“I remembered that Simon said possums were not indigenous to New Zealand, that they had been brought here by somebody a long time ago, some European, and since there were no animals here that liked to kill possums, all those unkilled possums had fucked up the whole fucking ecosystem by eating plants, too many plants, by wanting so much, and now there were what? — ten or fifteen possums per person in New Zealand? Something fucked-up like that; and I imagined my dozen fucked-up possums gathered around me, a personal audience, and I wondered which things inside a person might be indigenous or nonindigenous, but it isn’t as easy to trace those kinds of things in a person as it is in a country. I wished that I could point to some colonizer and blame him for everything that was nonindigenous in me, whoever or whatever had fucked my ecosystem, had made me misunderstand myself,—but I couldn’t blame anyone for what was in me, because I am, like everyone, populated entirely by myself…”—
“…But what the word “feminist” does do is acknowledge the very long history of the women’s rights movement. I agree with what [Joss Whedon is] saying: It should just be assumed men and women are equally important and equally capable—but it’s not, and it hasn’t been for thousands of years. So, “feminism” and being a “feminist” is an acknowledgement of that history and the culture we’ve lived in for a long time. It’s a reaction to that, but for me, that’s an important acknowledgement to make.”—This is the first time I have felt warmly about Joseph Gordon Levitt
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.
“Every human being alive has a right to say what they can and cannot do. Do you want to keep working, just to serve your shiny picture, without knowing what it all adds up to? Because I want to tell you something. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are laser sharp and you are on fire. That anxiety you feel isn’t about laziness; that’s the white-hot flame of a heart in chains. You were big and bright and raw and sensitive and sweet and you used to admit what you didn’t know, easily, without fear, and you know what happened? The world beat that shit out of you.”—Heather Havrilesky for president
One year ago today, I got in the driver’s seat of a car that my mother paid for and gave me and drove from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California to (at most) flourish and (at least) not die. Ten years ago today, some normal-sized people hijacked some normal-sized planes and flew them into…
“And then, there I was, in the room. I couldn’t believe how much like an operating room it felt. Cold, bright lights, antiseptic, people scurrying around and chatting with each other. It was like being present at my own death, except once in awhile someone would ask me a question and I would call out to everyone, trying to be funny.
“You’re smiling again,” the doctor said to me, “Guess you’re feeling more like yourself.”
Is “myself” smiley? I wondered. Does she think of me as cheerful? Was I less myself before, stripped of politeness? That seemed sad.”—Meaghan O’Connell is telling us what it was like to have a baby over on tinyletter all day today and it is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful
“But while you’re still attached and/or living with your partner? Bitching and moaning to potential sexytime partners is really poor form. And, if a sexy human you want to sex tells you that their partner is BORING? And possessive? AND THAT’S ALL THEY CAN COME UP WITH? Run away screaming. People who fuck people then tell other people they want to fuck that the people they’re currently fucking are super fucking dull? These are bad people.
These are people who just don’t like other people. “Jesus, my girlfriend, I swear she breathes in oxygen and breathes out carbon dioxide sometimes,” they might as well say. Because when you go to bed with someone and wake up and eat together and go to bed together again and wake up? See, I’m already bored by both of you just writing it down. People get boring. An inescapable fact. PEOPLE. GET. BORING. People of all stripes, from all walks of life, get boring. Boring is not a reason for anything. You say someone you’re fucking is boring? The first thing I think is sweet god in heaven YOU my friend are BORING. Stop taking it out on everyone else.
Better yet is POSSESSIVE, as in “My girlfriend, she just gets really possessive, it’s a total drag.” Gee, that sucks, why does your miserable insecure shrew of a woman have to get all possessive and shit, when she has a guy who’s sweet and honest and opens up within minutes about what a jealous little bitch HEY WAIT A MINUTE.”—
“He was funny as shit. But he could make shit funny. Not shit meaning “stuff” — shit meaning darkness and awful situations and separated families and cancer-stricken kids and even aliens who feel alone in the world because no one else will ever truly know what it is to be him. And because of that, even more so than his talent, he’s one of the ones the rest of us will be chasing from now on.”—Chris Gethard’s piece about Robin Williams for Vulture is very, very sweet
About a year ago I asked you how for advice on comforting my boyfriend as he found out his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I'm sorry to say that after a year his father passed on Friday afternoon. I'm writing to say that your advice was wise & has been so insightful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You're advice helped me become a better partner in all relationships by making me realize that listening and hearing your counterparts is key. Your response meant so much. Thank you!
While this blows very deeply, it also rules that you two have each other. Which, if you think about it, is kind of a perfect summary of ~what it’s all about at the end of the day~.
A long time ago, you advocated for the generic Covergirl concealer and it changed my life and skin for the better. Now I've run out of my last tube, and I can't find it anywhere in my city. I haven't done a lot of research, but Covergirl seems to have moved away from the blue capped magic I've grown so fond of. Have you found any decent (low maintenance) alternatives? I don't want to move on, but I also don't want to spend a lot of money to have it shipped to me from Amazon.
I’m pretty sure they discontinued it, and I’m in the midst of the same crisis right now myself.
My first solution was to go to a major superstore (Target) and buy every tube of my shade that they had left in stock (2). I’m about halfway through the first one, with that final one on deck, and then once that’s gone I have literally no idea. I haven’t seen it anywhere else since.
In the weeks before I got to the superstore to stock up/hoard, I visited a lot of pharmacies and it looks like the trend in concealers right now is a click-brush formatted, waxy, oily piece of shit formula that: a) exacerbates your zit, and b) won’t set on your face in any meaningful way. Tried buying like three different pharmacy options and was dying a slow death, so I’m very thankful for the hoarding I did, but I’m also very aware of the fact that the end is nigh.
Maybe people out there know something that we don’t, though. Tumblr, are you aware of any wand-formatted concealers that are dank as hell?
Tonight I was lucky enough to get to read as part of Emily Wunderlich’s monthly series Big Umbrella, and the more I do these readings the more I’m like, “I fucking love doing these readings.”
I love a microphone, I love talking to people. I love to make them laugh.
Anyway, I’m posting the story here for posterity, and because I miss writing, and writing this was very fun.
When I registered for an OKCupid account, it was basically to see if I could act my own age. I’d just graduated from college in Maine and moved away from all my friends to New York City, where the friends I was making felt decades older than me dating-wise.
They’d lived with dudes, amicably broken up with dudes, platonically married dudes to help with their citizenship paperwork… it was unreal. I had dated one guy for a couple years in college and it had been stupid and ended even more stupidly, and now suddenly my weeknights were spent in an apartment I shared with three other people, making quesadillas in my Home Goods frying pan and watching several episodes of King of the Hill before going to bed and repeating the whole ritual the next day.
I had no idea where the young local singles were, but I knew OKCupid was a place I could start. Best case, I’d meet some new people, say some hellos. Worst case, I’d have something to chuckle about with these worldly-as-fuck new friends of mine.
Before I get any further, let me just say: god bless anyone out there with the wherewithal to wrangle that festering spamcauldron of a social media platform and use it to sincerely meet people with similar interests without feeling as though their soul has been run through a woodchipper and splattered across the snowy lawn of infinity, because having this account was a harrowing experience for me.
Within moments of registering, without even a photo uploaded or any information for anyone to react to, the direct messaging from horny singles began. Was I in the area? Did I have plans tonight? No one could spell, and no one cared if I was horny too. But after about a month of weeding through my inbox, optimistically responding to people who piqued my interest, and proactively seeking out guys who seemed cool, I ended up messaging back and forth with someone I liked.
The one-month-to-one-person ratio wasn’t ideal, but it seemed promising enough. We worked in similar but separate areas of the comedy industry, often took spontaneous and stupid trips with our friends, and had strong opinions about bodega junk food brands. We agreed to meet at a bar near my office for a beer after work, and I felt like I was finally dipping my toes into what it was all about. Broadway, baby!
The date was smooth sailing off the top: he had recently driven a van across the country, liked some of the same TV and stand-ups I did, and when I recommended he watch a Criterion doc about seahorses “with the lights out while you’re stoned,” he put the title in his phone and told me he’d watch it and report back. Sick.
Everything was tepid heterosexual fun until the topic of my upcoming birthday arose, and I told him about the cake some friends and I had ordered for our party. It featured two clipart aliens flanking a word from The Sims in Curlz MT, and I was beside myself with excitement over how I imagined it was gonna turn out.
Was it niche? Yes. Did I think for a second that it mattered? No. I was glowing as I described this crappy jpeg we were having photo-printed onto a dessert. But I could see my date’s face curdling a little bit with each computer-themed word, so I pumped the brakes and asked him if he knew what I was talking about.
For the record, Curlz MT is a font. A hideous, beautiful, magical one that’s been around for as long as I’ve been using word processors, and so I used it in my story the way I’d also say Arial or Times New Roman and assume that it’s 2014 and this isn’t amateur hour. But he didn’t know what it was, so I laughed and checked myself and explained it to him.
“It’s like, curly and princessy, but in an overtly ugly way. Kind of like Comic Sans is ugly, but so in your face about it that it’s kind of beautiful.”
And instead of saying, “Cool!” or, “Oh,” or, “Okay,” he said, “You can’t just say things like that and expect people to know what you mean,” and I froze.
That, ladies and gents, is the neg.
A smile immediately re-appeared on his face like he’d just been very charming — so he was still invested in me thinking he was a pleasant person — he just also wanted me to know that he wasn’t comfortable with me knowing more about something than he did. Or steering the conversation someplace foreign. Or something. Romance.
And because I am shy, and because I was branching out, and because I was already in the heightened anxiety state of being on a date with a stranger and having to pull conversation out of thin air like some kind of social magician, my face just fell and I stopped trying to make him understand me. I probably said something like, “Yeah, I’m a fucking dweeb,” and then changed the subject because — I don’t know — I was 23 and I was like, “Welp, this is how I’m treated.”
But in retrospect, what the fuck! Who says that! To anyone!
I think it’s the “you can’t just” that gets me.
I CAN, stranger! I can just!
We have just met each other and may never see each other again and I have somehow managed to breathe air and ingest food and blink my eyes all these years without you, so yes, I can refer to a font by its name while I drink a beer during my free time. It’s not like I was not telling him that I’m kind of into murder porn. I wasn’t telling him that I make vegan lubes and am thinking of starting an Etsy for them, would he like to taste one?
I was referencing the world’s most innocuous children’s birthday party typeface — one that anyone who has used a computer in the last two decades has had a high chance of running into, and even if they hadn’t yet, who cares! You can get the gist without knowing it intimately!
The date ended with a hug, and I can’t even remember this dude’s name or what he looked like, but I’ll remember that comment forever because I was so, so happy to be telling him about that cake, and he killed my joy, and I should have burned that evening to the ground. I should have taken a shit on the table and walked away cackling.
Leaving aside everything to do with the specifics of Kim Kardashian, The Kardashians, the game, etc, there’s a thing that woman was doing that I have seen happen over and over again and I’ve never known quite what to call it. It’s when there’s a received idea about someone or something, usually a woman or a woman-specific cultural phenomenon, and that received idea is so pervasive and somehow so convincing that most people adopt it as their own opinion without ever stopping to examine either the idea or the person or phenomenon for themselves. In this case the received idea is something along the lines of “The success of Kim and the Kardashians is representative of something very bad and I am against it.”
Conveniently, holding this kind of opinion doesn’t conflict with being interested in the woman/phenomenon in question and in consuming media related to her, or even created by her. (“Ugh, it was so horrible. I watched every episode/read the whole thing in a day.”)
Whenever a lot of people think a woman is disgusting or shameful and for some reason feel incentivized to espouse that opinion loudly, something interesting is going on. What I realized in the elevator is that I’m on the side of every girl who people jump to conclusions about. I always want to know more about what’s going on with that girl, because the elevator people are boring and wrong. And really, they are missing out on a lot of fun stuff.
“But I want to encourage you not to be TOO tough and too perfect. I want you to be open-hearted and unafraid of feeling what you feel, whether it’s sadness or anger. Having hope for the future, to me, depends on being open to the past in all of its ugliness. Letting in the ugliness will give you a richer appreciation of the present and the future. Building a rock solid marriage and a good relationship with your in-laws depends, in part, on not hiding or trying to be better than you are. I mean, you do have to try, around husbands and in-laws. But you also have to relax and own who you are, and allow yourself a little breathing room. It is truly a miracle, how shiny and new you can feel when you’re with someone who cares about you and supports you and doesn’t fucking disappear the second you get a little sniffly. But it’s also unnerving how forlorn you can feel when something small goes wrong—you don’t get enough sleep, you feel passive-aggressively insulted by your shiny new in-laws (hello, universal, shared rite of passage!), you don’t like the way your shiny new husband changes the subject when you try to talk about your crazy mother for more than a few minutes. It’s ok to admit that the past has a hold on you, that it bleeds into your future sometimes. By pointing this out, I’m not painting your future black. I’m telling you that the future will be richer if the past is included there.”—This week’s Ask Polly is about abusive mothers and it’s very, very beautiful
“I am a lesbian woman of Color whose children eat regularly because I work in a university. If their full bellies make me fail to recognize my commonality with a woman of Color whose children do not eat because she cannot find work, or who has no children because her insides are rotted from home abortions and sterilization; if I fail to recognize the lesbian who chooses not to have children, the woman who remains closeted because her homophobic community is her only life support, the woman who chooses silence instead of another death, the woman who is terrified lest my anger trigger the explosion of hers; if I fail to recognize them as other faces of myself, then I am contributing not only to each of their oppressions but also to my own, and the anger which stands between us then must be used for clarity and mutual empowerment, not for evasion by guilt or for further separation.
********I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. Nor is anyone of you.***********
“As my belly grew, the comments got even stranger. I had secretly hoped for no reaction, for our choice to be as common as saying, “I went with the mustard instead of the ketchup.” No reaction would mean something good, right? That women in this country are, for example, no longer considered the property of men, even in name. That archaic systems are truly collapsing. That we can reclaim language that was formerly used to control us.
But it seemed, at least to me, that using a woman’s last name for a child threatened everyone. An older woman asked me if I was doing this to make a point. Why was all this doing perceived as mine, not my husband’s as well? At a party, a peer told me she was “diehard Obama” and then argued that her only real concern about using a woman’s last name is that you risk the ease of preserving lineage and historical records.”—What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name | Molly Caro May for The Hairpin
“In Bikini Kill, I was singing to an elusive, asshole male that was fucking the world over, and I was allowing other women to watch me do that, but I wanted to really start directly singing to other women… And [Julie Ruin] sounds like you can hear a human being’s fingers all over it. It sounds like bedroom culture. It sounds like something a girl made in her bedroom. Girls’ bedrooms sometimes can be this space of real creativity — the problem is that these bedrooms are all cut off from each other — so how do you take that bedroom that you’re cut off from all the other girls who are secretly in their bedroom writing secret things or making secret songs? I wanted the Julie Ruin record to sound like a girl from her bedroom made this record, but then didn’t just throw it away, or it wasn’t just in her diary, and she took it out and shared it with people.”—Kathleen Hanna, The Punk Singer
“There’s a certain assumption that when a man tells the truth, it’s the truth. But when I go before the jury to tell the truth, I have to negotiate how I’m going to be perceived. There’s a suspicion around a woman’s truth. My story, it’s so big, it sounded like too big a can of worms, and I was like, who would believe me? But then I realized: other women would believe me.”—Kathleen Hanna, The Punk Singer