desk lunch – 2015-04-16

This week brought to you by a random trip to the Rosenbach Museum and Library and their extraordinary rare book collection. There’s a lot to love about their current Oscar Wilde exhibit, like a notebook draft of Salome that includes Wilde stopping a scene short to sketch the staging for a particular moment. The exhibit also has a lot of Philadelphia-specific content, like reviews and satire from women who hated Wilde’s lectures on Aestheticism and published their mocking hearts out. (Also on display: Rafal Olbinski’s poster for Salome, which is just about the only poster we will ever need for Salome.)


How My Employer Put the “FML” in FMLA (and followup)
Here’s a two-parter on an employee who followed corporate policy when she saved up her sick leave to use as maternity leave and then had her employer deny it! And then they gaslit her by secretly revising their policies while she was on maternity leave! My personal hell exists on earth and it’s a situation where a paper trail can’t save me.

I know other people are critiquing this already, but this bothers me on a basic level because eight of those 16 items are not calorically significant. Nutritionally speaking, this is a vitamin bonanza. But people who live on SNAP benefits don’t just have to get nutrients, they have to get actual calories, because they tend to have very physical lives, doing service labor and taking care of children and not necessarily being able to afford a car and so forth.

Bless Gwyneth for trying the celebrity SNAP challenge, but this is the only piece that articulates why her initial offering seemed so absurd: it’s not enough calories to live. Rather, it’s enough calories to fuel a goop life, which doesn’t involve manual labor, hours on one’s feet, hours on public transportation, all endured before getting home and putting your house in order. I can’t do that on 1000 calories and the touch of one lime per day of the week. It’s enough calories when your business means staying stick-thin and glowing with the light of seven limes, but that’s not my business. (Girl. Seriously. Seven limes. Please why?) EDIT: Because limes a very affordable way to flavor food and they’re really cheap in Southern California! Thanks, internet!

People liked my plays. They told me so. To my face. Often. Some people did (and maybe even still do) love my plays. But very few people wanted to produce the plays I wrote. Very, very few. I’d do readings and workshops and it always felt like the play was a draft away, or some specific rewrite away. But that draft never seemed to happen, or the rewrite never seemed to do the trick. The perfect play just receded into the distance, always around another corner.

Save this for when that mood strikes- the one where you must wallow at the edge of an existential crisis and wonder whether anything you love actually matters. It’s a pragmatic answer to this hilarious word problem: If you continue to produce work at a rate of EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT and shoot it into a black hole that provides only a hint of return or validation, how long before you attempt the impossible and swing yourself out of its orbit with the last remnants of what defines you as anything at all? (Note: of course you [probably] can’t survive the event horizon of a black hole, but recently some astronomers noticed that A Thing skittered around the edge of one and wasn’t consumed by it? Whatever it is?? Can you be THAT THING?)

The brands try to talk like the teens. The brands fail.
Teens only care about the immediate culture. They are not stuck in dead-time nostalgia. They have never heard of Missy Elliot. They do not care. That is OK. Teens plow their carts over the bones of the dead.

#CoolTeenz know what matters and what matters is nothing.

In conclusion:
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