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Hi there, and welcome back to the Monthly Missive. A particular welcome to all the new subscribers who have signed up after reading my stuff on Medium.
You can save anything in her to read later in Pocket, and email me at sophie@sophiebenjamin.com. 

ON A THEME


I WROTE SOMETHING THAT WENT VIRAL AND I FEEL VERY VALIDATED 
You can read it here, if you are not really that interested in the backstory. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK -- the house of cards is falling and men who have built their success by being sexually and emotionally abusive and predatory are being taken down. It's happening in music as well, and the frontman of Brand New, Jesse Lacey, is one of them. I grew up on the music of Brand New, as did most of my friends who I met through playing music as a teen and young adult. In addition to that, an older boy who idolised Jesse Lacey preyed upon me when I was 16, and this latest controversy has brought up a lot of unpleasant thoughts and feelings for me.

So, in the throes of a hypomanic episode one night I wrote a piece about how Jesse Lacey, Pete Wentz and the songwriters of other mid 00s emo bands were basically hiding in plain sight. I smashed it out in 6 hours during a heat wave, eating around 10 Zooper Doopers in the process. The next morning I pitched it to Noisey, and it languished in the editor's inbox for three days. Then I pitched to Junkee, and the editor replied saying she had commissioned something similar. I felt discouraged and was worried the news hook would go cold, so I posted it on Medium (a blogging platform) with a Paypal link at the bottom and shared it on my social media pages. 

Well -- just over a week later, it has managed to get 70,000 reads; 187,000 views and driven more than 100 very generous donations to my PayPal. It was shared thousands of people, including band and crew members from Camp Cope, NoFX, Gang of Youths and more. Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe dedicated quite a bit of time to discussing it on this week's episode of their podcast, Bang On. I have received hundreds of emails and positive comments from people who connected with it, and had similar experiences to mine. It has been more successful than I ever thought it would be. 

I want to be clear: I am not some sort of creative genius who is entitled to publication in whatever masthead I pitch to. I am not especially clever or gifted. I know that editors have overflowing inboxes and few resources. However, I had a hunch that this piece would connect with a lot of people and attract a lot of attention. Having worked as an engagement editor in online media, I know those stats I cited would have really helped boost numbers for advertising revenue on those sites.

Both these issues got me thinking. First up, on the publication angle -- it seems like we are in a digital media crash, but nobody is game to say it. How can editors commission or publish pieces that will boost numbers when they are not given the resources to do so? Secondly -- what are we to do with the men who get outed for abuse? What happens once the finger is pointed and the man forced out? This piece in the Paris Review about what to do with the art of monstrous men is worth reading, and this one on how music scenes can manage abusers offers some good ideas. 

SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS
Earlier this month the Australian Women's Football League (for my international readers, this is Aussie Rules football, not the kind with a round black-and-white ball) sparked controversy by refusing to allow trans player Hannah Mouncey to play in the league. She met all the requirements the International Olympic Committee set for trans players - the AFLW just decided it would be too hard. This piece by Allison Gallagher lays out in detail why it was the wrong call, and over at the Guardian Malcolm Knox examines it through the lens of greater understanding of gender identity outside the binary and what that could mean for sport.

MUSIC 
My housemate got me into the music of Tove Lo, who is one of Max Martin's protégés and wrote the theme song for the first 50 Shades of Grey movie. Her new single Disco Tits is so catchy and has a hilarious video.

I love that Triple J is playing fewer embarrassing white Aussie rappers and instead boosting the music of Baker Boy, a young guy from a remote Indigenous community who raps in a combination of his native tongue and English. He's a great dancer too. 

Susan Rogers was Prince's sound engineer in the 80s and 90s and has some fantastic stories about him and the work they did. 

Here is some stellar music journalism examining the creation and impact of Deftones' 2001 album White Pony.

BORDER COLLIE CONTENT FOR WHICH I MAKE NO APOLOGIES
Here is a very helpful border collie pup who herded sheep into a farmhouse. Here is the Instagram of Roy, a 12 year old rescue border collie who lives in Melbourne and has a very sweet face. And here is a video of two border collie brothers who are working detection dogs based in country Victoria. Very clever boys. 
Copyright © 2017 Sophie Benjamin, All rights reserved.


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