Every week or so, I send out a Weird Personal Email to subscribers with updates about what I’m working on, pop culture commentary, feminist rants, jokes, confessions, rambling stories about strange social interactions, and sometimes, playlists. Here is one of those emails. You can subscribe here, if you’d like.
Hey there, ya loony llamas!
I hope you guys are good! It’s still cold as fuck here, and I feel like Bumble. It’s time for another Weird Personal Email!!!
I’ve been working my way through back episodes of The Read, and I don’t know that there’s a funnier podcast out there right now. Even the way they say “what?” can make me laugh. Plus, podcasting is super white and straight, and the hosts of The Read are neither, and they’re the only reason why I’m able to understand the intricacies of the Amber Rose/Tyga feud, which is super important.
I. Kwazy Karaoke Korner!
Last weekend I did karaoke in Koreatown with a bunch of friends. I highly recommend it, if you’re ever in New York. You can rent a private room so that you only have to torture people you know; walking around, it has a feeling akin to what I imagine a brothel might be like, with lots of energy being exerted in closed-up rooms. The best part is that the lyrics play over music videos that are rarely the originals, with hilarious results, like “Back That Ass Up” over footage of a modest Korean woman drinking tea.
Everyone has his or her own personal approach to karaoke. Here’s mine:
1. You have to recognize that when you pick a song, you’re also playing DJ for a room full of people. I personally wouldn’t choose this time to have a cathartic moment with an obscure shoegaze band. Two people in the room did a Bjork song, and while they were super into it & that was funny, the rest of us were kind of scratching our heads.
2. Reverb makes everyone sound better.
3. I always do something by Will Smith because A) he raps slowly enough for me to have a chance, B) ’90s hip-hop is pretty clean, so it works for me as a white person, and C), I like to remind everyone of Will Smith’s musical career. I also like Mindy Kaling’s tip to sing a song with a section that’s in another language, so I usually go for “Miami.”
4. I also think rap songs by children are hilarious, like Lil Romeo’s “My Baby” or Aaron Carter’s “Aaron’s Party.” Others may not agree.
5. As much as I love Beyoncé, Whitney, and Mariah, I know my limitations. But if that doesn’t apply to you, there’s nothing better than discovering a friend’s secret diva abilities.
6. Britney’s range is fine, though, bless her heart.
7. Duets are almost always a great choice, especially if they combine rap and singing. See: “Ghetto Superstar,” any Salt-N-Pepa, “Drunk in Love.”
8. Sometimes it’s the unexpected songs that burn down the house. Someone put on “September,” and there wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t dancing. I’ve seen two chicks do a killer version of The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” I picked Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” half trying to piss off the room, but everyone cheered & sang along instead.
9. If you can find a song that will reveal how familiar your friends are with something embarrassing, that’s the ultimate win in my book.
10. Finally, avoid “My Way” at all costs.
II. Humblebrags about Harris Wittels’s death
I didn’t know Harris Wittels personally, but I felt like I got to know him through his many podcast appearances. I was a fan of his unique comedy brain and ability to put half-baked bits out into the universe without fear. He was a brilliant comedy writer & the inventor of the “humblebrag.” Here are some humblebrags about his death. RIP Harris Wittels.
III. Feminist Rant of the Week
I am so sick of these articles about how Steve Jobs’ decision to wear the same outfit every day was some kind of genius “lifehack,” as if that would EVER be an option for a woman.
First of all, can we please stop looking up to Steve Jobs like some kind of role model? The man very knowingly profited from human suffering. And yes, I realize the irony in typing that out on my MacBook Pro, but nobody’s making statues out of me. I’m sick of people acting like amorality is some kind of savvy business practice just because it’s happening in Silicon Valley and not on Wall Street.
Next, let’s not pretend that wearing the same clothes every day isn’t the fantasy of 75% of American men, regardless of how powerful they are. I think this is why people get so excited about the idea: oh man! You mean I can wear a t-shirt and jeans every day, and it’s the sign of being a visionary, not a lazy slob? (Call me a visionary then, I guess.)
You know who else wears the same thing to work every day? The counter staff at McDonald’s. Hotel maids. All cooks. The military. Winnie the Pooh. It is a privilege to be able to choose what you wear to work.
What makes me angry is that this would NEVER be an option for women, much less women of color, who are under another whole level of scrutiny. Hillary Clinton wears a pantsuit every Rodham day; do you hear people talking about how brilliant and efficient she is? No, it’s just jokes about frumpiness, because women are for looking at and women aren’t allowed to be geniuses.
Women don’t get to opt out of fashion. Tina Fey has basically worn a black dress to every event, and patronizing assholes like Tom & Lorenzo say her clothes “left the distinct impression that she didn’t believe she could be seen as pretty.” Wow. What if she just doesn’t care about “pretty?” (Man, I used to really love TLo, but they’ve gotten so full of themselves, I find them just terrible now.) Lena Dunham has made it very clear that she’s not playing Hollywood’s image-obsessed game, yet she gets critiqued for the clothes she dares to wear to walk down the street. Participation is mandatory.
Even fabulous Janelle Monae, who has very personal and political reasons for her uniform, gets criticized for having a “restrictive” sense of style. Well, shit. If she can’t get away with it, what chance do the rest of us have?
Fuck you, Steve Slobs. Eat a sack, lifehacks. Put that shit away, wearing-the-same-clothes-every-day!
Until next time—I’m gettin’ jiggy with it.