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Art: MRCokeley Design

The twisted masculinity of pro-Trump art

When Italo Calvino wrote about his memories of growing up in Fascist Italy, surrounded by images of Mussolini, he wrote, also, about his uncle. “I recall my uncle aping Mussolini’s gestures, his fists firmly on his hips,” Calvino remembers in the essay ‘Il Duce’s Portraits.’ “The images of Mussolini came to me filtered through the sarcastic discourse of adults… but the reservations were confined to private conversations, and never put a dent in the façade of unanimity of which the regime made a great show.”

Under the reign of America’s own Il Duce — our sour braggart, our Il Douchebag — it is permitted to ape the dictator’s mannerisms in public. There are so many of them, and they are so peculiar, that imitating Trump’s speech and crouched, pout-lipped stance has become something of a cottage industry. It is the full-time employment of the comedian Anthony Atamanuik, who employed his consummate skill at aping the president for a full season of The President Show on Comedy Central. Alec Baldwin’s more exaggerated and less naturalistic impression, heavy on the drawn-out lips and less committed to capturing the president’s ragged threads of speech, sporadically lights up our screens on Saturday nights. Late-night shows specialize in clip montages of his odder moments; Halloween costumes of the president, a simple combination of a neon-blonde bouffant wig and skin paint of an orange hue, are as easy to find as they are to execute. …

GOP Senate Candidate Courtland Sykes: “I don’t buy into radical feminism’s crazed definition of modern womanhood… They made that up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads….I want daughters to have their own intelligence….and I don’t want them to grow up into career-obsessed banshees who forego home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops of a thousand tall buildings they are think [sic] they could have leaped over in a single bound — had men not ‘suppressing them.’” …


There is a Jewish law which says
A man and a woman can’t be alone together in a room

there is after all so much dangerous territory to consider
the map of flesh, pale under the arms
rough at the elbows and knees
there are ridges here, private thickets
a whole human topography

and when the door shuts
each man becomes Cortés

The law elaborates:
during the day a woman may be alone with two men
during the night it must be three or more
The following people are permitted to be in seclusion together: a husband and wife, a mother and son, a father and daughter,
a grandfather and…

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This spicy hot take is brought to you by me, a person who thinks Nazis suck.

Nazis and white supremacists are incredibly bad. They want to kill people and oppress them and disenfranchise them, lynch and enslave and annihilate people purely for looking different or believing differently. They also lie constantly. They are extremely bad. There are no two sides to this. Nothing can change my mind about this. If your mind is waffly maybe it has some holes in it, I don’t know. Nazis are bad. Killing, wounding and gassing anti-Nazi protesters is bad. People have the right to defend themselves and other people from inherently violent people with inherently violent ideas. No one who marches for white supremacy armed with mace, clubs and guns is an “innocent.” Anyone who marches alongside a swastika is bad. They deserve to lose their jobs, never be invited to speak, and be met with universal contempt and scorn. They are being defended vigorously by the White House. I refuse to do further work for them. I refuse. …

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this is me & i need your help.

Dear Mitch McConnell, et. al.,

I have a debilitating panic disorder. I’ve had occasions where I could not leave my house, could not use public transportation, could not sleep properly for days at a time, and could not eat without being racked by fear. I went on medication for the disorder a number of years ago — and since then, I’ve had steady access to affordable medication through the ACA, at first through my parents’ healthcare plan, now through an employer plan that’s mandated by the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits requirement to cover medication at a fair price. Without my medication, I would not be employable. It is very likely I would be confined by agoraphobia to my home. I could not get through a day without multiple traumatizing panic attacks which have driven me to the brink of suicide in recent years. Thanks to affordable medication and therapy, I was able to claw myself back from the brink. …

On A June 14th Shooting In America (And Two More June 14th Shootings in America)

Here in America we have always believed in transformation.

Even as things remain immutable — the violence that underpins the fragile peace of things bays through our flesh in the same mad roar — we are convinced that a dream and a wish and a skin’s worth of labor can make a life pristine.

But as it happens — as it seems to me — the best transformation we are capable of is happening all the time: we can turn our loathing into death.

In America, the endless war abroad is complemented by a more scattershot war at home: in which the volatility of passions, personal and political, can be transubstantiated into deadly fire at the smallest urging. For the war at home there is no overarching plan, no planned deployments, no preemptive press conferences: only a salting of corpses on the earth. …

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you know you want it.

“Pasta with stuff” is my go-to recipe for pretty much whenever — especially lazy weekends when I wake up late and just want to rummage through the cupboard to make something filling, quick and tasty. I’ve tried out many combinations of “pasta with stuff,” like a starchy scientist. So here’s my time-tested and thoroughly delicious recipe for easy, delicious carbo-goodness.

You’ll need:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • spinach (frozen or fresh)
  • olive oil
  • a handful or two of cheese (sharp cheddar is preferable)
  • salt, pepper, and rosemary
  • pasta — I find a thin tubular pasta like penne or ziti is good but pretty much anything…

Talia Lavin

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