In the spirit of honoring two things I know to be inarguably true—that 1. Feminist long-form newsletters are a great way to make money, and 2. People love to hear about other people’s dreams—let me begin my newsletter by telling you about a dream I had last night.
I was in Cannes with disgraced former Senator Al Franken and his wife, who wasn’t really his wife so much as my ninth grade English teacher. Cannes was just a split-level, white and gold banquet hall with a flock of green felt tables. We were watching Woody Allen be honored. I’m not going to say who but somebody was very high on coke. We played cards; Franken dealt. I woke up with a feeling in my gut—you know those feelings you get after a crazy dream? Like some completely absurd thing you sense in your kidneys to be true? Like cantaloupes have feelings!—well I woke up convinced that Al Franken cheats at cards and is my best friend.
Luckily, dreams are dreams and Franken is not my friend, though he probably does cheat at cards. I think I dreamt this because right before I went to bed I was reading about how Bill Maher stuck up for Franken on a recent episode of his show Wheel Crime with Trill Car and I think I got so mad I just fell asleep, like when you’re so hot you’re cold.
If you too want to summon a rage blackout, read about how Maher defended Franken and said that women had not, “completely lost their ability to lie in 2017.”
There’s a photo, dirt bag.
Here’s what I believe: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Show me a guy whose first instinct when a woman is asleep is to reach for her tit, and I’ll show you a dude who doesn’t really respect women.
Ok this ends my weekly Bill Maher rant. Let’s get to the Staunch.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a classmate when he was a teenager.
Call your senator.
Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh trapped her in a room at a party, held her down on a bed, attempted to remove her bathing suit, groped her, and put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. Kavanaugh was stumbling drunk and Ford was able to escape.
Call your senator.
Brittany Packnett said it best on Twitter: If Kavanaugh is confirmed, “1/3 of the men on the court will have been publicly accused of sexual assault and/or harassment.”
Call your senator.
Listen to Anita Hill.
Call your senator.
Kavanaugh is an enemy to women and their bodies even without this accusation
Call your mf senator.
Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
1. Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever by Caitlin Dickerson (NY Times)
The Trump administration is currently detaining 12,800 migrant children in centers and “tent cities” across the US (mostly at the southern border). This is a staggering number. Last May, that number was 2,400. The shelters traumatize children, are already near full capacity, and cost a shit ton to maintain ($750 per child per day, according to Rep. Rosa DeLauro). Attention may have shifted since the spring, but the border crisis is still very much raging.
2. ‘Designing Women’ Creator Goes Public With Les Moonves War: Not All Harassment Is Sexual by Linda Bloodworth Thomason (The Hollywood Reporter)
Les Moonves is an abuser, a bully, and a misogynist. We know that already, thanks to the courageous women who have come forward and the invaluable work of Ronan Farrow. Thomason adds to our understanding of Moonves as an unrepentant douchebag with her account of how Moonves, ever vindictive and mercurial, savaged her career at CBS after the smash success of her show Designing Women. I found myself cheering after the first paragraph and—not to make light of his disgusting behavior—shouting: Les Moonves, you will never alter drapes in Atlanta again.
3. How Maya Rudolph Became the Master of Impressions by Caity Weaver (NY Times Magazine)
I loved this profile of Maya Rudolph by Caity Weaver (perhaps the best profile writer in the game today).
4. Norm Macdonald Defends Louis C.K., Chris Hardwick, and Roseanne Barr in New Interview by Megh Wright (Vulture)
Norm Macdonald is an asshole with comically bad timing, perhaps the most unforgivable sin for a comic—after saying the n-word and taking your dick out without the vigorous consent of everyone in the room (jokes: society has apparently ruled that both of these are indeed forgivable). And while it’s satisfying to see a man shoot himself in the foot—put his foot in his mouth? shoot his foot then shove it into his mouth? what’s the right expression here?—and fall ass-backwards into a nightmare-ish PR puzzle, more unwinnable and labyrinthine than anything since the Triwizard Maze, whilst promoting a Netflix show I never had any intention of watching, it’s still a bummer to have such dumb comments out there in the world, stinking up the air we all breathe.
5. Letter from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Nuns vs. Big Gas by Rachel Riederer (Pacific Standard)
I stan a good nun story. Fun nuns. Woke nuns. Nuns against Katy Perry. And now, especially, environmental activist nuns:
Sister Sara Dwyer, another Adorer, stands before the group and says: “May we not seek merely to stop a pipeline, but to change a culture that is destroying Earth.” Wind rustles the cornstalks, and a ripple of amens rises from the crowd.
That line, my heavens. I am reborn.
Bonus: Could you get hepatitis from a Vampire Facial? The answer may surprise you. (Yes)
Double bonus: It’s kind of dumb to talk about how humans will police each other on Mars when there is so much nonsense, police and otherwise, here on Mother Earth, but I thought this essay on the Red Planet’s “ambient lethality” and how we might go about enforcing laws, investigating crimes, and curbing the shittier aspects of human behavior on inhospitable Martian terrain was fascinating. “I think the fact that tyranny is easier in space is a foregone conclusion,” warns one political theorist and astrobiologist. (idk seems pretty easy here).
With increasing regularity, I find myself revisiting this Patricia Lockwood lecture she adapted for Tin House in the spring: How Do We Write Now? Perhaps the increasing regularity of it is because I find it is a good read for when I am stuck, and I’ve been stuck a lot. It’s the best thing I’ve read about how to exist and create in the Trump era. The alternate title of this, of course, is how the fuck do we write now, begins Lockwood, perfectly expressing the absurdity and urgency of this particular moment. And here, sort of, are her answers to that: reserve space in your day just for yourself (like your mornings—claim them ferociously), remember you are not alone, understand your concentration is sacred and so is your escape, seek out rich and funny things, laugh when those things are funny, and remember that your existence in itself is an antidote and a counter-argument to all the gross shit in the world.
I finally saw Eighth Grade this week. Oh Jesus. If ever there was a movie that felt like living inside the worst, most insecure, most afraid, most hormone-ravaged version of yourself, this is it. The anxiety! The brutality! The acne! When I got home from the theater I immediately took out a joint, a sheet mask, and a bottle of whiskey to remind myself that, contrary to the sympathy knots in my stomach, I am in fact a grown-ass woman with her own apartment, easy access to once-illicit substances, and a face that is losing essential collagen by the minute!
After the movie, I took a brisk walk through the archives of my mortifying LiveJournal, the blog I kept for what seemed like my whole adolescence but was actually just six months of pained observations in 9th grade. Inspired, as I often am, by my own angst, I decided to make a playlist of all the songs I quote and mention in my posts and know that I was listening to at 14 and 15. Such an odd mix of the Decembrists and Green Day and Queen. So much Elliott Smith. Was I the only one writing short stories inspired by stellastarr* song titles? Probably.
You can listen to the playlist “livejournal” here.
(I’m warning you now: it’s not good, but it is nostalgic.)
Speaking of sheet masks. I was making my seasonal pilgrimage to my favorite beauty store in Koreatown last week (Palace Beauty at the Koreatown Galleria—you’re welcome), when I noticed a new brand on the shelves: Huxley. I’m way late to the game, but in fairness to myself, if it’s not on the shelves at Palace Beauty I’m probably not messing with it.
All it took was for me to read the words “one of the best sheet masks I have ever tried” on The Cut (yes, I google as I shop) before I was stuffing a $35 box of sheet masks in my basket. The masks are not cheap—that box only gets you three sheets—but damn if they aren’t some of the best masks on the market. Some lite assembly is required: there’s a little pocket of oil you have to fold over and pop onto another pocket containing the cotton, then you shake them all together to coat the sheet. It’s worth it. You know how your feet feel in the morning after put really thick cream on them and then go to bed with socks on? Soft and supple and moisturized to the bone, like you’ve never worked an honest day in your life? This does that for your face. In 20 minutes. I’m not exaggerating when I say my skin has literally never felt more hydrated, more loved, more like a raw chicken cutlet massaged for hours and very tenderly with the world's most expensive olive oil.