The guilt of absence, Travis and Taylor NDAs, Mimi vs JLo, why Drake (?), and working with friends.
On the topic of work guilt, and not giving work more than it deserves (which is your attention for whatever amount of time they're paying you, and not one second more). I want to share something my great aunt Martila told me when I was young. She made me do etiquette lessons because she was ancient (literally, born in 1890s and was 90+ when I was a kid). She was from a different world, admittedly, but she absolutely loathed how people talked about work so much. "It's boring!" she would say. Her advice?
When you meet someone new, never ask what they do. Especially in America, that's a fall back of small talk. "What do you do?" She said to ask "HOW do you do?" instead. Or ask where they're from, or how they're enjoying the party/event/whatever. Literally ask anything except "what do you do". You will have better conversation, and get to know people better as a result. And you won't waste time talking about work!
Thank you Lil for “why Drake?” 😭 Why Drake?? I, like Lainey, am obligated to like Drake, but I cannot. How many Black Jewish rappers do we have??? This is a gift and in a better world Drake would be my favorite rapper. But Drake is trash, imho. What bothers me about Drake is not just that he’s oatmeal (thank you Sarah!), I find him deeply problematic. His type of casual misogyny / misogynoir informs a very harmful dynamic. And these songs are supposed to be sexy?? What??
He brags (brags!) about harassing JLo so much she had to change her number. First of all, how dare you. Second of all, if he’s doing that to JLo, what is he doing to the IG/OF/PH cohort we know he prefers? He hypersexualizes women while pretending to be “lovesick”, while also whore-shaming the mother of his child.
And he dares DARES to call Rihanna boring in bed after we know he has been crying over her for a decade. That is vindictive fury that a woman knows she is better than you, and I am tired of seeing it aimed at women, especially Black women.
What’s funny is - I bet Rihanna did have boring sex with him. Because Drake has sex with women who are performing sex for him. It is an audition, they are stunt women, they are at work, there is a Birkin in play here. They are not there to get off. Rihanna is not breaking her back for someone who cannot find her gspot, PLEASE. So I bet she was bored, and, in turn, boring. And Drake thinks that’s a flex, to point out that if he tries punching at or far above his weight class he has nothing to offer. I think Drake is the DK Khalid of fuck boys.
Okay I’m sorry, too long for a Friday morning lol, but I cannot stand this man and I am even more angry that I do not get to enjoy a Jewish rapper.
Thank you so much for sharing how you’ve struggled with work guilt, Lainey. I’m going to guess I’m like a lot of people here who have a hard time with people pleasing and disappointing others and feeling like I’m not pulling my weight when I’m taking (a deserved) break. I recently broke into tears when I had to say no to something a friend and colleague asked me to do. I felt so guilty and worried about letting down someone I respect and care about. And then I also took it a step further and beat myself up for being such a “baby” about saying no! I can’t believe I am 41 years old and still have a hard time with this shit! So it helps to hear someone I respect (you) share your own experience with work guilt and to hear that we can get better at shaking it off, if not avoiding it completely.
I completely get the guilt. At 40, I was at the height of my teaching career and in the process of completing my MA thesis for a potential move into human resources. I chaired many committees and ran many clubs - in addition to an extensive commitment with the local theatre community. I was the embodiment of hustle culture. Sleep was for the weak!
Then. Something happened.
I got sick. Really really sick. In what seemed to happen in a New York minute, I was physically and mentally shattered. My entire world stopped as my health demanded her time. I ended up on a teaching leave and all other commitments rapidly ceased. 7 months later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was bad. My neurologist posited that I had likely been living with MS for about 5 years. Upon reflection, I could account for many instances when I ignored warning signs. I was too busy!
It’s been 7 years of living with aggressive MS. My life has followed a different path, and I’ve learned to embrace this. What I can tell you (or anyone else experiencing guilt)? You’re not as indispensable as you may think. Remarkably, as my health forcefully removed me from all of my important jobs and tasks, I was somewhat astounded to note that the wild world kept turning. New people stepped in and stepped up to fill the void of me. Certainly, I was missed. . .but life moves on at a rapid pace. If there is a lesson in my health journey, it’s to remind women to prioritize their wellness (not in some insipid Goop manner). Sometimes, wellness is simply saying no. Without explanation. Without caveats. Without guilt.
Believe me, you’re worth it.⭐️
What fortuitous timing to discuss work guilt - it's my birthday today and I took the day off after SO MUCH humming and hawing. Definitely felt the guilt. I work in health care, that might say it all. There is a book by Sarah Jaffe called "Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keep Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone." I love my work - which is a gift. But I don't love the entity that is my employer, and I know that they could care less about me. My workplace doesn't love me back. Knowing that puts things in perspective.
I can relate so much. Am struggling to pull the trigger on taking a sabbatical to deal with burnout. Have reconciled myself to the financial hit and have gotten agreement in principle from my job to take one - but I just can't get over guilt/shame at stepping away from my unfinished projects (increased by fact that they aren't in as great a shape as they should be, due to my burnout). I think I'll eventually pull the trigger when I get tired of listening to myself whine about it.
“Drake is hip-hop for people scared of hip-hop.” 👩🍳🤌
I don't have a career that I care about so that might make me an outlier here (congrats to all of you who work in your chosen fields and kick ass in them) so I just never developed any feelings for the work I've done. Anyone could do the jobs I've had, as a consequence I've never felt any guilt over taking time off when I needed it or just plain quitting when I didn't want to do them anymore. I certainly respect that Lainey, Sarah and a lot of you have great careers, you worked hard to earn them but some of us just have jobs, they pay us to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, I cannot give something like that my heart and soul, so I'm certainly never going to feel guilty for the times I didn't do them to the best of my ability or just up and left, I was a cog, I'll never be more than that so they aren't getting my guilt. Nope.
Part of the workplace guilt I experienced came from the company understaffing my department. When we were all present and working our butts off, we could just barely keep our heads above water. So when one of us was absent for chronic illness/bereavement/vacation, there was no backup. I don’t regret taking time off to be with my mom after my dad died, but I did feel guilty about the chaos my teammates struggled through. But why?! Why was *I* the one feeling bad?? If the company had built in some contingency plans, maybe we all would have felt a little less crummy about the situation and the company would have saved themselves some hassle in the long run (within 18 months, every single person on the team had quit). I definitely think it’s worth exploring how “being a good employee” and “taking ownership of your job” can leave us feeling personal guilt over something that is a systemic problem.
Re: Mimi vs JLO - I agree, Lainey. The fabulousness of their feud is that they both know they are fabulous. LOL From what I remember reading, Mariah feels a certain way about JLo because her ex-husband Tommy, a powerful label exec, got JaRule to do a feature on a JLo song and put the song out before Mariah could get her song out with JaRule so Mariah removed Ja from the record and enlisted another rapper. Mariah felt like this was one of many instances of Tommy sabotaging her work. JLo was working on her second album at the time and probably had no clue of Tommy's motives. But, Mimi's bad marriage era with Tommy was traumatic for her and so anybody associated with him, intentionally or not, and his evil schemes she distanced herself from. As for the claims JLo stole records, alot of that is just JLo hate. The only instances you see recycled are about singers Christina Milian, Amerie and Ashanti. Christina Milian posts in support of JLo all the time and squashes these rumors when she sees them on social. She says that she gave "Play" which she co-wrote, to JLo because she didn't want two party records on her album and she notes she received credit and was honored to do it. With the Amerie song "One Thing" the story goes the label wanted JLo to have the record because they knew it would be an even bigger hit with her, so Amerie released it early. Good for her. I love that song to this day, but as much as I love Amerie, the song would have been an even bigger global hit had JLo released it and the label would have made more money off it. And, Ashanti penned a couple of JLo records and provided backing vocals and was credited and compensated. Ashanti is friendly with JLo to this day and was even at one of her birthday parties in recent years. In the label system, as it existed back in the early 2000s, jockeying for records was common. I read not long ago, Britney wanted Ciara's Goodies record. Some Amerie fans are still bitter about how, allegedly, Bey stole Amerie's sound to launch her own solo career with Crazy In Love. The truth is, everyone wants to work with the hottest songwriters, producers, or rappers of the moment, so it's actually really easy to have stretches where everyone's music sounds the same or have similar elements. Anyway, like Lainey says, I think both women kind of stick to a close circle of family and friends for the most part, but I have seen where they do seem to have friendships/friendly associations with other celebs they just don't promote them.
And a follow up comment that I completely agree with Lainey’s theory about Taylor’s desire to be chill and “normal” (as much as a super famous star can be normal!). It’s why she goes out to dinner with her girlfriends (as that excellent Vulture piece pointed out) and is seen wearing brands like Free People and Reformation that her fan base can potentially buy themselves. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the lines from her song “King of My Heart” that go “drinking beer out of plastic cups / say you fancy me, not fancy stuff / baby, all at once, this is enough.” I think Taylor consistently celebrates the ordinary in her music, which is part celebrity branding, but call me naive, I think partly real and true for her! And it’s definitely the way she writes about romance in her songs. Maybe in Travis she’s found the guy that can do both normal and celebrity.
+100 on the work guilt. I'm on a sabbatical right now, and I feel guilty for not working while my partner is working. And then I also feel guilty if I haven't done something productive during the day when the whole point of the sabbatical is to relax.
Have any LG writers felt like they were shit writers when they first started? I constantly feel like I’m the shittiest writer in the room, and it’s starting to weigh on me, to the point where I want to leave television for good. I have no problem pulling ideas out of my ass,but when it comes to writing, I don’t know how to improve. It’s so nuanced and open to interpretation, unlike math where there’s a “formula.“
"I guess he’s kind of like Justin Timberlake" - this feels so much like "Bless his heart" levels of shade. Even it wasn't written with that in mind, I still love it and choose to interpret it that way. Thank you, Lainey & Sarah, for answering my question. And now I'm totally looking forward to Lainey's Drake piece.
There's no post about today's Taylor story but wanted to clarify that she will NOT be rerecording Lover as she already owns it (Lainey wrote: "so now they’re also thinking that Lover will be the next re-recorded album to drop at some point".) The theory is she will be announcing reputation's release date tonight as it's the 6th anniversary of its original release and apparently the light-up bracelets flashed six times similarly to three times before the announcement of her third album Speak Now and five times before 1989.
Thank you, Lil, for bringing back one of my favorite Fametracker sayings, "Why Is [So and So]?" A CLASSIC!