The Ideal Modern Man

Is a cuttlefish

Hello all, thanks for all the wonderful feedback on 1) sheep shearing being hot and amazing and 2) the nice words about my NYT piece on falling in (and out) of love during the ongoing pandemic!

Some housekeeping: WHERE DO NEWSLETTER EMAILS GO IN YOUR INBOX EH? I say this because I subscribe to a lot of newsletters and sometimes simply do not see them. Solutions include: checking the “social” and “promotions” tab, and saving the email address so our tech overlords know it’s not spam and can read along with us :)

Secondly, if you miss daily posting / hanging out with me and my dog, I’m still lurking around on Twitter and on my Instagram alt @wifeguy — really love to still goof and talk about Clem size, just not so keen on being seen as an expert / source / influencer / doing so from a big account many strangers view as “a brand” or platform to use correctly while I’m working on new and shifting and undulating ideas. My brain can’t take it! No!

Today some things for you to read and some toons from the archive, and then a little spiral into the sea.

To read:

The Water Crisis in Mississippi America Can’t Afford to Ignore

Infrastructural issues in Jackson aren’t new, and they’re also not unique to the city. They’re endemic in the state, and they disproportionately affect poor, Black populations. Though the spotlight might still be on Texas, it’s clear that the infrastructure we rely on for modern life is in dire need of updates across the South. If we don’t make them, low-income people of color will continue to suffer the worst burdens.

See also:


The version of tiny living that is glamorized on TV and that appears in curated Instagram accounts features images of young, yogic, flannel-wearing couples lazing about in delicious little spaces. The lifestyle encompasses camper vans, tree houses, sailboats, RVs, and yurts, but the tiny house is its original, and most appealing, form. If you live in a trailer or a cramped apartment, you’re assumed to be indigent; if you choose a tiny house, which costs about the same amount for less space, you’re making an aesthetic, even moral, statement about living well in an age of excess.

Governor Cuomo, Sexual Harassment, and Senator Gillibrand’s Silence: Though she positioned herself as a warrior for women’s rights, the New York senator hasn’t exactly been a profile in courage.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand emerged during the Trump era as a kind of self-styled warrior for women’s rights, cursing her way through interviews and literally flexing her muscle for profile writers. She seemed perfectly timed for the #girlboss backlash that birthed feel good female enterprises like The Wing and T-shirts stamped with slogans advertising “Ambitious” and “Electable.”

Positive Obsession: Octavia E. Butler’s visionary science fiction

Though she did not always explicitly tackle race in her fiction, much of her work was about what lies at the root of racism: a profound fear of the Other, whether extraterrestrial or simply someone not-of-our-tribe on this planet. Though Butler was lonely and rarely had lasting interpersonal relationships in real life, her characters often display deep, complicated connections with the beings around them, human or otherwise.

Disability Justice and Mental Health, Pt. 1

One of the reasons I have gotten further into disability studies is because I think many of the structures that are set up in our for-profit health economy are meant to fracture us as a constituency—we get separated into so many different categories which undermines our ability to collectively build solidarity. I don’t see how the goals are any different for someone who thinks mental illness can only be treated with pharmacology and someone who thinks mental illness cannot be treated with pharmacology. I think those two people have the same goals. 

In Please Clap news:

People urged to join mass slow clap against ‘pitiful’ 1% NHS pay rise. Please—very slowly and all together now—clap.

Tweets you might like to see:

Toons from the archive (my desktop):

ID: a good boy with wide open red mouth says, “you look so beautiful without makeup.” A good girl responds saying “I’m actually wearing countless hours spent watching ‘no makeup makeup’ tutorials on Youtube so, fuck you.”

ID: a round face with wide red mouth and stringy hair says “why am I like this” and below the text reads “…me searching for 10 largest horse breeds at 2 A.M.”

Also in some personal news, I finished the Wheel of Time series. Please clap! I’ll tell subscribers all about it, this is the sort of riveting content you can expect from me. (Also gonna do some hot takes on things I don’t like, the usual.)

Please also be aware that this week a cuttlefish passed “the marshmallow test.”

May we all aspire to be like the cuttlefish — who have “impressive self control,” three hearts, a very big brain, and are excellent communicators. MY dream man? A cuttlefish.

Okay I meant to just put it one video but now I’m in the hole. Here are some facts about cephalopods and another cuttlefish video that is 50 minutes long. Enjoy!

Hope everyone is staying, uh, okay-enough. Here’s a photo of my dog:

Lots of love,
Shelby + Clem