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“I shall call her…Mini Me.”

Kathryn Joyce is an incredible reporter and she terrifies me with every piece (this is about sexual harassment and assault in our national parks, so that may or may not be something you want to read about today):

Eventually, Donnelly compiled claims from 50 women, and in 1995 she filed a class-action suit against the Forest Service, including declarations from many of the woman who had reached out to her. The agency negotiated a settlement that allowed for continued court oversight of California’s Forest Service. But when the monitoring period ended in 2006, the old problems soon resurfaced, as Donnelly would describe in testimony to Congress two years later. One dispatcher reported that she’d been sexually assaulted and stalked by a manager. He was made to resign, but after six months the Forest Service tried to work with him again. In 2008, a male supervisor at the same forest said that he hated a black female employee and wanted to shoot subordinates he hated. When the employee reported the comment, the district ranger told her to ignore him.


Are there personal subjects that you’re hesitant about sharing on Twitter?

Not really, no. I’m a classic oversharer. I sometimes feel a bit cheap, because a lot of my humor is derived just from the sheer audacity that I would talk about lovingly giving a guy a blowjob while a Padma Lakshmi interview plays softly in the background. I mean if it’s true and invasive and is that kind of lovely referential word salad poetry, I want to write about it. I try to keep those kinds of overshares pretty specific to me though. I’m dating a very nice boy right now who happens to follow me on Twitter, so I try to be as respectful as possible so he doesn’t flee. I guess I’m learning those boundaries a bit. But who knows what I’d say if he didn’t know that I was a social media personality!! [Quick note: After Joel wrote this, the nice boy broke up with him in Central Park, presumably for reasons unrelated to this paragraph. He is now free to tweet about whatever he wants.]

This is great:

“What will your kid think?” and “Are you worried your son is going to hate you when he grows up?” and “Are you going to let him read it?” and “What’re you going to do when your kid Googles you?” are all questions that, even when offered lightheartedly and in a spirit of ostensible support, feel less like genuine questions and more like a chastening. “Remember, you’re a MOM” and “Remember, you have a mother” both mean “Remember, you’re a woman, and there are consequences.”

We don’t ask male artists to consider the consequences of their work, we don’t reframe them as fathers or boyfriends or sons. We don’t keep trying to pull them back down to earth, to admonish them, the way we do women. We not only give them the benefit of the doubt — assuming they’ve done their own calculus as to how much is worth what, whom they’re willing to betray or embarrass or make uncomfortable and why — we operate as if their work is worth all that. There is a confidence, an assertion of self required in writing that we so often confuse with recklessness, but isn’t necessarily the same thing. I can be ruthless, daring, even “crazy” in my writing and deliberate and thoughtful in the choices I make with it later; to doubt that is insulting, but I’m not surprised it makes people uncomfortable. People have absurdly narrow ideas of what a good mother looks like.

Let’s talk about BUSTLES:

Beyond the obvious appeal of the lustrous silks used in the dress (modern synthetic materials would not have been historically accurate), I was struck by the dress’s engineering. Under all those layers—from the overdrape to the underskirt to the petticoat—is a marvelous device known as a lobster bustle, which gets its name from its resemblance to the tail of the tasty crustacean. “If you laid the bustle down on a flat surface,” says Tyler, “it would resemble a tunnel, with the road bed being a flat piece of fabric sewn to the sides. The stays inside the bustle are made out of powder-coated steel. Since the flat piece—the road bed—is narrow, the wider tunnel piece arches when the boning is inserted.”

That gives the dress its shape, but because each piece of boning is parallel to the next, with nothing but cotton in between, the dress allows the wearer more mobility than you might think. In particular, it makes it relatively easy to sit down, as the short video below shows. This is something I’d always wondered about, but then again, conversations about such things are common in our living room.


And I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. You talk about your 30s being good? Your 50s — wooo! Phenomenal. I plan to go into my 60s blazing. BLAZING! And trying to be as fly and as healthy as I can. Remember that 106-year-old woman, Ms. McLaurin, who was dancing with us? I told her, “I want to be just like you! 106 and movin’ and groovin’!” So there’s so much that I can do outside of the White House, and sometimes there’s so much more that you can do outside of the White House without the constraints and the lights and the cameras and the partisanship. There’s a potential that my voice could be heard by many people who can’t hear me now because I’m Michelle Obama, the First Lady. And I want to be able to impact as many people as possible in an unbiased way and to try to keep reaching people. And I think I can do that just as well by not being president of the United States. And you all can, too.

What it was like to be the feminism reporter for Playboy in 1969 (niiiiice):

Jim Goode, Playboy’s articles editor, contacted me that afternoon. Speaking more slowly than I thought a human could, he explained that Playboy wanted an objective account of the entire spectrum of the brand new “women’s lib” movement. “These women have important things to say, and I want our readers to hear them,” he said. “Let yourself go. Write anything you like but don’t pass judgment. Be fair.”

He concluded, “Write in a tone that’s amused if the author is amused, but never snide.”

Crossroads: The Making Of

Ann Carli, the film’s producer and one of its driving creative forces, had left her former employer—Britney’s label Jive Records—to begin a career in film, working with Will Smith’s production company. It was in her new role that she discovered a spec script by a then-unknown screenwriter named Shonda Rhimes.

The script was for a retelling of Antigone set in an African American town in the 1930s, and it thoroughly impressed Carli. “The writing shook me, it was so good,” she said. The women tried and failed to produce the film with Miramax, at which point Carli had her lightbulb moment: “What do you think about Britney Spears?”

This piece is amazing:

The woman who laughed at me was one of these customers with very discerning tastes currently causing me a lot of anxiety. I was looking over all of the items I’d carefully picked out for her when she gargled that curdling laugh, making fun of my flabbergasted response to her curt manner and rude replies to the questions I had asked about her order. For a second, I blamed myself for making the mistake of contacting her to ask a question. As I palmed an overripe Granny Smith, I thought about how similar my rude customer was to the laughing character in the pea-green dress from Toni Morrison’s Sula. (To pass the time, I often listed scenes from black women’s literature that featured grocery or market scenes.) Her laugh inspired another character, Eva Peace, to feel a “liquid trail of hate”; while I certainly didn’t hate the customer who ridiculed me, I could relate to Eva’s instantaneous recognition of her emotions and the quickness with which she adapted her outlook.

we let a guy named Jeff down:

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