I use greeting cards as bookmarks (so I can store sticky notes in them), but I unfortunately left my latest in a returned library book (which I didn’t even read). So I bought this fantastic card from Easy Tiger because it’s both the right size and features a message that should help me calm down and relax after the June and early July I’ve had. I’m not crazy about the included envelope—it’s wider than the card and comes packaged folded around the card—but since this isn’t for mailing, I don’t care. They also have gorgeous gridded notebooks, so I approve.
It’s appropriate that the first thing I want to talk about on the Almanac is this great profile of Marie Kondo. (Who I have actually clapped human eyes on; I ducked into Kinokuniya one afternoon for my usual fistful of 0.28 mm Uniball Signos and stumbled into an event promoting her new book.) Taffy Brodesser-Akner is especially wonderful when it comes to empathizing with Kondo herself, especially while Kondo is promoting a book in a country where she needs an interpreter. She also explores the backlash, regular and xenophobic, Kondo and her method has faced in the United States, in both mainstream culture and from the National Association of Professional Organizers.
I’m fascinated by how divisive the KonMari method seems to be. I quite enjoyed the book and found the KonMari method incredibly useful, but I also think that I’m an easy mark for the method. Hoarding runs in my family (immigrating to the States will do that to you), to the point that donating or throwing things out that I no longer need or want makes me feel more rebellious and dangerous than the entirety of my adolescence laid end to end. The divisiveness baffles me, largely because I don’t feel like Kondo ever feels like she’s dictating that this is the one and only method. Perhaps its perceived faddishness and pseudospiritual tone made it seem so?
I started Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine last week. I’ve determined to read all of her historical novels in order. I read Fire From Heaven and The Persian Boy when I was thirteen, inspired by seeing Alexander in theaters. They were part of a phase I went through as a preteen where I was absolutely fixated on queer male representation for a variety of reasons that undoubtedly included my own obvious but then unknown-to-me queerness. I’m looking forward to reading them out of that context and in context with each other.
Ever since Star Wars: The Force Awakens took over my life in December, I’ve been slowly making my way through Star Wars: The Clone Wars (not to be confused with the early aughts animated series of a similar name, Star Wars: Clone Wars). I finished up the third season on Friday. I’ve really been enjoying it in terms of expanding Anakin’s character. The prequels, obviously, do a very poor job of it, but The Clone Wars makes his tragic flaws compelling. For me, there are two important but overlooked points to his character: Anakin is not a free man (there’s a good tumblr post out in the world about how Anakin never went a day in his life without calling someone Master) and Anakin is terrified of losing the people he loves (because of how he was taken from and then lost his mother). The last two episodes find Ahsoka Tano, his padawan, being kidnapped, and upon her return, Anakin is nervously shredding himself to pieces over his inability to protect her. It makes sense that he would betray everything just for the chance to keep Padmé safe in Revenge of the Sith, because that’s his greatest fear—the people he cares about most being taken him from by a cruel, uncaring universe.
I have a lot of feelings about Anakin Skywalker, is what I’m saying.
And I saw Ghostbusters yesterday. I have no affection, interest, or use for the original—I watched it in 2014 and took off my wig in despair at its shagginess and sexism—but I do for this one. Largely because it’s actually about something: female friendship. See, this what you can do with a female-heavy cast—explore topics that are different for different women. We get to see Abby and Erin healing over a painful rift in their friendship, we get to see Abby and Holtzmann have a solid friendship, and we get to see Patty and Holtzmann become friends over the course of the film. (Patty talking Holtzmann down from stealing a corpse is some A+ platonic meet-cute.) In fact, when the film isn’t about women doing science and kicking ass, it’s about treating people as whole human beings. Even Kevin, one of Chris Hemsworth’s finest and most useless spectacular morons, is someone that the team considers one of their own. (“He just started figuring out the phones!” Holtzmann yells at the villain when Kevin is ghostnapped.) It’s still a little shaggy, as most American comedies tend to be these days, but when it sings, it sings. Holtzmann’s hero shot in the battle of Times Square is particularly glorious, as she whips ghosts out of existence while an orchestral version of the classic theme song plays. Now that‘s a Ghostbusters movie.
(Although getting Little Mix or Fifth Harmony to cover the theme song—which doesn’t need any covering, to be honest—would have been a sweeter, more pointed choice than Fall Out Boy.)