Yes, Daddy Is A No

In 2005, a “trick” movie called Self Medicated was released. “Trick” not meaning prostitute, so much as deception. Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Yes, Daddy, in some sense, feels like that movie. It’s marketed as being “raw” and “unbridled,” when, in fact, it’s all ultimately a bid to get people to see the “good” in Christianity (or at least Christian principles)—no matter how many times it (and life) fucks you over. … Continue reading Yes, Daddy Is A No

Lourdes Leon Reading bell hooks Has Some Weighty Implications

Among other casual bombshells in Lourdes Leon’s first Vanity Fair feature, one included, of all things, her reading list. For starters, it wasn’t necessarily imagined she would be “basic” enough to fuck with Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. For another, bell hooks being name-dropped (specifically 2000’s All About Love: New Visions) seems, in many respects, vaguely traitorous to her own mother, who was the subject of … Continue reading Lourdes Leon Reading bell hooks Has Some Weighty Implications

The Experiences of Ramona Quimby Belong to the Twentieth Century

It seems fitting—poetic, really—that Beverly Cleary’s death should occur as the throes of the pandemic and its effects continue to rage on (despite what the “officials” might try to declare with their attempts at “rosy” depictions; people will say anything to keep the wheels of capitalism turning, after all). For this is the generation of children slated, arguably, to be the most “fucked up”—or at … Continue reading The Experiences of Ramona Quimby Belong to the Twentieth Century

When Will You Accept Yourself?: Milk Fed

We don’t choose to exist on this earth any more than we choose who our mother might be. Accordingly, Melissa Broder’s latest, Milk Fed, wields Mother as the crux of Rachel’s daily struggle. Just three years after the release of The Pisces, Broder is building on an oeuvre of highly specialized neuroticism. The kind, they say, is unique to the Semitic mindset. And oh how … Continue reading When Will You Accept Yourself?: Milk Fed

Invented Work and Patheticness…Not Amplified, But Described As Office Life Truly Is: Halle Butler’s Jillian and The New Me

Although released four years apart, there can be no denying that Halle Butler’s debut novel, Jillian, is now like a “sister book” to The New Me (you know, the way Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore are “sister albums”). Variations on a theme, if you will, and an extremely grim one. Even if there are actually freaks in this world who–in the wake of corona “forcing” … Continue reading Invented Work and Patheticness…Not Amplified, But Described As Office Life Truly Is: Halle Butler’s Jillian and The New Me

Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”

The excitement surrounding Joan Didion’s release of a “new” book called Let Me Tell You What I Mean needn’t be mitigated by the fact that it is a collection of older essays (previously unreleased, therefore everything old is new again), gathered from 1968 to 2000. For Didion is perhaps at her most signaturely eviscerating during this period, and one wonders if a release of truly … Continue reading Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”

The Basement Poetry Reading Comes To the Capitol (And No, That’s Not A Compliment)

It is said that you cannot judge someone “so young” with the same yardstick of measurement that you would someone more mature, more established in their field. With 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s poetry reading at Joe Biden’s inauguration, however, that becomes something of a tall order. Her delivery of the roughly six-minute long “The Hill We Climb” felt, by and large, rough-hewn, as though we were … Continue reading The Basement Poetry Reading Comes To the Capitol (And No, That’s Not A Compliment)

No One Asked For This (Until They Fucking Well Asked For It)

Is writing a book about feeling guilty for how much privilege you have arguably the most privileged thing a “writer” can do? Probably. And right down to the title, Cazzie David has a “please don’t hate me” aura that drips off the pages like saccharine ooze disguised as sarcasm and malcontentedness. Considering David’s claims that she’s already thought the worst possible things about herself over … Continue reading No One Asked For This (Until They Fucking Well Asked For It)

If The Beasts Could Talk, This Is What They Would Say…

Of all Beatrix Potter’s many tales, she often said it was The Tailor of Gloucester that proved to be her favorite. She even wrote it right around Christmastime of 1901, especially for the daughter of her former governess (oh the Brits with their governesses). In 1902, she was circulating the story “privately” to friends and, by 1903, it was off to the presses for the … Continue reading If The Beasts Could Talk, This Is What They Would Say…

The Poignancy of John le Carré “Bidding Adieu” Before He Could Witness Brexit At Full Tilt

John le Carré had, for all intents and purposes, “thrown in the towel” after 1990. This was the year when his (supposed) last George Smiley book, The Secret Pilgrim, came out. It was an apt (presumed) coda for someone of le Carré’s distinctive genre predilection to cease releasing new work about this particular spy. After all, these novels were rooted in the espionage category that … Continue reading The Poignancy of John le Carré “Bidding Adieu” Before He Could Witness Brexit At Full Tilt