Staunchly, vol. 97: Angry Little Birds



Elections matter. Stacey Abrams lost a rigged race to a skeezy-as-hell fucker with dead eyes and now abortion will be illegal in the state of Georgia, effective 2020.

While some of the headlines about Georgia’s abortion ban are misleading (like this Slate one, according to the Washington Post and a Planned Parenthood representative for the southeast), here are a few facts:

  1. The so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill, very en vogue amongst anti-abortion crusaders, will ban abortions after the point at which the doctor can detect a heartbeat, usually around six weeks, often before the woman even knows she’s pregnant.

  2. Quick note via Vox on “heartbeats” at this stage: “Some reproductive rights groups argue that the term ‘heartbeat’ bill is a misnomer, since the fetus does not yet have a heart at six weeks’ gestation — the cardiac activity detectable at that time comes from tissue called the fetal pole.” Just a good reminder that all these awful abortion laws are based on crypto-fascist pseudoscience  :)

  3. Doctors could face up to 10 years in prison for performing an abortion (99 years in the law being considered in Alabama)

  4. The bill is purposefully vague about what punishment women who terminate pregnancies would face.

  5. A woman who suffers a miscarriage could be forced to undergo an investigation into how she lost her baby, her health and trauma immaterial to the state’s right to determine whether an abortion was performed. If her own conduct (like drug use) is found responsible, she could be tried for second-degree murder.

  6. Again: vagueness. Unlike past versions of the bill, the law just signed by Governor Brian Kemp does not include assurances that a woman who self-terminates cannot be tried for murder. I guess I’d just ask myself: do I trust the fine Georgia lawmakers who creamed all over themselves in the rush to ban abortion not to pursue prosecution against the sinful women who disobey the law? I do not.

These are scary times.



The Notre-Dame Fire and France’s National Reconstruction Project by Elayne Oliphant (the revealer)

This is by far the best, most thoughtful essay I’ve read about Notre-Dame in the month since the fire that devastated it, and it’s really helped me think critically about the way we impede social progress by maintaining places that reinforce inequality as icons of an indelible Western culture. As a history major to the bone and unapologetic aesthete, I’m generally a fan of preserving pretty old buildings and fancy gothic spaces with spooky gargoyles that connect us to the past, but it’s important to investigate the way heritage symbols like Notre-Dame promote a vision of Paris and France writ large that is fundamentally exclusionary.  

“...The city’s innumerable Catholic spaces aid in aestheticizing the inequalities that France failed to overthrow with its Revolution of 1789. The extraordinary distinctions between lives of privilege and wealth and those of labor and poverty in France—not to mention between its citizens of different religious faiths, and between black and white citizens—constantly belie the regime of equality that was supposed to follow from the Revolution.”

The whole piece is very compelling and worth spending some time with.

(h/t Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter/essential link curation)


We’ve found the one arena where my views lean toward reactionary conservatism: I’m struggling to accept the new Scrabble words. “Plogging”...? Are you kidding me.

Mapping the Tongva villages of Los Angeles. Explaining this current moment of constitutional hardball. This aborted interview with former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is wild (why do these dudes keep agreeing to get completely destroyed by Isaac Chotiner??). The tragedy of TERFs. Want to be happier? Delete Nextdoor. Homelessness is getting worse in LA. Colorism and bias in Asian-American communities. Where does all that inspo capitalist messaging go when elite athletes become pregnant? What happens when your college boyfriend runs for president, or more broadly—what happens when the people we knew when we were young and silly or young and self-serious becoming established figures in the public eye. M.J. Hegar for Senate. The video Sandra Bland recorded of her fatal traffic stop is finally public, and yes it is deeply upsetting.

Don’t eat raw marmot.


Have a very exciting special edition *lit feature* for you next week, courtesy of beloved Staunchly contributor Maddie Coleman, so will keep it short and sweet today—also because I’m in-between books right now and every time I sit down with the intention of reading I just end up watching The Sopranos. This NYT piece on binge-reading is inspiring me to get back into the swing of things though. As a lifelong binge-reader, I know in my jellies* there’s nothing better than finishing a book in one fevered sitting.

(*this is a Detective Pikachu reference I’m so sorry)

Also, I’m loving The Paris Review’s Poetry Rx column, where people write in with problems or just rogue emotions in search of validation and the publication’s resident poets offer advice through verse. I just reread a bunch of issues and was pleasantly reminded of this Denice Frohman poem, “A Woman’s Place,” which is indeed a very pleasant thing to be reminded of. Here’s a little bit that kills me:

all the women i know are perennials—

marigolds, daffodils

soft things that refuse to die

Thinking on those lines a lot this week. Feeling grateful that my world is so flush with marigolds :)



All you need to know about the “camp” Met Gala is that John Waters took a walk instead.

I tore through I Think You Should Leave Now this weekend. It’s a lightning quick sketch show on Netflix (each episode is over in about the time it takes to boil pasta). Most sketches are just ok (and very dumb), but the good ones are golden—and also very dumb. Full disclosure: I watched the show under the influence of some moderately potent edibles. I suggest you do the same.

Lastly, I can’t get over how terribly Game of Thrones is ending. Sansa explaining away her own rape as character development? Pretty fucked! These writers just had no idea how to land this plane and it shows. Do I regret starting the show three months ago? No. I maintain that there are plots and scenes in earlier seasons that rival some of the best television I’ve ever seen. But one thing is for sure: I never want to watch what two white men have to say about rape ever again.