I loathe those tweets that are just “This.” It’s so smug. But still, for the memory of my grandfather if nothing else (and there’s so much else): THIS.
One unpopular opinion I hold is that everybody should have a blog, where they just check in a couple of times a week. They/you don’t need to have much of anything to say, just raise a hand and say hi. Here’s what time I woke up this morning, here’s what I had for breakfast, here’s what I thought about when I brushed my teeth. Is it raining where you are? I’d like to know.
I’m not going to lie to you—many people wouldn’t care, probably most, but I would. I’m interested in the routine habits of others, and their observations on their moods or surroundings. I was very fond of these daily weather reviews of New York City that used to run in the Awl, for example. Somebody could do that. Or take a photo of their/your coffee cup every morning, I would like that, too. It could be the exact same cup in the exact same location day after day, it wouldn’t matter. There would be glimpses of life happening around it, detritus caught in the frame or the quality or slant of the light shifting as the year went on, etc., little unspoken hints passing by. The mysteries inside of details. I would like that very much.
Another unpopular opinion I hold is that the end of daylight savings time makes me really, really happy. I don’t know anybody else in the world who enjoys it and I get anxious every year when there’s a concerted pitch in the news to dump it, so I will hold on to this joy while I can. The world is quieter. Less insistent, less grabby. More internal. It’s dark out there, so you need to go slowly and lightly. Take care. Is that such a bad thing? For a little while?
I’m looking for new things to get excited about. Last week I thought maybe it would be bread, but I took a bread-making class at Sur la Table yesterday morning and realized no, that wasn’t it. Bread isn’t the answer, and anyway bread hasn’t been missing from my life. I’d eat bread 24/7 if I could, I just feel no burning need to make it a goal.
So. What other things are people excited about, if not bread?
1. Go read this story, please. It is so weird and magical and good, so measured but hopeful. Especially now. Especially today.
2. I watched Mamma Mia 2 last night, followed by the many special features and then the director’s commentary. It took up approximately 1/3 of my day. One of the special features was an interview with the leading ladies of the film, and at the end the interviewer asked them all to name the most important thing they had learned from their mothers. Cher said, “If it doesn’t matter in five years, it doesn’t matter,” and Christine Baranski said, “Don’t give it away cheap.” I couldn’t have been happier with both of them for having such wise mothers and for learning such valuable lessons. If I die watching Mamma Mia 2 you can be sure it was a good & happy life.
3. Cooking is still a goal, because I finished Salt Fat Acid Heat last week and want to be Samin Nosrat when I grow up. The “heat” episode where she makes rice with her bossy mother was delightful. At one point she’s explaining her cooking philosophy to the camera and her mom wanders through the shot in the background, and both Samin and the director just laugh and keep going. That’s my kind of food show.
4. And garlic! I’m pretty excited about garlic.
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.
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!