I'm Better: Eric Reads the Week, #5

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

Who knew that my dystopian YA trilogy about a rogue National Park Ranger who leads a revolution through queer dance party protests in an airport would turn out to be so prescient?


This week's e-mail runs the gamut, child. Literally everything happened. You'll find a me getting my life over the new Missy video, being terrified by a video from the Inauguration, exploding into glitter over Audra McDonald in Beauty and the Beast, and imagining an alternative fact about our current political state.

The "Badlands Tweeter" Deserves a Movie

In an act that literally no one saw coming, the Badlands National Park Twitter account started tweeting climate change facts in defiance of the president's recent shutdown of all Department of the Interior social media and his general aversion to scientific inquiry. I am obsessed with whatever park ranger got notification of the shutdown and subsequent gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency, angrily turned to a passing prairie dog, and exclaimed, "Enough is enough!"

The prairie dog surely responded, "Let's burn this mother down. Not the park. It's a figure of speech. Something may be getting lost in translation. I'm a prairie dog." [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

Breaking Down Rihanna's Resistance Look

Like a reverse Coco Chanel, Rihanna showed up to the Women's March in New York City serving literally all of the protest looqs. Why choose one outfit to stand for equality when you can choose all of them? At the same time. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

On the Inauguration of the 45th President: Hillary Clinton

"This place is a fantasy. But so was this country, once. America is, and ever was, an idea."

And now a dispatch from an another reality. Warning: this piece will make you laugh and then it will make you cry. Both will feel good, I think. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

Just Say Yes: Mariah's World recap, Episode 7

Mariah's bed is covered in fan letters. She says, "I didn't know people were still doing letters and stuff. Mail." Every time I think I can't love Mariah more she busts out another perfect, "disconnected from reality" gem. Mariah Carey is not aware that the United States Postal Service is still in business. I want to believe that there's a room in her house that is filled floor to ceiling with unread Oriental Trading catalogs. [READ THE FULL RECAP HERE]

The First Lady's Frown Will Have You Shook

Forget Rings or Split, the scariest movie you'll see this year is eight seconds of video from the president's inauguration.

I cannot stop watching this and I cannot stop screaming.

The ferocity of this grimace is seismic.

I had to sit down. I'm already sitting down. I have to lie down. All the way down. I have to bury myself in a grave. RIP me. In lieu of flowers please send money to Planned Parenthood.


Audra McDonald is Everything in the New Beauty and the Beast Posters

Audra plays Madame Garderobe who is turned into a wardrobe in the film. Listen, if Audra McDonald was my closet I would never have come out. I'd be in there listening to her hit high Es before heading out to be a conservative senator in a swing state or whatever I ended up doing. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

The Oscar Nominations Are Out and We Have to Talk

Amy Adams has five nominations already and she'll surely get more in the future. At a certain point you should be able to cash in your nominations for an award like they're tickets at Chuck E. Cheese. Dear Academy: Let me know if you need help mapping this out. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

The 7 Best Things About Missy's New Video "I'm Better"

Look, I've been stanning for Missy's style since she put on a Glad trash back and was like "Don't @ me." She's been rocking galactic fashion for decades and she doesn't disappoint here. I'm particularly in love with her first lewk, a jacket with feathered epaulettes that is giving me intense LaBelle vibes. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

All Hail Your New Queen, Carmen Dell'Orefice at Couture

I mean, there are lewks and then there's "stomping the runway dressed like a float from a Rose Parade in Hades accompanied by a couple of bosom-y extras from Interview with A Vampire." This is not a lewk, honey. This is a whole vision test. [READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE]

A Random Thing from the Internet

I'm in a couple of writing groups, which is great for a number of reasons: 1) writing can be lonely and maddening, so even doing it in the presence of another person can improve the experience; 2) as much as I love writing, I am apparently the kind of adult who won't complete something without a deadline and a room full of people who would be disappointed; 3) I get to hear other people's great ideas and read other people's incredible words and feel both inspired and wracked with envy. My two favorite emotions.

This weekend I met with a new group for the first time and one of the writers, Alisha Beth Adams, brought in pages from a new piece about virtual reality spaces. She asked us about our experiences with avatar games like the Sims and Second Life. I've never played either and I'd, actually, never even heard of Second Life. Apparently, you build a whole, well, second life in this game. You can be anyone and explore the universe in whatever way speaks to you.

Alisha asked, "If you were to play Second Life, what kind of person would you be? Would you be yourself? Someone else?"

My initial thought was "I would be Beyonce." Because when given the choice between Beyonce and anyone else, you always go with Beyonce.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my dream Second Life would be so much less fierce, so much more calm, a little bit benign. "I'd be a retired woman in her 60s," I said. "I'd run a winery. No, I wouldn't run it. I'd manage it. It wouldn't do a lot of business. I'd have a couple of adult kids and a few grandkids that I saw a few times a year. I'd spend most of my time on Second Life watching the sun move across the fields of grapes or curled up with a book or folding laundry. I'd volunteer sometimes at the church's Strawberry Festival."

I don't know why that appeals to me so much. I don't even like doing laundry in this life. Why would I do it on a video game?

I make no sense.

Anyway, this week I'm logging off of Twitter and Facebook with a little more frequency, I'm trying to spend time seeing what the world looks like in three dimensions and I'm daydreaming of watching the sun set over a field of grape vines while I effortlessly fold a king-size fitted sheet.

To life!

I'm hosting The Moth StorySlam in Philadelphia!
February 6, 2017
World Cafe Live
Tickets on sale Monday at 3pm