Waves, wishes and women

No Complaints #160

It’s been over a month since I sent one of these, and I’ve missed getting lovely replies from readers about great medieval illuminations, if I’m honest.

If you came here after my old podcast newsletter ended because I got a new job writing for a much bigger podcast and far more professional podcast newsletter, then welcome.

In general, this is where I share links to things I’ve enjoyed on the internet, talk a bit about what I’ve been writing and making recently, and occasionally grumble about the general state of everything.

Things to read

“I don’t love the ‘wave’ term. If you think about the first wave, it extended a century. Are we in a moment of a major social and political uprising driven by women’s anger? Yes. But will this extend to the rest of our lives? I suspect it probably will. I suspect we are not looking at something that in 10 years we’ll say, “Oh, remember that? Remember when that wave happened?”
I’ve been dipping in and out of the news this week, surfing a rising and falling wave of fury. Rebecca Traister is one of the writers who makes me feel a bit less hopeless. Email to Pocket.

“As we left – to the sound of Mum taking everything unclaimed and portable out to the back garden and torching it with lighter fluid while Dad defrosted, logged and remade a lamb stew – we reflected how well our choices reflected the essences of our parents. ‘Really things to remember them by,’ I said, as the flames behind us licked the sky and the sound of gravy bubbling blended with a joyful cackling a little further beyond. ‘Should we wish to,’ said my sister. ‘Should we wish.’
A beautifully black comic vignette of what happens if your parents start cheerily preparing for death. Email to Pocket.

“The emotional costs are incalculable. I have never written a story where so many of my sources cried during interviews, where they double- and triple-checked that I would not reveal their names, where they shook with anger describing their interactions with doctors and strangers and their own families. One remembered kids singing ‘Baby Beluga’ as she boarded the school bus, another said she has tried diets so extreme she has passed out and yet another described the elaborate measures he takes to keep his spouse from seeing him naked in the light. A medical technician I’ll call Sam (he asked me to change his name so his wife wouldn’t find out he spoke to me) said that one glimpse of himself in a mirror can destroy his mood for days. ‘I have this sense I’m fat and I shouldn’t be,’ he says. ‘It feels like the worst kind of weakness.’”
I have complicated feelings about the body positivity and fat acceptance movements that I don’t want to go into here, but this is a fascinating analysis of all the ways the medical establishment is prejudiced against people with larger bodies. Email to Pocket.

“Slowly deleting my own dumb tweets, one at a time, has been an education in self-loathing and shame, and it is 100-percent worth it. It’s made me reconsider what I put out into the world, and think long and hard about the type of woman I want to be.”
This is a headline I can’t improve on: I Went Through All of My Old Tweets and Was Horrified by What I Found. Email to Pocket.

“The first time I really yelled was when my elder daughter was 2 and windmilling inexorably toward 3. The parenting blogs advise that ‘yelling is the new spanking.’ I don’t spank my child — I was tempted to write ‘of course’, but there’s really nothing of course about it. Many people do spank their children and while I don’t, as a yeller I feel more or less disqualified from passing judgment on those who do. I have heard, and felt, the violence that forces the yell from your throat.”
I will think of this piece every time I see a woman on a train struggling with tired kids. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

My podcast, SRSLY, obvs. And then Rob Delaney reading his essay about his son who died earlier this year from a brain tumour.

Things to watch

This political ad has the wildest twist I’ve ever seen. Read more about how it came about.

Stephen Colbert is like the ur-nerd. Bless.

I love this, I don’t know why.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Extremely relatable.


The guest gif

Me, opening all my tabs.