Hey there! Allison’s my name! Friendmendations are my game! Have you checked out the new site yet? You BETTER!
August has been wildly stressful for me, but I have some really positive personal news, which is that the new Killers album kicks ass. Do you think I was expecting a great new Killers album in this garbage year? Or, in fact, ever again? I stan this band so hard, but their last album had me discouraged. (Yeah, I said “album,” singular! I liked Battle Born! That’s how hard I stan the Killers! I ADORE Day & Age!) Even if you aren’t at my level of obsession, I’d still recommend checking out Imploding the Mirage, because it’s getting the best reviews they’ve gotten in at least a decade and it’s a very fun album with great production and only 10 songs.
That’s not an official rec this week. That’s just a little somethin’ extra for ya. Official recs are here! 👇🏻
Let’s all relax about other people’s bodies
Pseudonymous activist Your Fat Friend writes a great column for Self about life as a fat person. Her latest, “We Have to Stop Thinking of Being ‘Healthy’ as Being Morally Better,” is excellent, and other pieces like “Your Fat Friends Hear the Way You Talk About Gaining Weight During the Pandemic” address the specific anxieties of our current hell. Following fat and disability activists on social media is a very easy way to start rethinking some of your unconscious biases about bodies, which is something I think we all should work on.
SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK, I GUESS
Few things make me literally feel like I’m literally losing my literal fucking mind more than the rehabilitation of George W. Bush’s image. So I’m deeply grateful for Ari Rabin-Havt’s piece for Jacobin, “We Shouldn’t Have to Remind People George W. Bush Was a Terrible President.” We really fucking shouldn’t, and yet!!!!
Rabin-Havt not only provides a much-needed factual accounting of the Bush years, but he also ties it into an overall whitewashing of the Republican Party as a whole. The goalposts have moved from “bad” to “not as bad as Trump,” and that’s dangerous for everyone. I’m begging you to post this link the next time your aunt on Facebook shares a news story about W. painting his dumb little paintings or hanging out with fucking Ellen or whatever.
Cooking for one, even on vacation
Like all great food writing, Clio Chang’s essay for Eater, “Cooking Solo in the Woods,” isn’t really about food at all. It’s about being by yourself, at home and away from it, in this very confusing year, and the way that cooking can highlight loneliness. I particularly enjoyed this snapshot of solo derangement:
Because I was literally not here to make friends, I ended up inventing them. When I was about an hour from my destination, my car kept flashing an image of a coffee mug and asking me, Do you want to take a break? I thought this was both rude and forward. But I found myself saying back, “No, haha, I’m fine,” somewhat fondly. Ten minutes later, as I craned my neck to look at a billboard advertising fine homemade furniture, my car started screaming “BRAKE! BRAKE!!” I also started screaming and we screamed and slammed on the brake together to avoid hitting the car in front of us, which had slowed down to turn. “Car is friend,” I thought to myself.
I’d never seen any of SNL’s “Kings of Catchphrase Comedy” sketches, but I’m so glad that this Vulture piece brought them to my attention. Vulture’s rankings are all wrong, but the commentary taught me the shocking fact that both Kenan and Bobby’s characters were based on the actual catchphrases of actual 90s comedians. Alonzo “Hamburger” Jones sprinkled an emphatic “HAAAAAMburger!” throughout his act and Shucky Ducky’s catchphrase was, in real life, “Shucky ducky quack quack!”
My personal favorite of all of these bits has to be Reverse Gallagher, so it was also funny to learn that Andy Samberg’s shock upon actually breaking a mallet with a watermelon was genuine and not scripted.
After I shared last week’s bonus post about the allure of cottagecore, my friend Camille sent me this wildly charming video from YouTuber Rachel Maksy. I love costume design, fashion history, vintage style, and (lately especially) nice content that soothes my brain, so Rachel’s channel is perfect for me specifically. Sometimes vintage-focused content creators can be pretentious or off-putting — I am thinking especially of that godawful Victorian couple, of course — but Rachel’s channel is refreshingly chill. (Her interpretation of “Shrekcore” should illustrate what I mean.) Her love of costuming is inspiring instead of intimidating, and even if I occasionally get jealous, like when she decorates her beautiful house, overall it’s the transportive content I crave.
In the course of my cottagecore research, I also discovered the adorable Amanda Maryanna, a college-aged YouTuber who made a video trying it out.
Since cottagecore aesthetics tend to be overwhelmingly white, it’s especially nice to see a young Black woman contribute to the trend. (Plus, she really is a delight.)
Okay, that’s all for this week, friends. Please watch this because it made me laugh so hard:
This week last year…
“Friendmendations #7:”Cole Escola turning in an impressive acting performance, a novel about a Black woman working as a spy for the CIA during the Cold War, interesting links about design (shooting a magazine cover, the story behind designing an iconic album cover, and the process of designing a book jacket), two podcasts about music, and a wistful song that I love so much
“So Snooki (!) has a show where people pick real tattoos (?) for their loved ones' actual bodies (!!):” This is a true fact and I watched it!