The Delights Of Penelope Fitzgerald

by Michelle Dean

Today is Penelope Fitzgerald’s birthday. Let’s celebrate it, because Americans don’t celebrate Penelope Fitzgerald nearly enough.

Penelope_FitzgeraldI mentioned yesterday that one of the books that has really stuck with me this year is Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald. I was drawn to the biography in the first place because I like Fitzgerald’s books – The Bookshop is tops with me, but I like The Blue Flower too, obviously – of course. Though as someone raised on Alice Munro with general doses of Mavis Gallant, I’m probably genetically programmed to love the writings of shrewd, intelligent, but ultimately despairing British Commonwealth writers. Also, I’d been having a weird fall working on my own book. And I could justify reading the Lee as a sort of research. “I’m skimming for structure,” I told a friend. “I want to know how Lee puts these things together.” And she is, yes, a wonderful biographer and I always learn new tricks from her.

But these were excuses. I was doing the thing people write whole essays decrying: I was reading the biography out of an impulse not far from a reader of self-help. I wanted to know how Fitzgerald did it. And I loved what I found out.

Some things I already knew, of course. For example, that Fitzgerald didn’t publish her first book until the age of 58. Her first proper novel didn’t appear until she was 60. If you’re not the sort of writer who ascended to the stratosphere right away, these are cheering numbers. They represent hope. Even if you spend your whole life struggling, Fitzgerald’s trajectory suggests that late in life there might be a breakthrough. You might become a great.

There’s more hope to be found, as it turns out. Though I’d read Offshore before, I hadn’t quite cottoned on to the fact that Fitzgerald’s struggles included her houseboat actually sinking into the Thames. That put my first writing apartment, a basement affair in which the ceiling fell in twice from bad plumbing in the two years I lived there into real perspective, let me tell you.

Fitzgerald’s example also casts hopeful new light on the problem of awful people who don’t like your work. Fitzgerald won the Booker for Offshore in 1980, went on television in celebration with the other finalists and proceeded to be insulted by everyone present. She’d upset V.S. Naipaul for the prize and evidently others felt she didn’t deserve it. Quoth Fay Weldon on the announcement of Fitzgerald’s win, with Fitzgerald sitting right there: “I felt as though something had hit me very hard on the head.” It was like Twitter, except in real life. And yet Fitzgerald was the one who made the best British novelists lists. I’d say she won out.

Talking About The Law Of Rape

by Michelle Dean

At the New Yorker, Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk writes that it’s getting harder to teach the law of rape on campus. She describes a collision course between her desire to teach the hard cases – ones where the parameters of consent may be tested – and the sensitivities of students. Her list of the particulars is sobering:

Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering.

It’s worth saying that I bet some of these organizations and students would quibble with Suk’s description of events. The last sounds particularly apocryphal, I have to say, like it’s gotten misdescribed in the re-telling to better fit a stereotype of campus politics. It’s not just sexual assault stories that tend to get molded to fit an agenda.

It’s harder to object, though, to what Suk describes as a growing fear and apprehensiveness about even broaching the subject of rape:

About a dozen new teachers of criminal law at multiple institutions have told me that they are not including rape law in their courses, arguing that it’s not worth the risk of complaints of discomfort by students. Even seasoned teachers of criminal law, at law schools across the country, have confided that they are seriously considering dropping rape law and other topics related to sex and gender violence. Both men and women teachers seem frightened of discussion, because they are afraid of injuring others or being injured themselves.

While obviously I haven’t faintest idea of what’s specifically been going on at Harvard or other American law schools, I believe that this fear is real because I’ve felt it too.

For most of this past year I took a break from writing about sexual violence. I have what I’d call both strong and considered beliefs on the subject. I’ve spent time talking to and working with victims as a law student and an attorney. I’ve also done my time as a writer in the varied and raucous (and often misrepresented) trenches of the “feminist blogosphere.” My knowledge of the subject is neither that of an amateur, nor even the surface investment of a pundit.

It’s long been apparent to me that no side of this debate is right.

Unqualifiedly believing victims without trying to substantiate their claims doesn’t serve them well, but unqualifiedly doubting doesn’t work either. Calling the current state of the prosecution of rape as “truth-seeking” is misdescribing the process, no matter what evidentiary reform is out there. If you want to teach the hard cases in rape law, I think you have to grapple with those questions carefully. I don’t think it can be enough to simply dismiss that entire part of the discussion as the product of oversensitivity.

Even long experience could not rescue me in the public discussion about Woody Allen earlier this year, though. It was some kind of rape rubicon for me. I hated having to address it. It felt like no matter what I wrote, it was “wrong.” I actually switched jobs to get away from the subject.

But what had caused me to despair of the state of conversation is largely, though not entirely, the opposite of what Suk describes. Whenever I wrote about sexual violence I ended up accused of advocating dogma, of being a bad journalist, of creating an atmosphere where “truth-telling” was impossible. I was also, frankly, tired of being stereotyped as a “feminist blogger” merely for addressing it. If I wrote that there was even some small modicum of value in people believing victims of trauma, I was accused of foreclosing all further discussion.

In other words, knees can jerk on every side of aisle.

That isn’t to say that I felt no pressure from the opposite side. I have also become uneasy with the fact that these rape stories were traffic bonanzas for the various places I write for. And I cringed watching people try to react to the dismantling of the Rolling Stone story in real time according to the well-worn treads of this debate.

But then I come back again to nuance. It’s not a simple matter of dishonest clickbaiting, from my vantage. Over the years I have watched lots of friends turn themselves inside-out emotionally to recount their own sexual assaults over and over in op-eds. They do so out of an honest hope to be heard in the yelling that happens whenever these stories come up. But they also do so at the encouragement of editors who, though well-intentioned, also know full well that the traffic returns could be enormous. And I have my own theories about how all of that intersects with what happened at Rolling Stone.

But like most things in life, it’s complicated. The resistance to nuance is general. Literally no one seems to want to have a careful conversation about any of this. We’re just reiterating the same old positions. Believe them. Don’t. The courts are just. The courts are unfair. Ironically everyone is too busy talking to ask: how can we really have a conversation about this?

Tumblr Of The Day

by Michelle Dean

herzog2

2014 has been a terrible year full of awfulness. The second half is unmatched for grimness in recent memory. It’s been so bad, actually, that my personal list of wishes for 2015 is already a mile long. Here’s just the tip of my iceberg: less hacking of any kind, fewer deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of the police, more prosecutions of state officials responsible for torture, an end to defensive press releases from any member of the Cosby family, a Supreme Court with more than passive familiarity with the female reproductive system, and single-payer health care for every American adult and child.

But if I can have none of that, I would at least like to have more Werner Herzog in my life. Is there a better guide for times of existential and political despair? There is not. The cruelties of fate are easier to bear when narrated in dulcet German tones.

IMDB informs me that in 2015 I can expect the release of a Herzog movie about Gertrude Bell. That is the kind of thing you’ll find me in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk waiting to see, James Franco’s presence in the cast notwithstanding. Until then I intend to survive on the Werner Herzog Inspirationals tumblr, which a kind and equally festive-feeling friend pointed out to me today. This should be great scrolling next week, too, when we’re all going mad at home for the holidays.

The Pessimist’s View of Facts

by Michelle Dean

It hasn’t been a good fall for firm believers in stable capital-T Truth, has it?

The courtroom, which Americans often seem to venerate as a kind of church, hit a lot of speedbumps. Here’s just two: A significant swath of the country was obsessed with Serial, the podcast which deconstructed a fifteen-year-old murder prosecution in Baltimore and found more than a few factual holes in the case. But unless some big reveal is waiting for us in the Thursday finale, the podcasters didn’t find exonerating evidence, either, for the man convicted of the offense. Similarly, in spite of the theatrics of a three-month grand jury, the “truth” about what happened to Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 5 remains subject to considerable dispute. (The very latest from The Smoking Gun has it that one of the key witnesses in the case had a history of racism and fabrication.)

And it’s obviously not just the court system that seems to be failing at truth-telling. The debacle of Rolling Stone‘s article about rape at the University of Virginia rages on. It’s exposed what a lot of journalists already knew: even the fanciest magazine pieces can have shadowy bits and rely on unconfirmed accounts. As though to prove that point, just yesterday New York magazine found itself thrown onto a similar fire when the New York Observer revealed that a high-schooler had entirely fabricated his account of being a multi-millionaireNew York is fact-checked, but that wasn’t a failsafe here.

For some people this is very depressing. They’ll write you long op-ed pieces decrying the work of lazy judges, craven lawyers, and shoddy reporters. There’s often a sense of betrayal driving those pieces, anger at professionals for not doing their jobs. I don’t excuse any malfeasance of course, and my opinion of Bob McCulloch is extremely low. But I’m rather more ambivalent about whether it’s a bad thing that we all recognize that the Truth isn’t one, and it’s often hard to uncover.

Obviously I’d like not to have to second-guess every piece of big journalism I read. Obviously I’d like to think that the courts are doing the best they can. But I was once a lawyer. Seeing how courtroom sausage got made undermined any faith I’d had in the relationship between litigation and the truth. I’ll spare you my full Eeyore on this subject, but suffice to say that the rules of evidence, and the winner-takes-all attitude of the judicial system, don’t have much to do with finding out what really happened.

When I first became a journalist I thought that things in this field would be better. But then I learned to report by being someone’s fact-checker. It was intellectually transformative. Trying to nail down the simplest things, like dates, turned into hours of discussion, phone calls, cross-checking documents and interview transcripts and more than once, the weather report. There were few outright lies involved, but lots of half-memories, mix-ups, and forgetfulness. The truth could get to be a bit of a black hole.

Recognizing that doesn’t, to my mind, excuse laziness. If anything it makes you more vigilant than you might otherwise be. It makes you want to ask about the work behind the story. Call me a glum Canadian if you like, but I think self-doubt can actually be positive. I don’t think the blind self-confidence we encourage in prosecutors and sometimes journalists is always that great for them. The latter half of 2014 has been clear enough testament of that.

Why Didn’t Amy Pascal Just Pick Up The Phone? Ctd

by Michelle Dean

A reader compares the Sony hacking to this year’s sexting hacks:

I was a Sony Pictures employee up until two months ago. I worked as a television producer on the Sony lot for the previous two years. On a daily basis, I passed by Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and the others whose private emails have now been leaked (contrary to Michelle Dean’s disdain that they’re just “big fancy business people,” they’re actually very cool, approachable people), and I have been warned that my private information has very likely been leaked as well – as have any present and former Sony Pictures employees going as far back as 1995. (!)

Let’s first remember what this hack is about: Private documents and emails were illegally stolen and leaked to the public, with more leaks threatened, in order to blackmail Sony out of releasing a film – they have specifically demanded that Sony not release “The Interview.” Put another way, foreign hackers are blackmailing Americans out of exercising their First Amendment rights. And now the media outlets that continue to print the salacious details revealed in these stolen documents are complicit in that blackmail scheme, having given the leaked information the damaging attention that the hackers wanted. The media crossed the line when the reporting shifted from the story of the hack itself and the criminal investigation, to printing every salacious email they could find.

This is not a Snowden leak where it can be argued that this is information about our government that is vital to American citizens. As Sorkin pointed out, these hacks reveal no laws broken by Sony. So this is nothing more than sleazy tabloid journalism using documents stolen by criminals. It is the complete lack of ethics of The Fappening all over again. It doesn’t matter how we got the information, there’s page-views to get! Is this the norm now?

And the worst part is, in the few stories that I’ve read on this, I have seen nothing that would shock anyone in the entertainment industry: Film executives and producers talk bluntly about scripts and actors and personalities because that is the business that they are in. They have to be both passionate and direct, or they aren’t doing their jobs.

Let’s flip the script, so to speak: All of your personal information, emails, your employees’ medical records, payrolls, etc. are leaked by foreign hackers, who threaten to release more if you publish a controversial story. The FBI is investigating. How would you feel about all of your fellow bloggers printing every salacious, taken-out-of-context detail of every email you’ve sent for the past 20 years, making it front page news every day for three straight weeks, and counting? Would you really blame YOURSELF?

To answer the reader’s last question first: I would, at least a tiny bit. But then I’m the self-lacerating sort. And I also tend to see things in questions of degrees.

Of course I would be unhappy to see journalists publish people’s unredacted medical records and social security numbers, which I would agree are analogous to the sext leaks of early September. And I completely sympathize with the panic employees caught up in this mess might feel about that. As far as I know, no one has yet printed things like that but it’s not much comfort.

My point was more limited than this reader imagines. I was simply pointing out that business executives do not have a clear-cut expectation of complete privacy in emails that related to business negotiations and transactions. That goes for the “cool, approachable” executives, too. Business people are regularly called onto the carpet by their lawyers and shareholders to account for their actions in managing the company. It’s just part of the deal along with the rich severance payout.

Is that an abridgement of their First Amendment rights? I’m not so sure. I think it’s just about being a responsible executive.

These emails may not show “illegal” activity per se, in that nothing in them hints at criminality. But they do have the potential to incur big costs for the company in later disputes and litigation. And shareholders do, by the way, have some interest in knowing how the company’s management behaves. The public interest here may not be as clear-cut as in the Snowden matter but these aren’t simply “private” matters. And as an experienced big fancy business person (I think she can survive a tongue-in-cheek remark), I’m sure Pascal knows that intimately.

Update from a reader:

Michelle Dean was right to feel sorry for the in-house counsel at Sony who has tried to prevent everyone there from sending sensitive e-mails – clearly, the message hasn’t gotten through there based on that note from a former Sony employee. News flash to everyone in the US: your company, not you, owns your e-mails! When you hit “delete” on an e-mail, it means “saved forever on a server and/or hard drive somewhere”. Anyone in this day and age who thinks they have any expectation of privacy in any e-mail exchange is sorely mistaken.

When you communicate by e-mail, it feels like a conversation, but it’s like etching something into stone. I tell everyone at my company that for any e-mail you write, imagine seeing it blown up on a giant screen in courtroom somewhere, and you having to explain what you meant by it. I’ve sat through that exact scenario hundreds of times, and have seen offhand e-mails written in the middle of the night create hundreds of millions of dollars in liability for a company, and countless deposition and trial time being spent talking about one or two sentence e-mails. I’ve also seen sexually explicit e-mails (and photos/videos) that would make anyone blush, and these have been viewed and discussed in open court.

I also don’t understand the reference to “First Amendment Rights” by the former Sony employee. Where is the US government involved in stopping anyone at Sony from saying anything? The authorities should go after whoever hacked into the system, and convict them of a crime if they can be caught, but the people who wrote these e-mails assumed the risk when they decided to write an e-mail instead of picking up the phone (or walking down the hall). With everything that’s happened the last few years, including Snapchat hacks etc., it’s amazing to me that people are still surprised when their e-mails get exposed for the world to see.

Forward thinking companies are automatically deleting all e-mails after a short period of time (i.e., 90 days), both to save storage money and to avoid situations like this. Microsoft was at the forefront of this, and has been extremely pleased with the results. Sony (and all of the other studios) may want to consider a similar policy, which would have avoided most of the most embarrassing leaks.

Those “Notable Books Lists”? They’re Useless

by Michelle Dean

Those end of the year book lists are lumbering around the internet right now, coming soon to a friend’s Facebook wall near you. NPR’s list of 2014 Great Reads numbers 250; the New York Times Book Review offers the slightly more conservative 100 Notable Books of 2014. The hugeness of these lists betrays something: their uselessness. My eyes always cross at lists that number above, say, 25. It certainly doesn’t narrow down the Christmas shopping list much.

Plus, these lists get to be disquieting documents of the Way We Publish Now. I would love to believe that we live in a publishing environment where we were producing at least a hundred well-edited, well-considered books a year. Unfortunately, as Ursula K. Le Guin recently put it to the shocked horror of most at the National Book Awards ceremony, writers instead work in an industry controlled by “commodity profiteers [who] sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.” It’s not an amazing environment for the production of literature. Mostly, publishers are throwing all sorts of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. I find it overwhelming and kind of sad to receive as many bad galleys as I do, often bought by a publisher for a great deal of money, but landing on my doorstep with the undignified plop of thawed turkey.

Listing so many books as “notable,” given that context, smacks of desperation.

It’s certainly always been the case that publishers churn out tons of books a year that flame out and die in the remainder piles. But even the largest pinch of salt, 2014 has seemed particularly bad. Precisely three newly published books have managed to take up permanent residence in my head this year: Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, Jenny Offill’s Department of Speculation, and Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald. And while other people might compose their lists differently, or count in their own findings five, ten, or even fifteen notable books, listing a hundred or more just feels… careless. It feels like the work of marketers, not of people who care about identifying good books.

If you are looking for new book recommendations, you’ll find yourself much better off consulting The Millions’ Year in Reading columns. There recommendations do not have to meet some insane artificial round number. No one is constrained by what happens to be on the publishers’ lists. In fact if anything the books they recommend tend to skew old. Michael Schaub, for example, wants you to read some Galway Kinnell. Jayne Anne Phillips has been re-reading Stephen Crane. Tana French got around to Strangers on a Train.

If someone asked me, for example, I would have told them that Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, is the book that changed my life this year. I had to consult it for some book research and then never stopped quoting it. I’ve become quite annoying on the subject and am desperate for someone else to talk about it with. Isn’t that what you want to hear, anyway, from someone recommending a book to you, rather than two tossed-off lines of plot summary in a sea of 99 other books?

SantaCon vs The Millions March

by Michelle Dean

I can wax rather sentimental when it comes to protests. While I didn’t get out to the Millions March on Saturday for personal reasons, I’d meant to. I like marches. Even the best ones have a slight air of chaos, and the dominating atmosphere is usually angry despair. But there’s something about just the act of walking together that can restore your faith in the usefulness of civic engagement. And given the news of the last few weeks – which to me has felt like a relentless chant of police brutality, rape and state-sponsored torture, rinsed and repeated endlessly – I’ve been feeling the need to have my faith restored in the usefulness of civic engagement. I suspect I’m not alone.

So my heart soared when I saw those pictures of clogged streets come up in my Twitter feed. Here were people doing what they could to challenge injustice. I felt a faint flickering of hope.

And then along came Deadspin last night to post the above video of a bunch of drunken louts in Santa suits heckling the protesters.

These men are participants in a weird New York tradition known as “SantaCon.” After nearly ten years of living here I can’t figure out if SantaCon has a point. The idea, to the extent that any kind of “idea” animates SantaCon, seems to simply be that it is enjoyable to get drunk on cheap alcohol while wearing even cheaper velour. So I know it mostly as that time of year when a truly inexplicable number of Americans descend on Manhattan to get drunk in bad Irish bars and yell loudly outside them. (Granted, you people also do that on the Fourth of July.) The people who live here the rest of the year generally stay in and/or pretend it isn’t happening. The mentions I hear of it usually have the sound of gallows humor, i.e. “Ugh. SantaCon.”

But the very fact that the people of SantaCon expect to be able to be such a nuisance without reprisal seems so telling.

You can see, for example, that these men are too drunk to be particularly effective hecklers. Mostly the protesters ignore them and march on. But the tableau sticks with you. Although outnumbered in the frame these idiots in Santa hats feel representative of some larger apathy of the American public. The fact that they happen to be white guys of the “bro” varietal, as Deadspin calls them, makes the image even more depressing. They’re more interested in “having fun” than in worrying about the growing authoritarianism of this country or about the militarization of the police.

And they seem unconcerned, you can’t help but notice, that their public drunkenness and belligerence might get them arrested. I bet they were right. I bet they didn’t get arrested. I bet they spent their Sunday in a peaceful and uninterrupted hangover. The distance between their expectations, and those of black men, is exactly what these protests have been about. But I still bet they don’t know that, and probably never will.

Why Didn’t Amy Pascal Just Pick Up The Phone?

by Michelle Dean

Aaron Sorkin, burnishing his credentials as He Who Blows Hard While Knowing Little, has an op-ed in the New York Times today complaining about the journalistic feeding-frenzy on the hacked Sony emails. Naturally, his rhetoric spirals into the atmosphere. For example:

As a screenwriter in Hollywood who’s only two generations removed from probably being blacklisted, I’m not crazy about Americans calling other Americans un-American, so let’s just say that every news outlet that did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.

You know, I haven’t looked at HUAC transcripts recently but I wouldn’t be surprised if accusations of “treason” and the like came up just as often as accusations of “un-Americanness.” Sorkin might want to cool it. Discomfort with the fact that these documents are stolen and worry about what this heralds for the protection of personal employee information is perfectly legitimate. Talking about journalism in terms that belong in some Lifetime remake of Braveheart, much less so.

But Sorkin’s not alone. Handwringing about the “ethics” of the Sony hack is at high tide right now. It puzzles me, mostly because I didn’t start out as a journalist, I started out as a lawyer. And as a lawyer, my sympathy lies with the poor in-house counsel shmuck who has undoubtedly been saying to Amy Pascal for years, “Please just pick up the phone next time.”

See, at the heart of Sorkin’s complaint is the idea that the studio’s business records are subject to an inviolable right of privacy. But even Sony’s lawyers know that’s never the case.

Crap emails, to borrow an old Jezebel phrase, have long gotten businesspeople in actual trouble. When I was a very bored first-and-second-year corporate litigator, a good portion of my job was devoted to trawling through other people’s inboxes. I worked on securities litigation and bankruptcy cases, so mostly it was investment bankers’ emails I’d end up with. But the principle extends everywhere. I’d always be looking for information about some dry financial transaction, but you’d be surprised what kind of asides would get tangled up with those business emails. Pictures, insults, “jokes.” And more than once, those “jokes” ended up bearing on the dispute at hand, getting cited in legal briefs, relied on by judges in their rulings.

Email, in other words, has long been something lawyers told rich businesspeople to be careful with. Even jokes that seem harmless at the time can come back to haunt you.

Take, for example, the colorful emails that flew back and forth about the production of the Jobs biopic. If anyone involved in that mess had decided to sue someone else, on virtually any theory, all of those emails would have been pulled into the case. Discovery standards in American courts are very wide; you can pull in virtually anything that’s relevant. Scott Rudin’s off-the-cuff assessment of Angelina Jolie’s talents could very well have been the lynchpin of someone’s argument about a contract. Even if the whole thing never went to trial, the size and nature of any settlement might well have hinged on his “candid” emails. And all that would happen whether or not Rudin liked it; in the context of a lawsuit his consent would be as irrelevant to the court as it is to the hackers.

Have all the qualms about hackers that you like, of course. But it’s odd to pretend that these big fancy business people had no idea of the risk. They chose to ignore it in favor of the expediency of negotiating over email, fine. But these men doth protest too much, I’m saying.

Cat Lady Conquers Political Blog

by Michelle Dean

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 2.00.42 AMI am both flattered and apprehensive to be playing the role of one half of Andrew Sullivan for you this week. (The other half belongs to Will Wilkinson.) I’m going to be presumptuous and say I suspect I’m here to represent the left-hand portion of Andrew’s psyche. I started out, years ago, writing mostly for The Awl. More recently I’ve been writing for Gawker and The Guardian. Though I’ve had my fair share of mud thrown at me online, few have ever accused me of anything like libertarianism. Or even centrism. Blame it on my being born and raised in the heathen socialist wilds of Canada, if you like.

Introductions are awkward so let’s keep this short: I do a lot of culture writing, some of it criticism, some of it journalism. But given the choice, I’d write mostly about the dead. I like history. I also like books, though my preference skews to old, weird books. I know way too much about the history of American magazines. And I really like old headlines.

When forced to consider more contemporary matters, I usually natter on about feminism and women’s issues, about crime and criminal justice, and about the law more generally. In a previous life I was a lawyer of the worst kind, meaning a corporate lawyer at a white-shoe law firm. I’ve felt the need, since, to pay off some karmic debts.

At the moment I’m in the process of finishing a book about women critics and intellectuals from Dorothy Parker to Janet Malcolm. I call it Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art of Having an Opinion. It’ll be published sometime in 2016.

I also have what most of the internet seems to agree is a very attractive cat. I promise not to write about her too much this week.