The Shatner Chatner Is Heading Out Of Town

The Shatner Chatner will be on weeklong hiatus as your faithful Chatnerer heads to Australia for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Come by and say hello if you happen to be in the area! For the rest of you, please enjoy some of August’s greatest hits in the meantime. (Shatner Chatnering will resume after my return September 9th.)

Everyone In The Phantom Tollbooth Looked A Little Bit Like William F. Buckley

“Dick Cavett is 5’7, one of the most pulsingly attractive heights for a man to be (other attractive heights include 5’8, 5’9, 5’5, 5’10, 6’5, 5’11, 5’6, 6’1), fine-boned and carefully-assembled, like if God had to make a jockey out of a Precious Moments figurine, with a John Cazale hairline and the wryest eyebrows ever to wriggle across a forehead. The caricatures I’d seen of Buckley played up similar qualities: sneering little rabbit mouth, a sense of languor to the point of illness, heavy eyelids (I learned his less attractive qualities later, when I found out who he was, at the time I rather think I believed him to be a cartoonist himself).”


A Sneak Peek From "Something That May Shock And Discredit You"

“A writer who transitioned writing about his transition? How novel.”


The Crane Boys Visit Edgar Allan Poe

Niles Crane Is...


"A nasty man like me coming and spoiling all your fun": Forced-Masc Fantasies in Daphne du Maurier

Mrs. de Winter 2: Hello, I’m your wife who loves you very much.

Maxim: No – no – this isn’t right at all. You idiot! I’ve already met a woman before. You can’t fool me! You must be something else.

“What if your husband treated you like an especially irritating fraternity pledge?”


Possible Breakfast Times, Ranked

Within two hours of arising:

You have a gentleman’s habits, even if you do not wear a gentleman’s face or write with a gentleman’s hands. True nobility of stomach! For you, the patience of the hour-hand, not merely the cheap patience of the minute-hand. Perhaps you are misunderstood in your own time, henh? No matter. In the great cathedral of deep time, generations are preparing to understand you, without trumpets and without the mushroom-hearts of them who pop up overnight before developing sensitivity, impulse, the knowledge of the lip.


"Just One More Thing": Columbo, Nicotine, Quitting Quitting, and the Second Mrs. de Winter

“those flat squat vapes that send a perfect little credit-card-shaped burst of cold pink steam into your lungs with every puff-and-click”


Cis Men (As Far As We, Like, *Know*) With Inexplicably Transmasculine Energy

John Mulaney

The suits, obviously; the lacquer-bright little suits that look like they’ve been steam-rolled directly onto his body – they’re binder-tight suits, is what it is; also how he’s always talking about he he should be more gay than he is, and no one can quite figure out what that’s supposed to mean; plus he takes a wildly disproportionate amount of joy out of the thought of calling his wife his wife, as if he just narrowly escaped having to be a wife himself and can’t believe his luck; receives an extraordinary amount of public goodwill for putting on a suit and being competent, and I think we all have to admit there’s at least a little bit of there there, transmasculine-energy-wise, at least some of the time.


The Worst Love Languages

Physical Touch, as in: “The books about gendered communication styles and relational dynamics I tend to buy and read by myself are satisfyingly heavy. If I press one over my breastbone before I fall asleep at night, I can feel a slotted sort of peace-weight descend all over my body; not quite restrained, not quite immobilized, not quite held, not quite counterbalanced, but some strange amalgamation of all four. I feel maintained by a steady slaughterhouse hand that keeps me from flying off of the bed and outwards into a thousand shards. So I think that’s probably my love language.”


The Pleasures of Running-Away Food

“My family lived in suburban Chicago within a few miles of a Piggly-Wiggly and a Jewel-Osco supermarket; my parents fed us regularly and with affection, using the materials available to them, which meant skinless chicken breasts (with or without a sheet of Coke-colored teriyaki sauce blurted over it), Hamburger Helper, big lumpen raspberries in plastic clamshells, skim milk, Snackwell’s green-box diet cookies, steamed broccoli, Trix-branded pink-and-purple yogurt, a green can of Kraft Parmesan, a few old newspaper-clipping recipes for coffee cake, slow-cooked spaghetti sauce, and Swedish pancakes, smooth Jif peanut butter (my two closest friends were from a Skippy and a Peter Pan peanut butter household, respectively), a Little Caesar’s pizza and side order Crazy Bread (at some point in the mid-90s, the accompanying Crazy Sauce went from hot to stone-cold upon delivery) once a month, baby carrots, frozen peas, and a squat tusk-colored tub of Country Crock butter spread. Eggo Waffles with Log Cabin maple-flavored syrup on the weekends, two apiece.”


Why I Think I Am Attracted To Josh Charles

“Part of it is the over-the-top mid-century nonsense energy he brings to all of his blocking; he doesn’t act his way through a scene so much as pose through it, with a Arthur-Miller-influenced back of tricks: Turn, smirk, furrow, lift eyebrow, purse lips, clench jaw, hands on hips, casually tossing baseball to signal an age skip, it’s the stagiest possible version of being a straight man without sacrificing heterosexuality, like Neil LaBute.”


Ways In Which Lt. Columbo's Perfection Resembles The Perfection Of God

Almost always is there a confession in the final minutes of each episodes. Almost every confession comes as a profound relief to the murderer; very rarely do they flail or protest. They have had their dignity and their humanity restored by justice; they are finally free of fear; they can finally begin the hard honest work of repentance. In the gospels, the “good news” almost always begins with the command to turn around; before the good news can become real, one must abandon ship, abandon course, abandon the future. Then life can begin. So too is almost every murderer finally, at the last, deeply grateful to the “lunchbox detective,” for releasing them from the need to lie, for releasing them from persecution, from fantasies of control and the delusion of power, for delivering them back to reality, terrible and wonderful. Other detective shows often pair arrest with despair; Columbo pairs arrest with relief, possibility, gentleness, graciousness, dignity, repair, and glad tidings.”


Alternatives To Transition I Might Have Spent My Thirties "Getting Really Into" Instead

  • Stranger Things fan fiction

  • Galettes, just baking a lot of galettes, because the thing about getting really into baking as a woman (“as a woman”) in your thirties is that you feel very conscious about needing to maintain a significant distance between yourself and like, women who bake, especially God forbid the kind who push their baking on everyone and get aggressively crestfallen when you don’t eat unexpected pastries every single time, so you have to stick to baking one thing, just really well, and galettes feel sort-of butch, or at least austere enough that you don’t worry about becoming a Jessica Seinfeld type

  • Climate change industrial sabotage/Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

  • Talking a lot about “queer gatekeeping” without grounding it in either a strong sense of power or history