Staunchly, vol. 83: You Like My Scam? Gee, Thanks, Just Thought It.


Have you bought your ticket to the Junior High gala yet? 

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I’m truly so excited that there is such a rich field of Democrats running for president and that it includes so many women. I have an early favorite, but she still has a lot of answering to do for her prosecutorial record in California. 

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1. Don’t Give Up on the Women’s March by Rebecca Traister (The Cut)

hot messiness has been one of contemporary feminism’s surest signs of life.

This is a great essay if you, like me, are still trying to wrap your head around the divisions within the Women’s March movement and the accusations of anti-Semitism being leveled against some of the organization’s founders. Activism is messy, and while a zero tolerance policy for racism and anti-Semitism is nonnegotiable, healthy disagreement within a movement is vital. “Call Your Girlfriend” did a great deep dive on this topic recently that I highly suggest listening to.
Also, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed this sign from Saturday’s march.
2. The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class by Pankaj Mishra (NY Times)
I loved this takedown of British chum culture (basically the anglo version of The Best and the Brightest) and the elitist, scamp-adjacent “eternal schoolboys” who mistake good breeding with political and strategic insight. Basically, this makes Brexit feel like the most obvious step in a history of entitled jags royally fucking over the world in between rounds of cricket. TL;DR: America is a dumpster fire but it’s nice to shit on England for a bit!
3. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tax Hike Idea Is Not About Soaking the Rich by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (NY Times)

Just as the point of taxing carbon is not to raise revenue but to reduce carbon emissions, high tax rates for sky-high incomes do not aim at funding Medicare for All. They aim at preventing an oligarchic drift that, if left unaddressed, will continue undermining the social compact and risk killing democracy.

A great piece on fighting crushing income inequality in this country through a bold reorganization of principles and a progressive tax overhaul but also lolling because “oligarchic drift” reminds me of this.

Credit: Humans of Late Capitalism Instagram

Credit: Humans of Late Capitalism Instagram

4. Former MS-13 Member Who Secretly Helped Police Is Deported by Hannah Dreier (NY Mag)

Mulligan ruled that he had no choice but to deport him under U.S. and international law, because Henry had admitted to participating, albeit under duress, in two MS-13 murders when he was 12 years old, and because his chances of being tortured in El Salvador were less than 50 percent.

Less than 50 percent! That's basically a vacation! Glass half full bbs! America, Best Country in the World!!!!
5. How to help furloughed U.S. federal workers: 6 things you can do right now by Melissa Locker (Fast Company)
It’s easy. We like easy.
Plus: Aaron Sorkin is so tedious. Bless AOC for this clap-back. Also: is Michael Cohen bae

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When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms

- Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”
I’m really savoring all the Mary Oliver tributes since her passing, like this one by Rachel Syme.
(And an update on last week: I really enjoyed My Sister the Serial Killer. It’s quick and pulpy and just hits the spot. Perfect for a midwinter rainy night in.)

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This is a big statement, but I think the new Ariana Grande song “7 rings” might be my favorite yet. It’s just a three-minute flex to the tune of conspicuous consumption and Rodgers and Hammerstein and I’m here for every part of it. I know this creates a bit of a contradiction in my worldview. I’m inching further to the economic left every day. But culturally: there’s nothing I want more than a pop princess dripping in diamonds who thinks—or knows—happiness can be bought.


Also, like everyone else I watched both Fyre Festival documentaries this weekend. You’ve all probably read and thought about Ja Rule enough for a lifetime so I’ll keep it short. I thought the Hulu one was way better and more sophisticated, although I’m glad I watched the Netflix one first because it was more effective at laying out the facts of what actually happened during this scumbag torpedo.
I couldn’t get over the intellectual dishonesty of the Netflix documentary being produced by Jerry Media, the marketing company and mempire* that coordinated the viral Fyre Fest rollout (*does that portmanteau of meme and empire work tell it to me straight). That arrangement bothered me more than Hulu paying Billy McFarland for access, because it made the whole movie feel like propaganda/image rehabilitation for anyone who isn’t McFarland. Bilbo McFartland is a con artist, don’t get it twisted, but he didn’t do it alone. The pool of complicity is deep and wide and everyone, from the dirtbag attendee who pissed on a mattress to the producer who agreed to service an unsuspecting customs agent for Evian, is wading in it (except the pig that bit Chanel Iman. he is a hero). 

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In a moment of particular irritability this past weekend, I stopped by Larchmont Beauty Supply to run my fingers across the emollients and scrubs and Swiss herbal bath oils on the shelves, a tried-and-true self-soothing technique. I left $100 lighter, in possession of an exorbitant hair mask, an aforementioned Swiss herbal bath oil, and a slick cobalt Wet Brush.

I’ve been hearing about the Wet Brush for a while now but I didn’t think it was a tool for curly-haired girls—which I am, occasionally (mostly not—my hair is wavy & obstinate and tends to stay in a muted version of whatever style I attempted, e.g. dud coils, crinkly blowouts). But then I read an interview with the abundantly-curled Lauren Valenti in Man Repeller, in which she includes it as a step in her hair care routine, and I decided it was finally time to give it a try.   
Let me tell you something. It’s great. It’s basically just a brush you can use on wet hair without risking breakage (as the name says). But it’s so much more than that? It detangles on contact like actual magic and works its way through my thick n’ ruff hair forest in one painless stroke. Painless, I tell you! So painless it makes my old Tangle Teezer look like a weapon of war. And in my experience, it doesn’t inhibit curl development. I use it after cleaning and conditioning and before I wrap my hair in an Aquis towel (another game changer). Then I scrunch and twirl my hair with my fingers, apply some random product I have lying around, and let the whole thing air-dry. The result, thanks to my new Wet Brush, is extra-soft, knot-free curls (ok, waves). Not a lot, in the grand scheme of life. But not a little either.
And did I mention it’s painless? It feels like what I imagine brushing coconut oil through a sheep’s fur feels like except I’m the sheep (I wrote that line high and I'm keeping it in). And it’s under $10. Yes, please. 


Thank you Architectural Digest for the reminder that the Beetlejuice house (post-makeover) was tight!! I’m finding some funky new inspiration from these inventive spaces.