It has been a helluva week
Get ready to open some tabs…
Do you ever get to the end of a week and think to yourself, “What the hell just happened?”
That is me this week. Between getting ready for an extended trip to Boston and working on stuff for clients, I just don’t have the energy to put together a fine piece of writing.🎩🧐 My head is still spinning, so this Weekly Rondo is going to be more of a link dump than a thoughtful list of articles and reading suggestions. Get ready to forgive my typos and open some tabs.
What you missed if you’re a free subscriber
By the way, the story continues with that wily rascal, Jean-Paul Marat. I decided that my articles about witch hunts throughout history are going to be broken up into weekly installments. If you’re a free subscriber, you’re in luck! The first one will always be free! The subsequent ones will be subscriber-only posts. Here’s the first installment of this French Revolution hero/villain (I’ll let you decide.) But if you want to know why he’s so relevant today, you’ll have to subscribe and read this one.
I thought we were done with Donald Trump news…
Obviously, starting out the week with Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was a shocker. The night it happened I was working with my colleagues at the Deseret News trying to get a grip on the situation before my newsletter went out the next morning. It was one of those surreal moments where you’re not sure if it’s just political theatre or if the former president did something absolutely terrible.
Flash forward to today — it’s leaning more towards “actually terrible.” Turns out the FBI was looking for stolen documents containing nuclear secrets. Yikes.
One of my colleagues wrote a good opinion talking about the political theatre aspect of it. I’ve never liked Trump, and I’m a little worried that the Biden administration just handed the next election over to him. On the other hand, I really appreciated this stub of an article from Kevin D. Williamson asking us if we as Americans really do believe in the rule of law. Whether or not this is a farce or an attack on democracy all boils down to whether or not Former President Trump broke the law, and we all have to play by the same rules for this great experiment to work.
In other political news…
Alex Dobrenko’s messy desk
Alex Dobrenko’s weekly roundup is objectively better than mine because he is writing about the most relatable thing all writers have in common: “Messy Ass Spaces.” The only time our “home offices” aren’t a condemned rat sanctuary is when we’re on a tight dedline. IYKYK.
Return of the Peach Mom
I started listening to a new podcast this week, A Special Place in Hell with Meghan Daum and Sarah Haider. The name refers to the Madeleine Albright quote, “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
Naturally, they talk a lot about feminism… and the occasional failings and missteps thereof. Truth be told, I love the honest conversations they have about feminism and being a woman because they aren’t all, “Get it! You’re a #girlboss! You can have it all!” They do look at it with a critical eye, which is why I appreciated the honest conversation they had in this episode about Peach Mom and the very real challenges of being a mother. Daum made a very conscious decision to not be a mother, and Haider has (and wants more) children. Even though both of their lives are very different, they could admit that womanhood is heavily intertwined with motherhood. Perhaps it’s time we place more value on womanhood and its uniqueness rather than try and make women something they are not.
Substack: A platform of delightful extremists
My sister always jokes about how she radicalized me when she got me listening to Bari Weiss’ podcast because now here I am with my own Substack channel and my own hot takes on things. Truth be told, I actually really love Substack and their high esteem of free speech, and I find it strange how many publications like Wired and the New York Times have gone after them for allowing “extremists” onto their platform. Basically, it’s just shorthand for people who have either been de-platformed or who got so sick of their legacy media job’s nonsense that they quit so they could write whatever they wanted.
As someone who works in communications, I loved Lulu Cheng Meservey’s piece on hit pieces over on her brand-spanking-new channel Flack. I worked in a PR-adjacent field for way too long, so the piece hit a little too hard, but she gave incredible advice on how to deal with “bad press”:
Fight on your turf.
Rely on your diehard supporters.
Make your message about what the audience actually cares about.
And I’ll add one myself, don’t over-explain. Most of it goes over people’s heads. Lean into the message that matters. And seriously, read the whole article — it’s fabulous.
Articles I wanted to read this week but didn’t have the time
This is what I had bookmarked to read and potentially write about, but you know… life!
The Washington Post: A horse track with no rules (The headline is intriguing enough!)
The Atlantic: His Mother’s Life Was a Mystery He Needed to Solve
History Buzz: Andover Bewitched: Martha Carrier (because witches)
Common Sense: What Should We Make of the FBI Raid at Mar-a-Lago?
See you next week!