Isia was here

Isia Jasiewicz is a student at Yale Law School and occasionally a journalist, too. She majored in art history at Princeton.

Why the Lean In Generation Needs Parenthood’s Julia Braverman

The best thing about Parenthood being the Most Underrated Show on Television is that those who are in on its secret get fully drawn into the intimate sphere that is the Braverman family (much like fans of showrunner Jason Katims’s previous Most Underrated Show on Television, Friday Night Lights, became citizens of Dillon). When any one of the Bravermans laughs, we laugh. And by God, when any one of them cries, we cry buckets. We cry so many buckets that Vulture doesn’t write Parenthood recaps, it writes Parenthood Cry-Caps. (And yet, somehow, I never learn the lesson that I should always wait to apply mascara until after I’ve watched Parenthood over my Saturday morning coffee.)

The worst thing about Parenthood being the Most Underrated Show on Television is that every season, the extended Braverman fan-family has to endure not knowing whether the show will be renewed. The past three season finales have been maybe-series finales, and invariably well-written as such, brimming with conflict resolution, sentimentality, and hope. And each time I have desperately wanted the show to come back but known we and the Bravermans will all be ok if it doesn’t.

But after last week’s finale, I am now hoping more than ever that Parenthood gets renewed. It’s not just because I want it the show to keep ruining my mascara for years to come. It’s not because I want to see Haddie’s new lesbian storyline developed fully, or because I want to find out if Amber is pregnant and where her toxically loving relationship with Ryan is headed. It’s because I need Julia Braverman-Graham to stay on television.

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Julia (Erika Christensen), the type-A lawyer and youngest of the Braverman siblings, has always been the most criminally underused of the Braverman quartet. It’s a testament to Parenthood’s ability to play out understated drama that Julia’s storylines—which have included infertility, adoption, and professional woes—have almost always played in the background. That is, until this season, when Julia got a chance to shine in the most unfortunate of circumstances: her gut-wrenching separation from her husband, Joel Graham (Sam Jaeger).

Watching Parenthood is always a little bit painful—see aforementioned cryfest phenomenon—but watching Joel and Julia’s storyline this season has been almost unbearable for me. It’s not because their story is somehow more painful than anything Parenthood has done before. In fact, as far as Parenthood storylines go, it’s outright cheery. No one is diagnosed with cancer (Kristina) or Aspberger’s (Max) or gets in a car crash (Amber). But for the life of me, I just can’t bear to watch Julia suffer.

I didn’t need to take Buzzfeed’s “Which Braverman Are You” quiz to know that I’m a Julia, through and through. Like Julia, I’m an attorney. I’m a control freak to a fault and way too competitive for my own good. I wear sheath dresses and enjoy wine, Adele, and mid-century modern furniture. And though I’m not at that point in my life yet, I imagine that one day, like Julia, I will be wracked with anxiety about being a good parent while managing my high-powered legal career. In other words, I’m a member of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In generation, the group of high-achieving women struggling to “have it all” in the face of continued gender inequities in the workplace (including behavioral ones we impose on ourselves).

Depictions of high-achieving “regular women” like Julia on TV or in movies are few and far between. Most often “career women,” particularly lawyers, appear as flat, underdeveloped automatons without personal lives (the women of Suits) or as unlikeable workaholics who spurn family life (Miranda on Sex and the City was, to put it mildly, a reluctant parent). But Julia is a television rarity: an over-achieving woman with all the trappings that make career women so unlikeable (think “bossyness”) who is still lovable and warm and cares more than anything about her family’s well-being.

Even within the super-accepting sphere of the Braverman clan, Julia struggles to find her place as a Lean In woman. In the early seasons, Julia—who brings home the proverbial bacon while Joel stays home with their daughter Sydney—worries incessantly that Sydney prefers Joel over her, and she even feels judged by her otherwise loving family for it (though, in a few moving scenes, she is reassured her siblings think of her as a good parent, such as when Jabar gets his thumb stuck in a can and Julia swoops to the rescue).

At the same time, Julia commits the cardinal sin that Lean In women so often fall for: she doesn’t just judge herself, she also judges women who make the opposite choice. When she gets jealous in Season 1 of a stay-at-home-mom who has been shamelessly hitting on her husband at playgroup, she spits out, “She doesn’t even work!” before catching herself and adding, “which is a valid, such a valid choice, you know, I took an extra month of maternity leave.”

So for years I have admired Julia for being a realistically flawed career woman who still gets the hot hubby and adorable daughter and can rely on her family to love and support her even when she feels like she doesn’t deserve it (and maybe sometimes really doesn’t). But being Julia Braverman, Career Mom is impossibly difficult, and the Parenthood writers know it. So they have wisely knocked her off her pedestal consistently throughout the series, putting her through the wringer of trying—and failing—to “have it all” over and over again.

After finding out she is infertile and enduring the pain of having a potential adoption fall through (a beautifully played-out storyline in its own right), Julia, desperate to give Sydney a sibling, decides to adopt an eight-year-old boy whose mother is incarcerated. Julia doesn’t immediately click with the boy, Victor, and she tells Joel in one of the most cringeworthy scenes of the whole series, “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.” I’ve long wondered whether Julia’s anxiety had to do with her years of being told—or at least, feeling like she was being told—that she wasn’t a loving mother because she worked long hours and left Sydney at home with Joel. Julia has been conditioned by society to be on the lookout for signs that her career is overtaking her heart, so when she goes through the totally normal and understandable growing pains of adopting an eight-year-old, she takes it personally.

Her anxiety starts to eat her up, causing her to have panic attacks, food burning on the stove and all. She misses a discovery deadline at work, then works all night through her daughter’s ballet recital to be able to make it to her son’s baseball game. When she gets called in to a meeting with the partners to discuss her mistake—on no notice on a Saturday—she faces the ultimatum that every woman balancing career and family dreads: “We need your full assurance that you’re totally committed to the firm.”

It’s hard to imagine a man with a difficult family life facing the same ultimatum. When Julia’s brother Adam (Peter Krause) loses his job in Season 2, it has everything to do with “the economy” and nothing to do with his son’s Aspberger’s diagnosis. But Julia has walked right into the trap laid for career women these days: If you try to do too much at work and at home, something’s gotta give.

So Julia chooses home. She’s committed to her career, yes, but she’s more committed to Sydney, her flesh and blood, and Victor, whom she’s sworn to take in and care for when no one else will. But Julia quickly learns that giving up half of the work-life equation doesn’t make the remaining half any easier.

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This is where we find Julia at the beginning of season 5: struggling desperately to adjust to her new life as a stay-at-home mom, made all the more painful by Julia’s realization that she doesn’t want to stay at home. She interviews for a job at another firm but gets blackballed by a bad recommendation from the same partner who forced her hand into quitting. (To be fair, Julia did mess up at work, but it stings that her old boss doesn’t give her credit for the many years she was, by all accounts, awesome at her job while still dealing with personal difficulties, including her infertility and failed adoption.)

Being forced to stay at home while Joel goes back to work is unbearably painful for Julia. I am familiar with the common objection that “this was Julia’s choice,” and so she shouldn’t be wallowing in a pity party. That’s true. But for a woman like Julia, who has fought hard her whole life to maintain her career and validate the compromises she’s made in her family life, the daily grind of staying at home feels like failure. It’s telling that for the first few episodes after she quits her job, Julia continues to wear sheath dresses and button-up shirts at home. She just doesn’t know who she is in mom jeans.

Julia’s personal confusion puts a strain on her marriage like nothing has before. Julia bonds with Ed, a dad at her kids’ school who is also adjusting to stay-at-home parenthood after being laid off from a corporate sales job. His situation is actually nothing like hers in that his unemployment, like Adam’s in Season 2, is about “the economy” and not the failings of work-life balance. But he knows it’s tough adjusting to life at home with the kids—a fact Joel is blind to, having made it to old pro status by the time Victor came into the picture—so Ed becomes an important part of Julia’s life. Ed, being a stupid man, misreads the signal, tries to kiss Julia, Julia lets the kiss happen for a moment before pushing Ed away, Julia tells Joel, Joel freaks out, and Joel moves into a crappy apartment and indicates he wants a divorce (to make a very long story short).

All season long, I couldn’t understand Joel’s perspective on this, after all his years of being patient and sensitive. I thought maybe Joel had a brain tumor that caused him to freak out so dramatically and refuse to accept Julia’s pleading apologies for not fending off Ed’s advances sooner. But the real source of Joel’s lingering dissatisfaction comes out in another impeccably written scene toward the end of Season 5, in which Joel (heartbreakingly!) tells Julia they’re not trying to get back together right now.

Joel finally opens up about his true frustrations, pointing out that he made sacrifices for Julia’s career for many years and when it was time for Julia to do the same for Joel, she didn’t deliver, instead showing up at Joel’s workplace to cry to him about her struggles at home. 

Joel has a point; Julia has been selfish and focused on her own difficulties, and has not been expressing her support of Joel’s career the same way he used to do for her. Yet for all the progress we’ve made on gender in the past few decades, it still means something different for Joel to support Julia’s career than the other way around. Julia needed constant reassurance that her focus on her career was ok. And Joel got brownie points for staying at home because he wasn’t expected to, and that was seen as something above and beyond (hence women fawning over him at playgroup). What Joel fails to realize is that now that the tables have turned, and Julia is at home with the kids, she still needs support adjusting to her new role, and she has no brownie points to show for it.

In short, the conflict between Joel and Julia reveals a difficult truth about marriage in the Lean In era: It’s not enough for the partner who shoulders responsibilities at home to support the one who works. The support has to be truly mutual, and the dichotomy between career and family can’t be divvied up neatly into “one person works, the other doesn’t.”

Because even though Julia is staying home now, she’s still an attorney at heart, and she still needs Joel to see and value and love that part of her just as much as he needs her to take on more responsibilities at home and “support” his career. That’s why, after Joel tells her they’re not trying to get back together, Julia winds up sleeping with Mr. Knight, the new headmaster of Adam and Kristina’s charter school. Julia meets Mr. Knight in a professional capacity, as she’s been asked to help out with legal aspects of the charter school (a task she jumps on with the zeal of a child starved for candy). Mr. Knight calls her a “scary lawyer”—because that’s the side of her he sees—and she all but drops her panties right then and there, she’s so relieved to have a man acknowledge that part of her again.

Of course, this is Parenthood, so Julia quickly makes clear to Mr. Knight that it won’t happen again, just as Joel finally comes to the realization that even though he’s back at work now, he’s still a “family man,” as his boss puts it, the same way Julia is still a lawyer.

I was dying for months to see how the season finale would handle Julia and Joel’s seemingly inevitable reconciliation,  hoping against hope that the writers wouldn’t give them a neat and tidy reunion, which would belittle the real struggles couples like Joel and Julia endure. Of course, I should have known that it would be Victor and Sydney who soften Joel and Julia to each other again. Victor has a victory at school for the first time ever, and Sydney begs and pleads with Joel to stay and tuck her in after a fun family day celebrating Victor’s success. Sydney—already a Lean In woman herself, a miniature Julia capable of clever, lawyerly manipulation—gets Joel to tell her the story of the day she was born as a bedtime story. Joel recounts how Julia told the anesthesiologist who administered her epidural “I love you,” but he’s looking right at Julia as he utters the words. As Sydney drifts off to sleep, Joel puts his hand over Julia’s, reminding her that they still have a bond (of parenthood, or of Parenthood?) even as they still have so much to work on.

It’s a painfully poignant scene, and written with just enough ambiguity to make their reconciliation realistically incremental. Julia and Joel’s story encapsulates the harsh reality that parenting and relationships in the Lean In era are hard on both women and men, and the struggles working women and their families face have no easy solutions, even when partners love each other and their children and desperately want to do the right thing.

A key message of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is that the first step to improving careers and family lives for women is to start a conversation about the difficulties they face, and to recognize that women hold themselves back just as much as the system does. Julia Braverman’s story on Parenthood has done just that. It’s caused viewers to criticize Julia for being selfish and having tunnel vision. It’s also caused them to criticize Joel for not being sufficiently sensitive to her plight. And it’s caused everyone to realize couples like Joel and Julia face uphill battles every day.

This is why I need Julia Braverman, and I sincerely hope she sticks around. There’s still a lot to tell about Joel and Julia and how they will attempt to navigate their needs for personal and professional satisfaction, and I’m excited to see how the writers pull it off. Whatever happens, Julia’s life won’t be easy—and that’s a good thing.

A Tale of Two Finales, Or Why Emotional Honesty Always Wins on Television

*Spoiler warning for How I Met Your Mother and True Detective*

March was kind of a rough month for TV finales. First, the season finale of HBO’s critically acclaimed anthology series, True Detective, literally broke HBO Go. Then, once everybody actually got it working, the finale itself was a letdown, as the plot reached a disappointingly predictable conclusion and it turned out all the fans’ frenzied theorizing was for naught.

Then came the series finale of How I Met Your Mother (“HIMYM”), the beloved and oft-quoted sitcom that ended a nine-season run on Monday.  Fans took to Facebook and Twitter in advance of the finale with weepy updates about the “end of an era” and “OMG I’m going to cry my eyes out.” Then the finale actually aired, and no one wept—they shouted instead.

The titular premise of the show—how Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) met and fell in love with the mother of kids—turned out to be one giant fakeout, as the Mother (whose name, we finally found out, was Tracy McConnell, played charmingly by Cristin Milioti) was not the central object of Ted’s affections after all. No, it was his early-seasons crush, Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), all along. After Tracy conveniently dies of an unspecified illness, Ted waits six years so that his kids won’t think he is a total scumbag and then goes after Robin with the blue french horn like he has so many times before.

Fans were mad—and I mean ALL-CAPS MAD. Here’s a random sampling of texts exchanged among a group of my friends on the night of March 31 and morning of April 1 (and, by the way, all four of us are attorneys, not teenagers):

“I AM SO SAD AND ANGRY”

“I hate that it’s making me question life choices and beliefs”

“It made no sense and it was the worst”

“I think I’m starting to go through the stages of grief”

“UGH I HATE EVERYTHING FOREVER”

“I am at the throwing things stage of grief”

“I’m walking to work right now and am listening to angry breakup music on my walk because I feel angry and betrayed”

You’d think the four of us had collectively gone through a breakup. Or maybe found out a dear friend was completely betrayed by a boyfriend. No, fiance. This is some evil-fiance-level vitriol.

But despite my anger, I have tried to come around to the HIMYM finale. Like Ted Mosby, who is so devoted to Star Wars that he ritualistically rewatches the entire trilogy once every three years, I am generally a loyal fan. I get invested in shows and characters I care about, and I root for them to succeed. So when a show I have loved ends, I won’t let the ending tarnish the series for me if I can help it. I will find redeeming qualities wherever I can, not admitting defeat. And that is precisely why I have come to embrace the anticlimactic True Detective finale, but I don’t foresee ever getting past the sting of HIMYM’s admittedly clever and cohesive ending.

Clever plot twists and narrative cohesion are certainly welcome and valuable on television, but not at the expense of emotional honesty, which is prized on TV above all else. While a three-hour movie can sustain itself on the momentum of a well-structured plot, a television show—whether it lasts eight episodes like True Detective or more than eight years like HIMYM—rides on the faithful development of its characters and themes. In other words, its emotional truth.

Even for shows that are generally successful on this score, writing a satisfying series finale is incredibly difficult. I can much more readily recall disappointing finales than excellent ones. Dexter was sloppy and nonsensical. Lost was a mess (“Wait, are they in purgatory? What about the polar bears?”). The Sopranos cut to black and millions of viewers assumed their cable had cut out (I kind of like that one, actually, but there’s no denying it incurred wrath).

Then there are shows that jumped the shark and lost their viewership long before the final episode (The O.C., Gossip Girl, one day Grey’s Anatomy and Glee); shows that were cancelled before their time and ended on sloppily thrown-together finales or worse, cliffhangers (Pushing Daisies, My So-Called Life, Veronica Mars); or shows that lived on the bubble for so long that they required midstream “just in case” finales, rendering actual finales less memorable (One Tree Hill “ended forever” more times than I can count).

Indeed, it’s rare that TV writers actually get to go with a planned, thought-out ending. True Detective and HIMYM both enjoyed this luxury—True Detective because it was short and contained, HIMYM because the ending was filmed in 2006, before the actors who played Ted’s kids had a chance to grow up. For this reason, I think a comparison between the two finales is apt despite how radically different the shows are. (Apples, oranges, premium cable dramas, and network sitcoms!).

I wouldn’t dare get into the relative merits of the two shows overall, or suggest that the inconsistent and goofy HIMYM ever played on the same field as the cinematic wonder that is True Detective. But there’s an important lesson to be learned from comparing their final episodes: When a finale has to choose between a show’s head and its heart, heart should win, period.

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True Detective’s failings lay in its narrative cohesion. The show had spent an entire season weaving a complex tapestry of clues, only to have the whole thing spontaneously unravel in a pile of loose ends. What was going on with Marty’s daughter? Who exactly was the Yellow King? What was the extent of Errol Childress’s involvement (other than blood relation) with the Tuttles? For a show that masterfully played with pacing, the ending seemed awfully rushed.

But emotionally, True Detective remained utterly true to itself (and its detectives). The show was always about the unlikely not-quite-friendship between Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey). The most thrilling moments of the series were not plot points or “big reveals.” They were quiet moments of buddy-cop humor or Rust’s memorable philosophizing (the peak of the McConnaissance, arguably, was not the night Matthew won the Oscar, but the moment Rust uttered the phrase “Time is a flat circle.”). The one notable exception was the exhilarating six-minute tracking shot at the end of episode 4. But even that remarkable action sequence was at its heart about Rust himself: It was shot from his perspective, providing viewers with a glimpse into his mind. Watching the tracking shot, we suddenly understood how Rust retains sharp focus in frenzied chaos, and why the harsh demands on his mental reflexes have left him slightly off-kilter in his daily life.

For all the finale’s failings, its treatment of Marty and Rust was perfectly on-key. Again, the thrilling moments were actually outside the plot: Marty breaking down when his wife and children show up in his hospital room; Marty and Rust, both weak and weathered from their ordeal, sentimentally flicking each other off; and, of course, Rust’s emotional speech outside the hospital. In the series’ final moments, we saw Rust transformed and hopeful, but still as pensive and opaque as ever: “Once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”

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If True Detective failed its narrative but championed its characters, HIMYM did the exact opposite. Plot-wise, the HIMYM finale was outright smart. It took the show’s premise and turned it on its head. It avoid the trappings of a predictable, too-neat ending (think Friends). It even included nice touches of symmetry. In the first scene, a flashback to 2005, Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) tells Ted and his womanizing friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), “The only way you can hook up with [Robin] is if you marry her.” Turns out, both did, though Barney and Robin divorced after only three years—which translated to about a minute and a half of screentime, after the whole ninth season was their wedding weekend! (Don’t get me started.) And, of course, there was the blue french horn, a longtime token of Ted’s affections for Robin. We didn’t need to watch Ted declare his love for Robin in the final scene, because the blue french horn did it for him.

But just one episode earlier, when Robin was in the throes of pre-wedding jitters and pleading with Ted that she should be with him instead of Barney, Ted told her he wasn’t the guy with the blue french horn anymore. And here’s the thing: I believed him. At one point, Ted was so subject to romantic whims that he told Robin he loved her on their first date. But nearly a decade has passed since then, and Ted has been left at the altar and faced scheming girlfriends and continual rejection from Robin. He’s come to understand that he and Robin are fundamentally different people, and trying to turn his infatuation with her into a real relationship simply isn’t going to work. He’s on the verge of giving up, moving to Chicago, when he meets Tracy, and the stars align. They flirt under the yellow umbrella she once lost at a St. Patrick’s Day party, where Ted found it, not knowing it belonged to the future mother of his children. And here’s the other thing: Ted and Tracy’s chemistry is incredible, far more lovely and sweet than Ted and Robin’s ever was.

So when Ted busts out the blue french horn again in the final scene, it is as if he has forgotten all the lessons of the decade before he met Tracy: from “nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.” to “destiny is always at play” and “when someone is not right for you, you have to let them go.” Same goes for the other characters too. Barney Stinson, once an entertaining womanizer, grew devoted to Robin as the series went on, and by their wedding, he had achieved some semblance of maturity. But immediately after his divorce from Robin, Barney went back to being sleazy, then pulled a misogynistic about-face after he fathered a love child and took up paternalistic slut-shaming.

Aside from failing its characters, HIMYM also failed itself. Most TV shows with a long-term love story run on will-they-won’t-they sexual tension—think Castle, Bones, JAG, Ross & Rachel on Friends, Josh & Donna on West Wing. What was special about HIMYM was that its central love story (or so we thought) ran on hope. Ted’s longing was not sexualized or even localized, focused on an individual—instead, it was a general desire, a hopeless romantic’s quest to find the perfect girl to settle down with. Ted’s journey was the one every single twenty-something (without a hot-but-awkward co-worker or roommate they’re clearly meant for) goes through: Ted’s looking for love, but doesn’t know where to find it. His only fuel is faith.

There’s a poignant scene in season 4 in which Ted sits in a car with his ex-fiancee, Stella, and tells her he is tired of looking for the one. Stella reassures him, “She’s on her way, and she’s getting here as fast as she can.” Crucially, this scene—like almost all of the series—was filmed after the final appearance of Ted’s kids from the finale. But it defined the show HIMYM had become by that point. After the first season or two, it would have been just fine for Ted and Robin to wind up together, because Ted’s desire was still focused on her, even if only in the back of his mind. By the time he and Stella talked in the car, however, his desire was removed from Robin, detached, and Ted’s attempts to re-focus it on her continually failed, like forcing a square peg into a round hole. And along with Ted, the viewers shifted their focus too, and joined him in longing for the unknown Girl with the Yellow Umbrella.

So when HIMYM revealed it was a will-they-won’t-they between Ted and Robin all along, the twist rang hollow. HIMYM’s special brand of magic—hope, faith, destiny—was gone.

Now you can tell I’m out of practice at this, based on how long-winded this tirade has been, but the lesson here is simple: Ditching a plot device like the Yellow King is a bummer. But ditching an emotional lodestar like the Yellow Umbrella spells betrayal. So to all you advocates of HIMYM’s elegant plot: You’re right, but the ending was still wrong.

I am considering coming back to Tumblr and using it completely incorrectly

Once upon a time, I was a culture writer. Well, baby culture writer—technically, I was a lowly intern at Newsweek, but I bylined stories and went to screenings with a press pass and all the rest. Then, I went to law school. And on my last day at Newsweek, a writer there told me, “Just don’t let law school ruin your writing.” 

"Nah," I scoffed. "Won’t happen to me. Legal writing is dry but I’ll make it interesting. And besides, I can keep writing." 

So I went to law school, and at first, I kept writing. I wrote Oscars predictions on my Tumblr and took a class on writing about law for the press. But then law school got more demanding (a quirk of my alma mater, where the first year is the easiest instead of the other way around), and you already know how this story ends. 

In the meantime, friends from college actually became grown-up culture writers, and I’d eye their self-promoting story-link posts on Facebook with jealousy. “I used to make clever jokes about TV shows,” I thought. “I used to come up with those neat turns of phrase.” 

In the past year—my first as an actual lawyer—I have increasingly found myself writing reviews in my head. Since I am temporarily living in a city where I know no one, I saw all the Best Picture nominees in advance of the Oscars for the first time since college. And I came to realize that I had things to say about them, but nowhere to say them. My co-workers grew weary of my rambling ad-libbed reviews around the lunch table, and in any case, talking about movies is different from writing about them. Not necessarily less fun—actually, probably more fun, because writing is always painful, even when it’s a joy—but just different, and not what I was craving. 

So I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog. But what would I call it? And where would I host it? And should it be anonymous, now that I’m a Grownup Lawyer and accordingly ought to be more aware of my online presence than I was in my carefree student days? (Let’s be real: a lot of the pop culture I’ve always most enjoyed writing about does not exactly match my now mandatory Serious Well-Educated Career Woman persona.) 

This Tumblr already exists, though it has been abandoned for years. It is full of frivolous reblogs from my carefree student days (wow, I really do sound old), and I’m not so much interested in Tumblr’s reblog-link-soundbite-picture platform anymore. But it has a few older posts along the lines of what I’d like to do now, including an Oscars prediction piece that made me positively wistful when I recently revisited it. I also like Tumblr’s aesthetic (at least for this public-facing page), and I’d like to keep my collection of clips around. So I am considering coming back to Tumblr and using it completely incorrectly and posting actual blog posts here. Mostly about culture and maybe one day about law, once I am no longer a federal judicial clerk and am allowed to have public opinions again. 

For now, I will ruminate on the issue. But I may be back with a piece on television finales soon (yes, you got me, I’m a scorned HIMYM lover and really just want a place to publicly vent). 

Obligatory “It’s Christmas I just watched Love Actually it might be the greatest movie ever made I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO MUCH” post. 
And to all a good night!  View high resolution

Obligatory “It’s Christmas I just watched Love Actually it might be the greatest movie ever made I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO MUCH” post. 

And to all a good night! 

legalryangosling:

LAW SCHOOL RYAN GOSLING. 

LIFECHANGER. 

markcoatney:

stecav:

Some rather beautiful London Underground infographics from the early 1900’s.

Love these.

Amazing. 

notacomplexperson:

You know what’s wrong with this cover? Meryl, as one of the select Celestial Supreme Godesses™, does not need to be splashed with dirty seawater so that she can seem “down to earth”; she rises above the rest of us commoners in almost every single possible way, so it’s not like anybody would buy that anyway. If I had been styling this shoot, I would’ve literally put her a giant marble pedestal, found the most regal looking gowns I could get, and put six of them on her all at once. A real missed opportunity here, Vogue.
(Image via thedailywhat)

notacomplexperson:

You know what’s wrong with this cover? Meryl, as one of the select Celestial Supreme Godesses™, does not need to be splashed with dirty seawater so that she can seem “down to earth”; she rises above the rest of us commoners in almost every single possible way, so it’s not like anybody would buy that anyway. If I had been styling this shoot, I would’ve literally put her a giant marble pedestal, found the most regal looking gowns I could get, and put six of them on her all at once. A real missed opportunity here, Vogue.

(Image via thedailywhat)

(Source: thedailywhat, via angelawublog)

thedailywhat:

How To of the Day: Justin White’s “skittle burger recipe”: 

Step 1: Get skittles.
Step 2: Smash em together.
Step 3: Eat it or whatever.

The Skittleburgers taste like Skittleburgers!
[jublin.]

Most hipster snack imaginable? Probably.  View high resolution

thedailywhat:

How To of the Day: Justin White’s “skittle burger recipe”: 

Step 1: Get skittles.

Step 2: Smash em together.

Step 3: Eat it or whatever.

The Skittleburgers taste like Skittleburgers!

[jublin.]

Most hipster snack imaginable? Probably. 

(via thedailywhat)

today:

Color of 2012? Pantone picks orange as top hue
Oh, right — because that’s a color that’s flattering on everyone.

ACTUALLY YES. LOTS OF PEOPLE LOOK GOOD IN ORANGE. 
I’m happy orange is getting the recognition it deserves. In case you can’t tell.  View high resolution

today:

Color of 2012? Pantone picks orange as top hue

Oh, right — because that’s a color that’s flattering on everyone.

ACTUALLY YES. LOTS OF PEOPLE LOOK GOOD IN ORANGE. 

I’m happy orange is getting the recognition it deserves. In case you can’t tell. 

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