Update to the below: we lost John Prine. I do not care about anything now. The Prine video below went in before I heard. I loved him so much.
Still having the important topical conversations that really matter to Americans (I started by acknowledging that Tony Stark probably throws better parties than Cap, also Cap is bisexual and would be eventually great at oral sex with everyone):
While I’m talking about my MCU obsession, turn the volume up for this perfect fan service (don’t watch if you haven’t seen Endgame, but also, now is the time to change that, despite its flaws). Also I enjoyed Birds of Prey and Uncut Gems over the weekend. Steve couldn’t finish Uncut Gems, he was like “I do not care what happens to this man, this man is a nightmare person” and that’s fair but I really liked it.
Today’s Featured Pet (sung to the tune of Parker Posey doing “Teacher’s Pet” in Waiting For Guffman) is Lulu.
Her human companion, Alexie, has the following to report:
“She's a French Bulldog. Originally she was my grandparents dog. They got her when I was pregnant with my son. My grandparents absolutely adored her. Unfortunately in 2018 my grandfather passed. Then in 2019 my grandmother had knee surgery and wasn't able to take care of her anymore now that's she's living alone.”
“From the time I met her when pregnant her and my son have been best friends. She would lay on my belly and my son would kick her. Their love grew once he was born and hasn't stopped growing. So when she needed a home we found a way to make it work.”
“Now that they are living together they are complete siblings. They are either playing together, bickering, or missing each other. Lulu loves people. When we take her to the dog park she greets all of the owners and tolerates the other dogs. She's also a fantastic emotional support animal. At night if I'm having a nightmare she gently wakes me up. If I start to get anxious she's promptly jumps on me and gets me to focus/calm down. I can't show a screenshot but lately she's been hoping in on our video conference therapy sessions. Which is rather entertaining. We love her greatly and she brings us much joy.”
Alexie, thank you SO much for sharing Lulu with us today.
Whoever asked if “Karen” is a racial slur got told:
Where do I even start with this?
First of all, let’s acknowledge that the use of “Karen”, as a shorthand for a vocally entitled white woman who’s probably going to ask to speak with your manager, has caught on way more than “Becky” ever did – or maybe there are just far more reasons to use “Karen” this way lately.
As for “why Karen”, well, I know I don’t have to spell this out for readers of this column in particular but… Karen was in the Top 10 names in the US throughout the 50s and 60s, and remained in the top 50 for the two decades following that, which means that calling someone a “Karen” is most definitely referring to a woman of a certain age. Yes, yes, yes, there are Karens who are younger, or who aren’t white (or who have never once in their lives called for a manager), but I’d wager the vast majority of us can picture at least one Karen who fits the profile we’re talking about here.
Is this offensive? God knows I always thought the incendiary phrase that would fracture relationships between two generations would be stronger than “OK, Boomer” so I’m not going to sit here and definitively say it’s not offensive, because people get riled up about anything. But if the question is whether it should be considered offensive? Well…
Let me just pull up a list of the literal decades’ worth of jokes in mass media about traditionally Black names like Shaniqua or D’Shawn, or every “hilarious”, i.e. extremely racist, Asian name like Sixteen Candles’ Long Duk Dong. There are countless examples, and I was looking for a corresponding example of Indian/South Asian extraction, but none comes to mind, because Hollywood didn’t acknowledge that South Asian people existed before, like, 2003.
“Right, but those are racist! So—”
They are. But, crucially, those name jokes were often THE ONLY REPRESENTATION of people of colour in the media, and they were crude, lazy, uninformed jokes. Somehow, I’m not quite so worried that the representation of white women is going to be formed solely on the punchline of “Karen” (though I’m sure there are people who think it should be.)
Today’s Absolute Unit is this 14 week old puppy, George:
It’s also this video of a very large Dutchman. We can have both.
From my Monday column, please do not infantilize your parents out of a well-meant sense of concern for their happiness:
Dear Care and Feeding,
Like a lot of us right now, I have an older parent (my mom, in her 70s) who lives alone halfway across the country. While otherwise healthy for her age, I know that the lack of in-person human interaction is starting to take a toll on her mental health.
A few days ago the son of a close friend of hers reached out to me to let me know her friend (his mother) had passed away, and asked if I could let my mother know since he didn’t have her phone number.
I’m afraid if I tell her it will only make her mental health situation that much worse. But if I don’t tell her she might try to call her friend and get the news from her grieving family (who expected me to tell her) or worse, from the newspaper.
What should I do?
—Agonized in L.A.
A reader writes:
Why are you telling people that spouses as a rule cannot contact their partner’s boss and saying that is unprofessional?
Is that in every situation? What if my spouse is on the autism spectrum or what if an employer is forcing sick workers to come in and illegally break stay-at-home orders given by the government?
I think the advice you are giving on this is off-base. My partner and I are a team, and it is reaching a point where her employer is really pushing her boundaries and mine and she is at her wit’s end with trying to manage it herself. Your advice would be fine if every employer was reasonable and allowed people to stand up for themselves. We both know it doesn’t work like that. Personally, any employer who takes an ego bruising by being respectfully spoken to by someone outside of their employ, to me, is not worth working for at all.
She is trying everything she can to maintain healthy boundaries, but this employer is pushing and pushing and your advice has got people accusing me of not caring about my partner because I’m keeping my nose out of her business when she might be out there passing along COVID or getting it herself. Seriously, I’m being accused of not caring by thinking of her career over her health and safety! All because of your advice with no appreciation context at all.
So can you please rethink your position on this and give out some new advice in the context of life-threatening natural disasters and y’know, employers adhering to laws about discrimination, exploitation, and retaliation.
Also, let’s ask, who does your advice benefit? It benefits employers by shielding them from the realities of their staff’s humanity and seeks to keep them cocooned from that reality. There is no good reason why people should not be allowed to help each other and advocate for each other and I would rather test an employer to see how they react to this to see if they take their duty of care to their employees seriously.
I am a massive Chris Farley fan (I have read The Chris Farley Show about four times, I think he was one of the greatest and purest physical comedians of our time and Tommy Boy should be in the Criterion Collection), so I obviously watched the 2015 documentary and his close friend from his college rugby days and onward is a musician and this lovely song he wrote played over the final credits and now I have listened to it eighty times:
always here for Carly
The Highwomen, perfection:
John and Iris!
Just Iris, doing one of my favourite hymns in one of my favourite movies based one of of my favourite Great American Novels:
Hailee’s greatest non-musical work:
This shoulda won the Oscar:
Spamalot is not a great musical but Sara Ramirez is amazing:
Just one of the best songs:
From one of the best albums that never got enough play:
Another Joan Baez deep cut:
And this Son Volt beauty:
Today, thinking of you, my close personal friends, I was reminded of the words of Robert Burns (I guarantee the line breaks will get destroyed on publication, it’s just one of those things):
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
That’s how I feel about you. Exactly that. You are a marvel. You’re better than an ABBA song. You’re just that good. And you’re having such a dreadful time, I’m so sorry. Better days are ahead.