I intended to write two posts last week, a regular one and a bonus post, but the regular one was about Britney Spears again, so it ended up taking the entire week to write. I wrote my previous piece, “What Britney Spears Deserves,” in 2019, with the goal of demonstrating that Britney’s conservatorship was the most egregious example in a lifetime of mistreatment — from her family, the media, the general public, and now the legal system. I just wanted people to care. It was odd, then, to watch a documentary produced by the New York Times with that same goal, and to see people all over social media starting to care about something I’ve been obsessive about for about a decade.
Anyway. It was weird to write about Britney again in light of how much the conversation around her has changed just over the past month. And I didn’t write a bonus post, so I’ll do that this week. Plus I will do recs, now, because that’s this, what I’m writing right now. Here we go!
The best cake I ever made
In last week’s newsletter, I said that I’d be making lemon rose shortbread cookies for Valentine’s Day. Since I couldn’t find dried rose petals, though, I pivoted and made a recipe I’d had saved for years: this blackberry lavender cake that was so labor-intensive and so worth it that I had to stage a full-on photoshoot for Instagram when I was done. I was considering another, similar recipe, but this one won the day because of its cream cheese frosting and the infusion of lavender throughout: it’s seeped in the milk that goes into the batter and also in a lavender simple syrup that coats each cake layer, making the springy cake moist and fragrant and delicious. The end result was out of this world, the kind of cake that makes you yell out loud when you try it. I’ve never been prouder of a dessert, and I make a lot of desserts.
A VERY good read
Namwali Serpell’s “Unbothered,” an examination of Black nonchalance is so brilliantly and beautifully written. Serpell cites so many examples from protest, art, pop culture, and memes that I can’t even excerpt it — you just need to take some time to read it yourself.
I am once again thinking about how useless the Democratic Party is :)
Trump was acquitted in a second impeachment, we still don’t have those $2,000 stimulus checks we were promised, and Luke Savage’s piece from October 2020, “Why Liberals Pretend They Have No Power” is hitting even harder. It starts with a warning about Democrats shirking the responsibility to hold Trump accountable for refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power! And now we know how that turned out!
The situation is depressing but Savage’s analysis is good:
Beginning with the hopeful cadence of “Yes we can!” and ending, after a slew of congressional defeats, with the election of Donald Trump, the Obama era has served to convince many liberals of the need to compromise even further—anything remotely ambitious being doomed to fail on the altars of conservative partisanship and Republican obstruction…
Partly in response to the limitations of Obama-era liberalism, the left (notably, though not exclusively, in Bernie Sanders’s two presidential campaigns) has embraced something like an inverse strategy: mobilizing around ambitious, popular policies and openly naming the forces and interests that stand in their way.
Let us once again appreciate an artist selling cool stuff
Revolting Romantic makes beautiful textile art, but it’s her epoxy resin sculptures that made me feel like I needed to make a purchase right that second. My glittery opalescent little figure of a man’s torso delights me to no end, a Classical art style in a vibey modern medium. It’s also so fun to follow the artist on Instagram and see what new pieces she’s cooking up!
A serious throwback
Since my friends and I have been bingeing Wandavision (which remains superb!), the topic of old TV came up and I admitted that I knew nothing about The Dick Van Dyke Show. My friends insisted that I correct this oversight, and the entire series is on Hulu, so now I know several things about The Dick Van Dyke Show: it’s adorable, I have no choice but to stan, every sitcom should pepper its supporting cast with former vaudeville stars, I will watch this every time I’m sad for the rest of my life, the central thesis of Wandavision makes perfect sense, etc.
That’s all. I leave you with the perfect crime:
This week last year:
“Friendmendations 2.17.20” — the brief existence of the cursed Caardvark, great writing on Little Richard and Big Freedia, when memes steal from Black creators, a salad made of potatoes and lentils and butter and goodness, not laughing at Pete Davidson, and the VERY BEST PHOTO that The Onion ever created
“Celebrity profiles are ludicrous, even when they’re about real estate” — dumb nonsense that I discovered back when I had a job where I’d waste time reading dumb nonsense