Everything else

Saturday Links: Saturday Lynx Edition

Plus a charming profile of a game-show host, cultural appropriation thoughts, and INSTAGRAM SHOES.


A Stella McCartney "Chinatown plaid" jacket. Photo by the Associated Press via The Atlantic.

A Stella McCartney “Chinatown plaid” jacket. Photo by the Associated Press via The Atlantic.

Lately, I’ve been destructively fatigued by discussions of cultural appropriation, and, sweet lady parts of my mother, have there been a lot of opportunities to have those discussions, and goddamn, do I not want to be part of them. But then! This tremendously nuanced, patient, and well-researched piece about cultural appropriation in fashion, written by one of my heroes, Minh-Ha Pham (a founder of the most brilliant fashion blog ever to exist, Threadbared, and the Tumblr Of Another Fashion) blew me out of these dumpy, toxic waters. It articulated exactly what I haven’t been able to, namely that:

There’s a big problem with critiques of cultural appropriation. They reaffirm the very thing they intend to oppose: white Western domination over and exploitation of culture at the expense of everyone else. [...] The popular chorus of “Cultural appropriation! Cultural appreciation!” quickly becomes a performance in which neither side misses a cue nor forgets a well-learned line.

Pham uses the recent trend of “Chinatown chic,” a phrase that came up a lot after the Stella McCartney and Céline fall 2013 runway shows, to start a more thoughtful conversation about what we’re really objecting to when we say, “Hey, that’s cultural appropriation!”


If you listened to this week’s Friday Playlist by our pal/inspiration Sarah Sophie Flicker, you may have been amused/intrigued by track seven, “The Pill” by Loretta Lynn, an ode to birth control with lines like “This incubator is overused because you’ve kept it filled / The feeling good comes easy now since I’ve got the pill.” Coincidentally, Casey N. Cep wrote about this very song over at The Awl this week. Called “The Song That Made the Pill OK,” the piece lays out how controversial it was to talk openly about birth control in 1975, the year the song came out, and how hungry women were for someone to do just that.

Meanwhile, at Teen Vogue, Valerie Tejeda lists the pros of having divorced parents. One example: two bedrooms to decorate!

Photo from Adidas

Photo from Adidas.

This one’s headline says all you need to know: “You Can Print Your Instagrams on Adidas Sneakers This Summer.”

Photo by rbmay/flickr, via The Atlantic.

Photo by rbmay/flickr, via The Atlantic.

And, finally, at The Atlantic, Emily Matchar asks, “Should Paid Menstrual Leave Be a Thing?” While everyone debates whether it is liberating or oppressive to women to give us paid leave during our periods (there seem to be an equal number of women and feminists on either side of this “debate”), why not give everyone a few extra days off school/work per month for whatever the fuck we want to use them for? I think you should be able to call in for ennui/malaise/wanderlust/the blues/the mean reds/shame/teen plague/birthdays/season finales/pizzaversaries.


Back in December, Olivia did a TED Talk in Athens, Greece, that is smart, full of heart, and now available to watch on YouTube:

She talks about a lot of things that have been bouncing around my brain since I watched it, like how to make work that conveys real feelings, and the importance of connecting with the people who are with you instead of the people “in your pocket” (as in, on your phone/the internet). She also takes down the concept of “talent,” which a lot of people see as something you have or you don’t, and calls it what it is: “the need to get better because you love something.”


Clare on the way to the prom she was kicked out of. Photo via Wine & Marble.

Clare on the way to the prom she was kicked out of. Photo via Wine & Marble.

A 17-year-old was kicked out of her prom after one of the organizers complained that her dress was too racy and caused a disturbance among the dads chaperoning the event. In an essay titled “Fuck the Patriarchy” posted on her sister’s blog, the girl, whose name is Clare, outlines the exact ways in which this is total and complete bull. For starters, the length of her dress was well within the limit set by the school (her fingertips were not to extend past the hem, and they didn’t). Also, she says, there were other girls with much shorter dresses at prom—she believes she was singled out because she’s tall and curvy. It really pains me to see a girl get the fun of her senior prom stolen from her, and it’s a clear example of the scrutiny women (especially young women) face because of our body shapes and sizes.


I am so, so thrilled that Beautiful Noise, a documentary about shoegaze music, has been fully funded by Kickstarter and given a release date! The movie includes interviews with luminaries of the genre such as Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. I love the tagline “They didn’t sell a lot of records, but everyone who heard them started a band,” because it’s so true; the old English shoegaze bands influenced rock music in a profound manner that is still felt today, in bands like M83 and A Place to Bury Strangers. Check out the trailer above—Robert Smith from the Cure even makes an appearance!

Amy Rose

One of Vivian Maier's many, many subjects. Photo courtesy Maloof Collection/Howard Greenberg Gallery via The New Yorker.

One of Vivian Maier’s many, many subjects. Photo courtesy Maloof Collection/Howard Greenberg Gallery via The New Yorker.

Our own Rose wrote this lovely essay about the photographer Vivian Maier, whose work was unknown and unpublicized until after her death, and about the pathologizing of “reclusive” female artists’ interior lives. The whole thing is intensely beautiful, but this is the part where I started wimp-weeping and didn’t stop till the end:

Maier was not a closed-off shut-in. [...] Her photographs of the urban and suburban streets track the fluctuations of the economy, the growth of the city, the cycles of the seasons, the emotions in the faces of the children she cared for, the way her own body advanced through the years. [...] She valued her freedom above all. Her art and profession have more in common than it may initially seem. She was a perpetual outsider, and she liked it that way. She moved among people but did not belong to any of them.

The piece ends with a long look at the way female artists are perceived and remembered by the wider culture, and how that relates to the actual intentions of their work. I love it, I love it, boy do I ever love it.

What is, "Peek-a-boo?" Photo by Ian Allen for The New Republic.

What is, “Peek-a-boo?” Photo by Ian Allen for The New Republic.

This profile of Alex Trebek, the longtime host of Jeopardy!, is extremely well-written, and it basically reconfirms the way David Foster Wallace forever cast him in my mind when he made the TV icon a bratty character in my all-time favorite short story, “Little Expressionless Animals,” which you must read right now. After that, settle in for even further enjoyment, because this interview with the non-fictional Trebek rules in similarly pleasurable ways:

Fact: When Trebek shaved off his moustache in 2001, he did it in the middle of the day, himself, without warning the Jeopardy! producers. [His hairdresser] was alarmed to come in and find him mid-shearing. He just felt like it, he says now. “And it got so much press, I couldn’t believe it. The wars with Iraq or whatever at that time, and people are all in a stew over my moustache. I have one response: Get a life.”

Super Executives. Illustration by Kickpixel via Grantland.

Super Executives. Illustration by Kickpixel via Grantland.

This excerpt from Console Wars, a recently published and INCREDIBLY rad-sounding book about the rise of the home video-gaming industry, had your girl nodding and going, “Hm!” out of pure fascination and delight like one of those kids in class who’s always trying to show that they appreciate the teacher for imparting such INTERESTING KNOWLEDGE (read: me in college just as much as when I read this awesome Nintendo-centric jam earlier this week).


This video captures the musician Devonté Hynes exploring his synaesthesia, a neurological condition where his hearing and vision are connected (meaning he sees sound and hears colors). Part of the Lost Lectures series, Hynes’s presentation explained how he’s used this condition to help him deal with his anxiety. Taking in the hypnotizing graphics and synthesized beats, I can almost feel his anxiety build and grow until it’s brought back under control through music.


Get well soon, mighty queen! Photo by Chloe Aftel via Pitchfork.

Get well soon, mighty queen! Photo by Chloe Aftel via Pitchfork.

The Julie Ruin released a statement about the cancellation of their tour dates through August. Lead singer Kathleen Hanna, who has been outspoken about her struggles with Lyme disease, has suffered a relapse and will be undergoing an intense round of treatment that prevents her from traveling. It’s sad to hear that Kathleen is going through this, but I’m glad she is taking care of herself. We at Rookie wish her a swift recovery and hope the Julie Ruin will be back out there making us all dance come fall!


Eurasian Saturday lynx captured by time-lapse cameras in Ukraine via Salon.

Eurasian lynx captured by the biologist Sergey Gashchak’s time-lapse cameras via Salon.

This news about the lynx community in the wilds of northern Ukraine feels very appropriate to share with you guys (Saturday lynx, get it?). Ever since 100,000 people permanently evacuated the highly radioactive zone near the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the lynxies have had full run of the zone without the threat of human interference (the biggest threat to wildlife worldwide). However, “No one knows how radioactive Chernobyl’s lynx are,” reports Slate, which is one of the most science-fictiony things I’ve read in a news article in a long time. Regardless of their Geiger count (and the super lynx powers that radioactivity suggests to my hyperactive imagination!) I am glad that humanity’s screw-up has been this large cat’s gain. Above, cameras set up in the region have captured these furry beasts romping through the snow. ♦


  • saramarit May 17th, 2014 4:30 PM

    I was really sad to hear about Kathleen Hanna especially after watching The Punk Singer a bunch of times last month because it was so great and inspiring. I love the new Julie Ruin album and I hope she’s back on top form really soon.

  • Chanel May 17th, 2014 5:16 PM

    WHOA that Alex Trebek link.

  • Persefone May 17th, 2014 5:31 PM

    This is great, so many different articles. Olivia’s TED Talk really hit the spot. I didn’t knew of Vivian Maier, I think is amazing that she lived her life that way.

  • honorarygilmoregal May 17th, 2014 6:27 PM

    I love Jeopardy and thought that profile of Alex Trebek was pretty cool.

  • mayaautumn May 18th, 2014 2:35 AM

    i saw a documentary about vivian maier last year and thought what a wonderful person she was – one of my favourite photographers since then


  • Kate MH May 18th, 2014 2:48 AM

    I cried when i read the post about the girl who got kicked out of her senior prom. the comments are closed on the blog :( but as a girl who is 5’10 and often wears weird clothes and is loud, rebellious, and aggressive i just needed to say that this happens to me all the time. I have a dress code at my school and i realized early on that it was unfair because i was getting called out ten times more than any of the other girls. i had six detentions in one year for dress code alone. The teachers and boys all picked on me whenever i wore anything above my knees. I tried to go to the administration but after i got extremely emotional and started raising my voice, they kicked me out. It got to the point that, in the morning i broke down crying because i couldnt find anything to wear. My mom found me in tears and i sobbed to her that i hated my legs. I stopped wearing skirts. i wore jeans every single day even though i live in southern california and it got to 103 last week.

  • helloimkate May 18th, 2014 4:43 AM

    Did the US hear about Conchita Wurst winning the Eurovision song contest last weekend??! Thought that would’ve been so up Rookie’s street for Saturday links

  • kimchi May 18th, 2014 11:23 AM

    I am so sick of girls being singled out and picked on for wearing supposedly inappropriate outfits. A few years ago I remember reading another similar story about a girl who was kicked out of her prom for wearing a dress that was “too short” and “inappropriate.” The thing is, I had tried on the same dress that that girl had been kicked out of her prom for wearing. I tried on that dress while shopping for dresses for my formal with my mom and my grandma. I’m pretty sure that there was nothing wildly inappropriate about the dress considering I tried it on at a store I went to with my grandma. Being a teenager is brutal, it can be really hard to find clothes that you feel confident in. It would be devastating to have been singled out the way Clare was.

    In fifth grade I bought my first halter top. I was so excited to wear it, that I wore it to school even though it was against the dress code. I wore it under a jacket so I wouldn’t get in trouble for showing my shoulders, but at recess it got really hot so I took my jacket off. I remember getting in trouble for it, and I felt really horrible about myself. Yes, I did in fact break a rule, but the rule was stupid! Tons of horrible awful things have been enforced by laws in the past, and from that we can recognise that not every law or rule that is enforced today is right. It is wrong to treat children as sexual objects through the enforcing of gendered dress codes. It is wrong to enforce people of any age to dress codes which are tailored to gender.


  • GlitterKitty May 18th, 2014 11:38 AM

    Getting an Instagram picture printed onto Adidas shoes is not something I really thought I really needed but now that I see this…. How did we all go this long without it???

  • chestnutsumo85 May 18th, 2014 4:51 PM

    really loved the Dev Hynes piece, as somebody who has both anxiety and synaesthesia it was really interesting for me to see somebody else share their experiences!

  • Vlada May 18th, 2014 6:29 PM

    Checked all the links, way too many tabs were opened. But I have to say that Olivia’s TED Talk was one of my favorites, I think she’s so inspiring, the way she talks about her job makes me feel as if I had enough strength to do what I love. Also, Chanel’s blog post was way too emotional and I think it’s unfair to be treated that way, no one should experience that, ever.
    Well done Rookie (as always).

  • irismonster May 18th, 2014 10:49 PM

    I love Olivia’s TED talk! I normally hate TEDs because they just plug companies and bs a lot and simplify important things etc. etc., but hers was very good. Art and our creations will always have meaning and mean different things to different people, so I’m really tired of people mocking inspirational quotes and pop songs and things like that because they don’t have meaning. Like, I really like this art and it means a lot to me, so stop telling me that its meaningless.

  • Shanlew May 19th, 2014 6:39 AM

    Am I the only one super excited about the radioactive lynxes?

    • Amy Rose May 19th, 2014 2:53 PM


  • Erin. May 19th, 2014 11:22 AM

    The way some people/society expects girls and women to be ashamed of their own bodies is disgusting. I remember, when I was in grade 8/13 years old, the principal and vice principal (both women) came into our class and started barking at all the girls to, one by one, stand up and lift their arms over their heads, to show whether or not their stomachs would be revealed. They had to do this in the classroom, in front of male students and the male teacher. I wasn’t asked to do this, maybe because I was wearing an oversized tshirt, or because I didn’t have breasts, or maybe they just didn’t see me, but I felt terrible for the girls who did have to do it. At the time, we all just thought it was stupid and unfair, because, as the guys later pointed out, you could see their stomachs when they lifted their arms up too. But in retrospect, I think this was borderline sexual assault. You just don’t do that to a person.

  • Bex_cygnet May 21st, 2014 9:38 AM

    Adored the short story so far Amy Rose! Looks like you have to buy the backdated issue to finish it though :(