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Saturday Links: Bring Back Nigeria’s Girls Edition

Plus a skateboarding model, Ilana Glazer being the best, deep-sea critters, and more.

Amy Rose

Protestors in Abuja, Nigeria demanding that their government step up. Photo by Deji Yake/European Pressphoto Agency via the New York Times.

Protesters in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo by Deji Yake/European Pressphoto Agency via the New York Times.

Nigerian citizens are protesting the inattention paid to the kidnapping of roughly 275 teenage girls more than two weeks ago. Of the girls, who were abducted from the state school they attended by “armed militants,” 53 have reportedly escaped. But 223 are still captive.

The protesters, who include many of the parents of the missing girls, are criticizing the Nigerian government’s treatment of the tragedy and demanding they do more to recover those still missing. The protest leader Hadiza Bala Usman said it best: “If this abduction of 236 girls happened anywhere else in the world, the nation would be at a standstill.” Our thoughts are with these girls, their families, and all of those in Nigeria who are refusing to accept violence and terror for their young women.

Ellen Willis, a critic whose work is worth getting to know. Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota Press via The Cut.

Ellen Willis, a critic whose work is worth getting to know. Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota Press, via The Cut.

The essay “Memoirs of a Non-Prom Queen” by Ellen Willis is the best thing I read this week. It debunks the myth that people who are/were popular in high school are somehow less cool/authentic than those who aren’t/weren’t. It’s in the collection The Essential Ellen Willis, a book of the late critic’s essays that came out earlier this week. I intend to pounce on it posthaste.


Since Broad City ended a few weeks ago, we’ve felt like our best friend moved away—we miss seeing Abbi and Ilana every single week! Thank god for this week’s episode of Ilana’s web series, Chronic Gamer Girl! The series started out chronicling (hehe) Ilana playing a bunch of video games while smoking weed and snacking, and has evolved into whatever she thinks is funny and cool…and we are 100% here for it. This episode is a “(wo)man on the street”-style jam where she approaches strangers in a park and asks them when they first had sex, and the results are equal parts sweet, hilarious, comforting, and totally adorable.

This week, the White House released a video of President Obama, Vice President Biden, and various male celebrities calling for an end to sexual assault. The “1 Is 2 Many” campaign reminds men to respect women when we don’t (or can’t) give consent, to avoid victim-blaming, and to take action when they see sexual assault occurring. It’s a message that can never be reinforced enough.

The video for “Salute,” the title track from Little Mix’s second album, just came out, and it rules! It shows the Little Mix girls looking fierce, cool, and sexy as they dance, bare their teeth, and sing about female empowerment.


Mickey Easterling, ruling in death as she did in life. Photo by Matthew Hinton via Interiorator.

Mickey Easterling, ruling in death as she did in life. Photo by Matthew Hinton via Interiorator.

Recently, Mickey Easterling, a New Orleans socialite and philanthropist, passed away, and her funeral was as truly outrageous as she was. Mickey was known for throwing the most flamboyant and lavish parties around, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to those who knew her that she wanted to attend her own wake… dressed in a pink feather boa, one of her trademark hats, and a rhinestone brooch emblazoned with the word bitch. That’s not all—she was holding her usual accessories: a champagne flute and a cigarette holder. OK!!! Clearly, Mickey was a REALLY EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN. R.I.P., you shooting star.


This week, I’m crushin’ on Natalie Westling, a 17-year-old model and skateboarder who made a video for i-D about skating tips. As a lady skater myself, I love discovering girls who can pop ollies just as well as dudes can. Skateboarding, like most sports, is very much a male-dominated field, so it’s always encouraging to see a girl shredding. I’m hoping that the next time I see Natalie on the runway, she’s riding nose manual in a couture gown.

The future is here, everyone. This week, a team of London-based designers unleashed their latest creation, a pen called LIX that allows you to draw in 3D. Instead of regular ink, the pen is filled with a plastic filament that comes out as a liquid but cools rapidly into a solid, creating a li’l structure. Though the pen is not yet for sale, the company is currently running a Kickstarter and plans to put it on the market this fall. Technology is magical, isn’t it?

Britney F.

This amazing piece on the beauty of necks by the Beat poet Max Blagg is a part of a series by Oyster called “Private Parts” that focuses on writers’ favorite body parts. I highly recommend reading the whole series (one installment of which is an interview between Rookie’s own Tavi and Petra).


Like Rachael and Amy Rose, I think sea creatures are some of the best things ever, so I was really distressed to learn that along the West Coast, scientists have found that the shells of pteropods (aka sea snails or sea butterflies) are being badly damaged by carbon emissions polluting the Pacific Ocean. Oceanographers knew this was coming, but it happened much earlier than they expected, and now they are scrambling to figure out what larger implications it might have. What happens to the pteropods could impact the well-being of salmon and other marine life, and since our planet is one big web of life and we’re all in this TOGETHER, it will ultimately affect people too.

This sad story is the latest installment of “Sea Change,” a series by the Seattle Times about the impact we’ve had on our oceans; all of the pieces are worth a read and some deep thought. As Jan Newton, co-director of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, said, “I think [these findings are] a huge flashing light for us that we need better observations and monitoring of our natural environment.”

Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed.

Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed.

This week on BuzzFeed, a piece by Joshua Mohr, an alcoholic, described how writing with an addiction is not fun or cool—it’s an epic battle. The “drugs-and-booze-fueled artist” has long been an archetype that young writers, myself included, often glamorize and aspire to, even if we’re only using it to justify our own substance abuse and escapism. But this beautifully written story on the struggle to stay sober is a wake-up call that anyone dealing with, or interested in, the truth about addiction and art should check out.


In 2005, Lisa Kudrow starred in the HBO comedy series The Comeback, which was created by Kudrow and Michael Patrick King (head writer on Sex and the City). Kudrow played Valerie Cherish, a sitcom star who is trying to make it on television again in her 40s, and failing somewhat miserably (her character on her new sitcom is named Aunt Sassy, for starters). As a fan and an armchair television critic, I think the only logical explanation for why The Comeback ran for just one season is that it was totally ahead of its time, because straight-up, it was THE BEST COMEDY SHOW EVER MADE. You may think I’m exaggerating, but it was announced this week that The Comeback is coming back, and I’m not the only one freaking out: E! called the show’s return “the best news in the history of everything,” TV by the Numbers predicted that after you watch it you’ll “probably name your firstborn Valerie,” and Grantland’s Molly Lambert tweeted a simple “YESSSSSSSSS.” Catch up on every episode (you can stream them on HBO Go), and get at us when you start dropping catchphrases like “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT!” UGH VALERIE CHERISH I LOVE YOU.


Rob Rhinehart, the dude reinventing food. Photo by Roc Morin via The Atlantic.

Rob Rhinehart, the dude reinventing food. Photo by Roc Morin via The Atlantic.

A guy named Rob Rhinehart has invented a drink that contains every nutrient you need to stay alive and be healthy, and he lives on it almost entirely. His dream is to replace our need for food with the shake, which is called Soylent and is going to be available for public purchase this month.

Now, because I love nachos and pizza, I want to hate him instantly, but his idea could potentially reduce world hunger, even if it sounds CRAY. He says, “I’m looking forward to the point where we don’t have to worry about hunger or nutrition. Where people make food just because it’s beautiful—like gardening, or painting. I’m looking forward to the point where food can just be art.” Hi, Rob—I do not want my food to be art. I want my food to be shaped like a burrito, and in my mouth. Why are you trying to take away one of the major pleasures of life?! Still, I have to admit that this is kind of rad. ♦


  • Afonso May 3rd, 2014 1:16 PM

    Just a quick correction – Rob Rhinehart has been living on Soylent for a little bit more than a month. Back in November, Vice made a documentary video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8NCigh54jg) on him and Soylent. It’s… Interesting, to say the least. :)

  • beyoncetears May 3rd, 2014 4:05 PM

    ilana glazer is the best!!! shout out to brodie for bringing her web series to my attention, i will now proceed to watch every single video instead of studying for finals

  • msbrownbuffalo May 3rd, 2014 4:44 PM

    I just read a disheartening article in Seattle Magazine, about the horrid deaths of tons of sea stars! They are dropping dead all over the West Coast. It is so sad to see the animals and sea creatures we love die because our species lack of foresight and compassion. Thank you for posting!

    • RisainSanFrancisca May 5th, 2014 1:27 PM

      Omg- at my internship, part of our job is caring for the marine animals and we’ve been battling the sea star disease for over a year, the ones we bring in from the ocean (we’re part of the national parks service so we have a permit since they’re for environmental education) keep wasting away and dying, and have even spread it to stars they’ve had for over five years. It’s crazy! Just super glad to see that other people know about it too and care, your comment made me so happy :)

      • RisainSanFrancisca May 5th, 2014 1:29 PM

        btw our marine animals are kept in a lab, should’ve clarified- we feed them and make sure their environment is safe and that the ammonia and nitrogen levels match the ocean’s current ones and all that. it’s awful cuz we’ll see the sea stars suffering this, and there’s nothing we can do but pull them out and hope they didn’t pass it on to the others

  • umi May 3rd, 2014 6:45 PM


  • rhymeswithorange May 3rd, 2014 8:19 PM

    Yes, the Comeback is the best!! If any of you have access to HBO GO just watch it. It’s only 13 episodes. You will not be disappointed.

  • katrinaandthediamonds May 3rd, 2014 8:46 PM

    I just have to say the lix 3D pen is the most amazing thing I have ever seen oh my god.


  • JadeTayla May 3rd, 2014 9:06 PM

    What’s happening in Nigeria at the moment is incredibly horrifying and heartbreaking. As the protestors said, if it were happening in a Western country everyone would be up in arms about it. But because it’s happening in a third world country, no one gives a shit. I’m a journalism student and I was talking to my mum last night about how all the major news stations in our city (Melbourne) start their bulletins off with pointless local news stories when they should be running things like this first. They do mention it but it’s always a side line and the end, tossed in with human interest stories before the sport. It pisses me off so much because it seems like most people in Western countries like mine don’t care about these atrocities. I think it’s especially raw because the girls are around my age and it gets you thinking “What if that was me and my friends? Would people care?” I feel so much pain for being in an industry who has the power to inform people and make changes, but rather cares about themselves than others. My thoughts are with those girls and their families. Hopefully action can be done so they can return home safely soon.

  • bella_lmh May 4th, 2014 3:25 AM

    loved this so so so much. Thank you for bringing my attention to the horrifying events happening in Nigeria. On a lighter note, I loved Ilana’s video and am now on a mission to watch every one of her videos!

    (I also write on a travel/music/fashion blog and would love it if anyone checked it out- neophytekid.blogspot.com ) xx

  • Cleocat May 4th, 2014 5:14 AM

    I am so glad that you are posting all of these sea creature stuff!

  • rahima May 4th, 2014 10:37 AM

    Saturday Links are my absolute favorite. They’re always new and interesting. Hope the Nigerian girls get home safely though. The essay by Ellen Willis was great and the 3D pen was amazing. The Soylent drink is just… everything but I don’t think it’s enough to keep people away from cake after a long day from work. Pfft *side eyed smile*

  • Demmy May 4th, 2014 12:05 PM

    I live in Nigeria and I must say, the things that are happening in this country right now are so horrifying. I feel so bad for the girls. Bomb blasts have become the norm in the north and all northerners are living in fear. I live in the south and there have been reports that Boko Haram, a terrorist group are heading here. I am soo scared. May God take control. xx

    • Amy Rose May 4th, 2014 12:22 PM

      So much love and safety to you, Demmy.

  • Saana V May 4th, 2014 1:42 PM

    This soylent thing is making me v uncomfortable. My first thought was: “Someone is gonna use this for some sort of a crazy diet,” and you know that’s probably true and agh. Rhinehad said all our societal situations revolve around eating and to me it seems so stupid that he’s trying to change that, I mean, really. I like sitting around a cup of coffee and just talking. I don’t think that soylent will replace that. Or like, the good taste of food. Unsweetened custard doesn’t sound so good to me.
    Soylent is totally cool (!) for fighting against world hunger but?? This is gonna end so badly. I can imagine this leading us to a reverse Wall-E type of world.

  • Jes May 4th, 2014 9:16 PM

    i read that article about rob the soylent dude and he is a fuckn strange thinker. which 6 year old looks down at their plate of salad and thinks, “this is primitive” ??? and then grows up and names their invention after a food that contains people???

    • rahima May 5th, 2014 3:29 AM

      Soylent has people in it? What the frick :o

      • Erin. May 5th, 2014 11:24 AM

        Haha, no, Jes is talking about the movie Soylent Green, which takes place in a dystopian kind of world where they make food out of people. Interestingly, though, in the original story that the movie is based on, the food wasn’t made out of people. It was just some futuristic stuff or something (I haven’t read it, though). So maybe Rob is basing the name off the story rather than the movie. Still, the whole soylent=people connection is hard to get over.

        • rahima May 6th, 2014 2:46 AM

          Oh, haha Rob should have named it something else then… Real food is irreplaceable though. Thanks for explaining Erin! :)

  • Erin. May 5th, 2014 11:21 AM

    Oh man, the essay by Ellen Willis really hits home for me. Apart from wanting to date, it’s like reading about my high school experience. Her fears are my fears: that while I like to think I’m somehow being subversive, I’m just being a loser who won’t amount to anything. It’s funny how our myths about ourselves can both help us and hold us back. Like, what do you do in this situation?

  • belovedsnail May 5th, 2014 12:44 PM

    The fact that he chose to name it Soylent is not exactly promising…

  • cole123 May 5th, 2014 7:47 PM

    My first thought: “Soylent Green is people!”
    I’m not quite sure what this guy is going for. He wants fruit and vegetables- things that naturally grow and things we are supposed to eat- to be art? Does he want real food to be something only outrageously rich people could afford? Hmm… sounds a little weird.

  • monkshood May 12th, 2014 3:29 PM

    Gotta be honest, I got a little nauseous the moment I read the name, “Soylent.” Ummmm… maybe I’m just not used to cannibalism jokes. But, anyway, this sounds like something out of a sci fi story – which is pretty cool. :) I still prefer Michael Pollan’s philosophy on food and nutrition, though.