Bonjour, You Besties of Dames Nation!
This week, we thought we'd give you a tiny glimpse into one of our vaunted Editorial Meetings. It’s a little difficult to explain how we got to this place where we are texting giddy commentary on late 90s videos of lady troubadours to each other, but something about the heady, alchemical mix of The Pitch Meeting for Wishbone, pushing our editorial meeting to 6:30 AM on a Friday, and Dame Margaret’s having just seen the film Magnolia for the first time last night resulted in the following, edited for clarity & hilarity, which we think & hope you will enjoy. Please DO let us know your thoughts on late 90s videos of lady troubadours. That is what Twitter was invented for, basically.
M: "As I Lay Me Down" is like the first pop song I remember being OBSESSED with.
S: That was a big song for me in college! I know the final repeated lyric can't possibly be "who likes tacos?" But I totally sing it that way.
M: It's like we were preparing to love each other dearly even though we were far away :) And I will never be able to hear it as anything other than "who likes tacos?" from now on.
S: Yes, b’sheret! (that’s Hebrew/Yiddish for pre-destined!) In my mind it goes with the Donna Lewis song "I Love You, Always Forever" though I think “As I Lay Me Down” predates that one by a few years.
M: Ok, I'm queuing that Donna Lewis song right now. Also! I know b'sheret and it's EXACTLY what we are.
S: I’ve heard this song a million times and have never seen this video. Wow, how badly does she want to be the cool Celine Dion??
M: Ooooooh going to go watch on YouTube like RN.
S: "Ok, the concept for this video is what if Stevie Nicks had been more invested in having silky smooth hair?"
S: "Our palette is Celine Dion neutrals, but, like, minimalist?"
S: "Sometimes I will be upside down with my piano. But I'm not doing that multicolored scenes thing while I emote strongly. That is SO PAULA COLE. WE ARE NOTHING ALIKE!"
S: "Though, ok, real talk, I would kill to have one of my songs chosen as a theme song to a WB show."
M: "Can we find a way to combine the FEEL of heroin chic but the STYLE and palate of a Gap Khakis ad?
S: "Yes! That is my vision EXACTLY! To wardrobe! Let's DO THIS."
Ok, obviously we think all the links we share are worth your attention, but some weeks, a handful of the great things we stash away in Pocket & Instapaper leap up and smack us in the face with their excellence, importance, and/or entertainment value. This is one of those weeks.
Peggy Olson + Drake = Your New Favorite YouTube Video.
The New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs column surely had Dames Margaret and Sophie squarely in its sights when it published “The Spinster Agenda” this week. (h/t to eagle-eyed reader Elizabeth for bringing it to our attention!)
Ask a Grown Woman, in which Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker are the amazing older cousins today’s teen girls deserve. (Carrie Brownstein on first kiss anxiety: “Just rub your noses together! I’m excited for you guys.”)
After last week’s heart-breaking revelations about The Runaways' Jackie Fuchs and her rape by band manager Kim Fowley, Ann Power’s thoughtful take on the complex interaction between the empowering sexual expression of rock and roll and the patriarchal, capitalist systems that have profited from it since the artform began is a highly necessary read.
Mhairi Black: not The Queen, because she comes from a traditional socialist family, but our favorite 20 year-old badass of the Scottish National Party, to be sure. If this is what her maiden speech in the House of Commons is like, just imagine what the future holds.
For Dame Sophie’s money, nobody can out-Romantic the Russians. You want examples? How about a 10-minute hand-painted animated film based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem “Rusalka”? Often translated as mermaid, a rusalkais more of a vengeful (but only because she’s horribly sad & heartbroken!) water-spirit. Dame S. was obsessed with these retellings of The Golden Cockerel and The Tale of Tsar Saltan, illustrated by Ivan Bilibin, as a child. (SPOILER ALERT: Dame Margaret was also an Ivan Bilbin fan as a Tiny Dame!! Who wants to bet we had the exact same book of Russian folk tales?? #B'sheret) Pushkin, a total Historical Babe, died in a duel with a romantic rival! Swoon.
Behold, The Woman in Gold Whose Fashion Stylings Launched a Thousand Dorm-Room Posters! Emilie Floge was Gustav Klimt’s muse, and it turns out that a lot of her self-designed bohemian fashions show up in his many paintings of her. And because plus ca change, you can see her influence in geometrically-patterned maxi dresses, many looks sported by nouveau witchFlorence Welch, and lots of gorgeous items on Damespal Laura’s Dream Closet Etsy board. (Dream closet, come and rescue me!)
And finally, Dame Margaret still has not gotten over those beautiful catcus flower gifs she tweeted earlier this week. GO! FEAST YOUR EYES! THEY ARE MAGICAL!
Your mind is taking effect.
Twee as Hell (It’s a BANNER WEEK for Tiny Things)
Could we interest you in creating a Sanrio-style version of yourself? Chanrio is here for you. Unfortunately, its range of available skin tones lamentably stops at “medium-deep tan,” so it’s not PERFECT. But you can give yourself cotton-candy pink hair, so it’s got a certain undeniable value just the same.
MIT grad student Victor Hung utilized the tilt-shift technique like a genius and generates a dreamy video of a Tiny-seeming Boston Celebrating a Tiny Fourth of July. (Fun fact: You can totally see the trashy virgin margarita stand that Dame Margaret was picnicking next to from minute 1:34-1:36.)
If you are averse to both dog-earing and marginalia, we suggest using these tiny paper bookmarks, which you can use to create miniature landscapes -- some verdant, some terrorized by Godzilla -- across the tops of your books.
What could be more twee than a huge community of tween girls obsessed with lovingly Instagramming elaborate fashion shoots and panoramas featuring their American Girl Dolls? Perhaps a teen boy building a thriving business making tiny skateboards and tiny skate parks for bros to fingerboard with? #ThankYouThing #TinyZBoys #TweePhotoFinish
And speaking of FINNISH (hahahahaha see what we did there??!?!!??) this appreciation of Tove Jansson, creator of our beloved Finn Family Moomintroll, is perfect to read with a fizzy lemonade on a hammock, or whatever cozy hangout is your right-size dream.
Miscellany (It almost rhymes with Gogo and Didi!)
The silly, infectious banter between the casts of Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter in Marvel’s DubSmash War of San Diego ComicCon is yet another item solidifying our long-standing opinion that Marvel Studios’ marketing strategy is led by women, or at least, dudes who grasp the importance of including women & humor in fandom. Everything they do yields that perfect combo pack of fanning yourself while cracking up AND being able to place yourself in the stars’ milieu: “Hey! I bet Hayley Atwell & I would have SO MUCH FUN making a dubsmash video together!” while also thinking, “Phoooooar, Chris Evans and/or Hayley Atwell!”
Dame Sophie will finally see The Iron Giant! On the big screen, no less!
Dame Sophie loooooves this interview with shamefully new-to-her pioneering rock critic Richard Goldstein (notably conducted by Ann Powers’ co-author & colleague Evelyn McDonnell, who is also the author of a recent book on The Runaways), who sounds like exactly the kind of guy she’d want to sit down and listen to records with:
“I want to know the material reasons why it exists, and then to give myself a justification to be romantically in love with it. Why do I love Disney, for instance? What are the material reasons why Disney is the way it is? I feel like I’m free to love it, because there actually is a kind of complexity to it.”
Beautiful Genius Parul Sehgal wrote something beautiful and genius about how our understanding of the word “privilege” has shifted in recent years and you would do well to go read it right now.
HaHA! J’accuse! “[M]en hedge just as often as women do, they just use slightly different words to do it. So the fact that women say 'I feel like' more than men only suggests what everybody in linguistics already knows, which is that women tend to lead language change.”
You know how, in our Bossy Take on Nostalgia, Dame Margaret was like “I can’t wait till, thirty years from now, the scrappy writers currently scraping a life together in New York can write about it and show me-- belatedly-- how romantic our current moment truly is.” Well, apparently, novelist Jami Attenberg heard our Dame and was like “LOLOLOLOL you don’t have to wait 30 years, I can just write you this piece about sharing whiskey with my neighbors right now and you’ll be charmed basically senseless.” And, that Jami, she knew what she was talking about.
Pair that whiskey (with or without Jami Attenberg) and listening to either or both of the great country/roots albums up on NPR Music’s First Listen series this week: 'The Blade' by Ashley Monroe or Watkins Family Hour’s self-titled debut... or just putting Dame Margaret’s solid (but far from comprehensive) “Country Ladies” Spotify list on shuffle.. We especially recommend this activity to Certain Stalwarts of Dames Nation who, next weekend, will be looking with great envy and longing at all of Dame Margaret’s gloating Instagram pictures from Banjo Christmas (known to most as Newport Folk Festival).
Kylie Jenner’s embrace of cornrows prompted New York Magazine’s The Cut to reshare Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg’s super-helpful video on cultural appropriation, thus leading us to follow in suit. Take a minute and watch -- it’s surprisingly thorough for such a quick video and it’s very thought-provoking.
Annnnnd, finally, Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are on Taylor Swift’s #SQUAD at last, so the Universe can now come to a reasonable & timely end.