It’s been a while, but I finally have time to read/listen to/watch things again, so here’s a selection of the best.
Things to read
“They say millennials are easily offended, and I finally get what they mean, because I think this un-wrappable tissue paper sprout is abhorrent. Each day, you unravel one layer of sprout to reveal a Christmas cracker joke, hat or plastic bug. The final prize (spoilers) is a red yo-yo. The planet is literally on its deathbed! This tiny pink plastic lobster has contributed significantly to the destruction of our natural resources, and for what? I'll tell you what: it’s weirdly satisfying to chew on.”
—My former colleague Amelia is extremely funny and talented, and you should read her epic journey through 24 days of really stupid advent calendars immediately. Email to Pocket.
“Austen is often described as a satirist who only hints at depths of feeling. But in fact she is startlingly blunt about emotions, describing her characters’ feelings, from desire to envy to shame, with scathing exactness. In Persuasion – my favourite Austen novel – the hardness of life for a woman is laid bare. Only a mature reader – perhaps even one in a similar position to the novel’s central character, Anne Elliot – can understand how cruel, and yet how common, her experience has been.”
—Jane Austen is wasted on teenagers. Email to Pocket.
“There’s a bad double bind in being a writer: If you don’t write about things people are interested in, nobody is going to read you. But if you write about things people are interested in, other people are writing about them, too.”
—On writerly jealousy and Sylvia Plath. Email to Pocket.
“Like so many retail brands in 2018, the brand has shuttered stores and reported falling sales over the past few years. But beyond the shoddily produced merchandise, Victoria’s Secret feels dated, with its inherent and unavoidable male gaze; the retro sense that their products are not really made for women. It’s this gaze that primarily defined many other crumbling mall brands that once soared in the 1990s and 2000s. While a male-centric approach to fashion once made some brands cool and aspirational for customers, in 2018 it’s exclusionary to a fault.”
—The male gaze in retail is a new concept to me, but now I see it everywhere. Email to Pocket.
“Working with the living legend was a dream come true for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays a lamplighter named Jack. ‘One of the greatest moments I experienced on set was Meryl. She was sort of in weird Mary Poppins aunt mode the whole time, and at one point she goes, “Hey, kids, wanna see a perfect pratfall?” And just boom, face down, went from 90 degrees to flat. You haven’t seen Buster Keaton do a pratfall like this. Everyone rushed over like, “Meryl Streep has died!”’ he recalls. ‘And then she just got up and was like, [wiping hands] “I learned that at Yale.”’”
—Working with Meryl Streep sounds both incredible and incredibly stressful. Email to Pocket.
Things to listen to
If you ever find yourself unconsciously completely the line “A sailor went to sea. . .” with a few more repeats of “sea”, then you have to listen to this documentary with Emmy the Great about why you do that.
+Also: I have a new job where I write the Sunday newsletter for the curation service The Browser, and it will all be excellent offbeat podcast recommendations you would never find otherwise. You can sign up for their free emails here, but as you all know you have to pay to get good stuff on the internet, and my email will only go to paying subscribers. However, they’ve given me my very own discount code for you people to use, so head to thebrowser.com/caroline to get 20 per cent off, which makes it less than $4 a month for my email plus daily bulletins of amazing articles to read. (Doing this also shows them that I’m worth having on the team, thank you very much for your support.)
Things to watch
Compulsory medieval thingamabob
Women’s unwaged labour: ’twas ever thus.
The guest gif
Working nine to five. . .