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Gata fight! Gringa Jeanine Cummins writes boo-hoo novel about illegal immigrants, gets called “pendeja” by bisexual “Spanglish” author miffed that Ms. magazine turned down her review

Myriam GurbaPhoto: Weird Sister

The moral of this story: Don’t mess with a bisexual “Spanglish” author!

From the New York Times:

Jeanine Cummins’ “American Dirt,” one of the year’s most anticipated and debated novels, is Oprah Winfrey’s new pick for her book club.

“American Dirt,” published Tuesday, tells of a bookstore owner in Acapulco, Mexico, who loses much of her family to a murderous drug cartel and flees north on a terrifying journey with her 8-year-old son. The novel was acquired by Flatiron Books in 2018 in a reported seven-figure deal and has been talked about in the publishing world ever since. It has appeared on numerous lists of books to look for in 2020, has reached the top 20 on ahead of its release, and has been praised by everyone from John Grisham and Stephen King to Erika Sanchez and Sandra Cisneros.

Winfrey, interviewed Friday by telephone, told The Associated Press that one blurb that stood out was novelist Don Winslow’s comparing “American Dirt” to John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

“And I remember thinking, ‘Yeah right, you better know what you’re talking about because I have a first edition of ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ and it sits on a pedestal in my living room,'” Winfrey said. “Now I wouldn’t say this is ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ but I would say that … I have been a news reporter, watched the news, seen the stories every day, seen the children at the border and my heart is wrenched by that. And nothing has done more (than ‘American Dirt’) to make me feel the pain and desperation of what it means to be on the run. It’s changed the way I see the whole issue and I was already empathetic.”

Oprah! That must have been the last straw, right on top of the seven-figure advance, for Myriam Gurba, “writer, podcaster and artist” in Southern California who cohosts the AskBiGrlz “advice” podcast for troubled souls who feel the need for counsel from “bisexual, bi-racial/cultural” ladies like her. Gurba, like Cummins, is a writer, but unlike Cummins, she’s never been paid seven figures for anything, although her literary efforts have appeared “in anthologies such as The Best American EroticaBottom’s UpSecrets and Confidences, and Tough Girls.”

So Gurba, writing for Tropics of Meta, lets loose in bilingual “Spanglish” on the hapless Cummins: “Pendeja,. You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature”:

A self-professed gabacha, Jeanine Cummins, wrote a book that sucks. Big time.

Her obra de caca belongs to the great American tradition of doing the following:

Appropriating genius works by people of color

Slapping a coat of mayonesa on them to make palatable to taste buds estados-unidenses and

Repackaging them for mass racially “colorblind” consumption.

Rather than look us in the eye, many gabachos prefer to look down their noses at us. Rather than face that we are their moral and intellectual equals, they happily pity us. Pity is what inspires their sweet tooth for Mexican pain, a craving many of them hide. This denial motivates their spending habits, resulting in a preference for trauma porn that wears a social justice fig leaf.

Woo! How do you say “Meow!” in Spanglish?

Gurba says that “a feminist magazine” (later revealed to be Ms.) commissioned a review of American Dirt from her, then turned down the review on the ground that it was too “negative.” So Gurba supplies a few choice quotes from her rejected review:

Cummins employs this “landscape of carnage,” a turn of phrase which hearkens to [U.S. President Trump’s inaugural speech, to introduce her protagonist, the newly widowed Lydia Quixano Perez. Police descend upon Lydia’s home, now a schlocky crime scene, to pantomime investigation. Lydia doesn’t stick around. She understands what all Mexicans do, that cops and criminals play for the same team, and so she and her son Luca, the massacre’s other survivor, flee.

With their family annihilated by narcotraffickers, mother and son embark on a refugees’ journey. They head north, or, as Cummins’ often writes, to “el norte,” and italicized Spanish words like carajo, mijo, and amigo litter the prose, yielding the same effect as store-bought taco seasoning.

As might be expected, some commenters on the Tropic of Meta piece pointed out that Gurba, herself not exactly a Mexican native (although she claims a Mexican grandfather), sounds about as idiotic as Cummins as she drops Spanish words, Spanglish-style, into her English text:

You are doing the same thing the Dirt woman is doing, thinking that by dropping a bunch of poorly-used Spanglish you gain authenticity.

Now, Gurba is dead-wrong that Cummins “ain’t no Steinbeck.” In fact, Cummins, who claims a Puerto-Rican grandmother, although she described herself as “white” in a 2016 New York Times essay, is a near-reincarnation of Steinbeck, the son of a well-do-to physician in Salinas, California, who had probably never spent more than five minutes with any of the actual migrant Okie farmworkers from the Dust Bowl who were his protagonists in The Grapes of Wrath. Like Cummins with “amigo” and “mijo,” Steinbeck larded his novel with colorful phrases in pseudo-Okie dialect–“If we was all mad [at the evil capitalist growers] the same way .  .  . they wouldn’t hunt nobody down”–in order to give his tear-jerker novel the requisite authentic flavor.

But still, as author-translator Bruce Schmidt writes, American Dirt does come off looking like the work-product of someone who hardly knows a word of Spanish:

Despite Cummins’ claims to have been “careful and deliberate in my research,” she failed to research how to spell her main characters’ names.

The surname Quijano has not been spelled with an X since medieval Spain, and the correct Spanish version of the name “Luke” is Lucas. One wonders if the protagonist Lydia adopted her son “Luca” from Italy, Hungary or Romania….

Cummins sprinkles in the most stereotypical cultural fetishes that Americans associate with Mexico: quinceañera dresses, Day of the Dead celebrations, concha sweetbread rolls, grilled carne asada.

And USA Today book-reviewer Barbara VanDenburgh points out that even Cummins’s English style isn’t so hot:

Even on a sentence level, “American Dirt” is frequently cringeworthy. Lydia doesn’t just blink her eyes, she “funnels gratitude into the slow blink of her lashes.” As a man plummets to his death from the top of a train, “his shadow makes the shape of grief as he hurtles toward the earth.” One woman fighting off a rapist “can feel the hard club of his anatomy pushing against her stomach.”

As Myriam Gurba writes, “For a seven-figure sum. A seven-figure sum.”

For that I could have ginned up “the hard club” of male “anatomy” in my own illegal-immigrant weeper novel. After all, I’m more “Latinx” than Cummins and maybe even more so than Gurba. My mother (a legal immigrant) was born in Lima of every Hispanic-origin nationality you can think of, including Mexican. That’s a lot of carne asada.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

But my girlfriends all tell me I look cool! Refinery 29 writer wonders why men liked her waist-length hair better before she chopped it off

Photo: Parisa Hashempour/ Refinery 29

Refinery 29 fashion writer and Instagram Eyebrow addict Parisa Hashempour wonders: “Why Are All the Men in My Life So Angry About My Short Hair?”

After weeks of Pinterest curating, I had chopped my almost waist-length hair to a short, blunt bob. It was a choice that felt innocuous enough…

And also–it’s Instagram’s coolest cut–so, well, that answers it, doesn’t it?

But strangely enough, this happened:

Walking into work the day after my trim, I felt confident. But after silently surveying me, a male colleague declared: “I prefer long hair on girls.”….

As time went on, the unsolicited quips continued from men with whom I came into contact. One man I met told me that he’d scrolled through my Facebook pictures and that I looked more beautiful with long hair. Male friends and acquaintances pointedly declared that they “just prefer longer-haired women” when the topic came up in conversation.

This, apparently, is what Hashempour means by “so angry.”

Not surprisingly, though, the women in Hashempour’s office told her that they just loved that she had snipped off those waist-length tresses that the men were so crazy about:

 I…chose to bask instead in the glow of the adjectives used by my female coworkers. I looked cooler, edgier and more sophisticated.

Mmm, yeah.

Let’s see: On the plus side, no more wolf whistles:

Much to my curiosity, one upside was that the catcalls in the street dropped significantly.

On the minus side, “emotional labour”:

But being constantly asked to justify my decision felt like emotional labour.

It turns out that being cheesed by men for buzz-sawing off your crowning glory is a widespread form of sexist oppression:

Twenty-five-year-old “Eva” was working as a stockbroker when she cut her hair from hip to bob-length in a bid to be taken more seriously in male-dominated board meetings. Instead, male coworkers made lewd jokes and even asked if she had sought her boyfriend’s permission beforehand….

Before cutting her auburn hair into a pixie cut, 26-year-old Jasmine Ricketts was warned by male friends that it was the most attractive part of her. Afterwards, she was told she looked like a “weird boy” and called a lesbian by men in the street. Kailing Fu, a Chinese-Singaporean theatre performer, shaved off her knee-length hair and faced abuse from strangers. Some put their hands together and bowed at her. Others asked if she had cancer.

Well, sure, those cranky old evolutionary psychologists say that men cross-culturally have an innate preference for long, thick hair on women because it correlates with the fertility and good health they look for in potential mothers for their children.

But according to Hashempour, the real reason is the fairy tales of Rapunzel-like manes on princesses that Westerners have been spoon-fed by society:

The view that long hair equates to femininity has been imprinted on us since childhood when storybook princesses with flowing locks were the epitome of beauty….

Ultimately, hair is used by others to categorise and define us, to mark out our sexuality or gender. We are socialised to believe that when we cut off our hair, we are mutilating our femininity.

But not Hashempour! No mutilation of femininity for her!

But in fact, cutting my hair has been liberating. Not only does it take half the time to dry, have more volume and look killer with an off-the-shoulder top, it also feels right for me at the moment. So here’s to styling our hair based on how we like it and when it comes to outdated gender stereotypes, not giving (or growing) an inch.


But I’d like to give Parisa Hashempour a teeny-tiny tip: Your girlfriends. whether at work or otherwise, aren’t always necessarily your friends. When they tell you that your new “bob” is “cooler” and “edgier,” what they are really telling you is that their main interest, when there are men around, is how attractive they themselves look compared to you.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Jellybeans in the jar: Media can’t decide how many impeachment pens Nancy actually used

Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

It was “Why the long face?” for Reps. Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, and other Dems in the House as they slow-marched the Donald J. Trump articles of impeachment from the House over to the Senate looking like the pallbearers at John Gotti’s funeral.

But as far as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was concerned, it was a party game of: Guess How Many Pens I Used? And the media bravely entered their best estimates as they tried to calculate the total number of ballpoints the fleet-fingered and fun-loving Nancy wielded as she signed the articles in a in a jocular House ceremony.

Here are some of the guesses.

BBC:  32 pens.

It took her some time – because she used a different pen for each stroke, joking: “It makes a funny signature.”

Reporters snapped photos of four trays, each holding eight pens engraved with Ms Pelosi’s name, before the signing ceremony.

RealClearPolitics: 30 pens.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for making a show of using 30 golden pens presented on silver platters to sign her name when she officially endorsed the two articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Yahoo News: “Dozens” of pens.

Nancy Pelosi used dozens of customized, signed pens to sign different parts of her signature on Trump’s impeachment articles before handing them out as collectibles at the signing ceremony on Wednesday — a move that angered many Republicans.

Business Insider: 30 pens.

Nancy Pelosi used 30 customized pens engraved with her name and presented to her on silver trays to sign different parts of her signature on impeachment articles against President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Pelosi appeared to write a single stroke of her signature with each pen before changing to another one, a process she repeated 30 times.

U.S. News: “More than two dozen” pens.

Before the signing, aides set out two small trays containing more than two dozen black pens emblazoned with Pelosi’s signature. She entered the room and sat at a table, the documents and pens before her. Standing around her were the House prosecutors and the committee chairmen who had worked on Trump’s impeachment. Pelosi picked up each pen, signed a bit, and handed each one to a lawmaker.

Sometimes, she was smiling.

MSN: “Multiple” pens.

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment to send off to the Senate, Pelosi handed out multiple pens to the impeachment managers.

So at least for now, it seems pretty clear that Nancy kept the pens moving so fast that no one, at least in the media, really knows how many actually ended up in the hands of impeachment managers and other special people. But one thing is certain: A presidential impeachment, like any other festivity, is always made more lively by a parlor game or two. The game of Guess How Many Pens I Used will likely keep the media guessing–and Nancy Pelosi smiling–for many, many more months.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman: Donald J. Trump is crazy. Donald J. Trump is crazy. Donald J. Trump is crazy. And did I tell you that Donald J. Trump is crazy?

Image: Investment Watch Blog

November 30, 2017: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as crazy:

We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability — in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behavior, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping. These characteristics place our country and the world at extreme risk of danger.

Ordinarily, we carry out a routine process for treating people who are dangerous: containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation. We have been unable to do so because of Mr. Trump’s status as president. But the power of the presidency and the type of arsenal he has access to should raise greater alarm, not less.

We urge the public and the lawmakers of this country to push for an urgent evaluation of the president, for which we are in the process of developing a separate but independent expert panel, capable of meeting and carrying out all medical standards of care.

January 6, 2018: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as really, really crazy:

Past violence is the best predictor of future violence, and he has shown: verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and the continual taunting of a hostile nation with nuclear power. Specific traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality with a poor understanding of consequences, rage reactions, a lack of empathy, belligerence towards others and a constant need to demonstrate power.

There is another pattern by which he is dangerous. His cognitive function, or his ability to process knowledge and thoughts, has begun to be widely questioned. Many have noted a distinct decline in his outward ability to form complete sentences, to stay with a thought, to use complex words and not to make loose associations.

October 3, 2018: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman,  diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as…off his rocker:

You can see how his speech is rather formulaic and without the emotional intensity he shows in other instances. And he senses very keenly what the public wants to hear and what the public might respond to. That’s often very strong in individuals who are deceptive or manipulative.

July 22, 2019: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as nuttier than a squirrel’s stash-hole:

When he says, “I am the least racist person you have ever met,” he tells me that he is surely the most racist person I have ever met. In psychiatry, we are trained not simply to believe a person’s words at face value but to evaluate the person’s reliability, whether there are consistent patterns of defense, and whether it is the person or the disease that is speaking, before we believe.

Mr. Trump’s patterns indicate that when he says others are “hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down,” he actually means, “I am a hate-filled extremist constantly trying to tear this country down.” When he says, “Presidential harassment!” he is describing harassment that the president metes out. And his statement, “Their comments are helping fuel the rise of a dangerous, militant hard left,” is an admission that his comments are doing this of the militant hard right. The reason why the attribution is uncannily correct is because the mind is not random: the unconscious mind knows exactly what one is doing, even as the conscious mind denies it.

July 23, 2019: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as two tacos shy of a combination plate:

Dr. Bandy Lee, the leader of the panel and a psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine, argued that mental capacity was even more important than the criminal investigation members of Congress would be after in the hearings because it “needs immediate intervention.” She recommended that Congress consider canceling the August recess to deal with the issue.

December 5. 2019: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as so crazy that he’s made GOP anti-impeachment Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan crazy, too:

I have also spoken about shared psychosis. Psychosis is a severe condition of mental impairment when you lose touch with reality, and shared psychosis happens when a highly compromised person is exposed to other people who would be otherwise healthy. But because of the close contact, healthy people take on the symptoms of the person who is compromised. Because of the president’s position and his direct access to a large proportion of the population, either via Twitter or his direct rallies, there is a phenomenon of shared psychosis going on at large scale, at national scale.

January 4, 2020: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as hoo boy, lock him up right now:

A Yale psychiatrist who has warned of the dangers of President Donald Trump’s mental health for years urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to request a mental health hold of the president after he ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general….

Lee said Trump’s actions were “exactly what someone who lacks mental capacity would do.”

“In other words, he is extremely drawn to actions that would help him appear as if he has mental capacity, such as a ‘presidential strike’ against an enemy, while avoiding the proper procedures, such as briefing with Congress, that might expose his lack of capacity,” she said. “What we do not expect from someone who lacks mental capacity is rational, reality-based decision making that is non-impulsive, non-reckless, and cognizant of consequences.”

January 11, 2020: Dr. Lee, Yale Medicine Woman, diagnoses President Donald J. Trump as so crazy that he made retired Harvard law professor (and Hillary voter) Alan Dershowitz just as crazy as he is:

Prominent Donald Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz reportedly complained to Yale University after forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee suggested Trump supporters may have a “shared psychosis” with the president….

Lee offered her analysis of the shared use of language.

“Alan Dershowitz’s employing the odd use of ‘perfect’—not even a synonym—might be dismissed as ordinary influence in most contexts. However, given the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Donald Trump’s followers, a different scenario is more likely,” she explained….

“Also identical is the level of lack of empathy, of remorse, and of consideration of consequences (until some accountability comes from the outside—at which time he is likely to lash out equally),” she wrote….

Dershowitz wrote an entire column complaining about Dr. Lee’s tweets….

“She also believes that my use of the word ‘perfect’ — the same word used by Donald Trump in describing his phone call to the Ukrainian President — is evidence of a ‘shared’ psychosis….Dr. Lee neglects to mention that the interview during which I used that word took place months before President Trump used it.”

Of course Dr. Bandy Lee herself is saner than earplugs at a Ludacris concert. We know that because she teaches at Yale.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

How seriously do feminists actually take Harvey Weinstein? Protesters outside rape-trial courthouse resort to squatting up and down and singing Spanish song about Chilean politics

A group of women activists perform the Chilean anti-rape anthem "A Rapist In Our Path" outside of the courthouse where Harvey

Can’t feminists outraged by Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual predations come up with something better than…a dumb dance with lyrics that aren’t even in English?

Isn’t rape supposed to be a serious crime?

But the 100 or so women who gathered in protest outside the New York City courthouse during jury selection on two sexual-assault counts lodged against the disgraced Hollywood titan seemed so stumped creatively that they had to resort to performing a song in Spanish composed by a Chilean feminist group whose theme was more about Chilean politics than anything Weinstein is supposed to have done.

Here is the HuffPost’s description of the “flash mob” demonstration:

They were a diverse group, wearing black with accents of red, many of them tying black mesh around their eyes and carrying totes emblazoned with “TIME’S UP” and Dolores Huerta quotes.

Dolores Huerta? Isn’t her cause the United Farm Workers?

Here’s more:

“Patriarchy is our judge that imprisons us at birth! And our punishment is the violence you don’t see,” the women sang in unison as they swayed back and forth in a choreographed dance.

“The rapist is you. It’s the cops. The judges. The state. The president.”

Anyone but Harvey Weinstein, it would seem.

Although, to give these females some credit, maybe they thought “the president” (“el presidente“) was a reference to Donald J. Trump, who, everyone knows, is just as awful as Weinstein, if not worse.

Although, in fact, the president in question seems to be Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, who, as a center-rightist, is loathed by the Chilean left in general, but in particular for calling out the army to deal with a spate of arson and vandalism of public facilities in Santiago to protest a rise in subway fares.

The song they were singing, “Un Violador en Tu Camino” (which translates to “A Rapist in Your Path” in English), was written by LasTesis, a feminist performance group based in Chile. It was first performed publicly in Chile in November 2019 in the midst of the country’s nationwide uprising against inequality….

The lyrics of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” express the philosophy of Argentinian theorist Rita Segato, which identifies fundamentally broken institutions rather than just poorly behaving individuals as the root of rape culture and sexual violence.

Argentinian, Chilean, whatever. At any rate:

Activists Paola Mendoza, Yara Travieso and Sarah Sophie Flicker first saw video footage of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” last month. As the performance grew in popularity within Chile and then moved to other countries, Mendoza, an artist based in New York City, emailed choreographer and director Travieso and Flicker, a creative director and artist….

And so they got to organizing, along with actor and activist Amber Tamblyn and the national organizing director of the Working Families Party, Nelini Stamp. They all reached out to their own networks and encouraged those attending to bring other women-identifying people….

The focus on systems that perpetuate violence against women over singular monsters is why Mendoza, Flicker and Travieso found the song so powerful in this current moment.

“It is much larger than one man committing a horrific crime, this is a systematic problem,” Mendoza said. “And so it’s not just about the Harvey Weinstein trial, though he represents something specific in the United States. It’s about something that’s bigger than that.”

Yasmeen Hassan, the global executive editor of Equality Now, was one of the women in attendance. She told HuffPost that she sees the Weinstein case as symbolic, “the epitome of what led to the Me Too movement.”

Women-identifying people may feel especially empowered by such lines in the song as “El estado opresor es un macho violador.” That means “The oppressive state is a macho rapist.”

Jezebel prints more of the lyrics, along with the accompanying dance moves:

Es feminicidio
[Place hands behind the head, squat up and down]
Impunidad para el asesino
[Repeat movement above]
Es la desaparición
[Repeat movement above]
Es la violación
[Repeat movement above]

[Run in place, but without lifting feet from the ground; move forearms up and down in sync with the feet]
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba , ni cómo vestía

That translates as:

It’s femicide.
Impunity for the killer.
It’s disappearance.
It’s rape.

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed….

Here’s the YouTube.

My thoughts: If you have to import your protest song all the way from Chile and do a “dance” that consists of squatting up and down with your hands on your head, aren’t you suggesting that the legal case against Harvey Weinstein isn’t all that serious?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Global warming made me take my clothes off: Female porn-site models sending nude photos to men who donate to Australian fire relief

Photo: New York Times (supplied by Kaylen Ward)

Is this a helping-the-koala-bears story–or a helping-me-grow-my-porn-video-business story?

Whatever–but you’ve got to hand it to 20-year-old Kaylen Ward for figuring out how to use the Australian bush fires to do good and potentially do well by publicizing her budding business posing in the nude.

Although Ward lives in Los Angeles, California, not Australia, she “wanted to help,” as the New York Times reports:

On Jan. 3, she told her 30,000 Twitter followers that she would send a naked picture of herself to anyone who donated $10 to charities involved in relief efforts….

In order to receive a nude photo, each donor would need to send Ms. Ward a receipt as verification. The model said that by the end of the first day — once she had added up the totals from the receipts sent to her Instagram inbox — she had encouraged the donation of about $5,000 to charities focused on Australia’s fires. She now claims to have raised more than a million dollars, though she was candid about her inability to verify individual donations…

Within days, she had more than 220,000 followers and Instagram had banned her account. Instagram said in a statement that it did not allow its users to offer nude images.

No matter–Ward’s Twitter account, The Naked Philanthropist, continues her offer of a free nude to everyone who can prove he sent at least $10 to an Australian wildfire charity. (If you click the link on that tweet, you’ll get a sample, which is definitely NSFW).

According to the NYT, Ward makes at least some of her modeling income on OnlyFans, a London-based “pornographic subscription service” that claims to have 8 million users paying some 70,000 “content creators” for videos that Instagram won’t display. According to a February 2019 NYT story, OnlyFans is one of several sites that saved onetime porn stars from personal bankruptcy after amateur exhibitionists on the internet sent the professional porn-movie industry south. One was Danii Harwood, who was one of the first models to sign up with OnlyFans after it got started in 2016:

She introduced themed days like Mistress Mondays and Dare Dannii Tuesdays, when men bid to watch her drive around town in her underwear and order a pizza to her home, whereupon she would answer the door naked. She also chatted with fans daily, learning their habits, their sexual predilections and their insecurities.

“You can get porn for free,” she said. “Guys don’t want to pay for that. They want the opportunity to get to know somebody they’ve seen in a magazine or on social media. I’m like their online girlfriend.”

Meanwhile, according to Slate, Kaylen Ward has inspired an entire new fad among fellow models eager to do something to rescue  those marsupials down in burning Oz:

A California woman who uses the name Leila Lahey on Twitter saw Ward’s posts and, even though she has a fraction of Ward’s followers, decided to post her own offer of nudes in exchange for proof of donations. “I was going a little crazy because I couldn’t donate myself,” she said. “I figured it doesn’t hurt to make the post. Honestly, the way that I look at it, all these guys are already begging for the photos in my messages anyway.”

A woman living in Italy who goes by the name Juicy on Twitter soon coined a hashtag for the movement: #nakedforaustralia. “I’m incredibly proud and incredibly grateful for the fact that so many people joined in,” she said.

Among them was a woman who uses the stage name Valerie in Brooklyn. “I’ve done fundraising before, but not like this,” she said.

“People are definitely taking advantage of the fact that it’s like, ‘I’m donating money. And I get nudes,’ ” said a Michigan woman who asked to be identified as Monique. She added that she is going to school for zookeeping and is particularly passionate about saving Australia’s wildlife….

Before long, some women in the online sex work community with slightly different client bases caught wind of the fundraising. “I had a ton of friends on Facebook sharing a post about the Naked Philanthropist,” said a woman who asked to be identified as Ari. “I was like, ‘Oh wait, I do a watered-down foot version of that.’ ”

“A lot of people who are into feet and acrylic nails, regular nudes don’t do it for them,” she explained. “So I was like, ‘Well, I might as well try and catch the niche market.’ ”

A Midwest woman who goes by the name Amira online lamented that the urgency of the fundraising didn’t allow her to incorporate face and body paint into the photos she was offering. “Man, it would have been really cute to take some koala-themed photos or something,” she said.

Lest you think, however, that koala-loving Kaylen Ward never models with her clothes on, the above photo provided to the New York Times proves otherwise.

While some who look at this photo may be mesmerized by Ward’s extraordinarily large…hair extensions, I’m more fascinated by the background: those feathers draped all over the settee and the floor, that strange crested object in front of the window overlooking the pool (or is all of that just a video screen?)–and those people! Who are they? The guy in the bowtie behind that flocked-velvet piece of furniture that looks like a bar, the gal in the business suit, the other creature of indeterminate sex who could be either a man in his skivvies or a somewhat masculine-looking lady in a minidress and black knee socks. They’re all bathed in pinky-red light. What is actually going on in this picture?

Update: Thanks, Glenn Reynolds!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

My latest for Catholic Arts Today: Cop-poet Sarah Cortez says don’t go into policing to be a Care Bear–the only way not to burn out is being willing to die for horrible people who hate you

From my latest for Catholic Arts Today:

Charlotte Allen: Why police work as opposed to anything else?

Sarah Cortez: I fell in love it like you fall in love with a man. Being faced with unmitigated insanity—because the streets are insane. These TV shows don’t even begin to get it right. The insanity doesn’t even have to be dangerous, although it oftentimes is. It’s just a different world. It’s not the world of plush couches in offices. A crazy person knifes you, and you have a knife wound. Or a sane person knifes you, and you still have a knife wound.

But I also fell in love with the mission, which is public safety, the public good, the common good. It’s no longer fashionable to believe in the common good or what’s good for society as a whole among certain people, but to be an effective public servant you must completely identify with the mission, which is being willing to die for people that you don’t even know.

That’s true whether you’re a firefighter, EMS, a police officer, or military. My husband is a retired fireman. There are very few people in policing or firefighting whom I have ever met in 25 years who haven’t come from a Christian background. Even if they’re not “practicing.”  They still come from that core set of assumptions about humanity that you find in the Christian and especially Catholic worldview.

Charlotte Allen: Are there police officers who just haven’t come to terms with death and find themselves unable to continue? They think that they will never die, or people on their watch aren’t going to die?

Sarah Cortez: I’ll put it the way a good friend of mine in my department put it: These young kids who want to become a cop—they don’t really think about it, but they want to be a Care Bear. They get in, and they go through the academy, and they do fine, and they qualify with a firearm and they get a job. And then they find out that a lot of people in the world, especially now, regrettably in America, hate them! You wear a blue shirt? Hey, we hate you! You wear a blue shirt—you’re a racist! With no data, no evidence, no nothing, people just hate them. And it freaks them out, because they want to be a Care Bear.

I went into police work at an older age with my eyes open: OK, some people are going to hate me, some people are going to like me, most people are not going to care about me. I’m hired to do a job, so I’m going to do my job. That person likes me, that person hates me. I don’t know if the younger ones, just because our society has changed so much, understand that.

Charlotte Allen: They hope to be heroes and find out that most of it isn’t very heroic on a day-to-day basis.

Sarah Cortez: It’s dirty. You may lose your life to save somebody else’s life—and they hate cops. But that’s part of the sacramental nature about it.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen