Archive for January, 2015

Dispatches from Sundance

January 29, 2015

So we’ve seen some real clunkers out here and some great things, but the greatest of the great was an incredibly eerie horror film called The Witch, which takes place in pre-Salem New England.  A family gets booted out of their plantation for heresy and tries to make a go of it on their own near the forest, but then strange things start happening, and they all go basically batshit.  There are a number of animals UP TO NO GOOD in this flick, including a raven who stars in a particularly disturbing scene.  Of course when I walked out I wanted to rush to my computer and start writing a long-form piece about the ability to predict which child stars will succeed (Anya Taylor-Joy is fu-cking in-cre-di-ble), the “mass hysteria” in LeRoy, New York a few years back, the psychological purpose of fantasy films for adults, and refugee camps for accused witches in Ghana, but… oh yeah, right, no essays.

Oscar nod a-coming.

Oscar nod a-coming.

But what I did do is reach out to the Salem Witch Museum to ask the below, which I’ve been wondering about for years.  I REALLY hope my memory is correct on this one!


I have a very random question about the Witch Trials themselves (not really about the museum) that has stuck in my brain for years, and that I’ve finally decided to put to rest.  About twenty years ago, when I was ten, my family visited Salem and visited a number of museums about the witch trials (perhaps yours?)  I distinctly remember during this visit one of the tour guides mentioning that all but one of the young girls suffering from “possession” completely recovered.  One, however, continued to have symptoms (fits and tics) for the rest of her life.  I believe she died young.  I can’t find any reference to this online, though, and as it was so many years ago, it’s entirely possible I’m mis-remembering it.  If anyone on staff can confirm or deny this, I’d be SO appreciative!

Thank you!


Itinerant Daughter

The 21st Century Can Kiss My Ass

January 23, 2015
Yep, that about sums it up.

Yep, that about sums it up.


January 22, 2015

“But Bruchy knew, as anyone with any sense did, that this was certainly not a book for boys.  Boys were to keep their minds pure and spend their days with Torah study.  Girls were not required to study Torah.  He who teaches his daughter Torah, the sages said, teaches her foolishness.  Girls, we were told, didn’t have the urges and temptations that boys did.  Girls were allowed to gaze at boys, but boys were not allowed to gaze back.  Some said that women possessed loftier souls than men and therefore didn’t need to study Torah, weren’t obligated with as many commandments, were allowed to study English literature and history and even a little art and science, too, because their souls were so lofty that those subjects couldn’t hurt them, or not nearly as much as they could boys.”

~All Who Go Do Not Return, by Shulem Deen

Other things best left to women:

Politics (all of ’em)

Managing large amounts of money/running corporations

Determining how much space each individual ass deserves on subway benches

Gloomy Sunday

January 18, 2015
ID: yeah it’s very unpleasant out!
MB: thats why i have not a single plan to go outside
tho i do want to get a mani at some point
ID: i kinda want a diet coke
but that’s it on my end
MB: perhaps when i get cabin fever in a bit
and/or if it stops raining
ID: also when i was sleeping
i had a dream about sour cream and onion potato chips so now i kind of want some
these are the only reasons i’d leave
MB: oh interesting, so vivid and specific
i wish i dreamed about food more

Did This Week Suck?

January 9, 2015

I think it did.  But I’ll tell you what doesn’t suck: Sia’s music video for “Elastic Heart.”  I know this one has gotten more than its share of attention, albeit mostly from those who consider it either pedophilia or pointless absurdity or both.  But that’s some mishegoss, because while it is absurd, it is certainly not pointless or pedophilic.  I thought about writing about it in depth, but Erin Keane at Salon said everything I was going to say already.  I almost joined Twitter solely for the purpose of messaging her, “Erin: you are SO RIGHT.  But can you tell me now how I can stop myself from watching the video for the 700th time in a row?”

I’ve heard people say that it’s about Sia’s relationship with her father, and Sia herself said it was about “two warring ‘sia’ self states.”  I like the latter explanation better.  A folie a deux occurring inside a single person.  I keep coming back to the idea of Ziegler as a kind of dancing id, something feral and composed entirely of instinct.   Who is Shia, then?  Unclear.  But $20 they met in AA.

If you’re doubting me on the Freudian thing, check out the video for “Chandelier,” and then get back to me.  So if we’re being teleological here––and why WOULDN’T we be––that makes LaBeouf the ego or the superego.  Something is swirling around in here (the video, and my brain, which are kind of one and the same thing at this point) about the perils of doing things because society TELLS you to, like pose for publicity shots.  Who knows this better than a former Disney slave?  Oh SIA YOU CLEVER SONGBIRD YOU.  I’m seriously looking for someone to recreate this dance with me (I call Ziegler’s role.)  Oh, and Maddie, if you’re reading this: you’re a true artist.  Don’t let reality TV destroy you.


An Idea

January 9, 2015

Dear Jenna Lyons,

I have this polka dot shirt from J. Crew (a few seasons back) and I really think it would be cool if you made a version like the below:

copyright ID

copyright ID

With one GOLD polka dot!  All I ask for is a shirt from the first batch.  You’re welcome!




January 9, 2015

I woke up in my sleep last night because in my dream, I got shot in the foot.  I was driving through Baltimore at the time.  Shoulda known better!


January 7, 2015




January 5, 2015

More on hotels: apparently the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai ranks #28 on CondeNast Traveler’s Best 100 Resorts 2014 list, but frankly, I think it looks TERRIFYING.  It’s like Kubrick does political interior design.  Also, I could make soooo many jokes based on this little review, but I’ll spare you.


Essays I Will Not Write

January 4, 2015

Again, I’m strengthening my resolve in this new calendar year to focus on the big projects rather than the essays that pop into my head all the time.  As William Styron’s daughter said of her father’s depression, he felt not comforted by the masterpieces he wrote, but hounded by the little pieces he had never gotten around to, “that they were like little beasts and he had watched them turn their backs on him and walk away.”  But I’m thinking, perhaps better to let them go than try to hold tightly to their leashes as they sprint toward the horizon?

So Internet, you’re welcome for this idea: a follow up to this New York Times article about travel blogger Meghan McEwan, who recently bought a very pretty house in the utterly magical Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan intending to turn it into a B&B.  Some things to cover in the article: do virtual dreams fail to satisfy?  Does critical expertise translate to practical know-how?  Is the Leelanau Peninsula the next big thing, or should we never speak of it again so that it remains untouched and pure?  Does she know where Mario Battali lives?  And so on.

You know what, fuck this––if any editor is interested, lemme know.  I can make time for it, depending on how many expenses you cover.