Discover more from The Bluestocking
The Bluestocking, vol 278
I spent £2,000 on Ruby the guinea pig’s hysterectomy
This week I talked about Huw Edwards on the Private Eye podcast, and wrote about Ron DeSantis for the Atlantic (see below).
Oh, and I went to see Mark Rylance in Semmelweis and, while he remains perhaps our greatest living actor, my advice to skip it unless you’re a big fan of women doing an interpretative dance to convey the concept of dying of puerperal fever.
The Humiliation of Ron DeSantis (The Atlantic)
Despite being a smart guy, DeSantis apparently had not grasped that Trump’s routine was all for show. An act. All his life, Trump has phoned reporters to gossip. After leaving office, he welcomed multiple authors to Mar-a-Lago to spill his guts for their various books about his White House. Trump doesn’t hate the press; if anything, he likes it too much. This is a man who once pointed at the reporter Maggie Haberman and said, “I love being with her; she’s like my psychiatrist.”
DeSantis, by contrast, seems to genuinely hate the media, with their intrusion and attention and awkward questions. He has an unfortunate habit of waggling his head like a doll on a dashboard when receiving an inquiry he considers beneath him; he did it on a visit to Japan just before he formally announced his presidential campaign, when someone had the temerity to ask whether he was running, which he obviously was. The move creates an odd effect where his eyeballs seem to stay in the same place as the rest of his head oscillates around them. It’s a startling tell that he’s irritated or uncomfortable. Please let me play poker against this man.\
I lobbied for the headline on this to be “Where Did It All Go Ron,” but you can’t win them all.
Fame (My Apophenic Haze)
After several months of lockdown and only seeing the odd person, we were invited to lunch—outside!—with someone Brian had been working with before Covid. It was the first proper socialising we'd done in months. We arrived and were introducing ourselves when this guy’s friend arrived—he’d been invited to lunch, too. He came up to me and my son, and introduced himself. He stuck his hand out, my son reached out and shook it, then looked at his hand in horror. This was the first person he’d touched in months. “Do you want some disinfectant?” I asked as I got it out of my bag. The guy just laughed and laughed. Pre-Covid if someone shook his hand, many would have declared that they would never wash their hand again and now here's my son treating a handshake like it's poison.
The guy was Bono.
Fame is a fascinating psychological phenomenon—both on the famous person themselves, and on their friends and family, and on their fans. And Gia writes about the incredible weirdness of that circus of focused attention so brilliantly from the inside. Come for the Hugh Grant anecdote, stay for the phrase “psychological mukbang”.
The Kennedys are Bad (Very Serious, Substack)
If you’re going to have dynastic politics, you should have dynasties built around good families who share positive traits, like sobriety, thrift, and public-spiritedness. You know, families like the Romneys. The Kennedys are the opposite of this — they are a cadre of reckless, womanizing, substance-abusing mediocrities of middling IQ, who have produced a staggering array of displays of bad judgment and poor character over the decades, often leading to the deaths of themselves or others. I would not get in a car driven by a member of this family, let alone let them run the government.
Josh Barro on RFK Jr. (Apologies for the RFK content hose lately.)
Wes Streeting demonstrating how a competent leftwing politician should answer the “what is a woman” question (The News Agents, Twitter). I’ve been so impressed by Streeting lately that I’m even going to read his book, and if you’ve ever read a politician’s book, you know what a gamble that is.
“The French call it nostalgie de la boue: nostalgia for the mud, the dirt, the low-life and depravity of old. Perhaps every new parent simply requires a Saturday-night-til-Tuesday to forget they have ever known the smell of chlorine.” Sophie Heawood on watching Pulp (Substack).
“The third time I went into labour, I was determined to avoid getting told off.” Glosswitch on the durability of medical arrogance around childbirth (Unherd).
This crossword has a very funny twist (New Yorker).
“My claim is that the UK is now a lot more like Poland than it is like the United States in terms of the kinds of growth it needs to do – driven by improved use of existing technology and inputs, and accumulation of capital, rather than driven primarily by technological advancement.” Sam Bowman argues that Britain needs to behave like a developing economy (Substack). Plus, as Gabriel Milland, another interesting rightwing commentator, pointed out to the Tory party: “Build some houses and stop wanging on about wokeness in a way that makes you look like the political embodiment of their reactionary grandparent.”
“As they geared up for work, Harper braced themselves. They knew that as a leader in Times Out? they would be in the middle of the controversy inside the paper.” Fascinating insight into the working culture of the New York Times during its 2020 meltdown, for those who enjoy media inside baseball (Translash).
For fans of Adrian Chiles headlines, may I introduce to the Guardian’s The Pet I’ll Never Forget series? “I was so proud of my Sea-Monkeys—until their orgies repulsed me”. “I spent £2,000 on Ruby the guinea pig’s hysterectomy—and I don’t regret a penny.” “Every night I would sing to Cackles the goose. Then tragedy struck.”
“Typical girl dinners may include some kind of fruit, a block of cheddar, sliced salami, a sleeve of fancy crackers and a dish of olives. Girl dinner is ‘both chaotic and filling,’ as one TikTok commenter put it, requiring none of the forethought, cooking or plating demanded by an actual meal.” LOL. If I lived alone, 85% of my meals would be “girl dinner”. The other 15% would be takeaways. (New York Times.)
“A colleague recently suggested to me that we might be experiencing a hot Zuck summer, a phrase that caused me to briefly lose consciousness. Respectfully, what is going on here?” (Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic)
“Don Camillo had been born with a constitutional preference for calling a spade a spade.” I read the Don Camillo stories after finding a translation on my mum’s bookshelves as a kid. They are so charming, usually revolving around Don Camillo the priest versus Peppone the communist mayor. (One particularly good one has Peppone winning the lottery and desperately trying to cover it up.) Here is Sarah Harkness on the stories, their author and their English translator (The Common Reader, Substack).
Golgafrincham Ark Ship B update:
I hope you survive the weekend! See you next time!
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