Reading List: T-Minus Ten Hours Until I Can Retreat Into A Holiday Pillow Fort In My Parents' Basement.
Gather round, ye Merry Missivians, for the final one of 2021 (unless, of course, inspiration strikes me to send some kind of year end wrap up of madness and/or list of cute things my dog has done in the snow, which we all know is quite likely to happen.) This Reading List is a grab bag of topics and authors and publications, and while I haven’t fully consumed every word of content, I am counting down the hours to closing time, when I can shut down my work computer, fire up my kindle, wrap myself in a blanket burrito and dive into all of this.
And writing the first line reminded me of this awesome song about debating the punctuation of that Christmas carol, and I am once again grateful that I’m not the only one who obsesses over commas.
Colin Alexander, 'Dirty Harry' Turns 50: What If Harry Had Worn a Body Cam? (CalLawyers) - This is for the legal nerds out there, and I know there are quite a few who read this every morning. Friend of the Missive Colin Alexander dives deep into the legal realities of the “guilty pleasure” of the “stark morality” of films wherein middle aged white men seek revenge on the “monsters” who have wronged them. And Alexander goes deep on how Dirty Harry behavior would not fly in 2021, (best line of the piece: “Harry’s shoot-out with his .44 Magnum on a crowded San Francisco street is frighteningly reckless.”), the lazy storytelling tropes the film uses to posit that Harry is not racist, and goes into the numerous Brady violations our anti-hero commits. This is straight up nerd shit and I am HERE FOR IT.
David Frum, Biden Won Big With a Bad Hand (The Atlantic) - The lede for this piece is a straight kick to reality: “Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is taking heat for sinking, at least for the moment, the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act. But before pointing fingers, Democrats should use those fingers to count votes.” (emphasis mine)
Alex Wilhelm, Bitcoin is religion; web3 is greed (TechCrunch) - If you, like me, don’t 100 percent understand Web 3 stuff and why every VC influencer on Twitter is crowing about it, count on Friend of the Missive Alex Wilhelm to sort it out for you (seriously, this piece was SO helpful AND provides me with delightfully incisive counterpoints the next time a dude in SF drops something about crypto on a first date.)
Liz Day, Emily Steel, Rachel Abrams and Samantha Stark, Britney Spears Felt Trapped. Her Business Manager Benefited. (The New York Times) - Mum of the Missive sent me this one, and my goodness, the Britney Spears conservatorship made a lot of awful people very, very rich. And then there’s this: “In 2010, tens of thousands of dollars from Ms. Spears’s charitable foundation went to a Christian counseling group with ties to Ms. Taylor and her husband and whose founder once boasted that the group helped people abandon lesbianism. Ms. Spears has been an icon to the L.G.B.T.Q. community.”
Caira Connor, My father, the white supremacist (Vox) - (Content warning: hate speech, child abuse, sexual trauma) We all struggle with familial legacies, both positive and negative, but my goodness, I hope we never have to struggle with something like this.
Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Jason Isbell Is Tired Of Country’s Love Affair With White Nostalgia (BuzzFeed News) This counters the above nicely - haven’t read it all the way through yet, but in addition to the excellent look at the ingrained misogyny and sexism of the country music industry, it’s worth reading for its subject’s excellent retort to any claims of cancel culture: “I think it’s hilarious that people assume that making somebody less famous is like cutting their fucking dick off!” I will now be listening to some Jason Isbell as I walk Orca over the holidays.
That’s it, that’s all. Stay warm, stay safe, and be kind to each other, won’t you?