🎁 Hi! I’m giving away one premium subscription to the Verve Letter at the end of this post, so scroll on through.
I have made the classic freelancer rookie mistake: I said yes to almost every assignment that came my way over the past weeks until I realized that they were almost all due by the beginning of April.
Hence, today’s post will only be a list of pop culture pleasures. I say “only”, but you will notice in a minute that what happens when I’m stressed out by deadlines is: I procrastinate by reading the entire internet.
If you do want to read an original post by yours truly, you could upgrade your subscription to read last week’s essay from my Inwards/Onwards series. It’s about stopping to see pain or grief as something that “makes you stronger”.
As a paying subscriber you receive two exclusive essays from me per month, and you also unlock access to the entire archive. Most importantly, you help me keep this show on the road, which I greatly appreciate.
pop culture pleasures
Starting with the classic “if you only read one thing from this list (or today/this week)”, let it be Elaine Hsieh Chou’s bone-chilling piece in The Cut, about the violence against Asian women.
“I wonder if the men who attacked and killed us are the same men on the Internet who argue that we make better wives because we don’t talk or fight back and that we make for easy sex because we are, after all, such easy prey.”
This Guardian feature on the rise of the manifesting industry (the love child of capitalism and wealthy white women spirituality) also riled me up. You do you, but if some self-appointed new age guru is telling a cancer patient that their treatment isn’t working, because their fear of death is a “limiting belief”, then you will find me yelling at the screen.
On a brighter note, I got Apple TV last night to finally watch Ted Lasso. To nobody’s surprise I’m loving it, but to my own surprise I’m kind of crushing on the emotionally literate, warm-hearted, slightly dorky character? Instead of the mysterious yet hot bad boy, who would rather eat his own arm than talk about his feelings? Is this growth? Am I healing?
Crushing on a mentally stable fictional character is definitely a baby step into the right direction (shout out to my therapist), as my usual pattern regarding men I like used to be the same as the one of our homegirl Dolly Alderton. Who said in a recent podcast: “I seem to attract and pursue only terrible, terrible men!”. No more of that in 2022.
Hannah Orenstein though, reminds me why dating is such a struggle for ambitious, independent, heterosexual women in their 30s. Hannah’s essay picks up a lot of the points that Anne-Kathrin Gerstlauer made in my interview with her about “The Gender Dating Gap”.
Similarly, Ali Wong’s hilarious Netflix special opens with how for men the dating pool increases the more successful they become, and for (straight) women the dating pool decreases the more successful they become.
“Weaponized Incompetence”. Even if you’ve never heard that term before, I’m sure every woman knows EXACTLY what it means. Highly recommend the Girls Gotta Eat episode on the topic (starts in the second half).
Considering all of these takes, I suppose it’s good that female writers of all ages are “reframing spinsterhood” in literature.
Farah Storr isn’t reframing spinsterhood, but reframing middle age, which is just as important.
“Middle age is not the beginning, that’s for sure, but it is also not the beginning of the end. It is the wise years. The hopeful period. It is ‘the main event’.”
Heather Havrilesky is 51 years old, and I loved her passionate plea for pursuing our desires and creating a messy, joyful life no matter how old we are.
One more on age: Feminist queen Rebecca Solnit wrote about her appreciation of young feminists, going against the myth of “wisdom comes only with age”. (Thanks to Katrin for the recommendation!)
“I think that conversations about generational divides miss the point, and are all too common in the attempt to set up feminism as a generational catfight – because people like it when ladies fight.”
I’m running out of smooth transitions, but remember how I wrote about strength training in my last public post? Well, now the New York Times published a piece called “The Power of the Squat” in which squats are praised as “key to living and aging well”. (The pictures in the guide are pretty bad though – the center of gravity only works like that for cartoon characters. Casey Johnston shared a much better guide).
“No one will read your book” says Elle Griffin and hits us with sobering yet very insightful truths about publishing. I have even more respect for anyone who puts in the work to actually write an entire book at this point.
A lot of people have already read (and praised!) the essay collection of psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz. In “The Examined Life” he draws from his 25 years of working with patients and ultimately reflects on why we are who we are and do what we do. 10/10 from this psychology geek.
🐙 If you’re sick of reading, here’s an oldie but absolute goldie podcast recommendation: Octomom by Radiolab introduces us to the fascinating, science-defying, heroic feat that is motherhood for a deep sea octopus.
The way Hayley Morris performs the internal monologues which plague every female existence is uncanny. And hilarious.
Male influencers are rarely held accountable for what makes influencer culture toxic, while female influencers are critiqued for every move they make online. Important observation by Chante Joseph.
🇩🇪 Kurt Krömer ist gerade überall für seine Buch-Promo, aber dieses Interview in Hotel Matze fand ich sehr eindrucksvoll. Es geht um Depressionen, katastrophisieren, Therapie und unsere psychisch ziemlich verkorkste Elterngeneration.
🎁 I am giving away one yearlong premium subscription for the Verve Letter. What you need to do is: Pick your favorite recommendation from the pop culture pleasure section, share it on social media, add a note that you found it in the Verve Letter and tag me on Instagram or Twitter. I will chose the winner at random by Friday, April 1st. Good luck!
Alright then, I’m back to my deadlines, aka reading the internet. Thank you for being here!
Until next time,
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