Staunchly got a lil refresh! Thank you Faye for the brilliant new headers. You bring color and strangeness into my world. Let's get to it.
But first! If you’re interested in supporting Staunchly, you can join my Patreon. You’ll receive a special Saturday Staunch every week for the $ low low $ price of 4 American dollars a month. I’ve been using that exxxclusive issue as an outlet to send out lots of funky things, like roundups of my favorite buys on Amazon (barrettes, Swiss bath oil, a foldable sun visor), iphone notes I typed whilst sensationally high, and essays on everything from trauma to clumpy mascara to mothering a scared animal. Subscribe if any of that intrigues you. :)
Biden is in the race groan more white men groan he’s so old groan.
Reminder: you don’t owe any man acceptance of his apology. Especially one that is: transparently insincere, politically timed, and hella disingenuous. Especially if you are Anita Fucking Hill.
The Black Feminists Who Saw the Alt-Right Threat Coming by Rachelle Hampton (Slate)
How #EndFathersDay, a racist Twitter hoax constructed in 2014 in the grimiest corner of the internet (4chan message boards) to antagonize black feminists, protended the rise of the digital alt-right. If only anyone outside the community had paid attention. Also a broader commentary on how the internet as a whole fails women of color.
“...the misinformation, bot networks, and weaponized trolls that Twitter did little to curb back in 2014 were a ‘dry run’ for the presidential campaign two years later.”
The Rich Kid Revolutionaries by Rachel Sherman (NY Times)
Class traitors can be way too smug (*points thumbs so hard back at herself that they dislocate*), but increased awareness of the “capitalist meritocracy myth” among liberal rich kids (your parents made that, maybe, ok sure, but don’t ignore all the obvious and hidden social and political infrastructure that propped them up) can lead to meaningful “redistributive action,” i.e.: you didn’t earn that trust fund so why not do something cool with it and what’s cooler than affordable housing bish!!!
Flint’s Water Crisis Started 5 Years Ago. It’s Not Over. by Mitch Smith, Julie Bosman and Monica Davey (NY Times)
Flint hasn’t had clean water since April 25, 2014.
Rocks of Ages by Sinna Nasseri (Topic)
On the ground at this year’s Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase in Tucson, Arizona and a reminder to all my fellow crystal lovers out there that the little rocks we charge in the full blood wolf strawberry cucumber moon and stress-cradle in our pockets like Tamagotchis are maybe the product of horrific human rights abuses. If any Staunchly readers have any tips for how to shop crystals sustainably, please please let me know.
“In May of 2018, The New Republic reported that many crystals beloved by consumers for their ‘healing’ properties are in fact the byproducts of gold, copper and cobalt mines in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar. Especially outside the United States, regulations at these mines can be lax, making the crystal industry, which could be worth up to $1.5 billion, ripe for abuse. Your prized tanzanite crystal, for example—said to open the Third Eye and awaken psychic powers when circled clockwise on one’s brow—almost definitely came from Tanzania, where it may well have been mined by a child laborer.”
The Raisin Situation by Jonah Engel Bromwich (NY Times)
Without a doubt, the most thrilling piece you’ll ever read about raisins. (Two words: raisin mafia.)
A new documentary finally gives Alice Guy Blaché, the first female filmmaker, her due. “Watching what Congresswoman Omar is going through will have a lot of young black Muslim women wondering if what she is going through will ultimately be worth it.” #MeToo in Kosovo. The scope of the Boy Scouts sex abuse scandal is staggering. The Trump administration watered down a UN resolution on, um, ending rape in war. I’m sure they had a good reason! Ask male candidates about sexism. “What is actually seditious is to feel,” Doreen St. Félix on Billie Eilish. Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking: Greta Thunberg remains extraordinary. Shout out to all my Liz Laddies, my Delaney Daddies, my Booker Baddies. Esther Greenwood is a Scorpio. There’s nothing more American than a crypto-socialist cult. Housing discrimination against Capricorns? How dumb. Against Virgos on the other hand...yeah I’d get that. Also if you’re keeping track of lady gang power rankings, here’s my vote. Pink Ladies > Turnip Toffs > The Plastics. SPY WHALES.
And here are two pieces I haven’t sunk my teeth into yet but my friends are loving:
The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence by Ezra Marcus and James D. Walsh (The Cut)
The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (NY Times Magazine)
So, we read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith in Book Club this week and let’s just say it was so divisive it almost led to the dissolution of Book Club. I guess it wasn’t division as much it was one person very loudly hating it, which diverted the whole conversation into a sort of plea on behalf of the book’s merits.
I admittedly took the whole thing too personally because I Capture the Castle is the kind of writing I love: pleasant, female-driven, and provincial, clever but not precious. Writing that isn’t afraid to be small. Written in first-person from the perspective of 17-year-old Cassandra (an impossibly delightful narrator), it tells the story of a genteel-born family living in storybook poverty inside a shabby, threadbare British castle in the 1930s. This book has everything: countryside charm, impetuous young women who fall in love, pets named Héloïse and Abelard, a town vicar. Not to mention: bad male poetry and physical comedy revolving around a beaver fur coat.
The person in my club who hated it said it should have been 200 pages shorter, which kind of breaks my heart, since the magic of the novel is the space Smith gives the story to breathe. Because there isn’t much of a story really. I mean there’s lite plot: romance, an elopement, children locking their dad in a tower and forcing him to make puzzles, Midsummer night rituals that stir up love like windblown clouds of pollen, and tons of silly surprises along the way. But the joy of the book—it’s so cheesy to say—is in the small things, the well-observed details, the whimsical observations, the narrator’s reverence for the simple pleasures of living.
There’s a point early in the book when Cassandra is describing the fixings of an afternoon tea (there are many points in the book when she does this): “We had real butter for tea because Mr. Stebbins gave Stephen some when he went over to fix about working (he started at the farm this morning); and Mrs. Stebbins had sent a comb of honey. Stephen put them down in my place so I felt like a hostess. I shouldn’t even think millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.”
I feel similarly about I Capture the Castle. I could read a bunch of serious and very dramatic books with heavy plots and still return most happily to this one, with its drizzle of ramblings and farce. After all, toast with butter and honey is delicious.
The new Taylor Swift is definitely a song! My friend Janson’s boyfriend put it best: “it sounds like the theme song to Trolls 3.” The end!