I <3 Frivolity: Why I Like “Likes,” Even If I’m the Only One

Today Twitter made a small but significant change: It swapped the star-shaped “favorite” button for a heart-shaped “like” in an attempt to make the platform more welcoming to newcomers. Twitter users promptly lost their minds, which was really to be expected given that Twitter users (myself included) lose their minds on a pretty regular basis.

The reactions from accounts I follow generally ranged from neutral curiosity to outrage. Most people seem to think it’s unnecessary “dude-fussing” at best, and a catastrophe at worst. Gizmodo put up a guide to replacing it, which at least one person in my feed immediately used to bring back the star. In short, no one really likes the heart.

Well, that’s not quite true. I like the heart. Continue reading →


A Day in the (Internet) Life

I was considering writing a story about cat eggs this evening, but instead we’re going to go for a little change of pace. Here’s a selection of things from my browser history today. If nothing else, it makes me feel better about not reading as many books as I used to, because clearly I still do a lot of reading–it’s just all online now.

This morning I learned that I am the sort of person who will read a 17-minute piece about typesetting and 1970s printing methods before even eating breakfast. This piece is fascinating, and I say that with all seriousness.

Even longer but also even better: “My Life In The Locker Room: A Female Sportswriter Remembers The Dicks.” (This one came post-breakfast but before I’d finished my tea.)

Long before I was allowed to eat fish with bones, could go all night without peeing in my bed, or understood Gilligan’s Island wasn’t real, I loved baseball. It’s the reason I’m a sportswriter, and I learned it from my dad. Back then, almost 30 years ago, passion for the national pastime was an heirloom fathers passed to their sons. But a little girl with blonde pin curls somehow slipped into the line of succession.

Continue reading →

Mallory Ortberg, Misandry, and the Beauty of the Feminist Internet

The Los Angeles Book Review posted an excellent piece last week on Mallory Ortberg’s newly-released Texts from Jane Eyre, and it really gets to the heart of what I love about the feminist internet.

I turn to Ortberg’s work in moments when I have been patted on the head by older men who don’t see it a problem that they will never imagine me as more than a child; when I am told (overtly or implicitly) that whatever I do it will never be as important as what a man does; when yet another male talent is revealed as abusive and the world fails to respond. I turn to Ortberg when I, like her, feel rather proud to wear the “misandrist” mantel. I turn to Ortberg when I want to say to the men I love that “your request of ‘gotta hear both sides’ has been denied.”

Ortberg dismantles Male Genius so effectively that she allows her readers to create an imaginative space outside of male seriousness; this is her appeal. In the space she creates, Male Genius is not so much a powerful symbolic order as a self-involved and bumbling habit, one that we might easily leave by the snack table while we get on with the more serious business of living dynamic creative lives.

Continue reading →