Oh, hi there, Dames Nation!
Last week, living catchy hook factory Charli XCX released a surprise single -- the very simply titled “Boys” -- and a supporting video. Not remarkable on its face, and we filed it away as a thing to make sure to listen to, you know, at some point, but then we started noticing this gif popping up repeatedly on Twitter:
The brilliant & talented Riz Ahmed is sharing confidences with an enormous pink teddy bear?
Say no more, Charli XCX, hie us to YouTube immediately! And lo! The video was a two minute, forty-five second parade of cute-to-sexy dudes doing cute-to-sexy things, cutely-to-sexily. Some of them are just “awwwww”, while some are more “HHHNNNGGGGGGG”. Mark Ronson combing his hair! Khalid snuggling with rainbow-dyed puppies! Some hot dude with a chainsaw? Sure! There are 60 boys in this video & let’s be honest, Dame Sophie had no idea who most of them were & therefore really values this complete list of all of the boys from Boys, including links to their Instagram accounts, which is super-convenient service journalism for those of us who like to torture ourselves with unquenchable thirst.
But then! Brilliant Twitter Personage Leah posed the question that launched a thousand sub-threads: “which boys would you have in your boys video and what delicate activity would they be doing?” The responses below Leah’s initial tweet are all pure art, so by all means, click through. Please don’t deprive yourself of the mental image of Hasan Minhaj sliding down a banister. Naturally, we have a bunch of our own to add:
Daniel Craig & Daniel Dae Kim shining shoes together while quietly harmonizing as they sing "Yesterday"
The Edge painstakingly selecting photos he has taken, to include in personalized annual albums for each of his five children (When his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, looks at him quizzically: "I know Hollie & Arran are in their 30s, I'm doing this til we have grandchildren!")
Coach Taylor hanging pictures for you. (h/t DamesPal Alicia)
Rahul Kohli taking his nieces to the American Girl store (where, in this fantasy, there are multiple South Asian dolls available for the girls to choose from.) (Also in this fantasy they are American because Rahul's sister relocated here for college.)
Kim Soo Hyun adjusting his reading glasses over a book in bed (h/tBeloved Syaz)
Lee Jae Yoon sanding down a chair he built (again, h/t Syaz; listen, I urge you to Get Involved™ with her contributions to this thread, starting here)
Niall Horan reorganizing all of his snapbacks & adding a new roll of label tape to his label maker so all the updated shelf labels will match.
Mahershala Ali kneading pizza dough in a sun-drenched kitchen with bright yellow walls, unconsciously smearing a dash of flour on his forehead as he wipes his brow.
Nick Offerman putting the finishing touches on an elaborate bird house modelled after San Francisco’s painted ladies.
Via the lovely Joslyn: Dave Grohl in gardening gloves, clipping back a hydrangea, ideally shirtless or I'll allow one strap of an overall.
Harry Styles (obviously, come on) painstakingly repotting all his succulents.
Catching John Dickerson chuckling to himself as he fumbles & then prevents a tea tin from spilling all over the kitchen counter.
Matthew Rhys selecting a tie to power-clash with his small floral-print shirt.
Oscar Isaac opening a jar of clearly homemade pickles. Oh, let’s be real: Oscar Isaac doing anything.
We were not even looking for anything specific.
We also want to make sure to distinguish this Premium Boys Content™ from the Large Adult Sons situation Jia Tolentino so brilliantly summarizes here. On the great colorwheel of masculinity, we envision Premium Boys (PBs) as the diametric opposite of Large, Adult Sons (LAS) - where LAS stagger & flail around like giant, malevolent dullards, PBs are refreshingly competent. Where LAS are constantly getting into scrapes, PBs know what they are about. Where LAS manspread, PBs scooch over & give a shy smile with a hint of sauciness while they do so. The LAS is toxically masculine (often risibly), the PB most healthily so.
As good complement and counterpoint to this video, we’d like to point you in the direction of NPR’s wonderful, canon-establishing project Turning The Tables -- wherein the women of NPR gathered together and made a list of the 150 most important albums made by women and women-led bands since 1964-- and the extremely perfect Spotify playlist that accompanies it. It has been in constant rotation at the Dames Aerie and we cannot but fervently hope you will love it as deeply as we do. The initial list from NPR Music has prompted the creation of even more canon-creating lists, including The Fader’s 150 More Great Albums Made By Women and OK Africa’s 150 Records by Amazing African Women You Should Listen To.
Livetweet Reminder: HOT FUZZ on Sunday, August 6th
Come join us as Judge Judy AND executioner on Sunday, 8/6, as we revisit one of our favorite comedies of the last 20 years: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s action-packed, gut-busting buddy cop parody/tribute HOT FUZZ, AKA the movie that finally made Dame Margaret realize how great the Kinks are. The details:
When: Sunday, August 6th at 7:30 PM ET (GMT -5:00)
Where: Twitter, where we and our cherished Dames Nationals will be waxing rhapsodic and cracking wise at the hashtag #HotDames
How: By queuing the movie up on Netflix or even, if you’re equipped like we are, by popping in a good, old-fashioned DVD.
Dame Margaret is Too Rushed To Come Up With a Cutesy Way of Describing Her Links Section This Week, They’re Just Good & Interesting, Okay?
As Imperator Furiosa is to driving and shooting,
so Anne Helen Petersen is to researching and writing, especially about celebrities.
Anne Helen Petersen’s most recent longform celebrity analysis, “Charlize Theron Is Not Here To Make Friends”, is particularly terrific, especially when read in conjunction with the issue of her newsletter wherein she describes her process for putting together these pieces and the enormous amount of research she invests in each one. It’s awe-inspiring and will likely make you think hard about how you support the internet media you consume. Bonus: Petersen’s recent column on Jennifer Garner is terrific, particularly read in conjunction with Lainey Gossip’s continued takes on how exquisitely Garner is handling Ben Affleck’s new relationship, and how hilariously bad he is at P.R. independent of her.
Born as I was on May 20th, at the very tail end of Taurus’s… whatever you call the span of time a sign spans, and my capacity to talk incessantly and make new friends constantly, I have always felt like more of Gemini than a Taurus. Until I read Rosa Lyster’s Astrology is Fake, But… column on Taurus-- Astrology is Fake, But Taurus Hates Change-- and felt, well, QUITE read, myself. It made me dip into the whole series, which is both extremely funny and sneakily perceptive.
A few weeks ago, P.J. Vogt memorably stated that “Watching Mark Zuckerberg try to casually sidle into politics is like watching a very drunk person try to shoplift an air conditioner.” And now Alexandra Petri, hero to us all, has swooped in to elaborate on that theme with her most recent tour de force, “I am not running for president; I just want to meet every cow and Iowan.” I badly needed both these things to cope with the terror this Silicon Valley Boy King’s potential presidential run awakens in my heart, so I felt you all might benefit from it, too.
Dame Sophie’s Rambly Cultural Smorgasbord
You may recall that when Guardians of the Galaxy came out two summers ago, the band Redbone enjoyed a brief flurry of renewed attention thanks to their catchy jam “Come and Get Your Love” being featured in the opening credits. This was the first time I’d seen prominent coverage of a band positively highlighting the Indigenous heritage of its members. Imagine my joy in learning that there’s now a documentary about Indigenous folks’ contributions to the blues, jazz, pop, folk, and rock: Rumble, The Indians Who Rocked The World. It’s in limited theatrical release now and I hope it will follow its predecessor, Reel Injun, to Netflix soon. (Side note for those of you with kids in your life: we chose Reel Injun for family movie night a few months ago & our daughter loved it; I’d recommend it to anyone age 9 and up.) To further whet your interest in Rumble, here’s a nicely reported piece from The Guardian and a masterful compilation from the beautiful music nerds at Light In The Attic Records, Native North America Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock & Country, 1966-1985. (h/t A+ DamesPal Beth for the Guardian piece!)
The life story of Olive Yang, born into wealth as a child of one of Burma’s most powerful families, who then grew up to be a very successful drug trafficker, warlord, and seducer of beautiful actresses, would make one helluva biopic, no?
What if Mad Men, but featuring 100% more Female Gaze and written by a brilliant, witty Malaysian woman? If that concept sounds familiar, you’re either recalling the time Syazwina Saw co-edited our June guest issue or are already subscribed to her wonderful new Tinyletter, The Lie-Down.
How the Plastic Pink Flamingo Became an Icon is exactly the kind of brief cultural investigation I love: short, sweet, well-sourced, and sociologically insightful.
I have raved in these here pixel pages before about the pissy, furious, petty, and deeply satisfying glories of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. Now, Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle, (friends in my head and) co-editors of our beloved Avidly, have written a perfect essay about them, The Function of Pettiness at the Present Time. Here, the Sarahs both encapsulate and tease out what makes the 1500 pages of Ferrante’s gossipy saga so urgently necessary in this cultural moment. I’m planning to read the final novel on vacation later this month, and I can’t wait.
Oh, what the heck, let’s wrap up with some more Premium Boys Content™. You may recall that we strongly endorsed Tom Hardy’s appearance--with his late dog, Woody, of blessed memory--on the popular CBeebies Bedtime Stories feature a few months back. Did you know that Chris Evans (presently locked in a pitched battle for Best Chris status with Dapper Werewolf Chris Pine) has made several appearances on CBeebies Bedtime Stories, too? Three, as a matter of fact (though we could only source video for two). You’re welcome.
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days - I guarantee Cap has this one memorized to help him manage his sadness over Bucky and his righteous fury over those bullshit Sokovia Accords.
Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site - Chris seems to really favor rhyming texts. Also, his read-aloud voice is very charming, in a faintly rumbly way. I appreciate it. I also want to give a shout-out of praise for the sound designers of these little videos for their skilled selection of background noises to pair with the read-alouds.