Truly, be it ever so newslettery...
Dames Nation, we missed you & are thrilled to be back (though, real talk: our recent break was just what the doctor ordered). We had a grand time cooking up schemes to keep this newsletter & its community excellent and fun for us all.
First up: to maximize visual delight throughout the week, we have started publishing most Visual Crush and Twee As Hell content on Twitter. If you aren’t following us there & those are your favorite things, mosey on over.
Second, now that there are over 4000 of you (!!!), we’d really like to know how you became a reader and what you enjoy most in this weekly link-and-commentary buffet. Would you be a darling & take 5 minutes to complete this survey?
Don't make us beg. More.
Clueless Live-Tweet THIS SUNDAY!
We know it's been WEEKS since we first told you, but hopefully you still have this Sunday night blocked off for a Dames Nation live-tweet extravaganza of SEMINAL TEEN CLASSIC Clueless. You know, in case you don’t feel equal to watching Modern Family win yet MORE undeserved Emmys. We promise to pause when Taraji P. Henson wins (SHE HAD BETTER WIN).
When: 8 PM ET on Sunday, September 20
Where: Netflix (or your DVD player) & Twitter
Who: YOU & any friends you think would enjoy watching, quoting & critiquing a practically perfect movie in a large geographically distributed group, joined through the magic of Twitter, using #clueless to keep track of each other/keep out of the way of others who don't want to see our paeans to the GLORY of Paul Rudd.
THAT SHAYNA PUNIM.
YOUR MOM’S A GRAMMARIAN
As much as we love sharing Internet Goodness with you as soon as we find it, we are also super-into saving up thematically linked links and strewing them about the newsletter like so much [nutritionally substantive] Halloween candy. This week, our Pocket & Instapaper happily overflow with linguistic reportage.As a recovering grammar snob, Dame S. found this piece on the absolute made-up nonsense of most English grammar rules particularly resonant.Turns out teen girls have been disrupting language for centuries. Despite getting smacked down over “like”, “as if!”, uptalk and more, they press on. Stick-to-it-iveness, girls! We salute your tenacity! Carry on! Once more, with feeling: it’s totally ok to have preferences regarding how human voices sound, but please, enough with the moral outrage over how ladies talk. Your Dames are going to start writing vocal policing tickets to violators of this sacred rule.Friends, Atlas Obscura needs your help to do the VERY IMPORTANT work of mapping America's pun-based business names. Do it for humor, patriots! Going home to the trouble & strife? Hungry for a Ruby Murray, or just looking forward to your next cuppa Rosy Lee? Join us down the rabbit hole of one of England’s greatest linguistic treasures, Cockney rhyming slang.Finally, your Dames once again must reveal their blinkered East Coast Megalopolis Bias by acknowledging that they did not even know that “hella” was specifically a San Francisco Bay Area contribution to our lexicon (in their precious ignorance, they thought it was just...a California thing? Aw, bless their hearts!).Dame Sophie's Top 5:
Dame Sophie is a lifelong George Girl all the way, but this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute to Ringo Starr’s unique style -- explained by a group of his adorably star-struck drumming peers -- is so fun & insightful, and prompts probably-vain hopes of a longform exploration of his contributions to The Beatles Sound.Like our friend Carolyn on Bellwether Friends, Dame S. grew up on Tiger Beat, and was very happy to see it once again enjoying pride of place in the checkout line at the grocery store. Anne Helen Petersen explains how the venerable tween crush institution staged its tenuous (but we hope soon-to-be-glorious), candy-colored comeback.There’s nothing Dame S. appreciates more than an obsessive person who gets the details of a massive project just so. Members of the William Morris Society of Canada have a tradition of recreating some of his most famous designs in cake form. Behold! William Morris Birthday Cakes! 2014’s Strawberry Thief might be their masterpiece. BRB plumbing the digitized archives of the US Chapter of the William Morris Society’s newsletter (going back to 1983, with a bonus slew of issues from 1903-1905, sooo, history nerds, assemble!).Furious co-sign alert for this re-examination of “That Thing You Do!” -- both the song, which is catchy as hell, and Tom Hanks’ directorial debut as a whole. Related thoughts: we can draw a straight line between the titular song and Hanks’ appearance in the video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”, and if anyone wants to put together a playlist of all the A+ pop songs Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne has written for movies, TV and theater, we will listen to it ad nauseam.Some of Dame S.’s happiest memories are of her 1980s TV rituals with her Bubbe. They had their special shows together, including Murder, She Wrote, The Wonderful World of Disney, and their all-time favorite, Golden Girls. Looking back, it’s no wonder this was her staunchly leftist Bubbe’s favorite, because Golden Girls was hella liberal, addressing poverty, disability, aging, sexuality, AIDS, and more from a distinctly progressive perspective. With lots of cheesecake.
Lesson: Always Have Baked Goods In Your Freezer.
Dame Margaret's Top Five:
Anna Kendrick, why aren't you ALREADY Dame Margaret's friend? What are you THINKING?
Self-chastising self-promotion first! Dame Margaret was on Pop Culture Happy Hour again this week, talking about the first week of Late Night with Stephen Colbert and what makes a good talk-show guest. To her never-ending shame, she made no mention of Anna Kendrick in her Talk Show Guest Hall of Fame!!! Despite being consistently incapacitated by her charm! Ms. Kendrick reminded Dame M. of her oversight in the most adorable possible way, by starring in a short film/Kate Spade advertisement featuring Gloria Steinem (part three in a series that previously featured Iris Apfel and Lily Tomlin).
Dame M. initially included “How Two 18th-Century Lady Pirates Became BFFs on the High Seas” in her Top Five Links without even having read it, on the strength of its title alone. And you know what? The article itself, telling the almost-too-great-to-be-true story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, was EVEN BETTER than the title had lead her to hope.
Continuing in the theme of lady outlaws, DID YOU KNOW that Franzia, your favorite boxed wine, has a history of mobs and bloodshed that would rival The Godfather? Only centering around a MATRIARCH!? Yeah, Dame M. didn’t either, and she doesn’t understand why this story isn’t printed on every single box of Chillable Red that the company’s ever sold.
Likewise, did you know that Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca and many other noteworthy books of suspense, (1) had a number of lesbian relationships and (2) had a complex system of slang with her sisters charming enough to rival that of the Mitfords? A recent re-listen to the book made Dame M. realize that Rebecca is basically [SPOILERS] Gone Girl, if Amy had actually died and Nick had married his mistress [/SPOILERS], which in turn led her to this somewhat old and utterly fascinating piece on du Maurier by Carrie Frye. You’ll have all of your friends calling attractive people “menaces” before you can say “Max de Winter is seeeeeeeeeeeeeerrriously the worst, right?”
And finally! Speaking of somewhat old pieces, certain evocative art reminded Dame M. of three totally decimating pieces by her beloved Sadie Stein-- one, from December 2011, on the specific psychic burden of owning a wedding dress for a wedding that never happened, one, from January 2014, on a bittersweeet romantic reconciliation caried out via doughnuts, and this one, from February 2014, on her Lingerie Archive. All these pieces are tender, a little funny, carefully observed, and utterly heartbreaking without ever being maudlin.
It's okay, Audrey. They made us cry, too.
Our Tunes, Our Selves
Ryan Adams’ 1989 cover album drops on Monday, thrilling us to our very marrow. You can hear his “more in sorrow than in anger” stylings on “Bad Blood” right now, though! If you liked his dreamy take on Oasis’ “Wonderwall”, this will be up your auditory alley.
Can you feel it in the air? The summer’s out of reach. Please enjoy Autumnal Ennui & Luxury along the empty lake & empty streets, while the sun goes down alone.
As you may have already heard Dame M. say on Pop Culture Happy Hour, one of the items making her happy is a recent binge-listen to Switched On Pop, which is truly your Dames’ idea of pop music criticism perfection. Hosts Nate Sloane & Charlie Harding take a playful yet intensely erudite approach to explaining what makes pop music work. MAN, does it work for us. Maybe that’s because we tend to agree with a lot of their analyses? For example, you’ll hear how a lot of our thoughts on Taylor Swift align with theirs, and our explication of the greatness of “Shut Up & Dance” hits some of the same notes as theirs does.
In addition, this great podcast lead us to this thought-provoking piece on Kacey Musgraves’s Pageant Material and “the home-town dilemma” by New Yorker editor Andrew Marantz (correctly identified as “Dames-worthy” by dedicated reader Elizabeth). In Marantz’s appearance on Switched on Pop, Dame M. felt that he was a little rough on Pageant Material -- just because it’s not stirring the pot doesn’t mean it’s not a great album. As Damespal Devinmemorably put it “Kacey’s making pop music not risotto.” But the article itself feels more balanced and the context provided and comparisons made are well-worth your time.