Well, hello there!
The Charrette is back with the not-so-Weekly Rondo, book club and a topsy-turvy list of recommendations.
I logged into my Substack account for the first time in… a while, and I noticed a huge bump in subscribers. It’s nice to meet all of you!
While I have your attention, why not leave a comment and tell me a bit about yourself?
By way of an introduction, I’m Kathleen, and if you like overthinking the place where art, history, politics and culture dovetail, you have found yourself in the right place.
Up until about a month ago, I was great at updating this once or twice a week with my essays and reading recommendations. But as someone who is (mostly) self-employed, I got busy and too distracted to update it.
I must repent, so I’m giving you the Weekly Rondo (click here for the definition), but instead of being weekly, I’m catching up with the last month or so.
Have you ever considered a paid subscription to The Charrette? I’ve floated the idea before, but would you be willing to pay $7 a month (or $70 per year) if one of the paid features was a book/movie/podcast club?
The idea is that we read/watch/listen to something per month, have private threads to discuss, AND have a monthly Zoom call where we can discuss the material together.
I have to have enough interest to justify this, so please vote. (Or better yet, upgrade your subscription and I’ll start it in March.)
Tell me in the comments if you have any questions or ideas about it!
The Weekly Rondo
The idea of the Weekly Rondo is to catch you up on interesting cultural news, articles and media that catch my eye throughout the week. If you like what I write, I think you’ll enjoy the pieces I round up!
You can also suggest things for me to read/watch/listen to in the comments, and I might use them next week!
The comment section for this one is open to anyone! Whether you loved or hated any of these pieces, please feel free to comment! I’d love to hear from you. Here we go:
🎭 MOVIE: Topsy-Turvy: A friend recommended this to me, and it was — by far — my favorite piece of media I have consumed in a long time. The movie is about the famed opera duo, Gilbert and Sullivan, and their creative challenges in making “The Mikado.” There was a lot I loved about the movie, but by far, what I loved the best was the sheer attention to detail to historical accuracy — including the things having nothing to do with the plot. Truly a masterpiece. (Favorite G&S bits linked throughout this paragraph.)
🧘🏻♀️ PODCAST: The New Gurus: Helen Lewis did a great series for BBC4 about how internet influencers — be they productivity hackers, pickup artists, health mavens, etc. — hold as an interesting stand-in for religion in our internet-connected culture.
🇫🇷 Sacre bleu! French Embassy ruthlessly mocks AP for saying labels like ‘the French’ are ‘dehumanizing’: Indeed, nothing is more dehumanizing or humiliating than being associated with the French. But actually, as a card-carrying Francophile and logophile, this Twitter drama brought me an unreasonable amount of joy.
👶🏻 i think my son hates me: I can’t help but cackle like a witch at all of Alex Dobrenko’s work — this was no exception.
💍 Would you walk down the aisle with someone who doesn’t share your politics? My friend over at the Deseret News (for which I have a part-time gig) wrote about whether people are willing to date or marry someone with different political beliefs. The consensus is that people are more inclined to pair up with someone of a different race, culture or religion than a Republican or Democrat.
🔨 Armie Hammer Breaks His Silence🔒: Several years ago, Armie Hammer was on the receiving end of allegations of sexual misconduct, criminal behavior and … cannibalism (that was not a misprint.) The craziest part of the story was that it was a complete fabrication. Jamie Kirchick wrote this incredible piece which included interviews with Hammer. He combed through the original media coverage and revealed some gaping omissions by the publications that reported on it. It’s behind a paywall, but it’s well worth reading.
📣 I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle: This was an interesting piece by The Free Press about a woman who worked as a case coordinator at a pediatric gender clinic. My dad is a medical malpractice attorney, and I grew up in a world where medicine goes wrong, so it felt like I was reading some of my dad’s wackiest cases all over again. Most fields of medical malpractice have strict diagnostic criteria and standards of care, but pediatric gender medicine lacks many of these standards. I deeply sympathize with many’s concern to relieve suffering kids’ pain. Still, I think this piece raises important questions about how we manage that in an age where we lack clear diagnostic criteria and standards of care.
🎩 ALSO: The wonderful Mark Dykeman interviewed me and featured me on his Substack a few weeks ago. You can read that here.
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