Staunchly, vol. 89: All The Women In My Life Are Knives


Some exciting news. In an attempt to assert my value and the value of the work I create in a digital economy that wants us to believe everything writers do on the Internet should be free (repaid in retweets, Neopoints, and the Pleasure of Participating in the Marketplace of Ideas), I have started a Patreon!
I love writing Staunchly, and I’m so honored that anyone chooses to spend time with my writing, but I have to be realistic about the amount of work I can afford to create without compensation. Enter: Patreon and a new, exclusive, patron-only Saturday Staunch.
Your usual, weekly Staunchly will of course remain free, but for $4 a month, you could also receive a special weekend edition of this trusty newsletter—a deeper dive focused on a single topic, perfect for a lazy Saturday. Think about it: that’s four extra issues of Staunchly for four American bucks (everything I learned about money I learned from the Dollar Menu sue me). I think in business we call that a “steal.”
If you can afford to, I’d really appreciate your support. Of course there is no pressure—I’m still just honored anyone opens up these emails.

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My politics right now are very short and simple:
Biden, you sweet peach of a (VERY FLAWED) man, please go hug some waitresses and enjoy your sunset years on the shores of Bethany Beach. Democrats: Aim Higher. Electability is a scam invented by white people to sell you whiteness. 

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1. Alabama judge allows man to sue clinic on behalf of aborted fetus by Ariana Eunjung Cha and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux (Washington Post)
A terrifying “fetal rights” ruling in Alabama that should make us all nervous about the state of anti-choice personhood efforts across the country. When a southern fuccboi with bleached tips can turn his (then-underage) girlfriend’s personal trauma into a cash-grab, things are very, very wrong.
2. The Embryo in the Hallway Being pregnant again means being willing to end it. by Jen Gann (The Cut)
An excellent companion piece to the above, beautiful written and bursting with wisdom about the personal weight, and innate power, of creating a human.

“Women and mothers are so often belittled and dismissed and reminded of how little power we hold in society and government. But those who perpetuate this attitude might have an increasingly difficult time ignoring the staggering amount of power a woman wields, especially if we can hold onto and — crucially — expand our access to medical care and technology. Every pregnant woman who terminates after a certain test result, who knowingly gives birth to a child who will be sick, who continues a pregnancy only under certain conditions: Every one of us exerts a profound influence on the future. It’s not hard to understand why some people take such issue with us being able exercise the most complex and significant power there is.”

3. Military Doctors Told Them It Was Just "Female Problems." Weeks Later, They Were In The Hospital. by Ema O'connor and Vera Bergengruen (Buzzfeed)
Horrifying stories of female service members receiving grossly inadequate and damaging medical care in the military, an institution that has failed to meet the treatment and equipment needs of the growing number of women in its ranks. Also, you know, what happens when the entire world spins forward on the diminishment of female pain.
4. In unearthed audio, Tucker Carlson makes numerous misogynistic and perverted comments by Madeline Peltz (Media Matters)
This is so deeply repulsive—each comment is worse than the next—but I need to know: why does every major, disgusting, demoralizing media controversy of this decade inevitably come back to Bubba the Love Sponge??
5. Bonus: The Hills Are Alive by Brooke Bobb (Vogue)
3500 exquisite words on The Hills, that can also be summed up in eight:

“In the end, no one really went anywhere.”

Watch the videos if you know what’s good for you.
Also: A reminder that local journalism is dying. What you get for your money in a feminist state. My best friend curated an esports feature for Flaunt and wrote a wonderful introduction about empathy and diversity in gaming. The US women’s soccer team sues for equal pay. A story of queer sexual awakening inspired by the Wicked Witch of the West. Thank Gaia for Aidy Bryant. Remembering Madam C.J. Walker, an actual self-made beauty entrepreneur. More Republican women are coming forward with their accounts of sexual assault—is the GOP approaching a reckoning? (Probably not, considering the party’s standard-bearer is an abuser). And I loved the way Jenna Wortham described her feelings towards social media in a NY Times interview:

“I try to be extremely aware of my urges to contribute to social media and of the way it feels to observe others’ highly curated looking glasses. Why do I want to share? What does it mean to parcel out bits of myself for consumption? What does it mean to consume others’ bits?

At social media’s best, I’m laughing alongside some of the most interesting and innovative D.I.Y. creators of my time. At its worst, I’m experiencing a desperate longing for a life that is not mine. That’s a hard spectrum to travel along on a daily basis.”

Also also: while we’re all devouring the juicy details of the rich brat college admissions scandal, let’s remember the black woman in Ohio who was jailed for using her father’s address to gain her kids entry into a better school district.
Lastly, here’s more proof we live in an unjust world: Islamaphobe Nick Vallelonga has two Oscars, but all the international sex workers who convinced Peter Bogdanovich they enjoyed having sex with him have zero. 

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Italian literature is such a blind spot for me (I haven’t even read Ferrante!—wait, no, please don’t go!), but I was captivated by this review in the Times of Elsa Morante’s 1957 novel Arturo’s Island, newly translated by lauded Ferrante translator Ann Goldstein.
“The men in this novel are knives, and the woman meat,” writes book critic Dwight Garner. If that line was written about the work of a male author, well, I can’t imagine anything I’d want to read less. But its brutal simplicity, applied to a female creation, ascribes the author a special wisdom, a knowingness of the era’s expectations of women: ductile, yielding, and nutrient. I can’t wait to read Arturo’s Island, even if—happily—all the women in my life are knives.
P.S. Morante once boiled a pot of oil to pour over Hitler and Mussolini as they passed under her apartment in a convertible, only to have her attempts at a dictator stir-fry thwarted by her husband. This is a woman after my own heart.

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I demand hyper-personalized culture recommendations from my friends. I’m the kind of gal (it’s called a narcissist), who can’t be sold on a TV show just because someone I love is enthusiastic about it, dares to calls it “perfect.” I need to know why it’s perfect for me. I had been debating starting Russian Doll for a while, but it wasn’t until my friend Travis  summed it up in the following way that I actually took the plunge:

“It’s about a sexually-liberated redhead who smokes and dies a lot. It was made for you.”

I love feeling seen, and I’m really loving the show.