Friday, November 21, 2014


Weekend Roundup / Open Thread


Hell yeah fucking right today's weekend roundup post is a photo of Gushers. We've been talking a lot about self-care around these parts lately; I have a few things I do when I need to recharge, but lately it's been shutting everything down for 30 minutes, cueing up an episode of a funny show—The Mindy Project or Futurama, usually—and devouring a pack of those goddamned delicious explosive snack treats we call Gushers. I highly recommend.

This week, we: were tired of your shit (in art!), peed on ourselves, threw a dinner party, celebrated Danny DeVito, found that Richard really was a Dick, saw Foxcatcher, could not unhear, asked our partner 39 questions, reviewed store catalogs, "stuck a very small pin in his posterior hole", remembered our summer, had Cars mansplained to us, felt our feelings, and generally had a bang-up time.

This week, the Hairpin was called a cult women's website. Expect your badges and initiation forms soon.

Found under Ladies, Killing It: Marie Lodi wrote about online friendships for Rookie, Jaya Saxena and Some Man are interviewed in the paper of record about #dads, Arabella Sicardi is just plain famous, and Ellen Cushing wrote this crazy-insightful piece on Uber for San Francisco magazine. AWWWWRIIIGHT.

I hope you have a warm, restful weekend, and I can't wait to see you back here Monday. I am going to eat more Gushers now.

Election Season in Sierra Leone


In October 2012, I went to Sierra Leone to cover the elections, the first without a peacekeeping presence since the end of the civil war. I didn’t have to wait long before I ran into Reagan Bush, a man gifted in the art of mocking earnest American writers. I met him in a bar that was just a concrete hutch decorated with warm cans of Fanta and baggies of plantain chips. When Andy and I walked in, looking for a quick lunch on our way into the jungle, we saw two drunk police officers. Before long, the bald, skinny one staggered over to our table.

“Ah, you are American! I love America. My name is Reagan Bush!”

“America kills its enemies,” he said, swaying drunkenly, waving his arms. “China, Russia, France, England, they are all—” here Reagan Bush kicked the air. “Qaddafi killed Americans. Now where is Qaddaffi?” Reagan Bush slid a finger across his throat. “Osama bin Laden killed Americans! Now where is bin Laden? Where is he?!”

“He’s dead,” I said.

“I support Nick Romney," he said, "because he says he will kill the enemies of America. Jimmy Carter was a very weak president.” He then named all the US presidents since Nixon, recited their years in office, and considered whether they were strong or weak. “If anyone gives you any trouble, call me. I will kill him,” he added. He wrote down his phone number with handwriting that was admirably neat for a drunk man. After a final round of congratulations, Reagan Bush lurched out into the street.



What Makes Us Feel Better When We're Sad?

BH_5001_0Everyone has a favourite activity for when they’re mildly depressed. For some, it’s huddling in bed with a comforter pulled up around their ears to shield against this cruel world; for others, it’s donning neon underwear and blasting “Deceptacon” for an impromptu bedroom dancing party.

My own ministrations involve watching old episodes of Freaks and Geeks I’ve already seen at least four times, soothing myself with the familiarity. (If I need a quick hit of joy, it’s straight to Youtube to watch a 47-second clip of Bill Haverchuck stutter “You cut me off mid funk!”) When that’s not working, I go watch videos of Michael Clark. For the unitiated who may not share my interest in post-punk and wacky outfits—Michael Clark is the apotheosis of the two combined. He was the enfant terrible of 1980s contemporary dance and you can watch old videos of him leaping gracefully along to the jagged guitar screeches of The Fall in ass-baring leotards or polka dot face paint. And now that it's November, I’ll surrender to the sweeping melancholy of the Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs and let the music seep into my listless limbs.

The point is, no one is immune to getting the mean reds, the SADs, the abject paralyzing fear of continuing to live your own life. No matter what you want to call it we all have our own unique ways of coping with the world when everything turns to shit, and I’ve made it my mission to collect some of the “sadness routines” of some of my favourite people on the Internet and IRL.

So here’s to buying an entire box of Hallowe’en candy for yourself and eating it while watching The Craft. Here’s to buying overpriced essential oils and pouring them in the bath. Here’s to putting your socks in the microwave to warm your feet. And most of all, here’s to allowing ourselves to wallow and assuage our guilt with the knowledge that hopefully soon we’ll feel temporarily a little bit better. READ MORE


College application stress be damned: here is the application that any journalists wanting to cover Will & Kate's trip to the States will have to submit, along with "a scanned copy of an official media ID (as provided by an international organisation or US/UK/foreign government), or a letter from your bureau chief, on official letterhead, confirming your assignment."

Gonna get Haley to draw a hairpin at the top of a sheet of looseleaf, write "lol, idk" with her signature, and I'm gonna send it in. I really need to ask her about this [nsfw]. | November 21, 2014


How To Write An Email

Mary Beard knows everything about everything, so if she says she knows the right and wrong way to send an email, I believe her.

I have to say that, despite what I have just said, I actually prefer those emails which are exactly as old-fashioned letters would have been: "Dear Mary... Yours, Simon" (I hope Dr Heffer is reading this, because it to you whom I refer, though I rather doubt you are!). I find myself more irritated with those much more email specific locutions, that play too much with the apparent familiarity of the genre.

I, for example, do use "Hi Simon" (though not to Dr Heffer), but sort of hate myself when I do.

She has a particular dislike for emails that start with "Dear Mary, I hope this email finds you well..." ("Did letters once start like that? Maybe they did, but not any that I used to receive. And it does seem the worst sort of inanity.") and emails that fake a certain kind of friendly intimacy, i.e. "Dear Mary, I hope you are having a lovely holiday.." "Err sorry, sunshine," Mary retorts, "I have been, and am, working my socks off, and while you might think this is a holiday (and honestly you shouldn't, as you should be working too), I DONT."

This is bringing up a lot of questions for me. I mean, I know "I hope you are well" is a dumb way to start an email, but it's also dumb to start an email with just "Hey I need something from you do it right now you dumb idiot," which is pretty much what you're implying when you don't even make an attempt at a dumb statement that shows you recognize you're speaking to a human being with their own lives and their own priorities and you're sorry for interrupting that with your dumb email.

On the other hand, if Mary Beard emailed me "jump" I would email her back "how high." So.

Perhaps the only solution is to never email anyone ever again.

Spending Money To Make Money: The Cost of Getting Your Law License

miranda-the-look-02-1024This year I graduated law school, took and passed the bar, and was admitted as an attorney in my state. It’s a given that law school itself is expensive. But like a lot of other professional programs, there are also tons of costs when you’re coming out of law school that I didn’t really think about until I had to. Since you have to be licensed in order to work and make that sweet professional salary, there’s no getting around some of them. For lawyers, of course, there’s the bar.

One option for law students are bar loans. My school was mysteriously quiet about this process, but they are the most common option for people who need to borrow in order to cover their post-grad expenses. Basically, your school confirms to the federal government that you will need extra funds to cover “education-related expenses” after you graduate. This allows you to then apply for more federal loans. If you miss the deadline to do this (December for my year), private loans are available, and are also called bar loans, and they typically come with the same or similar terms as most private student loans.

If it is at all possible, the best bet is to plan for this expense at the beginning of your final year: you can set aside any loan money you take out and earmark it for your bar expenses, or you can opt not to take out the maximum amount of federal loans offered to you, and go back and take it out later. This is what I was lucky enough to be able to do, and it’s worked out well. READ MORE


Men Explain Cars To Me

Cars 2
In the summer of 2011, a friend convinced me to try make a profile on OkCupid. I filled my profile with jokes because I wanted project a certain personality: “haha look how not seriously I am taking this, I am a carefree and fun girl, please date me.”

When OkCupid asked what I spend a lot of time thinking about, well. I did not hesitate:


I went on exactly two dates with two different men within the first month of creating the account before I lost interest. And yet I never got around to deleting my profile. Every few weeks I would log on and my inbox would be filled with messages: a couple of them would just be stock lines (“hey ur cute wanna grab a drink?”). The rest were all theories about the movie Cars. Some made me think, some made me roll my eyes, others brought up existential questions in other animated films; all of them entertained me. I finally deleted my OkCupid account, having never found love, but instead something much better: a deeper insight into the Pixar movie Cars.



The League of Ordinary Ladies: How Was Your Summer?

Summer Recap_edit

Previously: The Fishwife With the Sleeve Tattoo

Esther C. Werdiger writes, draws, and produces the music podcast Sounds Ace.


Animal Farm, But Worse

This is FAST Corp. — the acronym stands for Fiberglass Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks — one of the country’s most intriguing and entertaining niche manufacturers. FAST uses these molds to cast large fiberglass statues that have become icons of roadside Americana. If you’ve ever seen a big steer perched atop a steakhouse, a giant soft-serve cone in front of an ice cream stand, or a Bob's Big Boy statue, FAST probably made it.

Have you been haunted by the dark, glassy eyes of Bob's Big Boy, a friendly oversized cow, or LITERALLY ANY OTHER PIECE OF ROADSIDE AMERICANA, and are wondering where not to go so you can avoid them? Paul Lukas went to the Fiberglass Animal Farm for Medium and Heather McCabe took pictures, all of which you can view safely in your home and nowhere near the lifeless, nightmare-inducing statues we all know.


Five Things Guaranteed to Turn Him On

Has this happened to you before? You're pumped and alive and you reach for your guy and he's just... dead. Lucky for you, this can be resolved easily. Follow these simply steps to have him turned on in no time. READ MORE


Ask Baba Yaga: How Can I Create Stability?

Transcript after the jump. READ MORE

Looking Back at the Nine 'SNL' Players Who Left Us Too Soon

hartman_hooksWhen Jan Hooks — SNL cast member from 1986-1991 — died at the age of 57 last month, the show truly lost one of its stealthy greats. Like frequent sketch costar Phil Hartman, Hooks's incredible talent didn't need to call attention to itself, so it's only now, in hindsight and reruns, that the full measure of her brilliance is beginning to be calculated. Since SNL debuted in 1975, over 140 players have been in the cast, and nine have passed away from illness, drugs, or violence. Whether they leave us as beloved superstars with promising careers ahead of them or underappreciated and semi-forgotten talents with few recent onscreen credits, all nine of SNL's deceased alums have produced groundbreaking work that can make for some very bittersweet viewing. Before this column comes to an end, here's a look at those nine performers whose many comedy contributions continue to entertain and inspire fans both old and new. READ MORE


Reviews of Store Catalogs

The_J._Peterman_Company_(emblem)The J. Peterman Company: Owner's Manual No. 121
By John Peterman
The J. Peterman Company, 74 pp., $0.00

Not long ago, I spent an afternoon in a sparsely populated cafe on the bank of the Seine with an older gentleman, an Ernest Hemingway-type in rolled-up sleeves. His chief claim to fame was that he'd successfully wooed Audrey and Marilyn in the 1960s, but while the glamor of his private life eclipsed his public travails, he'd been busying accomplishing more than his fair share of success in life—or should I say exactly his fair share; when you meet the man it becomes immediately clear that he runs on only a dash of luck generously greased by a certain European charm and personality—and today his résumé includes climbing Mount Everest wearing only a motorcycle jacket and adopting a coterie of displaced polar bears from southern Alaska, which he raised as his own children. We'd been talking for three hours before I realized I wasn't in a weathered cafe off the Seine at all: I was in a small room in my own home—my bathroom—reading a J. Peterman catalog. READ MORE




Do you want to have children, and if so, when? How many?

How important is religion to you? Could you survive in household where there are two different, perhaps disparate views on religion?

Are you gonna eat that?

How close will we be to your parents?

OK, well, can I at least have half?

Do you like my friends? Do you expect me to hang out with your friends often?

How will we divide up money? How will we tackle debt? How will we decide what to save?

How important is equality in a marriage?

I just don't understand why you won't give me half—like, I know it's a good sandwich, but can I at least have a BITE?!


Some Things I Cannot Unhear


In 1968 James Baldwin was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and said, “…as Malcolm X once put it: the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday.” High noon, he said in a slight baritone as if trying to find the right key for a song. Baldwin then goes on to give examples of other institutions, not just the Christian church, where systematic racism has wielded its power; the labor unions, the real estate lobby, the board of education. Part of this episode can be found on YouTube and runs a swift one minute, one second. Baldwin’s voice—its’ near-sport of a voice—is one I cannot unhear. The way he says “evidence” is capable of galvanizing the most blasé listener. His is a staccato that quickens in clip when Baldwin repeats words like “white” or “hate,” but ripples with words like “idealism” so as to wane its meaning into nothing more than what it is: a naiveté.

When Baldwin asks a question, it does not ferry the inflection. Instead, he issues it declaratively, testing the acoustics of a room. Close your eyes and sure, Baldwin has a sermonizing tone, but one that bounces like a boxer in his ring. Baldwin’s voice multitasks, and requires of me what he was asking of America and the world: to pay attention. His words toll and have carried their repercussive meaning into today. So much so that in August when the headlines read “No Fly Zone Over Ferguson,” for a minute, I only heard those words in Baldwin’s voice.