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I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter

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Last night, I made cinnamon rolls. I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon rolls, per se, but this recipe was included in Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct apology letter, and so I feel compelled to make them. Batali is not the first powerful man to request forgiveness for “inappropriate actions” towards his coworkers and employees. He is not the most high profile, and he is ostensibly not even the worst offender. But he is the only one who included a recipe.

And of course, the glaring question is why? Was his PR team drunk? Is life suddenly a really long, depressing SNL sketch? Do these cinnamon rolls somehow destroy the patriarchy? Does the icing advocate for equal pay?

I figure the only way to answer these questions is to make the damn rolls.

I bake a lot. Never one to pass up on a pun, my husband doesn’t bring me flowers, but flours. I’ve become skilled to the point that I can make a dessert from virtually anything, that I can have a small cake made from start to finish – including baking time – on the table in about half an hour.

Good baking, I’ve been told, comes from love, and treacly as that sounds, I find some truth in it. Good baking means being able to roll with setbacks and mistakes and ovens that for some reason run twenty degrees hot but only on Sundays, a metaphor so aligned with loving someone that it feels almost too obvious. Good baking requires an attention to detail and care that is hard to muster when you just don’t give a shit or you are distracted by your own rage.

Good baking means you have to trust yourself.

I find myself fluctuating between apathy and anger as I try to follow Batali’s recipe, which is sparse on details. The base of the rolls is pizza dough – Batali notes that you can either buy it, or use his recipe to make your own.

I make my own, because I’m a woman, and for us there are no fucking shortcuts. We spend 25 years working our asses off to be the most qualified Presidential candidate in U.S. history and we get beaten out by a sexual deviant who likely needs to call the front desk for help when he’s trying to order pornos in his hotel room.

Donald Trump is President, so I’m making the goddamn dough by scratch.

Here I am punching down the dough because, according to Twitter, I hate men.

I use Batali’s recipe that he’s linked to, which I’ve made before, and I’m already hesitant. Pizza dough is chewy and crispy, not tender – the latter is what you’d hope cinnamon rolls would be. It’s a savory recipe – incorporating white wine and a generous amount of salt – and I feel like he’s shoe-horning it into a dessert where it doesn’t belong. He’s cutting corners because he gets to cut corners.


I roll out the dough – Batali specifies a thickness, but no dimensions, which is strange if you’re making a rolled dessert. There are pieces missing here, and I’m trying to fill in the gaps. The result will be sub-par because he hasn’t provided all the information, and I will blame myself.

I baste a layer of melted butter over the dough.

A guy on Twitter tells me that I’m a vile man-hater. His feed contains a photo of my very-alive husband wearing a feminist t-shirt. Underneath he’s written the message “RIP.”

I sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the top.

I think about the time that I was an intern at a local news station, and assigned to hand out cake while celebrating some milestone (it had to do with the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.) One of the producers I’d been working with closely walked up to the table.

“Do you want a piece?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, looking me up and down. “Oh, you mean of cake? No thanks.” He and another male staff member laughed while I stood, holding a piece of cake in each hand, dumbstruck.

Batali does not specify how tightly to roll the dough. I do so too tightly because fuck everything.

I remember the time another producer walked his fingers across my lap while I was typing at a computer. I turned to stare at him, and he grabbed my badge which was clipped to my waist.

“I wanted to see how your last name was spelled.”

I think I’ve used too much dough.

I think about how the last conversation about compensation I had resulted in someone who made more yearly than I ever will telling me I was holding them “emotionally hostage” and then demanding to know, over and over again why I needed the money.

“Just tell me,” they demanded. “Tell me why you need it.” Over and over until it broke me.

If they are edible, I will eat every single one of these fucking rolls myself.

Batali says to cut them in slices roughly three inches thick, which is too wide. The rolls should not be that thick. I know this is wrong, but I do it anyway because that is what the recipe says. (I am not following my gut and cutting them thinner. If I had, I suspect the results would have been better. But for most of us, going off book isn’t an option.) There is no estimation of how many rolls the recipe should yield. Batali says to place the rolls in a small cake pan, but again, there are no dimensions.

My husband hovers close by, doing a little excited jig. Few things delight him like elaborate desserts made for no apparent reason on a weeknight. But he soon links the pieces together and stops dancing.

“Oh, god,” he says. “These are those cinnamon rolls, aren’t they?”

I nod.

I put them in the oven. I think about how Michelle Williams made less than $1000 for a reshoot of a movie for which Mark Wahlberg made $1.5M.

Because I’ve rolled them too tightly, the middle pops up and out of one of the rolls.


One of the cinnamon rolls has a fucking erection.

The recipe calls for too much icing, and the result is that the rolls are drenched in it. We’ve reached the “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME” portion of the recipe.

The pizza dough does not mix well with the sweetness. The icing is sickly sweet, the rolls themselves oddly savory. I was right about the texture – the dough is too tough. I hate them, but I keep eating them. Like I’m somehow destroying Batali’s shitty sexist horcrux in every bite.

I remind myself that is not how recipes work. That isn’t even how dark magic works.

I know that in the court of the internet, any output that is less than perfect will be blamed on me, and not on a hastily-written, untested recipe. I’ve made flaky pie crusts in the kitchens of Air BnBs using warped cutting boards and a bottle of wine as a rolling pin, but this won’t matter. I’ve fucked up the recipe.


Most women don’t even need to hear the shitty comments made to us anymore. We’ve heard them so many times, we can create our own.

Maybe if you spent less time whining about men who want to fuck you (which you should take as a compliment because who the hell would want to fuck you, anyway), and more time in the kitchen, this wouldn’t happen.

I throw the rest of the cinnamon rolls in the trash.

(Okay, fine, I eat two more.)

Of course you did. Jesus fucking Christ, you’re disgusting and your husband does not love you.

Batali’s another drop in the bucket. He’s not the first, he certainly won’t be the last (he already isn’t). The misogyny runs so deep that the calls now come from inside our heads. We blame ourselves. We hate ourselves. We wonder if our skirts are too short, if our bodies are too noticeable. If we’re asking for too much, or not enough. We don’t trust ourselves, even when we should.

We try to follow a half-written recipe and think it’s our fault when it doesn’t work.

We need to undo an entire humanity’s history worth of hate against women. Apologies are a good start.

Just skip the goddamn recipe.

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1903 days ago
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Watch & repost the video above. It’s an ad from...

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Watch & repost the video above. It’s an ad from www.HealthCare.gov informing Americans how to sign up for health coverage they’re legally entitled to. The ad was running on TV, prepaid by www.HealthCare.gov. Trump took it down because he doesn’t want Americans to sign up and receive this health care. Taking down the video, which American tax dollars had already paid for, is another example of him throwing our tax dollars in the trash. Worse, it prevents the message that life-saving health coverage is available to Americans who don’t have it. The deadline to sign up is Tuesday the 31st. I’d urge you to share the video as the more people sign up, the harder it will be for Trump, Ryan and co. to introduce inferior health plans that cover less and will result quantifiably in people dying, most of whom will be women, most of whom will be poor. Also, sharing the video will upset Trump and Ryan and their toadies, since they don’t want you to see it. And that’s as noble a goal as any. And most importantly, in the United States of America in the Year of Our Lord 2017, not having health insurance is a very, very bad idea that can lead to bankruptcy and/or death of your sexy body. SHARE THE VIDEO. GET INSURANCE.

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2251 days ago
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Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet

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Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it's overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don't like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it's a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.

Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.

The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company's total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attacks. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they've got to defend themselves. They can't hold anything back. They're forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.

I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there's a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn't have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: "in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex."

There's more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.

Who would do this? It doesn't seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It's not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes -- and especially their persistence -- points to state actors. It feels like a nation's military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US's Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.

What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don't know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it's possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the US decides to make an international incident over this, we won't see any attribution.

But this is happening. And people should know.

This essay previously appeared on Lawfare.com.

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2387 days ago
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2387 days ago
I for one welcome our new AI overload.
Somerville, MA
2387 days ago
Oh, good.

"The feminist critique is in the air now. If my rendition of Black Panther wasn’t created by that..."

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The feminist critique is in the air now. If my rendition of Black Panther wasn’t created by that critique, it breathed the same air. I can’t really kill off or depower women characters without grappling with Gail Simone. I can’t really think about how women characters are drawn anymore without thinking about the women in Bitch Planet, and how they seem drawn beyond the male gaze.

This is why criticism is important. The job of criticism isn’t to interrupt or encourage commercial prospects. (“Batman vs Superman smashes Box Office, despite critic complaints!”) Criticism should push our imagination and help us understand what is actually possible in art and, I’d argue, even what is moral. Through much of my time collecting comic books I never took much issue with how women were drawn. I had a vague sense that there was something about, say, the reworking of Psylocke that bugged me. But I simply didn’t give it much thought. It never occurred to me, for instance, to ask whether a superheroes pose was anatomically possible. It never occurred to me to ask why a super-hero would have DD cup-size. Was that for her benefit, or for mine? I never asked.

The feminist critique of comics has made “not asking” a lot harder. That, in itself, is a victory. The point is not to change the thinking of the active sexist. (Highly unlikely.) The point is  to force the passive sexist to take responsibility for his own thoughts.

- The Feminists of Wakanda,  Ta-Nehisi Coats (via hellotailor)
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2537 days ago
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"I Just Don't Accept That Whatsoever!"

[Content Note: Misogyny. Video may autoplay at first link.]

In the UK, the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign has been pushing back against changes to the state pension scheme, which will disproportionately affect older women, many of whom will have to delay retirement by six years.

Earlier this week, Scottish National Party Member of Parliament Mhairi Black, who is the youngest MP at 21 years old, took to the floor to have her say, and it was amazing.

Although the specific issue is about retirement benefits in the UK, the overarching issues she addresses of integrity in politics, fair representation, austerity, and rights will certainly be compelling to people outside the UK.

Here she is:

Transcript: —and on the front page, it says that the government can't do anything, because [reads from paper in her hand] "WASPI are campaigning for all women born after April 1951 to be given their state pension from age 60." No they are not. That is not what they're asking. And the Member for Gloucester earlier on was talking about misleading—that is misleading! Nobody is against equalization.

Now, on Monday, I was—I attended a media training course. You know, teaching you how to look at the camera, where to put your hands, and one of the guys who was taking it said to me, "As a politician, if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, where you think 'I'm in the wrong here, and I need to get through this interview,'" he says, "Don't address the issue; just start talking about what you want to talk about." And it hit me immediately: That's what this government's doing! Every single time we talk about this, you talk about things that are completely irrelevant!

The second page states: [reading] "The National Insurance Credits are available for many people to help them build entitlement towards the state pension. National Insurance payments also impact on entitlement to a range of other benefits." Pensions are not a benefit. They are a right.

One of my constituents described them as a contract, and that's exactly what they are. So let me make this very simple: Everybody in here has a phone. In fact, iPads that some people will be sitting on right now. We have a contract. If O2 or Fortune or whoever else three were to change the terms and conditions of our contract, we would have something to say about it. And if they waited fourteen years to tell us that the terms and conditions had changed, I'm sure that everybody in here would have something to say about it.

And if they said on top of that, "You're also gonna be forced to live off your life savings because of the changes of that contract," you would be up in arms about it, and quite rightly so. So why are pensions any different here?

We hear all the time about how— "Where's this money going to come from? Where are we going to find this?" But the truth is, this comes back down to austerity. This is austerity of choice!

And the front bench can roll their head all they like; this is a choice! I have yet to hear of a general or a defense minister say, "We can't bomb that country because we've exceeded our budget. We can't find the money."

When we want to bomb Syria, we can find it. When we want refurbish Westminster, we can find it. But when it comes to giving our pensioners a pension, we cannot do it! I just don't accept that whatsoever!

We've spoken before— In fact, this debate actually reminds me of the tax credit debate. We were giving all these arguments as to how it was so unfair, and the government responded with that exact response: "We don't have the money." And then when the heat was turned up and political pressure was put on them, all of a sudden one hand down the back of the couch and out comes: "Oh, okay, we can afford it. We'll just do a u-turn!" Quite rightly so!

Which brings me to my last point here. How can we ignore the will of this House? We have debated this! In this chamber! And voted a hundred and fifty-eight to zero! How can we ignore that? We debated it in a Westminster Hall that was packed to the gunnels with almost everybody speaking against this government. The government cannot continue to ignore the will of this House.

And I'm no fan of Westminster—I don't think that's a surprise. I think it's more about ego than it is about usher(?). But the truth is, even the most politically savvy minds must be able to see that this is not party political. We have the chance to come together and do something that will earn you respect.

So I think the government should take this chance and act.

[H/T to my cousin-in-law M.]
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2587 days ago
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Halt and Catch Fire

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I have a bunch of TV I keep meaning to watch that I tend to “save” because I know it’s going to be a good show and I don’t want to waste it on times when I just want junk food.

One of those shows is Halt and Catch Fire. It’s like Mad Men, only it’s set in the 80’s and it’s about the computer revolution.

I am generally attracted to anything computer related, but there tends to be a few stereotypes you encounter when dealing with technology. You wind up with things like Silicon Valley where the only female programmer you see is a girl dressed in pink whose business is “Cupcakes as a Service” who is wandering the crowd asking if anyone knows Java. You also get the main character, Cameron Howe, in HaCF who is the female super genius hacker chick who drinks and swears like a man.

Cameron is a cool girl. She lives off of pizza and orange soda while managing to weigh ninety pounds. She doesn’t wear a bra. When she gets stuck on a bug she sleeps around with people to get unstuck. She wants to name the operating system after Ada Lovelace and has people telling her she is the next Grace Hopper. She’s a manic pixie dream girl.

The second stereotype is a lot more flattering than the first stereotype. However, it is a stereotype. It is somewhat damaging. There is this idea that if you’re a girl in technology you have to follow a certain mold. You have to be cool. You have to be a nerd and play video games. You have to be attractive in a certain way. Above all else, you have to be better than everyone else. There is more scrutiny paid to you if you are a girl who is a programmer and you can’t just be a good generalist and blend in to the background. You have to be a super star. You have to be flashy.

I benefit from these stereotypes. I happen to enjoy geek culture. I am interested in hard things like OpenGL that most people don’t try or don’t make time for. I am a red headed extrovert who likes to generate attention for myself. I fit a certain mold and I benefit from the positive stereotype.

If Cameron was the only female character in HaCF, then I would not be writing about it. There is another female character in HaCF who I think is far more revolutionary than Cameron: Donna Clark.

tumblr_n7pz8huk9J1qfdofwo1_250The main hardware engineer in the show is her husband Gordon. They met while both of them were going to Berkley studying engineering. She wrote her thesis on data recovery. Donna works for Texas Instruments and is a kick ass engineer in her own right.

She is also a mom. She and Gordon have two daughters.

Donna is a character you never see on TV. She is a working mom in an intense field.

Even though Gordon is a main character on the show, it spends a lot of time from Donna’s perspective. While Gordon is complaining about how hard his job is, he is coming home to a hot meal that his wife made after an equally hard day at work. Except when she gets done with her job, work is not over. She keeps working after coming home. She has to care for the kids and keep her family afloat. Her parents lend her husband money and set him up with business connections to allow him to pursue his dream even though it is tearing their family apart.

Excuse me, I need to call someone to make sure my house is still standing.

Excuse me, I need to call someone to make sure my house is still standing.

At one point in the first season, Donna has a business trip. She will be gone for one night. She leaves lasagna for the family and does everything she can to make things as easy as possible for everyone while she is gone. She comes back to find blood all over the floor, the sink completely disassembled, her children unattended, and her husband digging a giant hole in the back yard.

Compare Donna Clark to Skyler White from Breaking Bad. Even though Walter White is a murdering drug dealer, the show is designed for you to root for him. Skyler is vilified by fans of the show for being a killjoy bitch for cramping Walter’s style.

Someone has been hitting the lead based solder a little hard recently.

Someone has been hitting the lead based solder a little hard recently.

Compared to Skyler, we see a lot of what Donna has to put up with. We see her spinning plates trying to keep the family together while her husband throws the family into chaos. Gordon isn’t seen as this wunderkind genius whose every whim should be indulged and pampered. He is seen as an unstable, sometimes pathetic man who is being used by the people around him for gifts he has that he can’t control on his own.

We need more Donna Clarks on TV.

Back before everyone started playing the start-up lottery and tech became a casino, you had women who were engineers and mothers. It was a solid nine to five job. You had to be stable and reliable and it was possible for women to be mothers and engineers. That is far less tenable now.

There was a company board member I talked to at one of my previous jobs who I feel exemplifies the problems we are currently seeing in tech.

This guy was married with daughters. He also worked in the Bay area while his family lived elsewhere. He was telling me about how he only sees his family one day every week or two because he’s traveling all the time. I was upset for his wife and asked if it was hard. He told me he was used to it. I was annoyed and clarified I meant was it hard on his wife and kids. He smirked at me and said, “Well, they got used to it.”

I got the impression from this person that he figured I was doing programming as a hobby. I mentioned how one morning I made frozen pizza for breakfast and he said, “Hey, enjoy that while you can before you get married remarried and have some kids.”

It was just assumed that I was going to get married and have a family. This was just something I was doing to keep a roof over my head until that happened.

I felt that this person saw no point in cultivating me. I think he saw doing anything to cultivate me would be a waste because I was just going to marry someone and fulfill my purpose of being a caretaker.

This attitude really fucking sucks, and not just for me.
I sacrificed a lot to be a programmer. I decided I wanted to be a programmer because it was something I didn’t understand and it bothered me. If I found a job that paid me to do it, cool. That was icing on the cake. I wanted to learn it and master it because I wanted to know it. I sacrificed my marriage and my mental health and my social life to push myself to get where I am right now. This isn’t some hobby that I am doing while I am waiting around to find some guy to give me children.

I would like to get married again and have a family, but I don’t want to do those things if it means I am lobotomized. I don’t want to be an effective single mom because the father of my children is never home. I don’t want to be with someone who assumes I will just give up on all of my hopes and dreams to make theirs possible.

Let’s say I found someone who would respect me for my hopes and dreams. Let’s say I find someone who wants to split the parent teacher conferences fifty fifty and will watch the kids while I go and speak at conferences. They won’t be able to do that.

Programming isn’t a job anymore. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a cult.

After people figured out that four people in a basement could create companies that are worth ten billion dollars, suddenly tech became a cult. You don’t just have a job, you are working on something that will change the world. You are expected to dedicate body and soul to this grand and noble scheme that will result in millions of dollars for other people.

It’s not okay for you to tell your boss that you are leaving in the middle of the afternoon to take your child to the doctor. You can’t say that you don’t want to fly to China for two weeks because you want to be home to tuck your kids into bed.

hacf-s1-kerry-bishe-QA-120One reason everyone wants young guys as programmers is because they don’t care about this stuff yet. People say it’s because they are more up to date with the technology or that they are prodigies or whatever else, but it’s all bullshit. It’s about finding the most exploitable people you can to get as much out of them as you can until they break.

It’s just assumed that you either will never get married or if you do that your wife will make this life possible. Your wife will watch your children while you are gone 300 days out of the year. If you are a woman and you have kids, people will assume that you are going to be the one to care for them and you’re not cultivated because you’re not going to be okay with being gone 300 days out of the year.

This system sucks. It sucks for everyone. It sucks for the women who don’t have opportunity because everyone assumes you are on the mommy track. It sucks for guys that they spend most of their lives working to support a family they never get to see. This system only benefits sociopaths.

As long as mothers are invisible, then no one has to bother thinking about how fucking broken this system is. Everyone goes along with it and won’t question it because they’re afraid of being cut off from it or seen as a trouble maker.

Bill Watterson, the creator of “Calvin and Hobbes”, was notorious for refusing to sell out. He never licensed Calvin and Hobbes. No one had little stuffed Hobbes dolls next to their Dogbert dolls in their cubicle. No one has mugs with Calvin on them. He didn’t care about making a bunch of money. He didn’t care about being famous or being a public figure. He wanted to do the work that fulfilled his soul. He had an amazing quote about how he chooses to live his life:

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Take the trouble.

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2641 days ago
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2632 days ago
Donna is my favorite
New York City
2640 days ago
"After people figured out that four people in a basement could create companies that are worth ten billion dollars, suddenly tech became a cult. You don’t just have a job, you are working on something that will change the world. You are expected to dedicate body and soul to this grand and noble scheme that will result in millions of dollars for other people."

Portland, OR
2641 days ago
Bay area startup scene != entire IT industry. People inside the bubble often forget, or don't realize, that.

Also Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark is fantastic.
Bend, Oregon
2640 days ago
IT also isn't the entire tech sector tho
2641 days ago
“This system sucks. It sucks for everyone. It sucks for the women who don’t have opportunity because everyone assumes you are on the mommy track. It sucks for guys that they spend most of their lives working to support a family they never get to see. This system only benefits sociopaths.”

I'd say “… and venture capitalists” except that it's getting awfully hard to tell the difference
Washington, DC
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