EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR AMERICA’S UNDEFEATED GYMNAST
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so flipping cooooooooool!!!!
2016 is nearly here & you know what that means: Olympics qualifying competitions are happening! During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the world received the great gift of Elspeth Reeve’s GIF-based analysis of the gymnastics competitions. Now she’s back with coverage of Simone Biles, who is just...well, look at what she can do:
SERIOUSLY THOUGH DID YOU SEE THAT!?!?!
Biles is one of those people who is so skilled at incredibly difficult things that she makes it look... well, not easy, exactly. You can see she’s working hard, but she’s also clearly so filled with joy as she pulls off these seemingly impossible maneuvers that she fills us with wonder and admiration. (Ditto that to Reeve. In our Fallen, Grantland-less world, she is one of a handful of sports writers we truly love.)
Commentator Jessica O’Beirne, who runs the GymCastic podcast, described Biles thus: “if you combined all the best athletes you’ve ever known and… put them all into one teenager… and then you put them in the world championships of their sport as one person, that’s how good she is,” and you can see what she means. Biles is astonishing. And unlike many gymnasts, she’s been able to train in a way that lets her live a semi-regular life with days off and room in her schedule for sightseeing when she’s traveling, etc.-- another remarkable accomplishment in a sport so haunted by images of weeping, overworked teens and vicious Svengali coaches.
Dame S. looooooves the Olympics and even Dame M., after reading this piece, is getting super-psyched for the Summer Games. What events are you most looking forward to? Tell us all about it.
Dame Margaret's Unusually Political Top 5
In honor of election day, Dame Margaret has gathered up some neat political links. Most crucial of all is the truly essential Tumblr #Damespal Aliciaintroduced us to: Retro Campaigns, the policy-wonk equivalent of classic #Damesfav, the Old Loves tumblr. Join us down this endless rabbit hole, friends.
Speaking of old loves, just try reading about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband (excerpted from Irin Cameron and Shana Knizhnik’s ’s new biography of RBG) without dissolving into tears. HE USED TO BAKE BIRTHDAY CAKES FOR ALL HER CLERKS. THIS IS UNTOWARD.
And now, maybe pick yourself up by walking around Boston’s parks with former Governor Mike Dukakis as he picks up trash and gripes, adorably, about how things have changed. It’s really an unreasonably charming interview. And, as a native, it left Dame M.feeling particularly [heart-eyes emoji] about the cutting-edge urban planning Dukakis and his administration pushed forward during his tenure, like the Southwest Corridor Park along which she grew up.
Stepping into the present, Rebecca Traister has a lot of great, incisive observations to make about the particular (read: suuuuuuper condescending) way certain liberal dudes talk about women who support Hillary Clinton, particularly when they admit that her gender is a part of their calculus.
AND! To relieve your annoyance after reading that last piece, please watch this hilarious, completely unrelated online dating ad in which two women compare their stalkers via an elaborate Bollywood song-and-dance showdown. This one will reaaaaaally hit the spot if you, like Dame M., have recently become addicted to The CW’s musical satire/comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the worst-named great show since ABC’s late lamented Trophy Wife. (h/t loyal reader Syaz for the link! SHE’S ON A REAL HOT STREAK LATELY, y’all!)
Dame Sophie’s Even More Retrospective Than Usual Top 5
Just a very simple 16th century fencing look.
Action, betrayal, romance, heartbreak, feats of derring-do, and an unsolved murder: Licoricia of Winchester, Jewish Widow and Medieval Financier is Grade-A #DamesBait biopic material.
You get ONE GUESS as to how quickly & eagerly I clicked to read this story about the literal toxicity of 19th century fashions. Fashion, labor history, consumer protection, chemistry, women’s activism: it’s a perfectly balanced cocktail of so many of my interests. Best of all, it’s excerpted from a full-length book on this topic, so my GoodReads runneth over.
The nearly-forgotten photos of Tampa’s Sweetheart Rink: seeing Bill Yates’ work is like looking at a black-and-white documentary version of Dazed & Confused.
2015 has been a good year for finally bringing Black contributions to American cuisine into the spotlight. It’s telling that so many of the headlines include words like like “untold” and “secret”. Whet your appetite with this round-up from The New Republic (if you prefer an audio introduction, there’s The Jemima Code episode of The Gravy to enjoy), and then meet your new culinary hero with the Times’ profile of Edna Lewis (h/t Unfriendly Black Hottie & #Damespal Kamille).
This week in Subverting the Dominant Paradigm, here’s a brief illustrated history of the first book of selfies, starring a 16th century German fellow who used fashion to get ahead in politics, business, and romance. Paging Kate Beaton!
This Week in Hamilton
Yes, we know we linked to this video last week. BUT!! The gif counts as new!!
Things we couldn’t include because they’re happening this weekend: on Friday night, Lin-Manuel Miranda will appear on The Tonight Show with America’s Buddy, Jimmy Fallon. We live in hope of a musical number bonus! 60 Minutes will have a segment on Hamilton this Sunday night. Dame S. has no live TV-watching abilities so she’s looking forward to GIF sets on Tumblr!
Hamilween has killed us DEAD. From Lin-Manuel’s concise & perfect explanation of fandom trash, to the Littlest Hamilton, to the mini-performance of “Thriller”, it’s everything we could have hoped for.
Mirth-tears, ahoy! Hamilton & Candy, courtesy of lovely reader Gretchen & her pals.
Lin-Manuel has published his own annotations to a bunch of the songs from Hamilton over on Genius, and they are predictably great!
Look, nearly setting your tent on fire by lighting your ersatz nightlight with a pistol could happen to ANYONE, A True Confession by A. Burr.
BuzzFeed presents a pure facts approach to Daveed Diggs, with absolutely no fan-servicey shirtless photos whatsoever.
Speaking of Mr. Diggs, he and Leslie Odom, Jr. will be appearing at the Slate Superfest on Broadway on November 16th. If you're going, we are seething with envy super-happy for you & want to know all about it!
P.S. just in case you hadn't heard before! Neko Atsume is now available in English!