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Saturday Links: The Very Best of 2013 Edition

Plus excitement about NYC’s new mayor, this week’s internet heroine, and fond New Year’s wishes from two of our favorite dudes.

Amy Rose

Arguably the best record of this year (and, in my opinion, most other years, too), according to Charles Aaron.

Arguably the best record of this year (and, in my opinion, most other years, too), according to Charles Aaron.

I’m in romantic love with the writing of Charles Aaron, who was once the “Staff Boy” at Sassy and is now an Editor-at-Large at SPIN, so naturally I beamed mental valentines at his witty and wonderful list of the 25 best albums of 2013. A sample from the intro: “For the first time in ages, music was actually more interesting and compelling than TV (oh, god forbid!). Let’s celebrate by…cranking ‘***Flawless’ while we get low with our partially employed asses.” 10-4, over and out!

Remember how I freaked over the New York Times story that followed Dasani Coates, a homeless pre-teen, and that shed light on the immense class divides in New York City? If so, you might understand why I bawled uncontrollably at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inauguration earlier this week, when the city’s new public advocate, Letitia “Tish” James, had Dasani join her for James’s induction. James gave a mobilizing speech (a portion of which you can see above) about her dedication to fighting the longstanding economic inequality that threatens to push all non-richies out of New York for good. Her words, and the ceremony on the whole, inflated my heart with hope that not all politicians serve the interests of the wealthy. Some of them, like de Blasio and his administration, seem to be prioritizing care for all people instead, and it’s utterly thrilling to me.

And the briefest bit of other de Blasio radness in a week that was an OCEAN of de Blasio radness: The new mayor stated this week that he’s shutting down the cruel, unnecessary horse-drawn carriage industry that has long treated its service animals like garbaggio. THANKS, DUDE!


GUH I LOVE THIS ARMADILLO WITH MY LIFE. Image via Mariella Superina/Paul Vogt.

LOOK AT THIS ANIMAL, WHOSE NAME IS THE PINK FAIRY ARMADILLO. I just got an email from Rookie writer Julianne (more on her in a minute) that basically just read “UH OMG” about this little toughie, and I AGREE WITH HER WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I just imagined this thing having a play-date with my cat and now I’m deceased from joy. Also, as J. just emailed me AGAIN in all-caps, “IT DIGS WITH ITS BUTT.”

I was mighty pleased earlier this week when Deadspin posted this essay about celebrating the holidays by one of my all-time world-class favorite writers, Luc Sante. I love this dude for his accounts of history, which are unsentimental but still totally gorgeous (if you’re new to him, start with this piece about youth and loving the place you live—it’s heart-druggingly impactful without the kind of I’m-so-special ~nostalgia~ that you might expect from something like that).

This article, entitled “Why We Get Stupid and Shitfaced on New Year’s Eve,” maintains that tone while breaking down the four elements behind most New Year’s celebrations globally, which he calls “mortification, purgation, invigoration, and jubilation.” I know New Year’s has passed, but if you’re still in the spirit (or want to be validated about for having been to begin with), it is worth a read.


Beyoncé continues her assault on our feelings with the latest from her Self-Titled series of videos, which chronicle the making of her newest album. This installment, “Liberation,” gives us super-personal insight into her recording process: She set herself up in a big house in the Hamptons with Jay, Blue Ivy, and her songwriters and producers and got down to business. She opens the video by saying, “Just because you become a mother, it doesn’t mean you lose who you are,” and proves it by detailing how she alternated between freestyling the lyrics to “Partition” and breastfeeding Blue. So far, each video in this series has ended with “To be continued…” and I hope it continues forever, until the end of time.

Rookie’s own princess of potions and powder, Arabelle, put out a web zine this week on how she motivates herself to keep pushing and stomping out the hurdles that keep her from thriving and surviving. It’s essential reading, and since she welcomes anyone who needs it to print off copies to hold and keep, I recommend keeping it under your pillow to absorb dreams and tears.


Kim's interpretation of Power, Corruption, & Lies. Image via Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Kim’s interpretation of Power, Corruption, & Lies. Image via Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Julianne wrote about the year in style for Rolling Stone, and I am SO THANKFUL to see (1) all my favorite pop stars’ goth looks in one place and (2) Kim Kardashian’s New Order dress getting praise.


On the first day of 2014, the actor James Avery passed away at the age of 68 due to complications from open-heart surgery. To many, he will forever be known as Uncle Phil, the stern but loving father figure who took in Will Smith’s character on the wildly popular ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. My friend Rembert Browne wrote a lovely obituary for James Avery at Grantland, and the scene above shows exactly why he was the perfect stand-in pops for a whole generation of TV watchers.

Japan's newest island doing the Snoopy dance. Photograph by the Asahi Shimbum via Getty Images.

Japan’s newest island doing the Snoopy dance. Photograph by the Asahi Shimbum via Getty Images.

Since late November, a brand-new island has been forming off the coast of Japan as a result of volcanic activity. Experts aren’t sure whether the island is permanent, as volcanoes in this area regularly make new islands that are eventually swallowed up by the ocean, but so far this one is eight times bigger than it was a month ago. Upon its last measurement, it was 1,640 feet across, and is starting to connect to Nishino Shima, a longstanding island nearby. That would be amazing enough on its own, but even more incredible? From an aerial view, the new island and Nishino Shima look like Snoopy.

The Wolf of Wall Street is a new movie based on the real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who was seduced by the debauched culture of money and drugs that pervaded the finance sector in the 1980s and ’90s. The film, starring Leonardo diCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese, has been praised by critics, but Joanne Lipman, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in the ’80s, just wrote a fascinating/cringeworthy piece about how thoroughly The Wolf of Wall Street erases the women who were working on Wall Street in those days, and the horrors they endured while men like Jordan Belfort were partying like there was no tomorrow. “Ask any woman who worked around finance in the movie’s era what she thought about sexual harassment,” writes Lipman, “and her answer will likely be a shrug: ‘We called it going to work.’” It really makes you appreciate what those women went through.

Caitlin D.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, Safiyyah Nawaz invoked the wrath of the internet by posting the tweet above, which she calls a “simple harmless joke.” Some dummies didn’t get it, and shortly thereafter, the 17-year-old began receiving 140-character, racist-hogwash-laden insults and death threats.

Why’s this my fave thing, then? In response to all this abuse, Nawaz parlayed internet infamy into a platform for herself and her favorite causes. She cracked jokes, announced her upcoming candidacy for president alongside potential running mate Snoop Lion, called out bigotry, put in a word for a Syria relief fund, and advocated for recycling and suicide awareness. By the end of the day, Nawaz had been offered concert tickets by Snoop, and Questlove even jumped in to say he wanted to be her Secretary of Defense. Internet bullies, sit down.


Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Image via Andreas Altwein/AP Images.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Image via Andreas Altwein/AP Images.

Growing up in the ’90s, I was obsessed with Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, two excellent figure skaters who vied to compete in the Winter Olympics in 1994. That year, their lives and careers were forever changed when Tonya hired someone to hurt Nancy and take her out of the running…or so the media would’ve had us believe. In this beautifully written Believer essay, Sarah Marshall gives us insight into Tonya and Nancy as they really were. It’s a little gut-wrenching to see how Tonya’s story got re-written by the media to fit a more-palatable narrative, with little regard for the truth. She may not have been completely innocent in this case, but she definitely wasn’t the monster everyone made her out to be.

My love for the internet is true and real, in part because through it I’ve met the coolest girls and women. They inspire me, make me laugh and think, and otherwise change my life constantly. In this essay, Jenna Wortham talks about all the lady friendships she’s made this year and the amazing ways in which they’ve affected her. When I read it, I just nodded my hair in agreement. Here’s to another year, and a lifetime thereafter, of female friendships that make your life better.


Speaking of women who make our lives better! Rookie staff writer Elizabeth Olson made a li’l montage out of every outfit she instagrammed in 2013. I could watch this a thousand more times.


The Veronica Mars movie (in select theaters March 14th, AHHHH!!!) is probably my most highly anticipated movie of the year, so I pretty much died when I learned that the trailer is out now. When I picked myself up, I watched Veronica head back to her hometown, Neptune, to investigate the murder that her old flame, Logan, has been accused of. She also attends her high school reunion and makes all the quips I could only daydream about coming up with. My only complaint: Where’s Weevil?! I’m counting down the days until the movie comes out and I get to see him!


Sir Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are real-life besties, and all I needed this New Year’s Eve was a video of these wonderful men blowing noisemakers to “Auld Lang Syne” in novelty 2014 glasses. I still haven’t figured out why we play this song at New Year’s, but am so glad these two did. Happy 2014, everybody! ♦


  • soviet_kitsch January 4th, 2014 12:05 PM

    i don’t even live in nyc and i’m so glad de blasio is the new mayor! he seems like a really neat guy and his family is incredibly cool.

    • o-girl January 4th, 2014 12:38 PM

      we are super lucky atm !!! and letitia james is great!!

  • mangointhesky January 4th, 2014 12:09 PM

    Love it all! Is it possible to miss a year?


  • elliecp January 4th, 2014 12:23 PM

    I did not know the pink fairy armadillo existed but now I’ve been enlightened and damn
    that is one cutie patootie


  • twothousandresolutions January 4th, 2014 12:43 PM

    Cheers for this. I pretty much hated 2013 (which is why I started my blog for 2014) but now I’ll associate it with Pink Fairy Armadillo (i love him!)


  • melouize January 4th, 2014 2:10 PM

    Laia – you may have read this, but I read an article about Tonya Harding in my anthro class last year called A Bead of Raw Sweat in a Field of Dainty Perspirers. Really interesting stuff about class and femininity.

    • Laia January 4th, 2014 3:08 PM

      ooh I will check it out! thank you!


  • demigringa January 4th, 2014 2:49 PM

    Oh, Beyoncé. I do love you, I do. I was enjoying the part 4 installment and all ready to post it to Tumblr when she went all like, “I was 195 pounds when I gave birth! And I wanted to celebrate working so hard to get to 130 and celebrate by being sensual again!” I know that she probably didn’t feel her sexiest right after she gave birth, that makes sense. But to me, the way she teated the subject seemed to imply that one couldn’t be sexy at 195 and she had to work her ass off to get back to a place where she could celebrate her body. Perhaps I’m sensitive to it, but it seemed kind of fat-shaming to me, and I felt disappointed.

    • piisaa January 4th, 2014 9:28 PM

      Me too!! I kept waiting for her to talk about being comfortable at whatever one’s size happens to be but no. It felt like the message clearly “change your body” instead of “check your perspective”. (And while it’s of course okay to loose weight if you feel like it the way she was saying it did feel kinda fat-shamy) :/

      • irismonster January 6th, 2014 12:29 AM

        yeah, i noticed that as well :/ and trying to lose 60 pounds in a year is a really unrealistic/unhealthy goal. good for beyoncé, i mean do whatever makes you feel happy but i wish she hadn’t said that :/

  • momobaby January 4th, 2014 3:35 PM

    I love the Saturday links this week! good job guyss :)


  • Tyknos93 January 4th, 2014 3:46 PM

    2013 was simultaneously one of the best and toughest years to witness, if that’s even possible.

  • honorarygilmoregal January 4th, 2014 3:54 PM

    All I can say is VERONICA MARS MOVIE TRAILER! AHHHH! I love the fact that the day it premieres just so happens to be Pi Day :D


  • Violet January 4th, 2014 11:51 PM

    Can I say something about the NYC horse carriage-thing?
    Last month I visited a draft horse sanctuary in Massachusetts, called Blue Star Equistry. They are people who are caring for retired carriage horses, have seen the best and worst when it comes to treatment of city horses, and yet they seem opposed to the ban. Some horses LOVE to work and pull, and the fact that humans work / live with animals in their surroundings is a really important part of life. Labelling the horse-driving business as ‘unethical’ is actually unfair and misses a lot of the complexity/richness of the subject.
    Quote from one of the BSE founders: “I was completely unprepared for the level of disconnect from animal rights groups on this issue. I wanted to find a way to help bridge the differences of those that felt “working” horses is inhumane with those that “know” and work with working horses. ”

    Here is their full position if you’d like to read more:


    • Violet January 4th, 2014 11:55 PM

      sorry they are called Blue Star Equiculture, not Equistry :P

  • diniada13 January 5th, 2014 7:37 AM

    Aww the pink fairy armadillo made my day. It is the cutest thing i’ve ever seen this year, thanks Amy Rose!


  • AdobeSlabs January 5th, 2014 12:53 PM

    Julianne, the island is actually 1,640 feet across and 600 miles south of Tokyo :)

    • Amy Rose January 5th, 2014 11:31 PM

      Ah! Good catch; thank you!

  • Etima January 5th, 2014 1:22 PM

    i’ll miss uncle phil so much!! the instagram-outfit idea is soooooo cooool

  • vintagebarbie January 5th, 2014 1:25 PM

    I love Beyonce!

  • madame_addie January 5th, 2014 7:03 PM

    I highly doubt kim kardashian even listens to new order…

  • lilay January 5th, 2014 8:14 PM

    Stephanie – I’m so excited for the Veronica Mars movie too!!!

    And to quiet your fears: there was a teaser released a few months ago that Weevil is in at the reunion. He has a wife!!

  • Sophii January 8th, 2014 10:03 AM

    I’m so glad that they’re shutting down the horse-drawn carriage industry. I’m sure there will be an alternative, equally as exciting alternative mode of transport that does not harm any animals.
    The Beyonce video is really inspiring. I love the Instagram outfit montage.
    Great choice of links <3


    • Violet January 8th, 2014 4:33 PM

      Sorry to be a pain by remaining on the same subject, but on what facts do you guys base your rejection of horse-drawn carriages? I’m trying hard to research and inform myself better, but even on the website of the coalition to ban carriages I couldn’t find a convincing argument / photo.
      Are you against all work with horses in general? (which includes, horse-powered farming, cattle chasing, horse-riding in general(!)). As long as they are not abused (which could happen in ANY situation involving man+animal), why do you call it harmful? It’s really not to be contradictory or anything, I sincerely would like to know.