Furious Reckonings & Copious Sneezing

What do you do when you realize the news sources you’d been taught to imagine as conscientious, impartial, patient, and wise...

Are revealed in fact to have been THIS all along?

That’s the question we’ve been reckoning with as prominent man after prominent man is fired due to predatory sexual behavior. And it’s a rage that was finally given visceral, potent, insightful expression by our friend Kathryn this week, as she took a minute to dissect why Matt Lauer’s reported behavior left her in a towering fury, and about why there is no repairing the harm his actions have done:

“Because as with Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin, repairing the damage done by Matt Lauer is impossible. What I’d like is a redo, a retroactive version of the past two years and all the coverage leading up to Trump’s election — the past 20 years, really — where the seemingly nonpartisan, bias-free men who shaped our national news culture weren’t also men who sexually harassed and assaulted women. What I’d like is a version of the past few decades of American life where men who viewed women as disposable sexual objects were not in given platforms at the Today show and NBC News and ABC News and CBS News and CBS This Morning and 60 Minutes. (And Morning Joe and Dateline and the damn Olympics.)”

In such a grim week, one following so many others like it, one in which we are forced to remember that if our President were a lowly TV personality, he would have been fired by now, we found Kathryn’s essay on the true cost of this culture of male entitlement profoundly bracing. We hope you do, too.

REBEL WITH US: Join Our ROGUE ONE Livetweet on Sunday, December 10th

Stride purposely with us to...YOUR COUCHES!

Join us while we channel our fury into fantasies of burning it all down, constructively, with Rogue One’s Jyn Erso, one of the steeliest heroines to ever cripple an evil empire. Just 10 days from today! Put it on your calendars:

WHEN: 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, December 10th, 2017
HOW: Streaming on Netflix or by DVD-- whichever suits your fancy.
WHERE: On Twitter, with the hashtag #RogueDames

Dame Margaret’s Miscellany

Shots it is practically impossible to imagine a male actor being subjected to, Exhibit A.

  • Did you know that Megan Fox’s character in the first Transformers movie is arguably the most developed and compelling one in the screenplay? But that viewers, when asked to describe her from memory, think of her primarily as a vacuous sex object? Join feminist film critic Lindsay Ellis as she walks through the series, frame by frame, and demonstrates how shots composed like the one above create a visual narrative that overrides the contradicting text in her video “Framing Megan Fox.” This is the first video from her series on Transformers that I’ve seen, but I am eager to watch the rest-- if you liked Anita Sarkeesian’s  Tropes v. Women in Video Games series, I think it will be right up your alley.

  • And while we’re pivoting to video, both THIS video about writer Grace Spelman and the phenomenal/weird Spotify playlists she makes and the playlists themselves are extremely our shit.

  • As is this silly video of perfect Irish actress Saoirse Ronan teaching Americans how to make tea, a beautiful parody of a ridiculous traditionthat obviously left Your Dames dreaming of audiobooks Saoirse should narrate. For Margaret, #1 with a bullet is a version of Dubliners, the only James Joyce book she really loves. For Sophie, it's Saoirse narrating some Maeve Binchy novels and Seamus Heaney poems or BUST.

  • And do you know what pairs with that video of Saoirse like a Hob Nob with a strong cuppa? This interview with director-screenwriter-actress Greta Gerwig-- in whose absolutely-perfect-please-go-see-it-immediately-so-I-can-shout-about-it-with-you coming-of-age movie Lady Bird Saoirse Ronan is currently starring-- about the letters she wrote to obtain the right to play certain songs in said film. If you can read this letter she wrote to Dave Matthews and resist the temptation to see the movie then God, Jeb, I don’t even want to know you:​

  • If all the momentous engagement news this week has you dwelling upon the British royal family, Netflix will be well pleased, as they are just amping up promotion for the second season of their original series about Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown, a series about which I am quite torn. I enjoyed the first season, and love lead actress Claire Foy. But early reports from the show’s creative team indicate that season two may be attempting to portray Prince Philip, the literal worst, as somehow sympathetic, a decision sure to leave me apoplectic with rage. Which! Is a state Claire Foy revealed in this recent interview with The Guardian that she understands rather well: “I think I’m still a deeply angry person on some level. I wasn’t a wayward teenager. I didn’t go off the rails and drink loads and snog loads of boys, and I was probably quite angry about that. I didn’t really follow my instincts, and instead did what I thought I was supposed to be doing. A lot of that anger came from not feeling like the person that you are is allowed to be out in the world...You’re told as a young woman what’s attractive, what’s acceptable, what’s the right or wrong way to be. I’m lucky I discovered acting as a way of expressing myself, but unless you’re given the permission to do that, you can’t get it out. So with my child, I’m like: ‘Run around! Scream! Shout! Go on!’ I wish there was a way of saying to girls: ‘You don’t have to be polite and pretty in order to survive and have people love you.’ The idea that you should be like everybody else genuinely breaks my heart. And I’m going to have to do something about it.” It is enough to make watching a TV show I feel sure I will shout at seem worthwhile.

  • And while we’re talking about quintessentially and uniquely British things, let’s go on ahead and open a tab for this longread on the birth, development, and lunchtime dominance of their packaged sandwich industry, which is the kind of cultural tourism process nerd story for which we your Dames are apt to go ape. Enjoy!!

Dame Sophie’s Links For Snuggling Under the Blankets With A Hot Toddy

ugh. it me.

My incipient cold germs have knocked me down for the count this week, so I’m taking a real minimalist approach instead of my usual Busby Berkeley song & dance extravaganza of contextualization with these here links. [Ok, this turns out to have been...oh, how shall I put this? A lie. Even in my weakened state, I can’t NOT furnish context. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I promise I’m getting in my jammies right now, though!] Enjoy! And keep your distance, because


  • We awoke on Monday to the lovely news that Meghan Markle, former star of the TV series Suits, has agreed to marry Prince Harry, becoming the first Black, American Princess of the House of Windsor. HUZZAH! (For a few brief, shining moments, I also thought she was going to be our first Blackand Jewish Princess in Windsor Castle. Apparently she is not Jewish, but honestly, so what? ) They are so cute & in looooove, and  even if you really dislike the British royal family, Meghan’s agreement to join their ranks is historically significant. Elle ran a thoughtful round-up of the responses of 16 Black women (quoting, among others, #DamesFav Jasmine Guillory, whose own lovely newsletter this week is a joyous reflection on the royal engagement)  and this Twitter list of contemporary interracial royal romance novels also suggests how overdue and welcome this news is.

  • This week in Things I Exhort Classic Rock-Loving Men To Read: The Gay Architects of Rock, which has enriched (& in some cases upended) my understanding of how the images of rock gods of the 1960s & 70s were formed, with resonances all the way down to our present moment.

  • Remember JJ Fad? If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to their superlative lone hit single “Supersonic”, you’ve prooobably heard Fergie’s “Fergalicious”, which owes much of its charm to JJ Fad’s original. ANYWAY, you know what else JJ Fad did? Laid the groundwork for NWA to become hugely popular & successful. Their album Supersonic was produced by Dr. Dre and released on Ruthless, the label NWA’s chief lyricist Eazy-E co-owned with their manager Jerry Heller, and its sales provided both the the money and clout NWA needed to record and release their iconic album, Straight Outta Compton. Guess who wasn’t included in the film Straight Outta Compton? JJ Fad. (They were given about 5 minutes of screen time in the HBO documentary about Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine, The Defiant Ones. I really enjoyed it, and I do recommend it, but as I always, always do when I watch these documentaries about The Accomplishments of Great Men, I long for four-hour documentaries about Their Equally Great Female Contemporaries.)   

  • Word nerds of a certain age, rejoice, it’s The Secret History of Cricket Magazine, the ‘New Yorker for Children’. This piece is so deeply reported & includes some gorgeous instant nostalgia in the form of vintage Trina Schart Hyman illustrations. Ahhhhh.

  • Because I love the bookwormy delicious pain salt of adding to my never-ending To Be Read List, here’s 101 Books Coming Out in 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now. List compiler Liberty Hardy has great taste & reads across every genre, so there’s bound to be a title or twelve here for you.

  • On Flynn Friday, it’s my genuine pleasure to recommend Slate’s new podcast, Slow Burn, which reminds listeners of all the work that went into the Watergate investigation that eventually led to Richard Nixon to resigning the Presidency.

  • Finally, gift guides, gift guides, gift guiiiiides!

It also me, to me