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Home: The Toast

Hi ducks! I have been in CANADA for the last few weeks, hence my lighter link roundup schedule, but am now tucked up happily in my large bed with my climate control at 63 degrees, as is my personal preference, about to watch the Tinker Tailor miniseries with Alec Guinness. Now that I have finished ALL the George Smiley novels, I am finally confident in a good outcome. Not for the protagonists, obviously!

It was great to be in Canada for the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation report, which we talked about earlier, and also to hear Toronto’s mayor John Tory come out against carding, which is a repulsive and useless and racist practice that has no place in modern policing. It’s a good start to solving a much bigger problem. I have also acquired enough new gossip for a fresh installment of Blind Items of Rural Southern Ontario, which will grace these electronic pages later this week. Let’s just say that a certain propane company got caught not charging HST to their customers on or OFF the local Mohawk reserve! WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE. Oh, and Martin Sheen is gonna play Matthew Cuthbert, as Nikki already told you, but it bears repeating.


We are running a few amazing and difficult pieces on Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women around Canada Day (July 1), and it’s been a real privilege for me to work with such great writers. In the meantime, Maclean’s just ran this, which is well-worth your time, and Tits and Sass had a HORRIFYING account of Cindy Gladue’s death, which says everything I would want to say about her murder, honestly. Speaking of Tits and Sass writers, Charlotte Shane drew my attention to a great piece about why the New Zealand model of sex work decriminalization runs circles around the Swedish model:

In contrast, New Zealand has decriminalized sex work (the terminology is confusing, but the distinction is important). Instead of focusing on creating bureaucratic hoops for sex workers to jump through, decriminalization prioritizes sex workers’ safety and health —for example, making it possible for up to four people to work indoors in an informal collective without needing to do any paperwork, and, of course, without needing to fear arrest. The New Zealand model has been extensively praised by the U.N: The director of the U.N. Development Programme’s HIV, Health and Development Practice observed, in accidentally amusing phrasing, “I would like to be a sex worker in New Zealand.”

The mythos of the Swedish model is that it is producing a better, more feminist society. But a better society for whom?


GOOOOOD MORNING, STAR SHINE, THE WORLD SAYS HELLLLLOOOO.


This, mostly about horrible awful racist serial killer Eugene de Kock, was a really interesting read. I believe in the value of restorative justice, and many of his victims’ families have forgiven him and feel he is truly remorseful. I personally think he’s a stone-cold manipulative lying murderer without an ounce of empathy, but his information has been invaluable for families who want to know where their loved ones are buried. Honestly, I just wish that more white South Africans had gone to prison for apartheid atrocities (it’s remarkable how few did!), so it’s hard to see this one back out on the streets.


Jenny Diski always:

“Because I’m a writer,” she said, gesticulating with her good arm, when I asked about her decision, in spite of her qualms, to go ahead and write a cancer diary anyway. “I could either shut up, that’s the end, get on with dying. Or, get gripped, which is what happened.” We are the richer, if less impregnably complacent, for it. A marvel of steady and dispassionate self-revelation, Diski’s cancer essays are bracingly devoid of sententiousness, sentimentality or any kind of spiritual urge or twitch. (Ten have appeared in the L.R.B. over the past nine months.) Mary-Kay Wilmers, the magazine’s enthrallingly soft-spoken editor, told me that she encourages writers “not to pretend they’re more distant from themselves than they are.” Diski, who is close friends with Wilmers, was keen to stress her debt to the L.R.B.; it is hard to think of many other major literary publications that would have given her the space to pursue her personally inflected investigations over so many years.


Why Judy Garland Still Matters:

I love movie musicals, but I admit that for years I had somehow avoided those that Judy Garland had starred in — beyond her iconic role in The Wizard of Oz. The style of musicals in which she starred have gone out of favor as pop music has evolved through the years; showtunes, once the defining pop music up until the early ’70s when bands you’d now hear on classic rock stations were recording songs from Hair, now resemble what’s on contemporary radio rather than informing pop songwriters. I didn’t quite understand the gay obsession with Judy Garland, not quite understanding the term “friend of Dorothy” as a euphemism for someone who had something to hide, something about himself that he was ashamed. (Consider, please, the song that the Cowardly Lion sings when he meets Dorothy Gale and her ragtag crew of misfits, the scarecrow without a brain and the tin soldier without a heart. “It’s sad, believe me, Missy, when you’re born to be a sissy,” he sings. “I’m afraid there’s no denying, I’m just an awful dandy-lion: a fate I don’t deserve.”)


Gretchen McCulloch just sent me this piece of vintage misandry (obviously it meant PEOPLE, but if you read it as a misandrist, it takes on a certain flair):

whocares


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