The cruelty of last week’s ICE raids in Mississippi is impossible to overstate. Writers at The Cut put it well: “This week’s raid is the latest in an anti-immigrant assault on working class families of color, fueled by the U.S. government with utter disregard for the pain it causes, including to children.”
Utter disregard. I cannot even begin to comprehend the layers and layers of trauma the government’s actions will spawn, both for the workers and for their children, who came home from school to locked doors and missing parents and slept, confused and terrified, in school gyms and relied on the kindness of their neighbors for shelter and food and safety.
Here are some things to do:
1. Donate locally to maximize impact (ex: the local branch of the ACLU not national)
2. Donate to individual organizations directly or through ActBlue, which will split your contribution evenly between these six groups: the ACLU MS, El Pueblo Mississippi, the MacArthur Justice Center, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA), and the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN).
3. If you’re a lawyer available to help, fill out this form.
4. If you or your organization can provide support (anything ranging from translation help to mental health resources), fill out this form.
Please email me if you know of any other ways to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. SoulCycle Owner's Support for Trump Shows How Capitalism Makes Us All Complicit by Jameelah Nasheed (Teen Vogue)
I had a full panic attack at a SoulCycle in DC three years ago to “What Goes Around” by Justin Timberlake. Some primal fear instinct was tapped and I felt suffocated and couldn’t get my shoes unlocked from the pedals, so I just unstrapped my feet and left the shoes locked in and sat down in the corner of the room with my socks on trying not to scream until the instructor had to come get me. My point is: this is not a tough boycott for me to participate in, personally.
I know a lot of great young, progressive people who work for SoulCycle and Equinox, and I would hate to think that a boycott could make it harder for them to pay their bills. At the same time, money talks, and national boycotts can be a good way to reassert our values, put pressure on major companies, and show that there are consequences for supporting this era of American Nazism—as long as we acknowledge that boycotts and similar actions are inherently fractional and packed to the gills with hypocrisy because we are all still operating under a brazenly unequal and exploitative capitalist system that makes asses out of all of us, every damn day……..
My hope is that this moment will spur us to pay greater attention to the woo-woo ya-ya way things are branded to us in the name of millennial wellness by companies who take our grassfed yuppy dollars and put them back into the pockets of evil, racist megalomaniac billionaires. That’s the hope!
“Smiling emptily above this wounded little boy, whose life was shattered before he could take his first step, the president and his wife call to mind those famous safari photos taken by Trump’s sons, Eric and Don Jr. — in which they, like their father, smile brightly over the victims of their own heedless cruelty and violence.”
Expert, heart-aching analysis of one of the most bone-chilling photos I’ve ever seen: Baby Paul, the youngest survivor of the El Paso massacre that orphaned him, in the arms and PR embrace of the fascistic couple who inspired his parents’ murder. The photo also serves as visual representation of all the children of color who have been ripped from their families and adopted into white homes through a DeVos-run Christian charity organization—kidnapped, that is. Kidnapped is the word. This photo repulses on infinite levels.
3. White Supremacy Has Never Been Fringe by Gene Demby (NPR’s Code Switch)
What’s old is new again because it never actually went away. White anxiety over a “rapidly browning populace” forms the defining ethos of this country. There is nothing more American. It makes baseball and apple pie look like pétanque and tarte tatin.
4. On the Troubling Subtext of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Jen Chaney (Vulture)
“You realize that Quentin Tarantino has just made his first movie since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein — the man who launched Tarantino’s career and became a symbol of poisonous male-dominated Hollywood — and made that movie a celebration of old-school, masculine Hollywood.”
More on how much I hated* this movie later in Audio Visuals but first a request: I would like every man who enjoyed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to send me a notarized letter explaining why. I will consider your words carefully and will decide if you possess any redeeming qualities. All rulings are final.
There is something so sinister about this film, and it has nothing to do with the creeping two-hour-plus spectre of the Manson Murders. This article by Jen Chaney captures it well: how Leo’s character’s anti-hippie rants, played for laughs, actually tap into a very real conservative fear of the Other—of progressives, of blacks, of women, of anyone who dares be anti-war. (A fear that Nixon gleefully exploited to win elections, criminalize entire communities, and turbo charge our involvement in Vietnam). How Brad’s character’s brutal, head-bashing violence against women is played also for laughs, but more importantly, for justice, to give the audience some sense of divine, bloody kismet. It all left me feeling queasy. More on that later.
*I should note that it was not a hate that hit me instantly! The movie is so stylish and style does a mighty fine job of warping a baseline morality that seems, pardon my French, hella sketch.
5. A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women by Julie Bosman, Kate Taylor and Tim Arango (NY Times)
“In more than half of all mass shootings in the United States from 2009 to 2017, an intimate partner or family member of the perpetrator was among the victims.”
Rebecca Traister wrote about this years ago but it’s worth restating: violence against women is a gateway drug to acts of violence on a broader scale.
Also here’s an important reminder: “Misogyny — or other types of hatred — is not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness.”
Please stop blaming mental illness. Hate is not a mental illness.
I’m loving all your Capri Instagrams, I really am, but y’all know Italian politics are pretty fucked, right? Russian money laundering? Euro Trump? La dolce vita e fascista!
While harassment is rightfully illegal, public shaming is not. God bless Rep. Joaquin Castro. If your money helped put kids in cages, you deserve much, much worse than a tweet. Ferguson activists, five years later. With Epstein’s death, I’m deep in conspiracy land. Frank Ocean x Pierre Paulin.
And finally, the wine bar where I met Frances McDormand last summer, who was eating a tiny cup of ice cream with one of those wooden paddle spoons and seemed thoroughly, blissfully high. In case you were wondering or need reminding, our conversation went like this:
Me: I don’t want to bother you, but I love you so much.
FM, politely: I love you, too.
Me: I think if you got to know me you would love me.
SImone Biles broke all kinds of records this weekend, including becoming the first gymnast to land a triple-double in competition (two flips, three twists, grilled onions).
We don’t deserve her. U.S.A. Gymnastics really doesn’t deserve her. But her flips make me believe in magic. Going to try to bring a hint of this power, grace, and levitation to my work energy this week.
Rules of the week:
Take your meds.
Call your senators.
Watch Simone jump.
It hath been a long week. Maybe you need to read this feminist medieval Welsh poet’s ode to her vagina—a poem whose title is often translated as “Cunt.”
Every foolish drunken poet,
boorish vanity without ceasing,
(never may I warrant it,
I of great noble stock,)
has always declaimed fruitless praise
in song of the girls of the lands
all day long, certain gift,
most incompletely, by God the Father:
praising the hair, gown of fine love,
and every such living girl,
and lower down praising merrily
the brows above the eyes;
praising also, lovely shape,
the smoothness of the soft breasts,
and the beauty's arms, bright drape,
she deserved honour, and the girl's hands.
Then with his finest wizardry
before night he did sing,
he pays homage to God's greatness,
fruitless eulogy with his tongue:
leaving the middle without praise
and the place where children are conceived,
and the warm cunt, clear excellence,
tender and fat, bright fervent broken circle,
where I loved, in perfect health,
the cunt below the smock.
You are a body of boundless strength,
a faultless court of fat's plumage.
I declare, the cunt is fair,
circle of broad-edged lips,
it is a valley longer than a spoon or a hand,
a ditch to hold a penis two hands long;
cunt there by the swelling arse,
song's table with its double in red.
And the bright saints, men of the church,
when they get the chance, perfect gift,
don't fail, highest blessing,
by Beuno, to give it a good feel.
For this reason, thorough rebuke,
all you proud poets,
let songs to the cunt circulate
without fail to gain reward.
Sultan of an ode, it is silk,
little seam, curtain on a fine bright cunt,
flaps in a place of greeting,
the sour grove, it is full of love,
very proud forest, faultless gift,
tender frieze, fur of a fine pair of testicles,
a girl's thick grove, circle of precious greeting,
lovely bush, God save it.
- Gwerful Mechain
Try and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Lala Kent when she was thanking all her body parts for their service and she ended with, “I thank my little kitty cat because it takes that D like a champ.” Next week on Rheolau Vanderpvmp!
(you may have seen this rant on my Instagram)
Friday morning was the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders on Cielo Drive. Friday night I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I hated it. I wanted to love it, because my friends loved it, but I couldn’t.
I think about the male voices who were tasked with telling this, in many ways, female-centric story: Quentin Tarantino, who once defended Roman Polanski by saying his 13-year-old rape victim “wanted to have it” (he has since apologized, conveniently in the #MeToo era), and doesn’t have the best reputation for his treatment of women, though admittedly most of that is rumor and just a general ickiness vibe he emits. I think about Leo Dicaprio, who only dates women who got their period 6 months ago, and his scenes with a young girl, which adds a particular stratum of creepiness. I think about Emile fucking Hirsch, who violently assaulted and choked a woman at Sundance, but gets to play Jay Sebring now. Did everyone forget or did they just never care?
It’s clear Tarantino wanted to make a fairy tale, and the whole thing feels like one, sure: passive women, brawny men. But the thing about fairy tales is that they’re bullshit, and mostly written by dudes who don’t understand more than: passive women, brawny men. It’s 2019. How boring.
[It wasn’t all bad tho! I do love Tarantino’s (non-podiatric) style—LA in the sixties is scary & magical. And they made Roman Polanski look like Austin Powers. Two big wins!]
Time for a dramatic tone shift!
In the spirit of reflecting at the anniversary of the murders, below are some words I wrote about my visit to Spahn Ranch last summer and my relationship to the Manson Family.
Spahn Ranch was the old abandoned western movie ranch near Chatsworth where the Manson Family took up residence in the late sixties and plotted their eponymous murder spree. The creepy parts, like the cave where members of the Family crouched and smiled for LIFE Magazine in 1969, can be found at the northeast corner of Santa Susana Pass Park (with a bit of luck, hiking, and a willingness to expose yourself to poison oak).
The structures and sets are long gone, destroyed by a wildfire in 1970, which feels like a merciful bit of cleansing. I myself brought crystals, like shimmery blue goldstone to deflect unwanted energies, a lighter and a bundle of sage to clarify my energy before I got back in my car—to reject, as my friend Maddie advised, any unwanted “gifts with purchase.”
I couldn’t burn the sage until I got home because I was in a fire zone and to light a smudge stick, even for the purpose of exorcising the spirit of Susan Atkins from my person, would have been illegal. Also, the scariest thing I encountered was a man in white cowboy boots with greasy hair playing really terrible acoustic guitar at the entrance to Manson’s cave, proving yet again that the lesson in Manson and in all of his detritus and I think with life in general is that white men who believe they can play guitar but cannot, in fact, play guitar ruin everything.
If you know me, you know my dad met Charles Manson in the park nearly 50 years ago (it’s my only story). Riding his bike with a friend he stumbled upon a filthy man who offered him a Coke, which he rejected. He never forgot the face.
In DC, I once had lunch with an older woman who had been friends with one of Manson’s victims in college. She and the victim had bonded during trips to the bathroom to make themselves throw up. I remember how Manson liked to keep his girls skinny, hungry.
The woman and I picked at our salads like sprites. We talked about our dads, Manson, the type of men who watch your fork.
I remember thinking: you can’t control a woman who is sustained. There’s nothing more threatening than a girl who knows how to feed herself.