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Home: The Toast

I have already given away my copy of Carry On to my babysitter’s fiance, so you cannot have it, please buy your own. It is a truly perfect book, perhaps the greatest YA novel I have ever read, and I know you will adore it as much as I did.


I forgot if we discussed Isaac Butler’s “Is Hamlet Fat?” but a) he IS, and b) let’s!

Billington is right: One does look for a Hamlet that is lean and pensive or, failing that, an action hero like Mel Gibson or Keanu Reeves, who both played the role in the 1990s. Cumberbatch combines aspects of both, having recently played both Sherlock Holmes and a genetically engineered supersoldier in Star Trek Into Darkness.

But what if our mental image of Hamlet is wrong? What if the grieving, vengeful prince is actually fat? Just because you’ve never considered the possibility doesn’t mean that Shakespeare scholars haven’t argued about it, just one front in a centuries-old debate about how you determine meaning in Shakespeare’s plays.


The Race in America panel at the New Yorker Festival was. out. of. control. good:

“You’re playing whack-a-mole with the symptoms and not the core thing,” Williams interjected. “Police are American citizens, they were born here, they were raised here and programmed here, as we all are. You go to public school and you spend 12 years learning white supremacy,” he continued. Known by many for his portrayal of Dr Jackson Avery on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, Williams is at least as engaged with his activism around issues of race and social justice.

The theme of examining racism in systems it inhabits rather than in individuals infused much of the conversation, even as the discussion moved beyond the police. Indeed, while the panel was billed as one looking at “black identity and conditional citizenship”, it was the construct of whiteness that spent a good portion of the night under scrutiny.


Beloved Friend of The Toast Who Has Become My IRL Friend Because of The Internet Jasmine Guillory told Jezebel and the world not to get bangs (I might still get bangs but I know she’s right and wants the best for me):

With Kate Middleton’s recent destruction of her wonderful, perfect hair, we have yet another example of why bangs are the scourge of humanity. Look, I get the impulse. You want to do something different with your hair! But you don’t want to cut it all off, and good highlights are expensive, plus all of that bleaching can destroy your hair and feel so permanent. So you think: “Oh, I know! I’ll get bangs.” I am here to tell you: NO. Do not get bangs. They won’t look good on you, they’ll drive you crazy, they look good on virtually no one, don’t do it.

“But me! Bangs will look good on me!” you say. No, no they won’t. Not even Michelle Obama, acknowledged Best Lady in All of America, could pull off bangs, so what makes you think you can? (Michelle is totally going to text Kate in a few weeks all, “Hey Duchess, I know what you’re going through. Let me know if you need tips or just a shoulder to cry on while you deal with this fiasco.”)


RIP, Grace Lee Boggs


My friend Carrie’s new puppy is willing to LOOK in the direction of the baby:

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Steve Friedman on the relationships between first responders and victims of the Boston Marathon bombing (this is plenty gory before it’s uplifting, FYI:

The cops watched the TV news inside the restaurant, then returned to the truck and stayed there until 11:45 p.m. Driving home, “as I put more and more miles between Boylston Street and myself,” Cottone again felt afraid. When she got home, her dog jumped up to greet her. It was only then, after a day of explosions and blood, of screaming for ambulances, of telling a dying woman she would be fine, of saying goodbye to her father, that the police officer let herself cry. “No one wants to see a crying cop,” she says. “I’ve seen my fair share of crazy and sick s–t at work. This was different. It was too much. It was a really lonely feeling that day.”

The next morning, Materia returned to the hospital, but no one would give out any information. “I told security I knew her name was Roseann,” says Materia. “Last name began with an S, probable leg amputee, had burn wounds to her right hand, the hand I was holding in the police vehicle. I just wanted to know if she was alive. A fellow fireman was with me and knew the MGH [Mass General] police officer from high school, which helped. The officer went to Roseann’s family, told them about the situation, and my request was answered immediately. And, it was the best news I ever heard: She was alive.”


I believe every word of this story about Brian Blessed:

“I’d been brought up with babies, a kind of working class background, and helping with babies. And I rushed across to her and she’d got her legs open and she knew me from Z Cars and said: ‘Please, help me I’m having a baby!’

“I said, ‘It’s alright dear, breathe deeply’, and gradually I got the baby out. I delivered it in Richmond Park. I pressed her belly and got rid of the clots, then I got the afterbirth out and I bit it off and tied it in the knot.

“Then I just called for help and eventually an ambulance came. I was covered in blood, I was wrapping her and wiping her and I was licking the baby’s face.

“I’ve never talked about it. It was natural, you just say “push, push, push, breathe deeply”, I’d seen my mother do it.”

It was a baby girl, but sadly we don’t know anything else about the child or what happened to her.


A longread about The Great British Bake Off:

Much of the tone of the show – as light and sweet as a sponge – is carried by its presenters, the impish Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and their end-of-pier, Carry On-style humour. “I’ve never eaten a nun before,” Sue remarked solemnly after the contestants were set the task of making a French choux pastry called a religieuse. If Mel and Sue give Bake Off its wit, the judges – the grandmotherly, somewhat patrician Mary Berry and the flinty-but-twinkly master baker Paul Hollywood – are its twin deities. “Alvin has really got to pull up his socks,” is a typically nannyish remark from Mary, who reacts to baking disasters more in sorrow than in anger; “Queen Victoria would be proud” represents the zenith of her lexicon of praise.


Did you see Misty Copeland and Yo-Yo Ma on the Late Show?

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