Archive | Feminist Matters

Permissions Denied, Pigeons Assigned

Piccione, this morning you left your house without a bra?

This was yesterday, when everyone had begun drifting back from wherever people go when they leave NYC over the holidays and I was waiting for some friends visiting from out of town.

For a full week, the coffee shop next door—the ones run by the wily Italians—had been closed. In fact, the whole neighborhood had been closed because all of the planet had been magically out of time.

I’d got a lot done.

But, I am sorry to report, my unconscious also had erected one last roadblock before this wretched, wonderful year could draw to a close.

This roadblock was a doozy.

It began a few days before Christmas, when my Macbook Pro’s operating system began devouring itself, which impacted everything connected to my Apple ID across all my devices, everything that required–and o the irony is rich if not sweet–permissions.

Essentially, I was being denied access to my own identity. At first I was only blocked from features that were convenient but unessential: Apple calendars, reminders, and notes that I accessed across all my devices. Then passwords stored in my iCloud keychain began to disappear, which is when I realized that all these years I’d thought I was being smart and responsible by using Apple-suggested passwords, I was really being stupid as a heart attack. Because these passwords were so complex that I had no way to resuscitate them using anything as pedestrian as, say, human memory. Continue Reading →

Little Women, Inner Children

Yesterday we taped the first episode of Talking Pictures since my back went kablooey (and yes that’s the official medical diagnosis). To celebrate I got it into my head to decorate my head, and so into my triple-braided bun wove pine cones and branches, baby’s breath, and tiny birds, an effect that raised more than a few eyebrows among the normally unflappable population of NYC. Chalk it up to the fact that I was reviewing the most recent iteration of Little Women, which I had approached with great trepidation and from which I had floated with great elation.

There have many, many film, television, and stage adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-set saga about four Massachusetts sisters who are rich in love and poor in cash–it’s a YA novel with which I’m plainly obsessed–but this is the most ravishing and the first that does not betray the intense feminism of its author. Directed by mumblemouth millennial Greta Gerwig (cue my trepidation), it boasts an intensely good cast including Soirse Ronan as stalwart Jo, Meryl Streep putting her mugging to good use for a change as drolly disapproving Aunt March, Timotheeee Chalomet very right (if too slight) as Laurie, and Florence Pugh, channeling the authentically big emotions of her Midsommar character to animate Amy, the most bedazzled and entitled of the March girls. (Laura Dern is too Modern Millie for the Marnie of my dreams, but I’ve always been immune to her Lynchian charms.) Continue Reading →

No Room to Let (Dowager Chic)

2002 me

This is a blunt story–which of mine are not?– and it probably deserves to live somewhere besides a blog post. But as is so often the case, I will begin writing it to the audience that exists in my head when I write here–namely, sensitive, smart, and roughly my generation, at least psychospiritually.

Four years ago I began a battle to establish my apartment’s rent stabilization. I’d moved into the building in 2002, a few months after September 11 had dashed my dreams of being a wife and a mother (a separate post; a separate book, really). There was a markedly different group of tenants  because back then third stop on the L Train did not mean hipster. It meant working-class families of mostly Italian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican descent. I was the only woman on the block living alone–definitely the only blond wannabe writer from Boston. Mostly I got along with everyone–oh, there was the time I got in a fight with a mafia princess over a parking space and her father came after me with a baseball bat screaming YOU FKING WHORE-but having grown up in Newton’s The Lake I knew how to hold my ground. Sort of. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy