December 30, 2016
I wrote about trying to get over my white feelings
, being the "no" woman at work
, the one foolproof trick
to retaining female employees, and the ridiculous way business publications cover millennials
. I noticed some similarities between Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton
. I got over the term "strong women
." I vowed to read more queens of nonfiction
who don't show up in most reading lists. I suggested that we create a registry of angry white men
. I interviewed a robot inventor
, a congresswoman fighting online abuse
, Huma Abedin
, Erin Brockovich
, a jetpack inventor
, Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman
, blind architect
Chris Downey, fat activist Virgie Tovar
, and Courtney Love
. I considered Obama's feminist legacy
and tried to figure out what comes next after the election
I also sent 52 of these newsletters, recorded 50 podcasts (with the help of my CYG collaborators, of course), traveled to 9 places I'd never been before, managed to seriously injure my neck while watching Netflix (??!), reported for jury duty, took a few piano lessons, and climbed Half Dome. Plus a few personal-life milestones whose true significance, I'm sure, will only become clear in hindsight.
Thanks for opening this newsletter and sticking with me through the year—which, for the record, I don't think was the worst ever
. But there's definitely a lot of room for improvement
. See you in 2017, friends.
A highly subjective, non-comprehensive list of good stuff I'd like to highlight and remember from this year.
Feature-length reporting I'm still thinking about:
Nikole Hannah-Jones on segregated education
, Ellen Barry on young Indian women chasing big-city dreams
, Wil Hylton on Chuck Close
, Rachel Monroe on rural Tinder
, Shane Bauer on private prisons
, Kyle Chayka on the airspace aesthetic
Essays I'm still thinking about: My President Was Black
by Ta-Nehisi Coates, A Time for Refusal
by Teju Cole, How It Feels
by Jenny Zhang, Making House
by Rachel Cusk, Against Activism
by Astra Taylor, What Bill Cosby Taught Me About Sexual Violence and Flying
by Kiese Laymon, R.I.P. "Empowerment"
by Jill Filipovic, The Weight of James Arthur Baldwin
by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, The Choice We Face
by Masha Gessen, and a letter to Brock Turner
from the woman he assaulted.
Essential election coverage: Rebecca Traister
(with a bonus shoutout for All the Single Ladies
Other writers I turned to this year to help me make sense of the world: Jamelle Bouie
, Collier Meyerson
, Jia Tolentino
, Nitasha Tiku
, Roxane Gay
, Jorge Rivas
, Dahlia Lithwick
, Jenna Wortham
Column I linked to most consistently: First Words
in the NYT Magazine
Column I saved up to read on bad days:
Heather Havrilesky's Ask Polly
(Also available in convenient book form
Personal newsletters I always opened: Carrie Frye
, Stacy-Marie Ishmael
, Zan Romanoff
, Helena Fitzgerald
, Dodai Stewart
Best new newsletter for LA locals: Annie Loves LA
Best newsletter-turned-book: Prostitute Laundry
by Charlotte Shane
Reissued book I can't believe I hadn't read before:
Eve Babitz's Slow Days, Fast Company
Most stoner-friendly book of cartoons:
Lisa Hanawalt's Hot Dog Taste Test
Most-recommended novel: Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi. I can't stop telling people to read it. I have a whole ramble about why this book is so incredible in terms of structure and narrative, but it's also politically and historically important. And a really good read.
* Here's a link to a slightly longer list of selected books I read and enjoyed in 2016.
MUSIC AND ART
Best choral/modern dance performance I sobbed at: Song of Eurydice
Best art shows I saw by not-super-famous artists:
Caitlin Keogh's Loose Ankles
, Sarah Cain's Dark Matter
, Ry Rocklen's L.A. Relics
Art show by a super famous artist that made me want to create things myself: Cindy Sherman
retrospective at the Broad
Best retro stoner experience: "
Dark Side of the Moon" at the Laserium
. Runner up:
ELO at the Hollywood Bowl.
Album that was so much more than an album:
Live show that was actually a religious experience:
Beyoncé's Formation tour
Best moment my teen self would have diiiied for:
Courtney Love complimenting my shirt. Runner up:
Seeing Bill Callahan sing "Dress Sexy at My Funeral
" in a cemetery.
Most jaw-dropping commemorative Prince puppet:
May Day Parade in Minneapolis. Have you been
to this day of springtime revelry? Have you heard
an entire community singing "You Are My Sunshine" together? Have you seen
a 15-foot Prince puppet
? Do yourself a favor. Go.
Best pop-culture breakdown:
Aminatou explaining the Kanye/Amber/Wiz Khalifa/Blac Chyna/Kardashian drama
Most accurate representation of my dance-floor skills: Elmo dancing to "Work"
Best non-gimmicky get-your-money-right guide: The Index Card
by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
Best feminist personal-finance idea: A fuck-off fund
Number-one way I upped my travel game: Packing cubes
Best overpriced ath-loungewear for leggy people: Outdoor Voices
men's runningman style.
Best new "me-time" product:
Glossier's moisturizing moon mask
App that actually got me to meditate: Meditation Studio
. I know people love Headspace, but I hate things that are all "gameified" and about leveling up. I just want to pick a meditation that feels good for that particular day, and pick a different meditation the next. So I love this app.
Best digital lifestyle decision:
Removing the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. After awhile I even stopped cheating by looking at them in the browser. Still addicted to Instagram, though.
Top personal snack trend:
Making hummus at home. Runner up:
Putting furikake on popcorn.
A quote to consider
"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice." -T.S. Eliot
GIF of the Year
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. I'm so glad someone is paying attention! The surprise links are a personal favorite of mine, too.
This newsletter doesn't make resolutions, it makes slow progress.
Forward it if you're improving slowly but surely.