We've still been binge watching and cooking and reading, but we can't really call these quarantine kits anymore. Quarantining is over; we all appear to be engaging in a big pretend we're calling the "post-pandemic" world.
Things are a still little bleak out there as we all try to regain our bearings and return to public life, return to the reality of living in community. It isn't always easy. That's a lot of exposure when we've all been holed up like mole people. Since quarantining is over, we wanted to offer up a distraction or two. This list is heavy on drama, a stocked freezer, and anything shorter than a book.
So let's dive in. We'll start with the tv. Our three shows over the last two months:
Every episode of the Wyoming Legislature. From January 10th to March 3rd you could tune in morning, noon, and sometimes night to this gem on wyoleg.gov. Admittedly, some episodes are better than others. The scripting is uneven, at best. The cinematography is weak and the sound quality is marginal. But the story arc brings us back day after day. There are heroes. (Barry Crago! Ember Oakley!) There are villains. There are moments of brilliance. Definitely some statement EVERY. SINGLE. DAY that made us cry. More than one comment that left us baffled, mouth agape. Was it edited so we'd feel that way? Maybe. Probably. You know how reality tv is.
Fauda on Netflix. All four seasons of men and guns and men with guns and so many, too many brains splattered on cars and walls and faces of enemies. This is *absolutely the antithesis* of the programming we usually watch. We like strong female leads. Storylines the highlight the perspective of women. Shows that make us laugh. Yet. Somehow. We watched all of it. A show (told exclusively from the Israeli perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict) whose title literally means "chaos" in Arabic. “If you’re not careful ... the concept of right and wrong gets erased.” (Does Fauda share some attributes with the aforementioned WyoLeg programming? Who's to say.)
The Law According to Lidia Poet, also on Netflix. Historical fiction loosely based on the true story of Italy's first female lawyer? What's that you say? The characters are also super hot? Sure, why not. The first season dropped one weekend during session and, we confess, we watched all six episodes. Did we have time? No. Did we do it anyway? Yes. Are we at all sorry? Also, no.
(Clearly, we're still binge watching tv shows. But now it is sort of a survival kit instead of a mode of entertainment when the world is otherwise on hold. Let's be clear: If we were really packing a kit intended for survival, we'd include more canned goods, batteries, and duct tape. Instead we're heavy on drama, a stocked freezer, and anything shorter than a book.)
Here are more (on brand) tv shows we think you might like.
Paper Girls on Amazon Prime | "Everything feels fresh. Partly because of the all-female gang, still such a rarity, and the sense of genuine sorority among them."
Poker Face on Peacock | "The brutality contained in Poker Face’s 10 episodes is outweighed by humor, humanism, intelligence, and, perhaps most crucially, optimism."
High School on Amazon Freevee | "Beloved indie pop duo Tegan and Sara have been mainstays in the music industry since the late ‘90s, but how did they become the queer icons and hitmakers they are today? That’s the basic premise of High School, an adaptation of their memoir of the same name."
Daisy Jones & the Six on Amazon Prime | We love this mini-review of the book.
We've abandoned movies. We accidentally clicked into a movie one day and immediately realized the error. Who has two hours? (So say the people who, apparently, have 10 hours/day for episodes of WyoLeg and also created time for Fauda and Lidia Poet. Go figure.)
We haven't read a book in a while. We wish we could make it through something lengthy and cohesive. We have piles waiting for us whenever that time finally rolls around again. Here's a quick glimpse:
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Night Watchman by Louise Ehrdich
We also continue to recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo--which we have read (and is also by the author of Daisy Jones & the Six)--and it is a hit EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So much so that we're thinking about lifting our ban on books--btw, this is just a "we're tired and who has time to read a whole book rn" ban on books not a statutory ban on books like SF177 or HB87 which are gone but are sure to rise again so get ready, people, get ready--and re-reading it. We're also waiting for it to show up on someone's banned book list.
We *are* still reading essays:
The Agoraphobic Fantasy of Tradlife by Zoe Hu.
The Work Is Not Enough: A real laundry apocalypse of a week by AHP.
the only good coffee is bad coffee by Helena Fitzgerald.
What are we protecting children from by banning books by Katy Waldman.
The expanding battle over the abortion pill by Jeannie Suk Gersen.
There were other essays we read (this and this) and some we re-read and shared (this one by two conservative white guys who, in our opinion, nailed it: The False Choices Facing the Republican Party).
When we're not in a hotel room or The Capitol or a Cheyenne restaurant, we haven't completely abandoned cooking. In anticipation of two months of dystopian hellscape, we stocked our freezer with everything we could think of to make survival easier. Here's what came in that freezer survival kit:
Breaded chicken breasts (great for chicken parm or fried chicken or Martha's baked breaded chicken)
We've closed the door on social media. No fb, no insta, no TikTok, no twitter. That makes our entire team, officially, ancient-by-default. When Elon bought Twitter, we decamped quickly. So no more recommendations for Twitter follows. The survival kit recommendation: Quit Twitter. Do it now.
We've started listening to songs that encapsulate the general "this is pretty fucked but maybe there is a way to be optimistic nonetheless" vibe we're rocking these days:
Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City. "Everything that dies someday comes back."
Susan Tedeschi/Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice. "You just kind of wasted all my precious time."
The Chicks Not Ready to Make Nice. "I'm not ready to make nice. I'm not ready to back down."
But we're not short on opinions, most of which now focus on how we might survive (what feels like) the waning days of the Republic.
There is basically no sector of our society that is as divided along gender lines as our churches. (There is also a lot of scholarship about the racial divides of our churches. Sunday is among the most segregated days of the week, according to the research. More on that in another post.) The official sanctioned leadership in most congregations (synagogues, mosques, churches, etc) is male. Many, if not most, faith traditions will not ordain women. At the same time, religion has an outsized impact on our political and community conversations these days. (Witness the fierce debate arguing that some books shouldn't be available for minors in public libraries but those same minors can and should be allowed to get married if their parents want them to. Because, religion. We're not sure how to square the insistence of some who say that a couple of paragraphs in one book in one library will sexualize young girls yet forcing them to marry will not. Also a discussion for another post.) The women who are ordained or in leadership positions in progressive traditions need to speak up and speak out. Too many men and women whose faith traditions subjugate women are the only religious voices in the room. As we make our way through Lent, this is something we will continue to reflect on.
Aequitas. According to wikipedia, "Aequitas is the Latin concept of justice, equality, conformity, symmetry, or fairness." This concept is front of mind for us right now. And here is our favorite part: the divine personification of Aequitas was a goddess holding the scales of justice and a sword. A GODDESS BRINGING JUSTICE AND A SWORD.
GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND GET OUT THERE. It is all hands on deck time. If it sounds like we're yelling, it might be that we are.