Sunday Content #3: August 23, 2015
A non-emailed newsletter curated by Sandra Allen
A few years ago, I went through a long phase during which I could not listen to enough Savage Lovecast. It’s a great phase; I recommend it highly. What I liked about the show weren’t his monologues, really (though I agree with his politics, mostly), nor his advice (after a while you can pretty much anticipate how’s he going to respond to most things).
What I liked were the voices of those calling him. Often American. Often straight identified. Often lilted Southern. And often, these were people who hid something about their sexual or romantic truths from their communities, their coworkers, their partners, themselves. I wondered at who they were. I wondered how much better a country this would be if we were honest about who we are, especially when it comes to sex. (We’d maybe give fewer television shows to dinguses like this.)
I turned to Dan this week because I don’t think anyone’s spent as much time talking with as many people about monogamy, trust, secrecy, and infidelity. Here’s his open letter to people thinking of putting their partners’ email into the Ashley Madison database. It includes an excerpt of an exchange he had with Anna Sale the time he was on her show:
John Hermann (unsurprisingly) also had a worthwhile take about the hack, at The Awl: “I may be overestimating how far things will unfold, but this feels like a momentous event.”
Speaking of Death, Sex & Money, I really enjoyed their five-episode series about the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Each focuses on the story of one person, like Big Freedia, and his or her experience before, during, and after the flood. I am more comfortable with reporting that focuses on individual stories (in this case, individuals literally speaking for themselves) rather than broad ones. (On that note: Nicolás Medina Mora on the criminal record of Freddie Gray.)
That series reminded me of a fantastic episode of the fantastic podcast Everything is Stories about B.B. St. Roman, the only homeless liaison to New Orleans’ police department and her generally remarkable life.
Moira Donegan wrote a clear and considered criticism of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts in n+1. I liked The Argonauts. I liked The Argonauts a lot more than I’ve liked Nelson’s other books that I’ve read, and I think this is in part because of the force of memoir within it. She is such a talented memoirist and she’d probably eschew that term and I don’t care. The first page of that book is so damn good I just about threw it across the train.
Another smart thing written by a woman named Moira: Moira Weigel, who’s doing a PhD at Yale, responded in The New Republic to that embarrassingly under-reported Vanity Fair screed about online dating:
The most bonkers thing I read this week was this Forbes story about the Academy of Art University in San Francisco — which is, basically, a scam — and the family that’s made $800 million off of it. What’s most bonkers is that it features that claim adjacent to detailed descriptions of the materiality of their wealth and photos like this (that the Stephens family apparently consented to?!):
The other most bonkers thing I read this week was “Joe Gould’s Teeth.”
Here’s a thing if you want to have #feelings: CBC’s Wiretap is ending and made a farewell video called “How to Age Gracefully” that features advice given from a 4 year old to a 3 year old, a 5 year old to a 4 year old, a 6 year old to a 5 year old, and so on.