Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: shirtless Michael B. Jordan, Kavanaugh cashed in on a sexist double-standard, and the world laughed at Trump.
One of the top 12 best things about my life is that it coincides with the existence of Beyoncé. (Side note: earlier this week I accidentally held down the E key and a pop-up appeared offering me various accented Es. I had no idea about this shortcut! I use Chrome so maybe it's only available in this browser. I have done absolutely no supplemental research. Do you know how dramatically that changes my entire life? I write about Beyoncé roughly 15 times a day and each time I have to do a Google search for Beyoncé, copy the accented E at the end, and paste it into whatever I'm writing. Every time. There have been some Beyoncé news-heavy weeks when I've kept a Word doc open on my desktop with only her name in it to cut down on the searching, copying, and pasting. Hello, I am a professional writer and also quite a mess!)
You know who is not a mess?! Beyoncé!
She just posted photos from her On The Run II tour stop in Santa Clara where she debuted the new Vivienne Westwood outfit pictured above and honestly has anyone checked on Santa Clara to see if it's still standing?! This was the first thing I saw when I logged into Twitter this morning and for a brief moment I was of the opinion that the internet was a good thing. Won't she do it?!
God called Beyoncé after seeing this photo and was like "Gurl! Where did you get this lewk?! This is totally how I'm trying to stunt for the winter." Legit, if I get to Heaven and everyone isn't wearing enormous silver capes and Salma Hayek in 54 bodysuits, I'm going to be like, "Send me back to Earth where Beyoncé is until y'all figure this thing out. You can keep this long white robe business. Have you thought about how easily they can stain?! And the hems must be filthy. All those people walking around Heaven; you know some of them litter. You just know it. Your garments must be a mess. Call me when you get your shipment of Ivy Park gear. Thanks."
(You ever think about how there's probably a lot of rude people in Heaven? Like, presuming only good people get into Heaven. [I think everyone does but no one needs my theological opinions based 100% on 1 (one) This American Life episode.] There are plenty of annoying good people, and rude good people, and good people who want to speak to the manager for no good reason. OMG, can you imagine some of these people asking to speak to the manager of Heaven. I would die! Again. Die squared. I want to go to Heaven just for the drama and secondhand embarrassment.)
(And the perfectly tailored Beyoncé uniform. OF COURSE.)
I really, truly appreciate that Bey is leaning full force into her next career iteration as a superhero. THOSE BOOTS. Elton John saw those was was like "SOMEONE SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT AND IT WAS BEYONCÉ GISELLE KNOWLES-CARTER, M.D." Question: why don't more superheroes wear tiny sunglasses so that we know they are cool? Also, a microphone. Basically, why aren't more superheroes Beyoncé? Here's my pitch for the next Avengers movie. Thanos snaps his other finger, all of the rest of the Avengers disintegrate, Beyoncé walks the Earth bringing peace and lewks; everyone is fine. This is the whole movie. Just long shots of Beyoncé in a long cape, being perfect while super-villains and recording artists of lesser quality fall in her wake. Would I watch that? ARE YOU KIDDING? I would watch a 10-film series about that. Honey, I am already at the movie theater, I have purchased a huge tub of popcorn that I won't even make a dent in. (Ah, the hopeful folly of the movie theater concessions counter decision-making process. When in my entire, Beyoncé-loving life have I ever, in one two-hour period, willingly eaten roughly a 4 pounds of popcorn out of a container the side of Magneto's helmet? Never! Why do they sell this? Why do I always consider it? I'm trying to watch Ryan Gosling escape from the moon or whatever First Man is about; do I really need to smear my face with butter and eat the weight of a small child in airy popcorn kernels? FOR THE MOON? What are we doing with our lives? Humans need to stop being entrusted with decision-making abilities until we get ourselves together. I would vote on that. Suspend free will; we are dumb; only Beyoncé can make choices for us.)
Imagine how much improved your life would be if Beyoncé made all of your choices? Honestly, you cannot argue this point.
(LOL, I wasn't even supposed to spend this much time writing about Beyoncé. I was supposed to mention her and then spend the majority of this newsletter talking about how I woke up at 2 a.m. because I thought there was a ghost in my new apartment but then I spent the next four hours convincing myself that that couldn't be true because this building is new construction. New construction! My mind.)
Anyway, back to Beyoncé, I guess. What I love about this outfit is that it's so extra is comes back around and it just regular clothes again. Not only is she in a body suit but also the body suit is mirrorball and also it has a cape and also that cape is longer than your life. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert rode that bus so Beyoncé could walk.
This is true liberation: a casual day lewk that will definitely get stuck in the doors of an elevator as you're exiting.
Do you ever think Beyoncé is ever amazed that she, too, lives in the same time period as herself? Does she put on this ensemble, look at herself in the mirror, and mutter, "Omg, girl, you are too much and I am so fortunate to know you"? These are the things I wonder as I sit up at 3 in the morning, downloading a sage app to ward off my millennial, terrarium-obsessed, rock-climbing-gym-membership-having ghost in my new construction apartment. Like, how did this ghost even get here? Is there a phantasm rideshare? Boo-ber? Possible.
This week. Ugh. THIS WEEK. So, there's a lot of shirtless Michael B. Jordan, Trump being laughed at by the world, and evil banality of a calendar. But first, my resignation:
I, like Rod Rosenstein—who is currently still possibly the Deputy Attorney General allegedly at present per sources—would very much like to be done with whatever it is you idiots are doing. Unsubstantiated rumors surfaced earlier today that Rod Rosenstein had verbally resigned to John Kelly (doesn't count if you don't pinky swear, per the employee handbook). It turned out that maybe he discussed hinting at resigning but then he went to the White House to have a conversation about potentially being sort of fired. Sad for him (but glad for constitutional crises!) Trump wasn't home. So Rosenstein remains employed in this hellmouth. Congratulations? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
The sound of the U.N. laughing at Trump's baseless and absurd self-aggrandizing is my new ringtone. Is this patriotism?! Unclear.
Trump: And you, and you, and you're gonna love me.
U.N.: Effie, we all got pains. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Kavanaugh repeatedly interrupted, talked over, and yelled at Democratic senators. He was petulant and surly; he refused, multiple times, to say whether he'd be in favor of an FBI investigation; he was by turns hostile, aggrieved, and weepy. He has every right to his emotions but the gathered body, and the general public, would never have allowed such a display from Dr. Ford, or any woman. Kavanaugh benefited unequivocally from a double standard that we apply to women that polices their behavior, their expressions of emotions, and their anger. Women, particularly women in the public eye, are required to maintain composure, to be agreeable, and to be responsive. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]
Brett Kavanaugh's calendar will one day be a trivia answer but, looking at its pages in the present, I'm reminded how easy it is for the simplest items to wake a beast. It's a common occurrence in pop culture: OJ's gloves have become mythic items—a punchline with an unimaginably dark backstory. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
THIRST ALERT! Gird your loins and crack open a La Croix because the new trailer for Creed 2 just dropped and it will leave you parched. This new spot for the forthcoming sequel in the Rocky saga apparently tells the story of a young man who is gravely allergic to wearing a shirt and I am not mad about it at all. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
In All Seriousness...
This newsletter is a lot of jokes and an attempt to keep from going off the deep end every week, but I think a lot about who reads this, who reads anything I write, and I know--through conversations, through twitter discourse, through basic human empathy--that this week was hellish on a lot of people. I don't know a lot of you in person, but I care about you nevertheless. I believe you. I hope you find some joy, something life-giving, something sustaining this week and forever.
Let's Hang Out...
Hosting The Moth in Philadelphia at World Cafe Live on Monday October 1st
Hosting The Moth in D.C. at The Miracle Theater on Thursday October 4th
Unfortunately, The Moth in Arkansas has been rescheduled for February. I can't make it but I hope if you're in the area, you'll come out for some great storytelling!
Random Thing On the Internet...
When I used to teach storytelling regularly, I used to always use this phenomenally-performed piece from Snap Judgement as the basis for a least one class lesson. Noah, a teenager with a slam poetry background, tells a story that's quite simple--he goes for a ride with his moms and tries to intuit what's going to become of his family. But, through a combination of exhilarating stagecraft and the magic of the highly specific made universal, it is a story that never fails to make me feel better, bigger, more inspired, and more hopeful. The classes when I taught it were always the best.
Won't she do it?