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The most important piece of our time is me on Nicholas and Alexandra in The Guardian, which came out March 31st but I only noticed on Friday when John Underwood saw my bio:


okay the piece is A+++ though:

The tragedy of the Romanovs has never merely been their final days at Yekaterinburg, of course, and if one had to to single out one aspect of Massie’s work for criticism, it might be the transformation of a truly inept and periodically malevolent Nicholas II into a sweet, gently bumbling young man who got in over his head. It is fair to say that Autocrat of All Russia has never been a good gig, nor an easy one, but Nicholas II was a disaster by any reasonable standards.

Massie omits, for example, Nicholas II’s quiet support for the anti-Semitic pogroms that swept Russia during his reign, including the Kishinev massacres of 1903 and 1905, overshadowed as they are by his soft, tentative letters to Alix. The “Nicky” of Nicholas and Alexandra is a husband and a father who is having a bad year at the office, the Nicholas II who presided over the disastrous Russo-Japanese war and watched more than three million doomed Russians trudge their way through nearly a thousand miles of snow to the fronts of the first world war is of greater interest, perhaps, to history.

Jon Ronson can be a wang, but his interview with Monica Lewinsky is great (I like her a lot, and liberal women treated her SHAMEFULLY in the nineties):

Back then, the world basically saw Lewinsky as the predator. Late-night talkshow hosts routinely made misogynistic jokes, with Jay Leno among the cruellest: “Monica Lewinsky has gained back all the weight she lost last year. [She’s] considering having her jaw wired shut but then, nah, she didn’t want to give up her sex life.” And so on.

In February 1998, the feminist writer Nancy Friday was asked by the New York Observer to speculate on Lewinsky’s future. “She can rent out her mouth,” she replied.

I hope those mainstream voices wouldn’t treat Lewinsky quite this badly if the scandal broke today. Nowadays most people understand those jokes to be slut-shaming, punching down, don’t they?

“I hope so,” Lewinsky says. “I don’t know.”

It has been ten years since “Shoes,” and now I feel as old as the hills:

It may not seem like it, but 2006 was a different time. The concept of viral fame didn’t really exist yet. Even the creators of YouTube hadn’t quite figured out what it was for. (They thought it was going to be place where you could easily access “big, newsworthy footage,” like Janet Jackson’s nipple slip.)

It was into this online Wild West that comic and actor Liam Kyle Sullivan uploaded his massive hit “Shoes.” For those of you who’ve forgotten its glory, “Shoes” has Sullivan playing Kelly, a teenage girl with two things; an asshole family who doesn’t get her and an undying love of footwear. The whole song is backed by a sort of electroclash lo-fi thump.

Scientific American on autism in girls:

Emily Brooks, 26, is a writer studying for her master’s in disability studies at City University of New York. She identifies as gender queer and believes gender norms cause many problems for people on the spectrum. She noted, to broad agreement, that boys are allowed far greater leeway to deviate from social expectations. “If a guy does something that is considered socially inappropriate … his friends may sometimes encourage some of those behaviors,” she said, adding that “teen girls will shut you down if you do anything that’s different.”

Leironica Hawkins, an artist who has created a comic book about Asperger’s, also has to contend with social cues about race. “It’s not just because I’m a woman on the spectrum. I’m a black woman on the spectrum, and I have to deal with social cues that [other] people can afford to ignore,” she said. She added that she thought women “are probably punished more for not behaving the way we should. I’ve always heard women are socially aware to the needs of others, and that’s not me, most of the time … I feel like I get pressured to be that way.”

How the Australian women’s rugby team is changing the game:

It took years of campaigning by rugby union’s international governing body to win in 2009 the International Olympic Committee’s vote of approval for the sport’s inclusion. A major factor in the campaign’s success was that with both a men’s and women’s event, rugby met the Olympic requirement, introduced in 1991, for gender equality in any new sport. Sevens was put forward rather than 15s (briefly an Olympic sport in the early 20th century) because the smaller team sizes keeps costs down for participating countries, there are a wide range of countries who compete (including nations that aren’t always competitive at 15s, such as Fiji, the US, Kenya and Sri Lanka), and 14 minutes of extreme action is a spectacle that easily keeps fans entertained.

In spite of having played two gruelling games that day, later in the afternoon Green and her teammates are on their feet behind me, screaming loudly every time the Australian men’s team does anything spectacular in their semi-final. At half-time, they sing and dance along to Summer Nights as the song is blasted over the stadium’s speakers. Music is a big part of the players’ lives: they train to music in the gym, and use it to rev themselves up before a big game. (Green likes to play rapper 2Pac and “dance like crazy” in the car park between training sessions.)

The team plays a lot of country music – a nod to the fact many of them are from the country, mostly rural Queensland. It’s a team tradition to blast Katy Perry’s Roar from speakers before a match as they travel from changing room to field in a tight pack. The song is a reminder of the team’s unofficial motto, ROAR: Respect, Olympic dreams, Accountability, and Rough bitches. Green laughs when I ask her about that last letter. “It’s just to remind us never to be soft on the field.”

Oh, I most definitely once owned Sea Monkeys:

Sea-Monkeys were von Braunhut’s most lucrative toy (and still are: In 2006, according to the filings in this lawsuit, sales were $3.4 million). Part of what made Sea-Monkeys successful was a scientific breakthrough Harold von Braunhut claimed he achieved in the early years. In 1960, after observing the success of Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm, von Braunhut first started shipping Instant Life — simple brine shrimp that could travel in their natural state of suspended animation. This was the era when a good idea with smart marketing was the dream: D.F. Duncan’s yo-yo, George Parker’s Monopoly game, Ruth Handler’s Barbie. Around the same time, the big-time toy company of the day, Wham-O, started selling a similar product called Instant Fish, which was an immediate dud.

“They didn’t work because the formula wasn’t thought through properly,” Signorelli von Braunhut said. Wham-O’s product was actually African killifish, which were supposed to come back to life when rehydrated. But they didn’t. “So it really hurt sales for Harold, too.”

One of our own is participating in a museum dance-off, as one does, so please consider watching the videos, which are being done BRACKET STYLE like March Madness. I will not tell you who to vote for, but voting is a civic duty.

these lions could be bisexual so I am not calling them gay lions but look how in love they are it’s VERY romantic

Yet another Toastie made me this lovely picture of Sansa, so you should go buy her stuff:


Speaking of talented and funny Toasties, ANOTHER one of our own decided to write, perform, and record a modern folk song about the Hatton Garden Heist!

Tituss is always the best part of anything, and this was very moving:

How did you land your first regular role on a series?

I did four episodes on 30 Rock but we never had any kind of conversations about what else I was doing or where I lived, or anything. All of these correlations between Titus and Tituss, we never talked about, so it’s really uncanny how perfect it fit. I tell this story all the time. And I’ll tell it to you. And it is the absolute truth. The last day of 30 Rock, I was living on 47th Street between Eighth and Ninth and my last Broadway show had just closed. It was Guys and Dolls. Alec Baldwin turned to the team on my last day of shooting and said, “You guys gotta give this guy a spinoff.” I had been in pursuit of a purpose, of the next dream to chase. And I wanted to put a pause on theater, so I went home and got on my knees and I prayed, “Please, if the universe will allow, if you will grant me, or can find it in your vastness, a series or a job working with the caliber of talent I’ve been working with and types of writers, I will do right by it and I will honor it and I will do it to the best of my abilities.” That was four years before. Cut to getting this job, and on the first day they called and they said, “Tituss, you need to report to 48th and Tenth and someone will walk you to your trailer.” The trailer for my show was right outside my old apartment where I prayed for this job. I literally could have opened the door and walked into my trailer. I looked around, and I started crying.

And I say that to say I was at the Harlem Tavern a couple months ago with some friends of mine. This young lady runs out, sobbing. And I’m like, Where’s the police, is something wrong? She said, “I just want you to know that I have been battling depression, I’m going through a divorce, and the only thing I had to look forward to is to come home and watch you over and over and over again.” And my first thought was 47th Street when I prayed and me saying, “I will do right by it to the best of my ability.” Because it is so much larger than getting any nomination and me getting accolades. I take it so seriously because it is giving people relief. Things are so thick right now in this world, and even if it just provides a little blip in the lake of all other things that are going on …

I share a lot of stories about terrible men from Reddit, but let’s remember that some women are also terrible!


So, I wrote something for the print edition of Christianity Today, because I am cool and hip and Christianity is a cheesy black velvet Elvis painting and they are super stoked to have me, so they sent a photographer out to me and I was joking on Twitter about whether I was supposed to wear a cross or whatever, and then I got, hm, the funniest email I have ever gotten in my entire life?

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.06.58 PM

I was already pretty sure it was a joke but literally nothing could prepare me for this:


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