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Cruel compendium #24 📚
Joan Didion, foreskin activists and my tie-dye sweatsuit
I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change, heartbreak and healing. In the Cruel Compendium I send out links to everything I’m reading, listening to and thinking about. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you!
Instagram story-ing your way through an attempted coup by Nisha Chittal in her newsletter. A lot of familiar feelings here about how social media has irrevocably changed the way we think and behave.
Trying to post anything in the year 2021 requires performing an exhausting mental calculus: will I look insensitive if I post a picture of the dinner I made while the country is falling apart outside my door? Can I post a picture of me and my husband maskless in the park or will we be accused of not taking the pandemic seriously? Maybe it’s better not to post anything at all. But if I don’t say something about the coup, will people think I don’t care?
The intact-ivists by Stephen Robert Morse. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about foreskin activists.
Legacy or residue? by Shanna Trenholm at her newsletter, Life: Examined. I have little interest in leaving behind a legacy. Trenholm eloquently explains how I’ve considered legacy’s ties to ego.
60 good things from 2020 by Luke Leighfield. I went clicking through Luke’s blog and really enjoy the links he shares (like tools he uses to get things done) and his writing. Scroll to the bottom of his site to sign up for his newsletter.
Haylay Nahman on turning off the comments section to keep yourself sane in her newsletter, Maybe Baby. There is so much to relate to about being a creator online in this piece.
I started thinking about all this as considered whether fostering a “community” around Maybe Baby—which, due to the nature of my work, mostly means making myself available in the comments—was worth the cost to my mental health, a struggle I’ve written about before. You could call it a character defect to take negative comments so seriously. There was a time when I was better at sifting out the trolls from the well-intentioned, when I was better at rolling my eyes. But at some point over the last year, I lost track of that skill. I got defensive, sometimes unnecessarily. I grew paralyzed by strangers’ criticism, sometimes devoting entire days to processing their comments, wondering if they were right, replying to them in my head much more snarkily than I ever would in a public forum. This required a humiliating degree of self-focus, inciting a snake-eats-it-own-tail style of narcissism other creatives might recognize.
The attack on the Capitol Building operated much the same way as anti-abortion violence, and it sprung from the same source: A racist, misogynist right-wing movement, incited to even greater violence by intentional and politically-motivated lies.
Print, frame and hang this image in the National Portrait Gallery by Jim St. Germain.
Most of my white friends were upset by this image. Throughout the day, they filled my feed with denunciations of white supremacy and solemn pronouncements on the state of our democracy. My Black friends? We hadn’t had this much fun since Jadakiss did his drunk dance on Verzuz.
Dating apps are using images from the siege to ban rioters’ accounts by Drew Harwell, Lisa Bonos and Craig Timberg
Amanda Spataro, a 25-year-old logistics coordinator in Tampa, called it her “civic duty” to swipe through dating apps for men who’d posted incriminating pictures of themselves. On Bumble, she found one man with a picture that seemed likely to have come from the insurrection; his response to a prompt about his “perfect first date” was: “Storming the Capitol.”
After swiping right in hopes she could get more information out of him, she said he responded that he did visit the Capitol and sent more pictures as proof. She later contacted the FBI tip line.
Questionable self-care advice
🖥️ Y’all. You can group your tabs on Chrome. #tabtips
👯♀️ Dial the Friendship Hotline daily for good friendship advice: 951-FRNDSHP (go on, call!)
🌲 Last week I made a monthly monetary commitment to Wren to help offset my carbon footprint. Use their carbon calculator to get a sense of your own carbon footprint, then choose a project to help save the planet. If you use my referral link Wren will protect 2 extra hectares (5 acres) of rainforest in my honor.
🌙 This is #literallyme:
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