Truly, the happiest I have been in recent memory is during the three and a half minutes it took me to read about this injury lawyer-obsessed toddler named Grayson getting the birthday party of his dreams. WHAT? I KNOW. Apparently, Grayson, two years old, is very attached to a TV commercial featuring a local celebrity of sorts, New Orleans-area injury lawyer Morris Bart. I assume Bart gets his fame from the kind of commercials that screen repeatedly during daytime television or nightly newcasts, something to the tune of, “Injury? Accident? Workplace mishap? CALL OUR LAWYERS AND THEY’LL GET YOU OUT OF TROUBLE!” You know what I’m talking about. The fact that of all things, this is what a toddler’s dream birthday party entails—including a photo-printed cake, a life-size cut-out, a hilariously large t-shirt—it’s just incredible. The joy I feel…it’s simply unmatched. I feel so alive. Thank you, Grayson. Happy birthday.
Psychologists have released a new study on friendship. The study is an intriguing look at how relationships grow and shift from middle school through high school. The researchers surveyed hundreds of teens from a single town over a period of six years and found that the friendships most likely to endure were the ones in which people shared gender or ethnicity; or shared attitudes toward behavior or academics. They also found that friendships were more likely to dissolve during transition years–between sixth and seventh grade, and between eighth and ninth grade–which means that if you get through high school with friends from elementary school or middle school, you are in a a very small minority.
For me, the most fascinating aspect of the study is that psychologists collected data by asking teens to name their friends, but friendships only counted if both parties named each other, which I can imagine created a lot of anxiety during the survey. Teens were also asked to describe each of their classmates participating in the study, regardless of friend-intensity. For example, they were asked to rate each other on a scale of most-liked to most-disliked. That last detail really makes me wonder how the surveys affected these people’s time in school–did reflecting on and quantifying their relationships change the way they treated each other and saw themselves? The paper doesn’t answer those questions, so I guess that’s a research question for another time.
New York Magazine published an article featuring the portraits and stories of 35 women who have accused the comedian Bill Cosby of sexual abuse. To call this groundbreaking piece of journalism difficult to read is an understatement—it is hard to encounter the stories of so many survivors of rape and sexual assault all at once. But I am so glad this piece exists as a testament to the horror of sexual violence and to the courage of each woman publicly discussing the traumas they have survived.
I’ve been obsessed with Brian Williams aka Lustmord for at least a decade. His difficult music terrifies and inspires me. In this excellent interview with the Quietus, Williams reminisces on his long music career, beginning with the birth of industrial music in the 1980s, through to his masterpiece ambient record Heresy. He discusses the 20-year conception and production of his record The Word as Power. Finally released in 2013, it’s an absolutely stunning album replete with ritual Catholic chants, with vocals by Jarboe and Maynard James Keenan. If you’re looking for powerful music that will challenge your ideas of what a song is, look no further than Lustmord—there’s an extensive catalogue of his work to enjoy.
“Run Away With Me,” the new Carly Rae Jepsen jam, is a TRIUMPH. I first heard this song as I walked to the grocery store and I literally JUMPED FOR JOY. It’s a sweeping, anthemic pop song equally suited for dancing at a party or in the shower. Carly Rae’s new album, Emotion, is one of the best pop records of the year.
StyleLikeU’s video featuring the poet Staceyann Chin grabbed my attention right away. It’s titled “Poet versus Patriarchy,” plus I love me some Staceyann Chin! In the video, Chin discusses her preference for clothes that don’t match, her upbringing in Jamaica, her journey to the United States, and her work as an activist. This woman is fierce! Her poems and her complex and unapologetically intersectional politics keep me on track. She’s also my #MotherhoodGoals, I mean, how adorable are these “Living Room Protest” videos that she makes with her daughter Zuri?
William C. Anderson’s essay about Nina Simone’s “insistent blackness,” so perfectly articulates my feelings about the icon that I wish I’d written it. Nina lived unafraid to be in the public eye and was frank about the pleasures and pains of being black and a woman. Pouring all of her self into her craft and her activism, Nina feels familiar and wholesome to me because of how seamlessly she’d weave between anthems like “Mississippi Goddamn” and sexier songs like “In the Dark,” the revolutionary and the sensuous. Nina’s work reminds me to keep my politics AND my self-care on fleek.
If you want to feel confused to your core, I invite you to watch this video of Tom Cruise lip syncing The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” as part of The Tonight Show‘s infamous Lip Sync Battle segment. Who knew such an unassuming TV bit could change my life forever? I had to watch this like I watch horror movies: with my hands covering my face so I could shield mine eyes from the spectacle if necessary. This footage is both beautiful and weird. Tom Cruise is really good at acting—it’s his job—and it is nice to watch him ham it up to one of the summer’s best songs. But watching him ape rock-star moves is like watching peanut butter toast fall on the ground, peanut side down. Tragic, and a waste (of my time). I hate it. Or do I love it? I don’t know. I feel funny in my tummy about it.
National Geographic reported the sad news that Nabiré, one of the last five northern white rhinoceroses left in the world, died on Monday. Of the remaining four of her kind, only one is male, and he is too old to mate. This means that Nabiré’s death is one step in the subspecies’ slow march towards extinction. It’s heartbreaking to know that these beautiful animals will no longer exist after the demise of this final generation. In the article, Kathleen Garrigan from the African Wildlife Foundation says that this sad outcome reminds us “to look at the other species that are out there…and double-down on our efforts to ensure they survive.” I hope so.
Amy Sedaris’ “Top Shelf” profile on Into The Gloss is incredible. Amongst other things, she explains consulting Youtube tutorials before doing her own red carpet makeup and cutting the waistband off tights to use as a headband. Those are some beauty tips I can get behind! ♦