Things I’m Verbing: Singing fish, skeleton keys and apocalypse crystals

Again, the pace of daily news overwhelms me — are we still talking about Kellyanne Conway? If not, it’s a bit of a shame, if only because I was really looking forward to sharing Erin Gloria Ryan’s recent New York Times op-ed, which includes language so amazing, I can’t resist it even now, when we’ve all moved on:

I watched her the way a person might stand at the kitchen window and watch a raccoon abscond with the first tomato of summer. I didn’t agree with what she was doing, but I admired her chutzpah.

It’s a good, actually pretty compassionate piece. Don’t let it get lost in the churn.

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Actor problems, Arctic problems and asshole journalist problems

I love a lot of things about new Marvel movie season. Top of the list is seeing my favorite actors gleefully making idiots of themselves in every available interview and on every available surface upon which their faces can be displayed. However, the downside is that every time a big fandom event comes around, reporters and editors get this dumb, terrible, no-good idea that actors should confront the works fans make for themselves. An otherwise fine recent interview with Sebastian Stan, for instance, devotes several paragraphs up top to some verbal reaction shots to sometimes-erotic art featuring Stan and his character, Bucky Barnes. (One elicits “That’s—wow. Strong.”)

Fellow reporters, just don’t do this. It’s tired, it’s smug, it’s punching down and it can’t be fun for the people you’re interviewing. Generally it harms and humiliates the fans. Maybe you can try a different woman- and queer-shaming tactic, like talking about how gross and unnecessary Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter is and how bisexuality doesn’t exist. If you report on fandom without actually talking with fans and figuring out where they’re coming from, you may as well just be aggregating hot takes. Don’t be lazy. P.S. Fans are wonderful.

Anyway, for those playing along, I saw Captain America: Civil War on 3-D IMAX on Friday and loved it. Will I be writing about it? What kind of question is that?

  • Actors have bigger problems than journalists playing slash chicken. In the U.K., the Guardian lays out why working-class actors are a disappearing breed, and what that means for the arts and anyone who doesn’t come out of Eton.
  • Actually, as long as I’m on my high horse about newsroom standards (once a copy chief, always a copy chief), for anyone who ever wants to draw some analogies about “frivolous lawsuits,” here’s the truth about that McDonald’s hot coffee case.
  • Okay, back to big problems. Pacific Standard has a beautiful piece by Eva Holland on the Northwest Passage, which didn’t exist until very recently. “Cruising Through the End of the World” looks at shipping, tourism and the Inuit people caught between changes on virtually every front.
  • More essential reading, on another insidious topic: “How the Rhetoric of Imposter Syndrome Is Used to Gaslight Women in Tech.” Of course, this doesn’t just apply to STEM work, because human nature can be terrible in any field it occupies.
  • Ready for some adventure? I mean, Civil War is made of emotional whiplash, so I can’t freely recommend it unless you’ve girded yourself. But “The Battle Over the
    Sea-Monkey Fortune” may be up your alley. It’s a wild ride beginning to end.

Many thanks to Kelsey for permission to use her A+ Cap Cubed fanart as the featured image of this post.

Things I’m Verbing: So many hedgehogs, not enough Agent Carter and, of course, Midwest Is Best

Good morning, friends! I am back in Chicago for the first time since I moved to New York, and I have been doing a really excellent job of revisiting all my favorite haunts, including pulling a double-header with the superlative Improvised Shakespeare Company last night. (That’s a Top 5 Thing I Miss About Chicago item, by the way. Probably the most magnificent improv ever improv’d — not to get hyperbolic, but it’s true.)

I also watched the GOP debate in Detroit. That sure happened.

Here are some links that have nothing to do with the GOP debate, because honestly, what more is there to say?

  • There are enough hedgehogs in Ipswich to require a dedicated hedgehog officer.
  • The second season of Agent Carter ended last week, and it was amazing and I loved it and very much want more. Alas, the ratings are worrisome (as they always are with your favorite shows, right?). TV Guide and Variety both wrote excellent defenses of the show, and I’m not above not-so-quietly linking a “How to tell ABC you want Season 3” guide. This show is both important and great.
  • Speaking of excellent feminist role models, if you haven’t read firefighter Caroline Paul’s excellent op-ed “Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared?” you absolutely should — and, if you want to see what they’re up against, follow it with A. Hope Jahren’s piece on women in STEM and the male colleagues who harass them out of their careers.
  • I did j-school in Evanston, but I came to Chicago for Hyde Park. Chicago magazine just did a brief shout-out to six great things happening on the South Side these days. It’s nice to hear about good examples, because UChicago’s relationship with the neighborhoods where it lives hasn’t always been exactly rosy.
  • Have I still not been able to distract you from the GOP debate? I mean, at least one woman literally thinks living in 1939 — not high on the list of good times in history — is a better option than the present.