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Let Me Kill You With Darwinism... 😂
If Not A Virus, You Can Be Done In With Dumb... Just like Matthew Rhys & Me! Plus, the best book I totally missed out on. So decadent. So brutal!
How the hell are you? I have been down for the count with the COVID.
It was such a Malarial experience, this bout, just like a trip to the Galapagos (by way of Ecuador) except without the 19th-century nerd-fun. So much rapidly alternating hot and cold and hot again... I was too miserable actually to sleep. The only thing I could do the entire time was lay about and deliriously binge eighteen seasons of a Britbox quiz show and eavesdrop on a frightfully marvelous audiobook (above) that I am three years late to, but still going to tell you about in a new segment aptly titled That's Marvelous because Doofus of the Week only gets you so far.
For now, during this absurd recovery, I keep making deadly-ish mistakes, which makes me believe this new version of COVID is extra tricky because it's killing in a whole new way from idiotic near misses, like almost getting hit by a cable car or locking yourself out in a storm due to sheer dumb fatigue... If we can't kill you with the virus itself, we'll kill you with Darwinism. Oh, and pure dread at knowing HOW completely error-prone you are, which I know isn't funny, but kind of is because you’re “oh-shitting” toward doom the whole way, and it means I might need to call a grown-up but, Teodora (our nanny) is off sacrificing chickens to save Jack Smith and the nation from chronic PTSD brought on by Election 2024. And there, she is needed.
My Darwinist errors mirror the opening scene of Cocaine Bear, in which Matthew Rhys is exuberantly hurling out bags of coke from a plane. He's just as merry as he can be, and can't possibly be more delighted with himself. (TBH, I think living with Matthew Rhys must be so much silly fun, but you’d have to be the most chill person ever):
I keep doing exactly this last bit except without the drugs or the actual dying. And while I DO wear a lot of white these days—the color of surrender—I’m not ready to just yet.
It happens at the oddest moments. For example, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am terrible at moving house. I am, in fact, quite wretched. I have a complete phobia of brown boxes. The mere sight of them gives me hives. It’s a full-on trauma response I have to wrestle into submission.
Mind you, I’m a great traveler. Super flexible. Delay my flight on a book tour and I’m excellent at rolling with the punches. Strand me in France, detain me in Nigeria in a cell full of errant warlords and I'm as pleasant as can be, think Kate Hepburn on the way to the Hamptons. Live footage of me en route to jail:
See? Not a care in the world. It could very well be that I’m simply out of f*cks. A shrink I know mistakenly diagnosed it as a detachment disorder. I like to think of it as ‘poise’. If I’m feeling really swell about things, I’d even go so far as to say, ‘enlightened’.
Recently, we've been having this awful spate of moving in our beautiful Only Murders in the Building-building. Ever since, things have been going wrong; radiators exploding, Clockwork Orange-style robberies, mysterious fire department arrivals, and all the funniest neighbors going missing amid an ongoing series of building-sponsored “kelp smoothie” and “avocado” days. I know they mean well, but there’s been a pronounced ‘vibe shift’, as the kids say.
This morning when I came downstairs, our lobby, with its wedding cake icing moldings which you could only dream about in your perfect Nora Ephron upper Westside rom-com fantasies, was filled with huge Alice in Wonderland-sized brown moving crates and the same wiry, reliable SF mover guys I’ve seen in and out the past three weeks. So, they’re pushing parcels across the marble halls and, I, in my utterly ridiculous trauma response, try to rush past them in my COVID haze and TRIP on one of their hastily taped-down moving blankets and go flying... zero poise.
And I hear them shouting, “The lady in the Derrida Banana Bread T-shirt is down!” That’s the only way they know me. They have been here so many times. They must have marked my increasing chagrin at each passing move, plus it’s a very distinctive shirt.
I will surely pay for the clumsy bungle the day after tomorrow, now that I am crotchety and things hit NOT in the immediate aftermath but usually at the 48-hour mark.
Everyone else I know here is medical and has already had COVID at least three times. There’s a profound stoicism that sets in. Though I'm certain there's something NOT great about getting it multiple times... even though you’d think it would be inoculating.
There's something about the doom/boredom factor of getting sick over and over again that feels degenerative. I firmly believe the world needs to mask up until the next vax on 9/15, but back to school is already upon us, and people seem so hungry for sharp pencils, fresh notebooks, and dew on the grass as they wake ever earlier to return to any routine that hints at redemption. One hopes they don’t all bonk their heads like Matthew Rhys and me.
Doofus(es) of the Week
Now, for our regularly scheduled segment! This one’s a no-brainer…
Doofus #1: Anna Wintour. So much has already been written about why supermodels aren't allowed to age and what it says about our youth-obsessed culture, but what I fault here is the utter lack of creativity… the complete laziness at work because there's a totally missed opportunity with the Vogue Supers cover.
Here's what I know as an oldster: you will never regret romanticizing your life.
So, why not treat this entire issue like the ultimate film and do Three Cuts?
If this is truly a special look back at The Supers... Do Anna Wintour’s Director’s Cut—the way that she always saw it. Vogue’s perfectionist vision of what makes them eternally exquisite. And I’d seriously question why everyone looks like they’re on the way to a funeral.
Then, I’d do a Model’s Cut. Let them romanticize (or not) their experience of the industry and the time with beauty narratives that serve them best.
Then, finally in the blood war for authenticity around aging currently happening on multiple fronts in our global cultural imagination—why not do a Bravery Cut? One imagines NOT a languid army of women in caftans here, but is there a more in-your-face, courageous cover? One that shows women in the raw and subsequently the artistry of the industry at work in all its full glory like a living relief map? Why not make that Bravery Cut a rare, limited edition?
There are so many ways to work it so that you demonstrate that truth is personal and very much a trickster and that multiple points of view can be satisfied.
For the rest of us, it has taken a lot of inner work to make peace with our very middle-aged persons and to appreciate and embrace the full spectrum and beauty of all bodies out in the world despite our lousy ableist, classist, and misogynist training. Making peace with our midlife bodies is very much an INSIDE job. We’ve all been bombarded by such cultural and ageist messaging that has impacted the way we view other bodies, speak about our bodies, and show up in the world. It would be so wonderful, if, like the daring Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You, we could take a more novel, multi-prong narrative approach.
Doofus #2: Gwyneth Paltrow? It didn’t occur to me until Joyce mentioned it below—but she’s spot on in this hilarious sendup about Gwyneth’s new Airbnb attempt to chip away at America’s loneliness epidemic:
Maybe this is a breakthrough, but I really never want to partake of a bone broth dinner with Gwyneth and her American Horror Story Executive Producer husband. That will only make me feel more lonely. Cue Roy Orbison’s Only the Lonely.
Doofus #3 Ron DeSantis and the new Board of New College. This is positively the most chilling read of the week because they've taken this wonderful little liberal arts higher learning institution, this veritable Bennington College of the southeast, and all but destroyed it.
A new segment luxuriating in the good things.
This looks wicked fun:
More needy chickens and falling down, I can’t help it…
A wonderful craft-talk hangout with writer/storyteller R. Eric Thomas talking about his bestselling new book, CONGRATULATIONS, THE BEST IS OVER!: Essays
But how to sum up this week? Just a flashback of Kendall Roy’s summer job era:
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Oh, how I miss rich people behaving badly, but that’s enough for me. I’m going to attempt some proper work now that the drugs are taking hold. Ha. In the meantime, stay safe, Lovelies, and know that I’m thinking of you always – xoxo, gotham girl
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