3 things for today

1. “Has Anyone Ever Hated Anything As Much As I Hate Geese: An In-depth Study” illustrated by photographs of me honking the horn and screaming “YOU HAVE WINGS” at the top of my lungs as a gaggle meanders lazily across the street and a long line of cars idles behind me.

2. Heather Havrilesky at The Cut: “I think lots of women feel accountable for other people’s misperceptions of them. But just think about how absurd it is, to collect and make meaning out of every time someone misunderstands you — not to mention every time you unfairly misunderstand yourself.”

3. I wrote a book!*


*Not really.

3 things for today

1. I’ve become one of those believers.

We are reaching a point of no return, when it comes to information collection, if we have not already gone beyond it. Cameras and screens, microphones and speakers. Capture your face and your voice and your friends' faces and voices and where you are and what’s in your email and where you were when you sent it and... What did you say? Click, here’s an ad. And where did you go? Click, here’s an ad. Who were you with? Here’s an ad. What did you read here’s an ad how do you feel here’s an ad are you lonely here’s an ad are you lonely here’s an ad are you lonely?

That’s Mat Honan at Buzzfeed, in a review of the Google Pixel 3.

2. I saw (“saw”) the eye doctor last night. “Maybe your distance vision is as bad as it’s going to get!” he said. I think he meant it as a comfort. My left eye seems either unable or unwilling to focus on its own anymore, so I will start taking bets on whether I’ll still be driving in 10 years. God bless America, etc.

3. Warren Ellis ends one newsletter like this: “See you next week, I hope. I love you all. I wouldn't still be here otherwise.”

That’s what I want more of in the world. Send me your hope and good wishes for the day, and I will send you mine.

3 things for today

1. I deleted my Twitter account for good this time. I’ve held tight to it for years because there are a few people I genuinely enjoy hearing from and I wanted to keep up with the news, even though every time I logged in I would say to myself, “Do I really have to do this forever?” No! The answer is no! I finally understood that this weekend, when I spent time with good and decent people who are intelligent and informed but who feel no need to cram the internet down their gullets every minute of every day. It’s okay for me to ignore a thousand screaming voices in favor of learning how to connect to the world in other ways, again.

2. I unsubscribed to The Washington Post, too, and deleted Apple News and Google News from all my many devices. Its okay for me to read only one newspaper once a day, to give it 30 minutes of my attention and then put it in a drawer and walk away from that drawer until the next day. There are so many things I don’t need to know about, so many things I can afford to let go of, so many other choices I can make.

3. From another angle: David Mitchell at the Guardian, “There are good reasons for ignoring the news”:

I think I’ll always value a vague sense of what seems to be generally going on – the alternative would feel like a denial of society. But the way the news reaches us these days, with so much of it either “fake” or “breaking”, is worse than ignorance. It’s a decontextualised screech that monetises its ability to catch our attention, but takes no responsibility for advancing our understanding or avoiding disproportionate damage to our peace of mind.

It’s a barrage of human pain and tragedy, which our brains are not evolved to process without either retreating into a carapace of indifference, or perpetually experiencing the kind of trauma previously reserved for medieval villagers witnessing the Black Death. And it’s also up-to-the-minute micro-snippets of information about events, the real significance of which will only become evident in many weeks’, months’ or years’ time; it’s like trying to assemble a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Satan’s face by being given one piece every hour, each one accompanied by a bone-rattling fanfare.

That’s it! Finito & exit, pursued by a bear.

3 things for today

1. Weeks ago I promised I would only be reading romantic fiction from X day forward; this proved not to be true, but you can get your sweet & dirty romance-novel-themed summer playlist here (courtesy of @mrsfridaynext for NPR). It's officially the only thing I like about summer:

2. 25 Alice Munro stories you can READ ONLINE RIGHT NOW (c/o Lithub). What a world!

3. I'm still making my way v, v slowly through 1980s episodes of General Hospital, full seasons of which exist on YouTube. I've also been searching for some kind of academic intel on the soap opera genre, which occupies the same gendered cultural space as romance novels, gossip, and boy bands; i.e., "exclusively female," therefore fundamentally unserious and disposable. Unsurprisingly there's not much out there, but here's a general primer from the Museum of Broadcast Communications:

In the United States, at least, the term "soap opera" has never been value-neutral. As noted above, the term itself signals an aesthetic and cultural incongruity: the events of everyday life elevated to the subject matter of an operatic form. To call a film, novel, or play a "soap opera" is to label it as culturally and aesthetic inconsequential and unworthy. When in the early 1990s the fabric of domestic life amongst the British royal family began to unravel, the press around the world began to refer to the situation as a "royal soap opera," which immediately framed it as tawdry, sensational, and undignified.

Particularly in the United States, the connotation of "soap opera" as a degraded cultural and aesthetic form is inextricably bound to the gendered nature of its appeals and of its target audience. The soap opera always has been a "woman's" genre, and, it has frequently been assumed (mainly by those who have never watched soap operas), of interest primarily or exclusively to uncultured working-class women with simple tastes and limited capacities. Thus the soap opera has been the most easily parodied of all broadcasting genres, and its presumed audience most easily stereotyped as the working-class "housewife" who allows the dishes to pile up and the children to run amuck because of her "addiction" to soap operas. Despite the fact that the soap opera is demonstrably one of the most narratively complex genres of television drama whose enjoyment requires considerable knowledge by its viewers, and despite the fact that its appeals for half a century have cut across social and demographic categories, the term continues to carry this sexist and classist baggage.

I'm eternally fascinated by the ways in which the world discounts the inner lives and interests of women while elevating historically "male" pursuits to hysterical status.

4. Related, and heartening in re: respecting the tastes of teenage girls: this Bob Lefsetz post on seeing Harry Styles in concert (+ Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone & Two Bossy Dames forever)

Good morning!

Great things happening in the world! We're all doing just fine!

Says Vogue: "Just Friday, The Guardian reported that Swedish model Arvida Byström received rape threats after she appeared in the Adidas Originals campaign with unshaved legs, even though her blonde hair and petite frame otherwise match most existing beauty norms."

Interesting how randos with keyboards (and, presumably, fingers) still toss out rape threats at the drop of a hat, isn't it? Interesting how that remains the default go-to response to any woman who steps over the arbitrary line they've drawn for acceptable behavior and/or comportment for 49.588% of the world's population?

These are all exclams and question marks of aggression, btw. Do not mistake me.

In other news, my name is Kari, I'm 48 years old, and I like Dave Matthews. Hope you can handle it!