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Friday, August 1, 2014

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Weekend Roundup

broStep right up, here's the week in Hairpin: pro-choice protest trolling, Fancy's advice about scarves and Facebook birthdays, Baba's advice about change, and cat advice about life (take a nap in the laundry, stand in the kitchen till someone feeds you). We talked to a jeweler about buying diamonds and to Judith Frank about her eerily timed novel; we were polyamorous, homesick, attending networking events primarily for the cheese. We read old diary novels and books about cheating, and we told "medium-soft" to go fuck itself.

Have a based weekend, lovers, see you next week.

Photo via Phil Reed/Flickr

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In Case of Emergency

An ancient fossileHello. Since you’re looking at the emergency contact list on my phone, I must be in pretty rough shape—thanks for helping! Not to be a complete pain (and if it appears that I am in excruciating pain please skip to number seven), but following the guidelines below will ensure the best outcome possible.

1. If I am unconscious because of an accident, please call my mother (“Mom”). She has been expecting this phone call for years. If she does not answer, please call my boyfriend (“Andrew”).

2. If I am passed out in a bar and you found my phone because we were flirting or exchanging numbers when I lost consciousness, please skip Mom and Andrew and call my brother (“Adam”), who will come retrieve me. Please wait with me until he arrives, I often feel awkward sitting in bars alone.

3. If I am unconscious in a bar and we are just friends, please call Andrew, but only if you are not very good looking. If you are good looking, please call Adam. He is single and a lawyer, in case you are available, too.

4. If I am choking, please put down the phone and perform the Heimlich maneuver, but not if you are good looking and Andrew is nearby.

5. If you just robbed me and are looking through my contacts on the subway ride home, you are incredibly rude and have no respect for privacy. Call the police and report yourself.

6. If it looks like I’m not going to recover, please delete all of my text messages from Michael (“College Crush”). Andrew, if you are snooping on my phone because I watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones without you and you are angry, please understand that nothing ever happened between me and Michael and never will.  READ MORE

The Social Media Graveyard of Canceled Comedies

social-mediaDozens and dozens of new shows premiere each new TV season (and mid-season, and off-season) but only a handful live to see season two. These days, a new show has to use every tool in its arsenal to attract viewers as quickly as possible: splashy advertising, big name guest stars, over-the-top promos, and of course, a blockbuster web presence, one that gathers fans on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr who will then faithfully promote the show with homemade image macros and clever hashtags born from love. But while a show might leave our airwaves, a Facebook fan page is forever. What becomes of the social media accounts of canceled shows?

Sad things, it turns out. READ MORE

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He thought about his mother and sisters and the grandmother who died in childbirth and began to read widely in the literature of civil rights and feminism. Eventually he came across the concept of "reproductive justice," developed by black feminists who argued that the best way to raise women out of poverty is to give them control of their reproductive decisions. Finally, he had his "come to Jesus" moment and the bell rang. This would be his civil-rights struggle. He would serve women in their darkest moment of need. "The protesters say they're opposed to abortion because they're Christian," Parker says. "It's hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I'm a Christian." He gave up obstetrics to become a full-time abortionist on the day, five years ago, that George Tiller was murdered in church.

-Here's a devastating Esquire piece about Dr. Willie Parker, a doctor who flies down from Chicago to run (along with only one other doctor) the last abortion clinic left in Mississippi. | August 1, 2014

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The Tragic History of Fallen Teen Magazines

310ca1ddf149ba3780ab239a143ad26a.600xLast week, Bop, the teenybopper magazine that's been churning out covers featuring boy band stock photos splashed atop garish fuchsia backdrops since 1983, announced they would cease publication. If you're all, "Bop still existed?" you can't be blamed to assume it had folded years ago. Most teen magazines did.

Of the dozens that have surfaced since the very first teen magazine, Seventeen, was founded in 1944, only four remain: Seventeen, Teen Vogue, J-14, and, assuming some bound pages of prepubescent pin-ups can be classified as a magazine, Tiger Beat.

Here, we look back at all the teen magazines that have folded for one reason (lame cover stars? irrelevant stories? fickle audience?) or another (the internet).

SASSY
Years: 1988-1994
Publisher: Matilda Publications, Lang Communications

Sassy was the Daria to Seventeen's Quinn. To write it off merely as a teen magazine is doing Jane Pratt's influential publication a major disservice. It was so much more than that. But with a target audience as young as 13, it was undoubtedly targeted at the same demographic as all the others.

That said, with cover lines like “The Sassiest Boys in Communist China” and “How To Deal If School Bites,” the only thing that girls who subscribed to Sassy had in common with girls who subscribed to Seventeen was their age, and maybe their crushes on Christian Slater.

RIP forever, Sassy.

JUMP
Years: 1996-2001
Publisher: Weider Publications

Back in the '90s, Weider was the publishing company behind Shape, Men's Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness. It was founded by a bodybuilder who also manufactured workout supplements. It will come as no surprise to learn that Jump was marketed to "active" teens. Instead of offering tips for getting skinny and wooing boys, it ran stories about playing sports and being buff. (One summer, my copy of the July issue accompanied me daily to the neighborhood pool so I could do the underwater workout. I still remember what a wrinkled, water-stained mess it was by the time school rolled around. I do not remember whether my legs became "miles-long and toned" or not.)

It wasn't all about fitness. There was fashion and beauty and quizzes, like any proper teen magazine. Also: lots and lots of giveaways. At one point, they ran a "Free Phone for Your Teen Years Sweepstakes" that rewarded one lucky girl phone service until she was 20, since sharing one phone line with your entire family was the world's biggest bummer back in 1999.

tumblr_lrbne0lgKd1r2784vo1_500YM
Years: 1932-2004
Publisher: Gruner + Jahr

In the 1930s, two teen publications—Calling All Girls and Compact—merged and became YM. (Interestingly, Seventeen claims to be the first teen magazine, perhaps because the target audience of Calling All Girls was "girls and subdebs," not teens.) The original title was an acronym for Young Miss, but it was revamped as Young & Modern under Bonnie Fuller in the '80s, and reborn once again in 2001 as Your Magazine.

Around that time, they brought on Sassy vet Christina Kelly in hopes that she could breathe new life into its pages. She featured plus-sized models, something no one was doing back then, and published stories about gay proms. She also announced they'd no longer publish articles about dieting. (The fact that teen mags ever included articles about dieting is sort of appalling, but a peek through eBay reveals that diets weren't something magazines shied away from, despite having readers as young as 10.)

Sadly, that didn't do the trick. The magazine folded a few short years after Kelly's arrival.

TEEN PEOPLE
Years: 1998-2006
Publisher: Time Inc.

After considering a number of magazine titles, including "411," "The Mix," and "21 Down" (?!), People's teen spin-off launched as the sensibly-named Teen People. It was the most successful magazine launch in Time Inc.'s history. Unfortunately, the glory ride didn't last long. Less than three years after it went to print, founding editor Christina Ferrari resigned and fled to Europe. (At the time, the New York Post reported on the media move under the headline “FERRARI EXITING TEEN PEOPLE FOR LOVE”—all-caps theirs. She had recently divorced the son of Ruth Whitney, Glamour's illustrious editor-in-chief, which feels important to include.) A half-dozen top editors rotated in and out in the eight years it was alive, but it never quite bounced back after the original editor left.  READ MORE

Baby Purchases, Reevaluated

Screenshot 2014-07-30 20.59.03There is something about reproducing that makes you an expert in buying shit you never cared or thought about before. Our child is eight weeks old and we are no exception.

Ikea activity gym

Actual price: $29.99

Dustin:Is this the thing that dangles the toys above his head? This thing is great. Good price. There are so many of these out there for like 100 dollars or more. But it turns out 30 bucks (and probably the welfare of Siberian forests where this wood was poached) is what I’m willing to pay for baby brain development. Not a cent more, ganglia, so stop asking!

Meaghan: He thinks these things are typically $100 because I almost bought a $100 foldable stick off of Etsy — you think I'm kidding?

I would pay maybe even double $30 to have this aesthetically pleasing thing that our child will scream at all by himself for at least two minutes while we wolf down cereal.

Screenshot 2014-07-30 21.46.22NoseFrida nasal aspirator

Actual price: $15.19

Dustin: This is like asking what I’d pay Prometheus for the gift of fire. “Hey Dustin, what would you give me for the written word over here?” How do you quantify something at the very core of what you are as a species? Is any price too great?

And don’t forget, it comes with extra sponges to catch some (not all, I repeat, NOT ALL) of the snot before it hits your mouth, so okay, 15 bucks.

Meaghan: No price too high for discovering my new-found passion for extracting boogers from our son's nose. AND THEY SAY MOTHERHOOD CRUSHES YOUR DREAMS??! Seriously, this is literally a cylinder with a tube attached and the force of your own inhalations sucks snot and booger from another person's nose (or your own!). Everyone should experience it once.

I would pay upwards of $60 for this on the black market. READ MORE

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Over the past year, thousands of fast-food workers have staged protests and rallies for a higher hourly wage. As they see it, big corporations like McDonald’s and Domino’s can well afford to pay workers more. [...] [But] corporations and even the federal government have learned to use “suppliers, subsidiaries, franchisees, contractors, to avoid responsibility” for the welfare of those at the bottom of what business schools call the “value chain.” The low- wage jobs are offloaded onto smaller entities. Making things worse for workers is a lack of opportunities to move up the corporate ladder, since a burger-flipper doesn’t actually work for the company whose logo decorates his uniform.

-Via Longreads, this short piece at Pacific Standard about fast-food franchising is pretty nuts: a Quizno's franchise owner mentioned the unforgiving franchise system in his suicide note, and when a group of franchisees reposted this note online, Quizno's fired all of them. [PS] | August 1, 2014

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How To Get a Wedding Date In Under Four Minutes


Send them this video, courtesy of Bridgid Ryan.

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Lowell, "The Bells"


The single-take football stadium fever dream of this video is so hypnotically distracting that it took me a couple viewings to hear how much of a low-key jam this track is: a Lykke Li wryness, as light as Feist, and glittery enough on this melody to sound like it's the remix. (Previously: Lowell's "I Love You Money."

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A startup in San Francisco called ManServants aims to give every woman exactly what she wants: a man who does exactly what she wants. The company, founded by two advertising copywriters, wants to unleash your inner lady of leisure by providing you with a gentlemanly tailored-to-order mashup of butler, bodyguard and cabana boy.

But this is not — repeat, not — an escort service.

Mashable claims ManServants is "not a joke"; the "trailer" for ManServants claims "this is a real service" that'll launch in the fall. Sounds both suspect and entirely demeaning. Who's willing to try it out? [Mashable]

| July 31, 2014

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"Did Something Happen?": On Elena Ferrante's 'Abandonment' and Jenny Offill's 'Speculation'

luna and two things she wants to eatI went on a trip back home to Texas last weekend with Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation in my backpack. I had no idea what either novel was about when I bought them; it surprised me to find that both were narrated by women whose husbands are having affairs.

We live in a world that is alarmingly full of options, which is why people have affairs and why I like plane rides in the company of books good enough to keep you off the expensive wifi: I read Offill’s book in one sitting and Ferrante’s in two. The authors’ styles are miles apart but both novels were tense and singular, their thoughts articulated with plain, needle-sharp beauty, like tiny leaves against the sky.

Book behavior can be just as callous as the behavior of love and sex. A quick look under the cover and if you’re not instantly electrified you’re out. Or else you—or else, I—buy books because someone told me to, or because I think they’re nice-looking. Why ever else go in? Because of my finicky tendencies I especially like a novel with a first-page lede, the wilder the better: what I admired most about Alyssa Nutting’s neon quickie Tampa was its first 500 words or so, all like, “I’m in the shower covering my tits in pink bubbles and fantasizing about fucking my 14-year-old students. It’s going to be tricky, you ready to watch me try?”

Like Tampa, Days of Abandonment gets right into it. The first sentence: “One April afternoon, right after lunch, my husband announced that he wanted to leave me.” The escalation, realistically, is jagged and halting, but within a few dozen pages the couple gets to the tone-setting conversation. The wife rockets in a few lines from civility to this: “What words should I use for what you’re doing with that woman! Let’s talk about it! Do you lick her cunt? Do you stick it in her ass? […] Because I see you! With these eyes I see everything you do together, I see it a hundred thousand times, I see it night and day, eyes open and eyes closed!”

Offill’s slim story, in contrast, starts wry and oblique. “I found a book called Thriving Not Surviving in a box on the street. I stood there, flipping through it, unable to commit.” Her protagonist takes more than half the novel to get to a revelation that happens entirely in white space, between an Ovid quote (Wear yourself out if you must and prove in your bed, that you could/ Not/ Possibly be that good, coming from some other girl) and this chilling snippet:

Taller?
Thinner?
Quieter?
Easier, he says.

Could/ Not/ Possibly. The narrator, ghostwriting a book about space, follows this up: “In 2159 B.C., the royal astronomers Hi and Ho were executed because they failed to predict an eclipse.”

You are stunned, and so hurt for her. How could the astronomers back then have predicted an eclipse? And what would everyone have done even if they had been able to intuit the impossible? And it’s just going to get dark anyway, isn’t it, eclipse or not? READ MORE

The Cost of Getting a Green Card

greencardWe've been hearing much news of a migration crisis lately, as wave after wave of undocumented immigrants, especially children, come across the United States' southern border. Of course, immigration, both legal and illegal, is not new, and whatever the mode and motivation for entry, when people want or need to stay here permanently, it comes down to getting a green card. It will not surprise you to learn that this can be a difficult and costly process.

A green card, which may or may not actually be green, is a Permanent Resident Card. To have one is to be able to remain in the United States indefinitely and, most importantly, to be able to work here. Permanent Resident status is also the first step toward full citizenship, which is more advantageous than mere residency because it allows you to vote and run for office (but not President!), and protects you against deportation in the event that you are convicted of a felony. (It is a big, crucial first step. After you get to be a resident, citizenship is comparatively easy.)

It is probably too plain to mention that the reasons why people find themselves wanting or needing green cards are numerous and varied. We are all most likely aware of the so-called dreamers, people whose parents brought them here when they were quite young and who have grown up in the United States, speaking English and generally leading the lives of ordinary Americans, but without the benefit of legal status. There are also plenty of immigrants who came of their own volition and have simply built lives here that they don't want to abandon: jobs, houses, relationships, children, studies. Further along, I'll talk with J., who came here for college and graduate school and found herself wanting to keep studying and to stay with her American boyfriend. Her path was complicated but relatively smooth and low cost. That is not always the case. READ MORE

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The Homesick Pie

Ed. note: What is a California

 

Previously: The Get-On-Our-Level Pie

Ann Friedman is 5,437 miles from Los Angeles.

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Laura Welsh, "Bound" (Ponderosa Twins/Charlie Wilson Cover)


Hard to beat the original, of course, but Laura Welsh's voice is killer, and she folds in Charlie Wilson's incandescent "Bound 2" bridge.

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So You Think You Can Dance Finally Allowing Male Dancers to Touch Each Other


I love So You Think You Can Dance, but its hetero lockstep grows increasingly tiresome; the dancers always paired off boy-girl, going through styles whiplash-fast while the storyline stays static, with the girl nearly always playing the vamp or the ingenue, the boy her lovelorn or aggressive pursuer. The resulting hazy mush of turgid and overwrought negligee-in-the-moonlight couple dances is the major thing holding So You Think You Can Dance back from its True Self, which is legitimately artistic and even experimental, and surely apprised of human emotion outside the syrupy realm of "straight, lovelorn."

Thus do I find myself sitting in front of the show yelling "Now kiss" at these lithe young men: a dance show that totally elides gayness is not appropriate by me. Last season, I was glad when choreographer Travis Wall put out this very sensual dance, which is about "brothers," and on last night's episode, he choreographed the above incredible routine, which has the boys lifting each other, throwing each other around, and it's delicate and strong and suggestive of the vast reserves of narrative potential this show largely leaves untapped. (Also, the move at :35, my god.)

After the jump, another gorgeous routine from last night featuring more syntactical rearrangement: the boys lift each other and the girls even lift the boys! READ MORE