Friendmendations 12.29.19


Friendmendations 12.29.19

Oh my goodness! 2019 is almost over, and this newsletter is almost 6 months old! If she were a human baby she’d be trying solid foods for the first time. If you still need a New Year’s Resolution, may I suggest “forwarding this newsletter to more people?” Just an idea!

I hope you’re all having a relaxing end to the year. If not, here are some links to distract you.

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

I guess it says a lot about me that my ex sent me the link to GQ’s oral history of the Folger’s incest ad with the comment “I suppose you’ve read this by now,” and I had, but let’s not dwell on that now.

Obviously I loved this piece, obviously I’m glad that it exists, obviously I have had questions about this ad for years. But some of those questions — GIANT ones — are still left unanswered, probably because the reporter did not want to actually antagonize those responsible for this ad. So we do not get the explanation we so need for why the girl just says “sister!” instead of a full fucking sentence. Nor did the reporter directly ask them, “How many takes did you do that day? Do you think there was some less sexually charged footage that ended up on the cutting room floor?”

Furthermore, an entirely new issue is raised by the official comment given by the marketing executive for the company, who says that they’re “focused on showcasing modern mornings in a new and different way for the brand” with a link to their new commercial that is intentionally about incest!? The depravity, like my confusion, has no limit.

Beyoncé and utopias on my mind

I pitched the idea of watching Beyoncé’s Homecoming to my family so many times over the past week that my mom eventually cried “Is that the Beyoncé movie you keep trying to force on us?” when I suggested an entirely different film, leading me to ask why she thought any Beyoncé movie would be called John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch.

Naturally, I appreciated Soraya Nadia McDonald’s piece “Wandering in Search of Wakanda,” an excellent examination of the idea of black utopia as reflected in three pieces of art this year (one of which was Homecoming.) I got one of my brothers a copy of Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-hour Workweek for Christmas, and McDonald’s writing on specifically black utopias dovetailed nicely with the historic background of the book. It’s a great read.

Very good writing on a very good movie!

I recently watched The Talented Mr. Ripley for the first time. It’s on Hulu now, so you should watch it if you haven’t! It’s a fascinating, stylish, extremely well-made film.

Once you watch it (and not before, because of spoilers), you should read Haley Mlotek’s “The Most Stylish Scammer: 20 Years of The Talented Mr. Ripleyimmediately.

Minghella’s 1999 adaptation is the standout, for a simple, shallow reason: the film looks as good as the pain it inflicts. Like every good melodrama, Ripley is a story dependent on misinterpreting cruelty as romance, and on misreading beauty as inherently good—just because something is superficial doesn’t mean it’s not deep.

I’m resisting the urge to include about a dozen other quotes because the writing in this piece is just superb. Read it! Savor it!

This song is UNHINGED

I was about to write “why did the Killers write so many songs about hurting or murdering people?” and then I realized that that question kind of answers itself, huh?

Okay video time

Yes, this came out almost ten years ago, but it holds up.

One final recommendation to close out the year! I personally think New Year’s Eve is the worst holiday. (Some will say Valentine’s Day, but at least everyone acknowledges that that day sucks and it’s an excuse to eat chocolate, so I think it’s fine compared to a holiday when it’s freezing out but you need to find something to do or else you feel like you’re getting an entire year off to a bad start so you panic and make plans but still end up with FOMO.)

Last year, I heard Ron Funches explain on a podcast that he spends every New Year’s Eve at home, relaxing and making vision boards with some loved ones. This year I am having some friends over to craft together, but last year, when no plans were coming together, I took this inspiration to have what I called a “self-care New Year’s Eve” all alone. It was lovely. I deep-cleaned my room, the kitchen and the bathroom to start the year fresh and organized. I did a face mask, sipped sparkling cider, and took a bath with a LUSH bath bomb. After my bath, I slathered myself in lotion, binge-watched Schitt’s Creek, and cut up magazines to make a vision board for my year. The idea sounds cheesy, and it certainly is, but it also gives you an excuse to ponder what you want for your future as you flip through images to see what jumps out at you. I found it was surprisingly helpful in making me admit to some things that I want but feel dumb owning up to, even to myself! Plus it’s fun to do something with your hands, disconnected from your phone and other sources of stress.

I ended the night by dancing alone to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Party for One” in my living room and going to bed no later than 12:15, and I woke up the next morning refreshed, moisturized and smelling nice in a clean apartment.

May your New Year’s Day be as pleasant! You are worthy of care, from others and also from yourself, and I hope that your year ends and another begins with happiness in whatever form you most prefer. I’ll see you on the other side, friends!