No Complaints #78: Abandon Ship

The following is all I have to say about the Bake Off furore.

Other than this whole podcast where I talk about it for ages, I mean.

Things to read

“The truth is, no matter how many men Fleabag sexts with and seduces, it’s women that she is really obsessed with, starting with herself - she’s both repulsed by and drawn to the way that femininity is a sick competition, a system that she keeps helplessly trying to game. Smartly, the show makes us part of that game. ”

I know I've talked before in this newsletter about the BBC comedy Fleabag and why you should watch it. But you really, really should, and Emily Nussbaum makes a much better case for it here than I could. Email to Pocket.


“'Adiemus' wants to have it both ways. Like the airlines, it wants a world dotted with sexy (and marketable) human differences. Like music-is-the-universal-language true believers, it wants to think that we’re all trying to say the same thing, despite the different languages we use to say it. Historically, attempting to square the circle in this way hasn’t worked out well; if we’re all playing the same game, it’s all too easy to get to drawing up rankings. Before long I’ll decide that my way of being different-but-the-same -  the way I talk, the way I look  -  is superior to your way. I’ll hear your singing as child-like and mine as fully grown-up.”

You might think you haven't heard Karl Jenkins' Adiemus, but you definitely have. Email to Pocket.


“If your boat is going under, you will hear a verbal 'abandon ship' command from the captain, assuming the public-address system still works. After that, crew members will begin lowering lifeboats. There are no international maritime laws dictating that women and children board first.”

Brutally short, practical instructions for what to do if a boat you are on sinks. Stay dry, readers. Email to Pocket.


“Everybody wants you in the caricature of you if you're a woman. You're supposed to be this and I'm supposed to be that. If you start to cast that off, it makes people very uncomfortable, especially if they're projecting a lot onto you and they identify with you. It's threatening to men to have women who are capable of doing so many things and doing them well. I don't think it's consciously threatening and I don't think it's all men, but it really challenges the status quo and how people relate to us.”

Lena Dunham has made me feel quite ashamed for not taking Gwyneth Paltrow seriously. That is not a sentence I ever anticipated typing. Email to Pocket.


“Arriving at wikiHow’s homepage, you are greeted with a banner assertion: “We’re trying to help everyone on the planet learn how to do anything. Join us.” Like Wikipedia, wikiHow is a place where you’re never alone — each page includes its editing history, with a record of who did what. WikiHow adopts that as a gestalt, spotlighting editors’ names and avatars; giving them front-end identities. This offers the illusion of being around others from the comfort of your bedroom, missing someone in spite of your desire not to. Besides the articles, I liked reading the messages that users leave for one another, the jovial pedantry automatically logged to individual Talk Pages.”

On WikiHow as therapy for a broken heart. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

This week, we're having an "old favourites" round up. These are all podcasts I listen to every episode of, mostly as soon as they're released, and that I think are on great form at the moment.

1. Everything We Disdain - Call Your Girlfriend

An update on Ivanka's dad (aka Donald Trump) that won't make you want to tear your ears off, plus some valuable info on the strategy women staffers at the Obama White House developed to stop men claiming credit for their ideas in meetings.

2. The Key, Part I and Part II - The Allusionist

Thanks to this couplet of episodes from Helen Zaltzman, I finally understand what the Rosetta stone is and why it's so important.

3. Making Friends - Reply All

An investigation into a phenomenon called "tulpas", where people imagine intelligent, autonymous companions into existence and then start sharing their bodies with them. Will make you exclaim out loud on public transport more than once.

4. To Separate Chambers - Nocturne

Couples who sleep in separate beds explain why, and how, their sleeping arrangements came about.

5. Two Dollars and a Paperclip - Another Round

After listening to this, film director Ava DuVernay is top of my list of dream interviews to do.

Things to watch


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

"I just need some space."

The guest gif

Stairs are hard.

If you have a suggestion for something I should look at, hit reply to this email or talk to me on Twitter.

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THE END. See you next time!