people are obsessed with Anne Hathaway in this? I’m not even a blue-chip Hathahater but I thought she was kind of annoying? I don’t know. I didn’t think she was fun.
I die for a good classic lipstick round-up. This one by the Cut does not disappoint. I was happy to see some of my favorite colors included: Russian Red by MAC, Bruised Plum by Tom Ford, Medieval by Lipstick Queen, Black Honey by Clinique, Pirate by Chanel, to name a few.
I think the list is missing a few important shades though, like Laura Mercier Stickgloss in Brown Sugar, Kevyn Aucoin’s Expert Lip Color in Bloodroses, Hourglass Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Pillow Talk (though not really for me), and at least one of the shades from Linda Rodin’s incredible line (I think Red Hedy is perhaps the most perfect color of all time)…It’s possible I know too much about lipstick.
Maybe I’ll do a Staunchly roundup of the best lipsticks? What’s your favorite ever lip color? Look at me engaging with my readers!